Family movie night never goes out of fashion. It’s one of the best ways for families to hang out and spend some quality time together. All you need is a comfortable couch, dim lights, and some cozy blankets. Throw in a giant bowl of popcorn and some soda, and you’ll be ready for a fun night in!
Outdoor Movie Night Ideas
If you want to make your family movie night even more exciting, you can move things to the backyard. Create a more cinematic experience using a projector. You can hang a big white sheet over a fence in place of a screen. Throw some air mattresses on the ground and grab a few pillows to create a cozy place to sit. Watch your favorite movies with the family beneath the night sky!
Choose The Right Movie for Your Family Movie Night
While movie nights don’t usually require a ton of preparation, deciding which movie to watch can be challenging. Out of the thousands of films out there, how do you find one that will satisfy the whole family? One without inappropriate material; one that will appeal to kids in different age groups?
Check out the list below for answers to these questions and more. We’ve come up with an extensive list of movies. Below, you’ll find different genres from different eras sure to satisfy everyone in the family. Now, let’s dive in!
Wonder revolves around a ten-year-old boy with a facial deformity named Auggie. Throughout the film, we see him struggle as he transitions from homeschool to a more mainstream institution. Fortunately, the audience also sees him overcome each challenge that comes his way.
2. The Lion King
This Disney movie is a classic for a reason. Its brilliant animation coupled with an emotional plot turned it into a massive hit following its release. Though it was released back in 1994, the film continues to attract new fans to this day.
The story follows the much-beloved Simba, a lion cub who witnesses his father’s murder at the hands of his evil uncle Scar. It is a story of courage, love, and betrayal.
Hakuna Matata, folks!
3. The Entire Harry Potter Series
Don’t miss out on the Harry Potter series from Warner Bros! Very few movies live up to the expectations set by the books, but this is one of them. Start with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and move along in chronological order as Harry and his two best friends, Ron and Hermione, navigate the world of magic and adventure.
The plot intensifies with each film as the characters grow older and examines themes surrounding true love, loyalty, family ties, and friendship.
If you have little girls in the house, then you’ve probably already seen Frozen a few times. After all, it’s become the highest-earning Disney movie in history.
This movie breaks from Disney tradition where a prince journeys to save the princess. Instead, the story revolves around two sisters and their unbreakable bond. The main character, Elsa, has gained a massive fan base while its break-out song, Let it Go, remains extremely popular around the world.
5. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
This one may have been released almost 40 years ago, but that doesn’t mean the kids can’t enjoy it in the present day! E.T. is a classic coming-of-age story that follows a young boy named Elliot and a friendly alien left behind by his ship. The movie was directed by Steven Spielberg and is sure to inspire youngsters curious about what exists beyond the stars.
There have been more recent versions of Jumanji, but the original outshines them all. This movie revolves around two kids who discover a magical board game and release a man who has been trapped inside of it for decades.
They must play the game and fight the wild creatures released in their attempts to free the man – and themselves – from the game.
7. The Parent Trap
This family-friendly film has a pretty interesting premise. It is about twin girls who were separated as infants following their parents’ divorce. It’s not until years later that they are reunited when they end up attending the same summer camp.
They devise a plan to switch places to get their parents back together and enjoy life as a traditional family.Both twins are played by an 11-year-old Lindsay Lohan, making it a great choice for families with older kids.
8. Freaky Friday
There are three different versions of Freaky Friday, but the 2003 release starring Lindsay Lohan and Jamie Lee Curtis is the best. The story revolves around a feuding mother and daughter who magically swap bodies and must work together to reverse the switch.
The movie contains some valuable lessons for both parents and kids, particularly when it comes to understanding one another’s perspective.
9. The Sandlot
This childhood adventure follows a boy called Smalls who has recently moved to a new neighborhood. He manages to make some friends at the local baseball diamond. The movie really picks up when Smalls and his friends must retrieve their ball from “The Beast,” a terrifying neighborhood dog rumored to have actually eaten someone.
10. The Blind Side
The Blind Side is actually based on a true story. Backed by outstanding performances, the movie follows the story of a homeless teen who is an extremely talented football player. Thanks to the help and support of one strong woman, he’s able to turn his life around completely.
While it may not be the most typical pick for a family movie night, it’s packed with important inspirational life lessons that everyone can enjoy.
11. The Karate Kid
The Karate Kid from Columbia Pictures stars Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith. The film follows a boy named Dre who has recently moved to China with his mother and is getting bullied by some kids in the neighborhood.
At one point, a local maintenance man named Mr. Han intervenes before a fight escalates. Oh, and did we mention that Mr. Han also happens to be a martial arts master? Needless to say, a mentorship soon forms between the two.
12. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Based on the book by Roald Dahl, this musical fantasy film revolves around a young boy named Charlie who comes from a poor family but gets the chance of a lifetime when he wins a golden ticket to participate in a mysterious contest.
Alongside four other kids, he gets to visit a chocolate factory owned by the eccentric Mr. Willy Wonka. This movie is full of magic and imagination. We promise you’ve never seen chocolate made like this before!
13. Despicable Me
In this 3D animated film, the legendary Steve Carell plays a super-villain who adopts three orphan girls as part of an elaborate scheme to steal the moon. Fortunately, the girls’ love and optimism end up changing him for the better.
14. Inside Out
This sweet flick is a perfect choice for a family night! This movie revolves around young Riley, who must leave her childhood home in the Midwest and move to San Francisco. Riley’s emotions (Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust, and Sadness) are part of an ensemble cast and experience a few adventures of their own as Riley adjusts to her new city and school.
15. The Princess Diaries
Be sure to add this one to your list of funny family movies! The Princess Diaries is about a teenage girl named Mia who suddenly finds out that her father, who hasn’t been part of her life for quite some time, has passed away and happens to be the prince of a place called Genovia.
Mia now finds herself next in line for the throne and must learn the royal ways from her grandmother, the Queen. Everyone will be sure to have a laugh watching Mia adjust to life as a royal.
16. The Lego Movie
If you have Lego enthusiasts at home, this one will be perfect for your family movie night. With impressive visual details and a fast-paced plot, it’s sure to keep everyone entertained for the evening.
The movie, which Universal Studios released, revolves around Emmet, a lonely construction worker who suddenly finds out he is the key to saving the Lego universe and must work with his friends to defeat the evil “Lord Business.”
17. Home Alone
Released in: 1990
Home Alone is a classic American comedy. Kevin, our protagonist, is accidentally left behind while his family travels to Paris for their Christmas vacation. In the beginning, Kevin has a great time hanging out alone in the house. But that all changes when a pair of burglars decide to target his house.
Following a series of comical and unfortunate events, Kevin manages to save his house and is happily reunited with his family. It’s considered one of the best family movies to watch, particularly around the holidays. Over the years, it’s of its time garnering lots of appreciation and awards.
18. The Princess Bride
Even though it’s a few decades old, people still love watching The Princess Bride. It’s a delightful fairytale that follows Wesley, a poor farmhand, on his quest to rescue Princess Buttercup, his one true love.
Based on the book by Roald Dahl, this film revolves around Matilda, a smart girl whose parents resent her intellectual prowess. In fact, they don’t even allow her to read! Things get even worse when a terrifying school principal enters the scene. Fortunately, Matilda finds a kind-hearted teacher who helps nurture her developing mind and a few other special powers she discovers along the way.
Hugo follows a young orphan boy living at a train station in Paris in 1931. He discovers his late father’s automaton and becomes determined to make it work.
Much like Frozen, this film offers a welcome break from the traditional Disney format. You won’t find any princess waiting around to be rescued by a princess here. Instead, our female protagonist takes on a much more empowered role.
This Pixar animation revolves around a rat who loves to cook and dreams of becoming a chef. He ends up befriending a young garbage boy in a Parisian restaurant to accomplish this goal. Though he finds a way to do what he loves, he must keep his identity hidden to prevent outrage over a rat running the kitchen.
23. Toy Story
Produced by Pixar and released by Walt Disney Pictures, Toy Story was an instant hit when it was first released. If you rewatch today, you’ll see why the movie has remained so popular throughout the years.
The story revolves around Woody and a few other toy companions. Their happy existence is suddenly interrupted when their owner brings a new toy home. Immediately, Woody’s fears of being replaced go into overdrive.
24. Little Women
Little Women is a novel adapted many times, most recently in 2019, with an excellent ensemble cast. It follows the March sisters, who are living in New England during the 19th century. The film revolves around family, death, love, and war.
25. Marley and Me
Though this film features a few big stars like Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson, this film really revolves around a Labrador named Marley. It’s an emotional story about people, pets, and family. Marley and Me also contains a few good lessons for young kids.
More Family Movie Night Ideas From Great Wolf Lodge
We hope you enjoyed our list of family movies! It may seem like a simple idea, but sitting around the big screen is a great way to enjoy some quality family time. It’s also an easy way to engage kids of all ages.
Don’t forget to take photos of the fun and post them on social media. Tag us @greatwolflodge.