Home Latest News The 20 best Netflix family movies (June 2023) – Entertainment Weekly News

The 20 best Netflix family movies (June 2023) – Entertainment Weekly News

If you're in search of a great flick for your next family movie night, Netflix has tons of quality options to explore. Between its energetic original productions like Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio and its collection of older kid-friendly films like the original Rocky, the streamer is home to a vast library of fun movies for all ages. Whether your clan is in the mood for action, comedy, fantasy, or animated hijinks, there are plenty of options that appeal to kids and adults alike. Read on for EW's guide to the best family movies on Netflix right now.
Director Richard Linklater (Boyhood, Dazed & Confused) recounts his 1960s youth in this charmingly low-key animated film. Unlike most contemporary children’s movies, Apollo 10 ½ has almost no overarching plot. Instead, it’s a patchwork of memories about family, innocence, and growing up during the space race. Jack Black provides the main character’s retrospective narration, and the lovely rotoscope animation style — which was also employed in Linklater’s Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly — creates a dreamlike atmosphere that enhances the nostalgia factor.
Where to watch Apollo 10 ½: A Space Age Childhood: Netflix
Director: Richard Linklater
Cast: Jack Black, Zachary Levi, Glen Powell, Milo Coy, and Josh Wiggins
Related content: Richard Linklater on creating ‘an animated universe’ for Apollo 10 ½: A Space Age Childhood
A group of anthropomorphic animal thieves try their hand at heroism in this recent hit from DreamWorks. Like other reformed- villain animated movies (see: Megamind, Wreck-It Ralph, and Despicable Me), The Bad Guys finds both humor and drama in its protagonists’ struggle to do the right thing. It’s a simple but immensely entertaining heist movie for kids, packed with dynamic action choreography and charming character designs to spare. 
Where to watch The Bad Guys: Netflix
Director: Pierre Perifel
Cast: Sam Rockwell, Marc Maron, Awkwafina, Anthony Ramos, Craig Robinson, Richard Ayoade, and Zazie Beetz
The first feature film from British stop-motion animation studio Aardman (Wallace & Gromit, Shaun the Sheep) follows a flock of chickens as they escape from an egg farm. Chock-full of clever physical humor, Chicken Run‘s critical acclaim and commercial success demonstrated the creative potential and financial viability of stop-motion animation — and two decades later, it still holds the box office record for the medium. But the fun’s not over: A long-gestating sequel is scheduled to finally premiere on Netflix this December.
Where to watch Chicken Run: Netflix
​​EW grade: A- (read the review)
Director: Peter Lord and Nick Park
Cast: Mel Gibson, Julia Sawalha, Miranda Richardson, Tony Haygarth, Benjamin Whitrow, Phil Daniels, and Timothy Spall
Related content: ‘No one in the U.S. would understand it’: Inside the making of Chicken Run
Millie Bobby Brown proves the range of her talent in Enola Holmes, starring as Sherlock Holmes’ precocious younger sister who solves mysteries of her own. The character couldn’t be further from Stranger Things‘ Eleven: She’s charismatic, confident, and incredibly energetic as she tracks down her mother (Helena Bonham Carter) and uncovers a confounding scandal in the process. Based on Nancy Springer’s novel, the film received a sequel in 2022, and with seven books in the series, it won’t be a surprise if more Enola movies arrive soon.
Where to watch Enola Holmes: Netflix
​​EW grade: B+ (read the review)
Director: Harry Bradbeer
Cast: Millie Bobby Brown, Henry Cavill, Sam Claflin, and Helena Bonham Carter
Related content: Millie Bobby Brown on becoming a Victorian ‘wild child’ in Enola Holmes
This delightful sci-fi comedy sees the cast of a Star Trek-esque TV show unwittingly embark on a real intergalactic adventure when they’re beamed into space by aliens who mistake the program for a documentary. It’s both hilarious and thrilling to watch a group of flabbergasted actors navigate an overwhelming interplanetary conflict — especially when Ripley (er… we mean Sigourney Weaver) is involved. Galaxy Quest cheekily pokes fun at sci-fi tropes and geek culture while also providing a genuinely exciting space opera, making it the rare example of a movie that simultaneously parodies and embodies a genre with equal success.
Where to watch Galaxy Quest: Netflix
​​EW grade: A- (read the review)
Director: Dean Parisot
Cast: Tim Allen, Sigourney Weaver, Alan Rickman, Sam Rockwell, and Tony Shalhoub
Related content: Tim Allen gives a Galaxy Quest 2 update: ‘It’s a fabulous script’
Based on the beloved children’s horror series, Goosebumps channels the slightly spooky spirit of ’80s Amblin productions like The Goonies and Gremlins to deliver a fantasy adventure that’s fun for all ages. The film takes an unusual fourth wall-breaking approach to adapting its source material: When monsters and villains magically escape from Goosebumps books and wreak havoc on a Delaware town, series author R.L. Stine (Jack Black) teams up with his teen daughter and her friends to defeat his creations. The movie finds an impressive balance between thrills and laughs that should intrigue younger audiences without scaring them too much, and Black’s ridiculous performance ensures that there’s a lot for adult viewers to enjoy as well.
Where to watch Goosebumps: Netflix
EW grade: B (read the review)
Director: Rob Letterman
Cast: Jack Black, Dylan Minnette, Odeya Rush, Ryan Lee, and Amy Ryan
Related content: R.L. Stine talks Goosebumps movie and meeting Stephen King for the first time
This reimagining of Carlo Collodi’s classic fairy tale from The Shape of Water director Guillermo del Toro is a lovely wartime fable about mortality and fascism. The gorgeous stop-motion animation and hummable musical numbers combine for a vibrant, unique style that feels more thoughtful and mature than your average fairy tale, while still being zany enough to remain accessible for kids of all ages. It should come as no surprise then that the movie won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature in 2023. 
Where to watch Goosebumps: Netflix
Director: Guillermo del Toro and Mark Gustafson
Cast: Ewan McGregor, David Bradley, Gregory Mann, Ron Perlman, John Turturro, Tilda Swinton, Cate Blanchett, Christoph Waltz, and Finn Wolfhard
Related content: Guillermo del Toro explains why his Pinocchio has so much fascism in it
After a decade of crude, snarky animated films inspired by the success of the Shrek movies, DreamWorks finally delivered an earnest, old-fashioned adventure with 2010’s How to Train Your Dragon. Based on Cressida Cowell’s book, the film explores the conflict between a small Viking community and the dragons that threaten their village. The movie was nominated for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Score at the 83rd Academy Awards, later spawning two theatrical sequels plus a TV show — and it’s currently slated to be the first DreamWorks animated movie to get a live-action remake.
Where to watch How to Train Your Dragon: Netflix
​​EW grade: A- (read the review)
Director: Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois
Cast: Jay Baruchel, America Ferrera, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, Jonah Hill, and Kristen Wiig
Related content: Director Dean DeBlois reflects on a decade of How to Train Your Dragon
A young cinephile magically enters the world of a new action blockbuster in this comedy from John McTiernan (Die Hard). Last Action Hero is a fascinating meta-commentary on action filmmaking that grapples with the genre’s strengths, weaknesses, and idiosyncrasies — and also allows Arnold Schwarzenegger to interrogate his star persona with surprising nuance. It’s full of explosive (but kid-friendly) action and clever humor, ensuring there’s never a dull moment in this loving parody of ’90s blockbuster excess.
Where to watch Last Action Hero: Netflix
Director: John McTiernan
Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Austin O’Brien, F. Murray Abraham, Art Carney, Charles Dance, and Robert Prosky
Related content: Find out why Arnold Schwarzenegger ‘guffawed’ through Die Hard in this The Last Action Heroes book excerpt
Danny DeVito directs and costars in this adaptation of Roald Dahl‘s beloved fantasy book. The film follows a young girl (Mara Wilson) with genius-level intelligence and supernatural abilities as she navigates a farcically rough home life and a domineering headmistress at her new school. As with most Dahl stories, Matilda includes relentlessly cruel grown-ups, charming kids, inexplicable magical occurrences, and cathartic comeuppance at the climax. (Oh, and you’ll never look at chocolate cake in the same way again.)
Where to watch Matilda: Netflix
Director: Danny DeVito
​​EW grade: B (read the review)
Cast: Mara Wilson, Embeth Davidtz, Danny DeVito, Rhea Perlman, and Pam Ferris
Related content: Matilda cast: Where are they now?
A family’s cross-country road trip is interrupted by a robot uprising in this colorful adventure from Sony Pictures Animation. With a wildly kinetic art style and a fast-paced, off-kilter sense of humor, The Mitchells vs. the Machines is one of the most creative American animation films since Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. The crux of the movie, though, is its emotional (and satirical) family dynamic, which focuses on the generational tension between tech-savvy kids and well-intentioned adults who can’t quite keep up.
Where to watch The Mitchells vs. the Machines: Netflix
Director: Mike Rianda
Cast: Abbi Jacobson, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph, Olivia Colman, and Eric André
Related content: Danny McBride takes on technology in The Mitchells vs. The Machines and real life
In this adaptation of Patrick Ness’ novel (who also wrote the screenplay), a young boy encounters an enormous tree-like creature (Liam Neeson) as he struggles with his mother’s terminal illness. The darkest film on this list, A Monster Calls grapples with grief, fear, and powerlessness through an otherworldly lens, spinning a melancholy modern fairy tale that exemplifies the emotional power of fables and fantasy.
Where to watch A Monster Calls: Netflix
​​EW grade: B (read the review)
Director: J.A. Bayona
Cast: Lewis MacDougall, Liam Neeson, Sigourney Weaver, Felicity Jones, Toby Kebbell, and Geraldine Chaplin
Related content: A Monster Calls: Behind the design of Liam Neeson’s towering tree creature
A group of kids explores a haunted house with a tragic past in this delightful dark animated horror-comedy. Produced by Robert Zemeckis‘ production company ImageMovers as well as Steven Spielberg‘s Amblin Entertainment, Monster House harkens back to the spirit of ’80s family adventure flicks like E.T., Back to the Future, and The Goonies — and also employs the motion capture animation technique that Zemeckis pioneered in The Polar Express. The film’s creative team has found even greater success since Monster House: Co-writers Dan Harmon and Rob Schrab are two of the architects of Community and Rick and Morty, and director Gil Kenan is slated to helm the next Ghostbusters movie.
Where to watch Monster House: Netflix
Director: Gil Kenan
Cast: Mitchel Musso, Sam Lerner, Spencer Locke, Steve Buscemi, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Kevin James, and Nick Cannon
Related content: A chat with Monster House director Gil Kenan
There’s been no shortage of Peter Pan adaptations — in the last two decades alone, we’ve seen Joe Wright‘s Pan, David Lowery‘s Peter Pan and Wendy, Brenda Chapman’s Come Away, and Benh Zeitlin‘s Wendy, plus an extended arc on Once Upon a Time. The best of the bunch, though, is this 2003 version: an earnest, emotional adventure that faithfully captures the childlike wonder and magical atmosphere of J.M. Barrie’s novel and play. Come for the pixie dust (and pixie cuts), stay for Jason Isaacs‘ flamboyant turn as Captain Hook.
Where to watch Peter Pan: Netflix
​​EW grade: B (read the review)
Director: P.J. Hogan
Cast: Jeremy Sumpter, Jason Isaacs, Rachel Hurd-Wood, Richard Briers, and Olivia Williams
Related content: 12 people who played Peter Pan: See how we rank them
This zany animated Western from Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean) sees a pet lizard (Johnny Depp) stumble into a dusty town of critters in need of a hero. Rango puts a playful spin on genre conventions, as the titular chameleon embodies the classic “wandering stranger” archetype for the townspeople without actually possessing the skill or swagger of a competent cowboy. Between the artistic action and unusual characters, there are also plenty of subtle homages to iconic films (including Depp’s own Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas).
Where to watch Rango: Netflix
​​EW grade: B (read the review)
Director: Gore Verbinski
Cast: Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher, Ned Beatty, Bill Nighy, Abigail Breslin, and Alfred Molina
Related content: Johnny Depp’s ‘Rango’: Its top six riffs on classic movies
An adaptation of the hit stage musical, this updated take on Matilda has some of the strongest song-and-dance show tunes in recent memory, bursting with cleverness and color that many contemporary musicals lack. Tim Minchin‘s smart lyrics and catchy melodies make every song a delight, and the choreography from Ellen Kane has incredible energy and athleticism that ensure each number is a visual spectacle. 
Where to watch Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical: Netflix
Director: Matthew Warchus
Cast: Alisha Weir, Emma Thompson, Lashana Lynch, Stephen Graham, and Andrea Riseborough
Related content: Nominated for Nothing: Matilda the Musical’s grade A take on a classic Roald Dahl story deserved more love
The quintessential boxing movie follows underdog Rocky Balboa (Sylvester Stallone, who also penned the script) as he takes on the world of professional fighting in Philadelphia. Like its titular fighter, the film overcame incredible odds to become a triumphant sensation — in addition to spawning eight sequels across half a century, Rocky also beat out era-defining classics like Taxi Driver, All the President’s Men, and Network to win Best Picture in 1976.
Where to watch Rocky: Netflix
EW grade: B (read the review)
Director: John G. Avildsen
Cast: Sylvester Stallone, Talia Shire, Burt Young, Carl Weathers, and Burgess Meredith
Related content: Sylvester Stallone wants what’s left of his rights back from Rocky producer: ‘This is a painful subject’
If you asked an AI chatbot to generate a concept for a 2010s animated movie, it’d probably come up with something like Storks. It contains just about every trope of the last two decades of kids’ cartoons: A hidden bureaucracy explaining a real-world phenomenon, comedian voice talent, an unlikely duo of main characters, and a road trip adventure narrative. But the film’s offbeat, rapid-fire sense of humor sets it apart from conceptually similar movies like The Boss Baby, bolstered by energetic performances from Andy Samberg, Kelsey Grammer, Key & Peele, and others.
Where to watch Storks: Netflix
​​EW grade: B (read the review)
Director: Nicholas Stoller and Doug Sweetland
Talent: Andy Samberg, Katie Crown, Kelsey Grammer, Jennifer Aniston, Keegan-Michael Key, and Jordan Peele
Related content: Storks director on the film’s surprising Neighbors connection
When a Danish fisherman carved the first Troll doll for his daughter back in 1959, he couldn’t have predicted the worldwide success the toy would enjoy in the 1960s — or that the beloved figurines would eventually be adapted into an animated jukebox musical featuring some of modern pop music’s most well-known names. Starring Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake, DreamWorksTrolls tells the story of a group of cheerful souls whose permanently optimistic outlook on life is dampened by the reappearance of a group of Bergens, whose strategy to improve their own miserable existence involves the literal consumption of these joyous creatures. Featuring original music by Timberlake and Gwen Stefani, Trolls is a family-friendly romp and natural serotonin booster — but be warned: You’ll need bleach to remove these songs from the crevices of your brain. 
Where to watch Trolls: Netflix
EW grade: B+ (read the review)
Director: Mike Mitchell
Cast: Anna Kendrick, Justin Timberlake, Zooey Deschanel, Russell Brand, James Corden, and Gwen Stefani
Related content: Trolls: How Justin Timberlake, Miyazaki inspired the directors
The latest film from stop-motion innovator Henry Selick (The Nightmare Before Christmas, Coraline) explores mortality and the prison-industrial complex through the eyes of a young girl (Lyric Ross) who loses her parents and discovers a shadowy underworld. Wendell & Wild is packed with incredible visuals and a dense plot courtesy of Jordan Peele, balancing personal growth, corporate greed, and a seedy election in its fantastically dark story. The result is admittedly more mature than most animation movies (and merited a PG-13 rating), but for older children, there’s plenty of frights and fun to be had. 
Where to watch Wendell & Wild: Netflix
​​EW grade: B+ (read the review)
Director: Henry Selick
Cast: Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Lyric Ross, Angela Bassett, Ving Rhames, and James Hong
Related Content: The ‘plagues’ of Wendell & Wild: fires, ice storms, rioters, and COVID-19
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