Animals, ghosts and mythical creatures are among the most memorable children’s cinema characters of all time; whether they’re hand-drawn, computer-animated or real, live (highly trained) four-legged actors. Such movies for families celebrate the connection between humans and their favorite creatures with whom they become BFFs (best friends forever). Whether that creature is a dragon, giant, cat, dog or pig, the relationship sure makes for an interesting movie. Below, we have a list of some family friendly films that are a must watch, especially for those with young children.
Pete’s Dragon (2016) – A re-imagining of Disney’s cherished family film, “Pete’s Dragon” is the adventure of an orphaned boy named Pete and his best friend Elliot, who just so happens to be a dragon! “Pete’s Dragon” stars Bryce Dallas Howard (“Jurassic World”), Wes Bentley (“The Hunger Games”), Karl Urban (“Star Trek”), Oona Laurence (“Southpaw”) and Oscar® winner Robert Redford (“Captain America: The Winter Soldier”). For years, old wood carver Mr. Meacham (Robert Redford) has delighted local children with his tales of the fierce dragon that resides deep in the woods of the Pacific Northwest. To his daughter, Grace (Bryce Dallas Howard), who works as a forest ranger, these stories are little more than tall tales…until she meets Pete (Oakes Fegley). Pete is a mysterious 10-year-old with no family and no home who claims to live in the woods with a giant, green dragon named Elliot. And from Pete’s descriptions, Elliot seems remarkably similar to the dragon from Mr. Meacham’s stories. With the help of Natalie (Oona Laurence), an 11-year-old girl whose father Jack (Wes Bentley) owns the local lumber mill, Grace sets out to determine where Pete came from, where he belongs, and the truth about this dragon.
BFG (2016) – Steven Spielberg’s directorial production BFG is another film that is sure to capture the attention of a child. In the film, Sophie becomes fast friends with a friendly giant. The movie explores an unusual and unexpected bond between a child and a creature!
Free Willy (1993) – The movie Free Willy is the sweet story of a foster boy who befriends a captive orca. The film received positive attention from critics and was a financial success, grossing $153.6 million over $20 million, and has a cult following. It eventually grew into a small franchise, spawning three sequels and a video game companion. Michael Jackson produced and performed “Will You Be There”, the theme for the film, which can be heard during the film’s credits.
Beethoven (1992) – Beethoven is a family comedy film, directed by Brian Levant and starring Charles Grodin and Bonnie Hunt as George and Alice Newton. The film is the first in the series of Beethoven films. The story centers on a St. Bernard dog named after the composer Ludwig van Beethoven and owned by the Newton family. It features music composed by Ludwig van Beethoven. It is one cute movie that will have everyone wishing they had a St. Bernard!
Ratatouille (2007) – One of Pixar’s best movies, Ratatouille, which albeit sees a young chef befriend a rat, grossed $623.7 million at the box office and received positive reviews. The film later won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, among other honors.
Bhoothnath Returns (2014) – Amitabh Bachchan plays a ghost who becomes best friends with a plucky street kid. The duo sparked the attention of audiences both in the original Bhoothnath as well as this sequel!
How To Train your Dragon (2010) – The story takes place in a mythical Viking world where a young Viking teenager named Hiccup aspires to follow his tribe’s tradition of becoming a dragon slayer. After finally capturing his first dragon, and with his chance at last of gaining the tribe’s acceptance, he finds that he no longer wants to kill it and instead befriends it. The film was a critical and commercial success, earning acclaim from film critics and audiences and earning nearly $500 million worldwide. It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Score at the 83rd Academy Awards.
Stuart Little (1999) – A boy and a mouse become family and friends for life. Michael J. Fox is the voice of Stuart Little. Geena Davis and Hugh Laurie star as Eleanor and Frederick Little, with Jonathan Lipnicki as Stuart’s big brother George Little and Nathan Lane as the voice of the family cat Snowbell.
Casper (1995) – The movie is a live-action version of the stories of Casper the friendly ghost. In the film, a lonely Casper becomes fast friends with teenager Kat, who comes to stay at his haunted manor.