Sure, Netflix has plenty of movies available for streaming anytime, but which of them are great for the whole family to enjoy together? Here are 32.
1. “Nanny McPhee”
A widower hires a nanny to take care of his seven naughty children who have already chased away plenty of other nannies. Somehow, she manages to start instilling some discipline. Magical changes ensue.
2. “The Decoy Bride”
A woman ends up taking part in a scheme to divert the paparazzi’s attention from the wedding of a celebrity. This movie is a fun rom-com with bonuses of a Scottish setting and, the male star being one of the Doctors (Who, that is).
Delinquent teens are forced to dig holes at a camp. But it turns out, there’s far more to the story than character-building. This “offbeat” film features entertaining performances by the likes of Sigourney Weaver and Henry Winkler.
Both the original and the 2000 version are available. Disney animators make classic music visual, through simple colors and impressions and in stories, such as Mickey Mouse as the Sorcerer’s Apprentice or a jazz-scene “Rhapsody in Blue.” A great way to bring extra interest to musical works everyone should know.
5. “A Monster in Paris”
This French animated film focuses on a flea that’s accidentally been made human-size. The flea turns out to be exceptionally musically talented. While the police try to apprehend this “monster,” those who come to appreciate him work to save him. This movie has beautiful animation, a cute, quirky story and catchy music.
6. “Anchors Aweigh”
Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra sing and dance as sailors on leave. As they try to impress an aspiring singer, some crazy things happen. Bonus: Kelly tap dances with an animated mouse. Just plain fun.
7. “My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend”
A sweet (and clean) rom-com about a young woman who’s being wooed by two guys who are both good catches. How can she choose? Light entertainment, with a twist ending.
8. “On the Way to School”
This documentary follows four children from very different locations around the world as they “face daunting challenges” just to attend school.
9. “Galaxy Quest”
This good-natured spoof of “Star Trek” and its legions of dedicated fans is as hysterical as it is highly quotable. Bonus: Fans of the late Alan Rickman get to laugh at his classically trained actor character.
10. “The Tale of Despereaux”
This adorable and entertaining animated adaptation of a Newbery Award-winning book tells about a mouse who falls for a human princess.
11. “A League of Their Own”
Take a trip back to a time during World War II when a women’s baseball league filled in for the pro (male) players sent off to fight. This movie is funny and even educational.
12. “Chicken Run”
This clever and very funny stop-motion movie about chickens trying to escape from the farm is a smart takeoff on classic POW movies, most notably “The Great Escape.” Only film buffs will get those references, but everyone will enjoy the movie nonetheless.
This classic caper with Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant is a great way to introduce some favorite movie stars.
Woody Allen is channeled into a neurotic worker ant. This came out the same year as Disney/Pixar’s “Bug’s Life” and seemed a little pale in comparison, but it holds up well years later.
15. “How to Train Your Dragon 2”
Both the first movie and this sequel are great flicks for family viewing, but this is the only one available on Netflix streaming.
When Peter Pan leaves Neverland and grows up, Captain Hook comes back and grabs his children, forcing Peter (Robin Williams) to return to Neverland.
This is another imaginative tale in which Robin Williams gets put in all kinds of crazy situations through a jungle-themed game that doesn’t go away until someone (finally!) wins.
This movie is a sweet and enjoyable story about an outsider alien who befriends a human girl even as all his comrades are taking over Earth.
19. “Pride and Prejudice”
The 2005 film adaptation with Keira Knightley as heroine Elizabeth Bennet is romantic, witty, smart, and loaded with fine settings.
20. “Charlotte’s Web”
The classic, universally beloved children’s book about “Some Pig” got a charming adaptation with live action in 2006.
21. “Mouse Hunt”
One little mouse is clever enough to outwit two men intent on making some money off the sale of a mansion they inherited. This movie is both slapstick and quirky.
22. “How to Steal a Million”
Supposed burglar Peter O’Toole helps Audrey Hepburn steal a statue from an art museum to conceal her father’s art forgeries. A flick that is a stylish caper with a touch of romance.
23. “Finding Neverland”
Once the family has watched “Hook,” or any other iterations of the Peter Pan story, let them learn about how author J.M. Barrie came up with the tale.
24. “Cinema Paradiso”
This Italian ode to film has a filmmaker looking back on his childhood when he discovered the magic of the movies thanks to his friendship with a theater projectionist. It’s fun and an easy intro to foreign films.
25. “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”
This classic has charm in the form of legends Paul Newman and Robert Redford, a peek at history, and good ol’ gunfight action.
26. “Roman Holiday”
Another classic with Audrey Hepburn, this time paired with Gregory Peck. There have been plenty of movies with princesses or celebrities in hiding, but this one is at the top of the list. There is romance, lovely scenery, and classic music.
27. “To Kill a Mockingbird”
Here, Gregory Peck is in fine form as the most admired lawyer of literature, a good man trying to defend a falsely accused black man in the South. Everyone should read Harper Lee’s book and watch this adaptation.
28. “Lilo & Stitch”
This “new classic” Disney animated film has a lush Hawaiian setting, adorable but mischievous heroes, and lots of great Elvis music.
29. “The Prince of Egypt”
This animated movie about the Biblical story of Moses and Ramses became a favorite of many, with its religious themes and powerful music.
30. “Shall We Dance?”
This film is available both in the original Japanese version and in the American remake with Richard Gere. Both are cute and entertaining and feature ballroom dance, but definitely watch the Japanese version first.
31. “Everest: IMAX”
Sure, there’s a new movie out that’s based on the events of the fateful week in 1996 where climbers of the world’s highest peak lost their lives, but this IMAX documentary was actually filmed during that time. The views and the story — which unexpectedly turned gripping — are breathtaking.
32. “Hachi: A Dog’s Tale”
Based on a true story of a loyal dog. Enough said.