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The 15 best family movies on Netflix (October 2020)

Netflix family movies
Back to the Future and The NeverEnding Story. Pic credit: Universal/Warner Bros

Netflix provides a perfect opportunity for families to sit down and watch movies together at home. The streaming service has a ton of great family favorite films from which to choose.

From great family-friendly comedy movies and adventurous sci-fi flicks to rediscovering classics, there is something here for everyone.

Whether parents are trying to introduce their children to movies from their childhood, or kids are showing their parents new films from this generation, kids of all ages can find something to enjoy.

From a time-traveling DeLorean to a talking mouse and from a family of superheroes to Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, Netflix has it all.

Here are 15 of the best family movies you can catch in October 2020 on Netflix.

Updated on October 1: Every month, Netflix removes many movies from its streaming service.

The good news is that Netflix reloads with many new movies and we are always looking for replacements. When you finish those, here are some more that just missed out list: Seabiscuit, The NeverEnding Story 2: The Next Chapter, Back to the Future Part II, Back to the Future Part III, The Muppets, Muppets Most Wanted, The Pirates! Band of Misfits, and The Smurfs.

WarGames (1983)

Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy in WarGames. Pic credit: United Artists

Matthew Broderick might be best known for the ’80s classic Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, but he has another beloved classic in his past as well.

In 1983, Broderick starred in the sci-fi family movie WarGames, where he portrays David, a young high school hacker who accidentally hacks into the U.S. War Operation Plan Response, which predicts possible outcomes of nuclear war.

He thinks it is a game and runs the simulation, but then he accidentally makes the nuclear weapons control system believe a nuclear war is imminent and it begins preparation to start World War III.

When he is arrested and accused of espionage and being a Soviet agent, David has to escape and find a way to prove his innocence.

ParaNorman (2012)

The stop-motion animated movie ParaNorman. Pic credit: Laika

You need to wait until Oct. 18, but on that day, ParaNorman hits Netflix.

This is a movie made by the stop-motion animation studio Laika and is a perfect family movie for Halloween.

Norman is a child who can see and speak to the dead, although no one believes him. This puts him in great danger when he learns a ritual is underway that will unleash a great evil in the town.

However, the evil turns out to be the people of the town, who fear the people that have risen from the dead and sets out to kill them, making Norman have to protect the dead from the living.

Back to the Future (1985)

Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd on the set of Back to the Future
Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd as Marty McFly and Doc on the set of Back to the Future. Pic credit: ©Imagecollect.com/ Globe-photos

Released in 1985, Robert Zemeckis directed Back to the Future. Michael J Fox stars as Martin McFly, a teenage boy who travels back in time to meet his parents.

However, he has to make sure that he doesn’t change the past, or he will delete himself from the future.

Christopher Lloyd stars as Doc Brown and the movie made the DeLorean a classic iconic car in cinema history.

Produced by Steven Spielberg, Back to the Future has stood the test of time and remains one of the best family movies available on Netflix.

Mr. Deeds (2002)

Mr. Deeds
Adam Sandler and John Turturro in Mr. Deeds. Pic credit: Sony

Before Adam Sandler became known as the guy who made mostly forgettable Netflix comedies, he was one of the best comic actors in Hollywood.

One of his more underrated and overlooked comedies was Mr. Deeds, where Sandler did the impossible and tried to remake a Frank Capra movie, with him somehow playing the same role that Gary Cooper played before him.

Wynona Ryder played the romantic interest here, which actually is more believable than other Sandler romantic foils, and the movie was a fun comedy that received terrible reviews but favorable audience scores.

The Addams Family (1991)

The Addams Family
The cast of The Addams Family. Pic credit: Paramount Pictures

The Addams Family did something rare by taking a classic television property and bringing it to the big screen in a hilarious family-friendly movie.

The movie brings the spooky and ooky family to the big screen in a story where Gomez (the brilliant Raul Julia) has not seen his brother, Uncle Fester (Christopher Lloyd) in years. However, when Feser returns, an outsider tries to use him to gain access to the family fortune.

Other great cast members include Anjelica Huston as Morticia (she picked up a Golden Globe nom for her role) and a young Christina Ricci as Wednesday Addams.

The NeverEnding Story (1984)

The NeverEnding Story
Atreyu and Falkor in The NeverEnding Story. Pic credit: Warner Bros

One of the best family-friendly movies in history is on Netflix now, as The NeverEnding Story has hit the streaming giant.

The story is a classic, with a young bullied boy named Bastian comes upon a book called The NeverEnding Story. When he starts to read the tale of the young hero Atreyu, Bastian realizes that things in the real world are starting to change as well.

Soon, Bastian realizes he is part of the story and he has to help Atreyu save the Childlike Empress to save the world, and possibly to save himself.

There isn’t a better movie to introduce your kids to on Netflix.

Lemony Snicket: A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004)

Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events
Jim Carrey in Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. Pic credit: Paramount

Netflix subscribers have two ways to enjoy Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events.

The first is with a newer Netflix original series based on the children’s book series with Neil Patrick Harris starring as the cruel Count Olaf.

However, for movie fans who want to see the story in just the length of a two-hour movie, there was also an adaptation that hit theaters in 2004 with Jim Carrey in the role of Count Olaf.

Lemony Snicket tells the story of the three Baudelaire children and their evil uncle, Count Olaf, who wants to use them to secure the family fortune.

Goosebumps 2 (2018)

Goosebumps 2
The cast of Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween. Pic credit: Sony

Released in 2018, Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween is the sequel to the 2015 R.L. Stine adaptation, Goosebumps.

The sequel has an all-new cast of kids who find Slappy the Dummy and bring him back to life. Slappy then decides to take their family as his own and turns people in the small town into monsters to serve him.

Jack Black returns from the first movie, but only in a limited role at the end. This family movie on Netflix also ended with the possibility of another sequel in the series.

The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008)

The Spiderwick Chronicles
The Spiderwick Chronicles. Pic credit: Paramount Pictures

Released in 2008, the Spiderwick Chronicles is the film that helped introduce the world to Freddie Highmore.

Based on the novel by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi, Highmore stars as Jared, a young boy who finds a field guide that allows him to see mythical creatures, including a fairy named Thimbletack.

Unfortunately, he also releases the Mulgarath and its goblin army.

Jared and his family must defend their home against the goblins, and eventually, Jared has to stand up to Mulgarath to save all he loves. Mark Waters (Mean Girls) directs this family movie on Netflix.

Hugo (2011)

Asa Butterfield in Hugo. Pic credit: Paramount Pictures

In 2011, Martin Scorsese directed the family movie Hugo, which is now available to screen on Netflix. The film is based on the 2007 book The Invention of Hugo Cabret.

Asa Butterfield stars as a young homeless boy in the 1930s whose father died. While avoiding the local police, Hugo tries to solve the mystery of his father’s automaton.

The film also pays homage to pioneering filmmaker George Melies.

Hugo picked up 11 Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture – the most in 2011. It ended up winning five awards, all for technical achievements.

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs (2009)

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. Pic credit: Colombia

Based on the 1978 children’s book of the same name, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs was released in 2009 as a Sony Pictures animated movie.

Flint Lockwood is a young scientist who lives in a town on an island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. He ends up creating a machine that turns water into food.

When it overloads, it shoots into the sky and turns the rain into food, and Flint has to find a way to stop his machine before it destroys the town.

Bill Hader, Anna Faris, and Neil Patrick Harris lead the voice cast.

Mary Poppins Returns (2018)

May Poppins Returns
Emily Blunt in Mary Poppins Returns. Pic credit: Walt Disney

Directed by Rob Marshall, Mary Poppins Returns is a sequel to the beloved classic from 1964 with Emily Blunt taking on the role of Mary Poppins.

This movie starts 25 years after the original film and sees Mary return to become the nanny of Jane and Michael Banks one year after a family tragedy.

Produced by Disney, the film hit theaters in 2015 and was a huge success. The 54 years between this and the first film is one of the longest gaps in movie history.

This movie is another that will eventually leave Netflix to move to Disney+.

Shark Boy and Lava Girl (2005)

Shark Boy and Lava Girl
Taylor Lautner and Taylor Dooley in Shark Boy and Lava Girl. Pic credit: Dimension Films

While ripped by critics, the Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl by Robert Rodriguez is still a fun family movie for kids of all ages.

Even though Spy Kids remains his most popular children’s film series, Sharkboy and Lavagirl retains a charm of its own.

Future Twilight star Taylor Lautner appears as a childlike Sharkboy while David Arquette, Kristin Davis, and George Lopez bring familiar faces to the preceding.

The movie stars Cayden Boyd as a young dreamer who finds the stories from his dream journal coming to life.

Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday (2016)

Pee-Wee's Big Holiday
Pee-Wee Herman in Pee-Wee’s Big Holiday. Pic credit: Netflix

Produced by Netflix in 2016, Pee-wee’s Big Holiday brings Pee-wee Herman back to a new generation of children.

Pee-wee is a cook in a small-town diner, and the locals love him. He meets actor Joe Manganiello, who convinces Pee-wee to leave his small town and visit New York City for Joe’s birthday party.

As with classic Pee-wee Herman movies, he finds himself in strange and awkward situations, including crossing a gang of outlaws and a visiting a creepy snake farm.

This family movie has a few laughs but a lot of heart.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)

Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse
Miles Morales in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Pic credit: Sony

Arguably the best Spider-Man movie to ever hit theaters was the animated Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

Produced by Sony, this Spider-Man movie introduces the world to is Miles Morales, the Spider-Man from the Marvel Ultimates Universe.

However, it also brings in Peter Parker from our world, a superpowered Gwen Stacy, Spider-Man Noir, and even Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham.

The film was a huge success, winning Best Animated Feature Film at the Academy Awards, Golden Globe Awards, and Critics Choice Awards.

Shawn S. Lealos has been a freelance writer for 25 years, starting with magazines and newspapers before moving to the internet. He has been published... read more
Shawn S. Lealos

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