School is out and if your kids are like mine they will be binge watching TV as if they have been starved of TV all their life, with each kid on their own computer watching a streaming show or one watching TV and the other on the computer. Either way, they are watching TV till their eyes bulge red and they look like they haven’t slept in days. How can we as a family of five watch at least a few movies together over the holidays? How can we pick movies that all five of us who are decades apart in age agree on movies that all of us can watch together?
Movies are subjective just like wine. What wine tastes good for one is not the best tasting wine for someone else. Similarly, movies come in various genres to cater to the varied interests of movie goers. When you are a family with kids and adults the movies that work have to be sophisticated enough to appeal to adults and fun and action packed enough to appeal to kids.
There are other criteria as well that movies must have to be considered good enough to watch. In my case, the most important part of a movie is the story. Let’s face it; it is all about the writing. Anyone can see through bad writing. This usually translates to a bad movie. So the story has to be good. It has to have a grab your attention start, an engaging middle, and a great ending. I want the ending of any movie to be like leaving a restaurant after a great meal, feeling full and satisfied. I’ve seen movies that were great until the end, then it sucked, and I left the movie theater disappointed. We ask a lot of great movies, but then we are picky.
Family friendly movies range from adventures, to thrillers, drama, comedy, to animated movies. What makes them all family friendly is the content – nothing vulgar, not too violent (this is subjective these days), and no sex scenes (what parent wants to watch this with their kids next to them 😝 and vice versa 😝). As you can see, this is a picky criterion to consider, but yet there are a large number of movies that fall in this “family friendly category”.
Here are a small number of our family’s favorite movies that we have enjoyed watching together 🤗🤗🤗🤗🤗. Just remember, movies are subjective, what we like may not be your cup of tea. Go ahead and read the reviews, check out the trailers and then decide for yourselves if these movies are worth watching together with your family. For the most part we stay away from rated R movies but some of the movies listed here are rated R mostly because of the fight scenes in the movies. For reference our kids are 14 and 21.
Our favorite movies for family viewing:
- Elf rated G: Our all-time favorite holiday movie! There are so many holiday classics with beautiful stories such as It’s a Wonderful World, The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, etc. But I can honestly say that our family’s all time favorite holiday movie is Elf. We watch this movie every holiday season and it never fails to make us laugh, smile and feel good at the end of it. This is the best holiday family movie to watch together!Elf the movie trailer
- Harry Potter Movies! rated PG 13: Gosh, our family has seen these eight movies so many times that I have honestly lost count. But amazingly every single time we watch them we like them just as much as the first time we saw these movies. They are by far the best movies made – EVER! What makes them so amazing is the story. Story, story, story. Great writing will last for thousands of years. There is nothing like a great story. And what these movies have done with the Harry Potter books is an amazing feat. I remember when the movies were first being negotiated years ago, everyone thought there is no way the movies will ever stand up to the amazing Harry Potter books. But the movies have captured the books to perfection and have stolen the hearts of die-hard Harry Potter fans (of which I’m not one, but Anjali is). Even I, who am not a crazy Harry Potter fan, can appreciate the originality, the sophistication, and mind-blowing creativity of author J.K Rowling. These movies are a must watch for any family! Harry Potter Movie Trailers – 1 – 8
- James Bond Movies rated PG 13: Okay, I do feel bad for my husband sometimes. He is surrounded by four women and he does need his guy binge movies once in awhile. He will beg us to watch some of his more macho movies with him and we all decline. But the James Bond movies we do watch together as a family. We especially like the Bond movies with Daniel Craig. Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace, Skyfall and Spectre are all awesome movies. Action packed, great storyline, good looking guys and gals in great clothes, set in exotic locales all over the world. What’s not to like? I like to see what cool outfits the leading ladies wear; maybe I could pull off wearing it too at my next party? But what these movies inspire me to do is to eat better and exercise more. These leading ladies look so great that they motivate me to look good and feel good too. You can’t go wrong with a good dose of 007. Spectre Movie Trailer Casino Royale Movie Trailer Quantum of Solice Movie Review Skyfall Movie Trailer
- Mission Impossible Movies rated PG 13: For the same reason that we enjoy watching James Bond movies as a family, we enjoy watching Mission Impossible movies with Tom Cruise. These are great family friendly movies that give you an adrenaline rush. They have great storylines, awesome actors, filmed in exotic locales all over the world, and always a great ending. We have seen all five of them and each movie has been fun to watch. Here are trailers for all the Mission Impossible movies. Mission ImpossibleMission Impossible II Mission Impossible III Mission Impossible IV – Ghost Protocol Mission Impossible V – Rogue Nation
- Disney’s Big Hero 6 rated G: I have to be honest, the adults in our family were not interested in watching this movie at all, but the twins were eager and when you are a family you do stuff that you don’t want to sometimes to make the other family members feel good. So we agreed to watch Big Hero 6 as our family movie to watch together. Let me tell you, this is an outstanding movie! It’s an animated movie set in fictional Sokyo (San Francisco & Tokyo combined. Get it? 😀) a funturistic Silicon Valley of sorts. It’s an awesome, original, well written story about the special bond that forms between an inflatable plus-sized robot named Baymax and his adopted guardian Hiro Hamada, who team up with a group of friends to form a band of high-tech heroes. This movie has a little of everything, teenage defiance, trying to figure out your own identity and future, taking the wrong path and then turning it around to do what’s right. It has great life lessons weaved in with a wonderful original story. A classic! Big Hero 6 Movie Trailer
- National Treasure Movies rated PG:These movies are AMAZING! We have watched them countless times, and each time feels like the first. This trilogy is filled with fun, daring adventures as Benjamin Franklin Gates, a historian, races against time to find America’s national treasures before the mercenaries trying to hunt them down for profit. National Treasure Movies
- Gladiator rated R: Gladiator is a movie that will have you hooked from the beginning. It has a wonderful story of an unlikely hero and his fight for justice under a cruel king. This is the kind of movie that has you on the edge of your seat wondering what will happen next and keeps you guessing till the end-a solid good movie that we have seen multiple times.This is not for the young ones in the family. What make it rated R is the fight scenes rather than the sex scenes, of which there are hardly any. Gladiator Movie Trailer
- The New Star Trek Movies rated PG 13: We really enjoy the new Star Trek movies with Chris Pine. The adventures and escapades of the younger version of all our favorite Star Trek characters are fun to watch. These are great futuristic fun movies with a sense of humor, action-packed, and great stories. You can’t go wrong with watching any of the three movies that are out on DVD. The cool thing about these movies is that you don’t have to watch them in order. Each movie is a stand-alone story. Great bunch of movies! Star Trek Movie TrailerStar Trek Beyond Movie Review Star Trek Into Darkness
- Braveheart rated R: Mel Gibson’s Braveheart is a historical fiction movie about William Wallace, the legendary Scots warrior who led his nation into battle against the English in the 1300s. It’s a story about love, patriotism and treachery, and the cruelty and abuse of kings in power. This movie has bloody battle scenes but other than that it has a wonderful movie that is engaging and will keep you entertained. Braveheart movie trailer
- The Bourne Movies rated PG 13: We have enjoyed all the Bourne Movies very much. These have a more intense storyline but the fast-paced action, great actors, and very good story make these Bourne movies a solid way to watch TV together. We haven’t seen the latest Bourne movie that came out a few months ago. But we have seen the previous ones, and we enjoyed every one of them. The Bourne Movie Series
- Dr. Strange rated PG 13: We saw this is in the theater recently and loved it! What an amazing storyline. This is not about your typical Marvel Comics hero who has superpowers or alien powers, or mutated powers to become a super hero. This is the story of an egotistical and very successful neurosurgeon who embarks on a journey of healing himself through the teachings of a yogi. First of all, let me say that I was impressed that the all-knowing yogi is a woman in the movie. Secondly, I loved how this movie is all about the power of the mind and the ability of the human brain to think and accomplish amazing things. It truly is an underutilized muscle. This is an awesome movie that is action-packed, with lots of thrill rides, great cinematography and graphics, and best of all – it has a great story and a wonderful ending. I will never forget this line from the movie: “Let go of all your ego, and you will find your power.” What an awesome quote! This one needs to be added to the all-time best quotes list. Dr. Strange
- Holes rated PG: This is another Disney classic. When Sri first told me about this movie I was skeptical. What the heck is a movie called Holes about I asked her? But she said it got great reviews and we should watch it together, and it turned out to be an outstanding movie! This is the story about a kid who gets sent to detention camp to get straightened out after being falsely accused of theft, only to make friends with another camper there. The camp itself is run by a group of unscrupulous people who are running the camp as a “prison camp” where campers are used as labor. This has a great story, it’s hilarious, has leading actors Sigourney Weaver, Jon Voight, Patricia Arquette, Tim Blake Nelson, and Shia LaBeouf. Based on the best selling novel Holes by Louis Sachar, this is an awesome family movie to watch together.Holes the movie trailer
- The Patriot rated R: This is a historical fiction movie about an unlikely hero – a farmer who leads the Colonial Militia during the American Revolution when a sadistic British officer murders his son. Action packed, great acting, great story, and a more relatable glimpse of the American Revolution (rather than just reading it in history books). We love this movie and have seen it multiple times. The Patriot movie trailer
- Here is a list of more movies to consider watching together.
- Hunger Games movies
- Divergent movies
- Maze Runner movies
- Superhero movies- Ironman, Captain America, The Avengers, Spiderman, Superman, and the list goes on.
- Star Wars movies
- Finding Nemo – A classic no matter your age
- Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – It doesn’t compare to the Harry Potter movies, but Anjali and Rani loved it!
- Clear and Present Danger
- Patriot Games
- The Hunt for Red October
- Home Alone (the original)
- Dolphin Tale
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
- Night at the Museum
- Ice Age movies
- The Incredibles
- The Kings Speech
- Home Alone
These are just the top-of mind movies that came to me as I was writing this post. I will update this list as I think of more fun family friendly movies. Feel free to comment on your favorites as well.
Gather around with your family, make a big batch of popcorn, cozy up with a few throws and blankets, and enjoy the show!
Happy Movie Watching!