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The 15 best family movies on Netflix (April 2021)

Netflix family movies
Hook and Hugo are both family movies on Netflix. Pic credit: TriStar Pictures/Paramount

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.

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

Whether parents are trying to introduce their children to movies from their childhood, or kids show 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 April 2021 on Netflix.

Updated on April 3: 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.

The BFG (2016)

The BFG (2016)
Disney’s The BFG. Pic credit: Disney

Released in 2016, The BFG is a Steven Spielberg movie for Disney that is based on the classic story by Roald Rahl (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory).

The movie is a fantasy film about a world with giants and a 10-year-old orphaned girl named Sophie who befriends one of the benevolent giants.

While both are outcasts among their own people, they end up the only thing standing between a war between the humans and the giants that want to eat everyone.

Mark Rylance starred as The BFG, filmed and then animated using motion capture technology.

Escape from Planet Earth (2013)

Escape from Planet Earth
Escape from Planet Earth is on Netflix. Pic credit: The Weinstein Company

Escape from Planet Earth is an animated movie from the Weinstein Company about an alien race who heads to Earth to answer a distress call.

The team sent includes astronaut hero Scorch Supernova (Brendan Fraser) and his nerdy but helpful brother Gary (Rob Corddry), head of mission control at BASA.

However, as they head to the dangerous planet of Earth, they end up falling into a trap by a nefarious enemy and Gary is the person who has to save the world.

Hook (1991)

Hook 
Robin Williams and Dustin Hoffman in Hook. Pic credit: TriStar Pictures

Steven Spielberg directed a family movie based on the tales of Peter Pan in 1991 titled Hook.

The movie starred Robin Williams as Peter Pan and Dustin Hoffman as Captain Hook, and the movie was mostly seen as a letdown through the year of Spielberg’s career.

However, both for kids who grew up when the movie was released and for young explorers today, there is a lot to love about the movie, which was very much a boy’s tale about adventures and friendship.

A Monster Calls (2016)

A Monster Calls
A Monster Calls. Pic credit: Lionsgate

A Monster Calls is a fantastic family movie on Netflix, but it is also a very sad movie, so be prepared to discuss the subject matter with kids after the final credits roll.

The movie stars Lewis MacDougall as Conor, a 13-year-old boy whose mother (Felicity Jones) is terminally ill. He is sent to live with his grandmother (Sigourney Weaver) while his mother is taken into a care facility.

A giant tree-like monster (voiced by Liam Neeson) then visits the boy and offers to tell him three stories, and then Conor has to tell him a story at the end.

The monster, and its stories, are clearly allegories for what Conor is going through as a child and his story at the end is equally heartbreaking and hopeful.

Over the Moon (2020)

Over the Moon
The animated family movie Over the Moon. Pic credit: Netflix

Over the Moon was an animated Netflix original movie released in 2020.

The movie is about a girl named Fei Fei, who learns of the legend of the Moon goddess Chang’e, who took an immortality potion. Sadly, she ascended to the moon and is forever waiting for the love of her life to rejoin her.

The little girl’s mother dies, and she gives her a bunny before her death. Her life then falls into turmoil when her father decides to remarry, and she sets off to prove that Chang’e is real.

The Little Prince (2015)

The Little Prince
The animated movie The Little Prince. Pic credit: Paramount Pictures

In 2015, The Little Prince came and went without much notice. The good news is that this kids’ animated movie is now available on Netflix.

The movie is based on the 1943 novella by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry and uses stop motion animation to tell the story.

A little girl’s mother has a life plan for the child that includes no fun time, but she is soon enchanted by an elderly neighbor and the Little Prince’s fantastic tales.

The Indian in the Cupboard (1995)

The Indian in the Cupboard
The Indian in the Cupboard. Pic credit: Paramount

Released in 1995, The Indian in the Cupboard is a movie directed by Frank Oz (a puppet-master who also voiced Yoda in the original Star Wars trilogy).

The movie is about a little boy who gets a cupboard as a gift and later realizes he can put his toys into it, and when he locks and unlocks it, they come to life.

The movie is based on the children’s book from 1980 by Lynne Reid Banks. While the film’s title is problematic in today’s world, actor Litefoot, who portrayed Little Bear in the movie, made sure that everything was completely authentic rather than deal with Hollywood stereotypes.

The Croods (2013)

Croods
The Croods family. Pic credit: DreamWorks

The sequel to The Croods hit in 2020, and Netflix is giving everyone a chance to catch up on the original movie, which hit in 2013.

The movie is about a family of cavepeople who set out to find a new home when the cave they lived in safely is destroyed.

The problem is that the dad only cares about keeping his family alive by protecting them at all costs while his daughter is ready to get out and explore the big, dangerous world.

Enola Holmes (2020)

Enola Holmes review Netflix
Millie Bobby Brown and Henry Cavill in Enola Holmes. Pic credit: Alex Bailey/Legendary

Released in 2020 as a Netflix original movie, Enola Holmes is a story about the famed detective Sherlock Holmes’s little sister.

Stranger Things actress Millie Bobby Brown plays Enola, based on a character from the books by Nancy Springer.

In this movie, which is expected to be the first in a series, Enola’s mother (Helena Bonham Carter) disappears, and Enola is left in her two older brothers’ care.

However, when Mycroft decides she needs to go to a finishing school for girls, she runs away.

Enola’s goal is to find her mother, but along the way, she is swept up in a mystery that she has to solve concerning a boy who is tabbed to become a Marquess but has an assassin trying to kill him.

Little Monsters (1989)

Little Monsters
Fred Savage and Howie Mandell in Little Monsters. Pic credit: United Artists

In 1989, Fred Savage from The Wonder Years fame starred in the family comedy movie Little Monsters.

The film is about a boy who discovers a monster under his bed, and they become friends. The monster was played by Howie Mandel, who television fans today know as one of the judges from America’s Got Talent.

However, Brian realizes that the longer he spends with the monsters, the more he becomes a monster himself. He learns that all monsters are former children, and he sets out to try to save his younger brother and get back to the human world before they are trapped as monsters forever.

ParaNorman (2012)

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

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

This movie was 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 real evil turns out to be the town’s people, who fear those risen from the dead and sets out to kill them. Norman has to protect the dead from the living.

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 Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi’s novel, 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)

Hugo
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.

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 visiting a creepy snake farm.

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

Shawn S. Lealos


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