The best 50 family films to watch together this Christmas

Part of a Good Christmas is getting the family sat down together to watch a film or two while making your way through a few tins of Quality Street. You know, just in case you're not already stuffed to the gunnels with Turkey. Choosing the right movie can be a touch tricky. A little too much disagreement and it won't be long before you've got splinter groups on your hands.

To help you out, we at Pocket-lint have put together a list of the 50 best family films of all time with everyone a guaranteed winner and completely safe for young children and grandparents alike. No swearing, no nudity, no nookie and no excess violence beyond the odd possible face melt in No.11. Most of all though, they're films that everyone will enjoy from start to finish. Don't forget to buy on Blu-ray where you can and do make sure to add your favourites in the comments below.

Christmas

What could add more to the Christmas feel than well, films about Christmas. There's plenty on the Chrimbo themed front that is total dross, many of the worst culprits including Santa Claus himself. When they get it right however, it doesn't get much better. Snow, Christmas trees and all the other visual touches add to the festive family feel like no other. 

1. Home Alone

"He's only a kid Harry, we can take him on" - Kevin McCallister defend his house from two burglars using all manner or tricks and traps. 

2. Scrooged

Bill Murray puts his own stamp on a classic tale with a modern day version of Scrooge. 

3. The Snowman

Be it the David Bowie intro, which is important as Christmas day itself to us, or the classic song, this is a film which just has to be watched with the family. 

4. Batman Returns

We promise you this one is for real. The whole film manages to combine Batman with a Christmas theme, bats flying out of Chrimbo trees and all. 

5. Jingle All the Way

Jingle All the Way might not be massive on the intellectual stimulation front but, with lines like "I gotta tell you, Santa, there's something about this place that doesn't seem quite... Kosher" all is forgiven.

6. National Lampoons Christmas Vacation

Clark W Griswold getting twisted up in the classic American family Christmas in a way only Chevy Chase can.

7. Santa Claus: The Movie

Surprisingly palatable tale of how Santa manages to do it all with the late, great Dudley Moore to help push things along.

8. The Muppet Christmas Carol

Henson's puppets, Michael Caine, classic Christmas tale. Need we say more?

9. It's a Wonderful Life

It might be in black and white but 10 minutes of this classic will convert even the hardiest of sceptics.

10. A Nightmare Before Christmas

Fantastic, slightly dark musical from Tim Burton and Danny Elfman about how Halloween decides to take over Christmas.


Fantasy & Adventure

Nothing wrong with a good bit of adventuring, particularly at Christmas time where most young ones are feeling particularly excitable. The best bit about adventure movies is the appeal they have to both young and old. 

11. Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade

The Last Crusade is Indiana Jones and family, it's virtually made for kids; just watch out for the odd face melt.

12. Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl

The Curse of the Black Pearl introduced us to the joys of Captain Jack Sparrow and chums - a swashbuckling adventure with a script that is witty enough to entertain people of all ages. 

13. Star Wars - Return of the Jedi

Of the three original Star Wars movies this one has Ewoks, just about the most family friendly creature we can think of.

14. Back to the Future

Excitement, gadgetry and giggles that everyone can enjoy. You really need us to explain any more?

15. Jurassic Park

No one will forget the first time the T-Rex makes an appearance or the Velociraptor scene in the kitchen. Just the right side of frightening.

16. The Princess Bride

Probably the perfect family film - swords, adventure, piracy and true love. And a nice mutton lettuce and tomato sandwich.

17. The Goonies

Indiana Jones, only with kids and a Cyndi Laupa soundtrack.

18. Time Bandits

Mischievous dwares steal a map of spacetime and take little boy on adventure through history. Got it? Now skew the whole thing with Terry Gilliam as director.

19. ET: The Extra Terrestrial

Ouuuch..Well that's our favourite bit. E.T. convinced us aliens could be loveable and not burst through our chests.

20. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Gene Wilder, rivers of chocolate and that weird bit in the tunnel that's best avoided.


Animated

The majority of the time a good animated movie can be a perfect go between for every family member. Teenagers might rebel, but usually will give in once the good old fashioned wholesome Christmas feel begins. Companies like Pixar have proved that an animated film can be just as entertaining to the young as the old. 

21. Toy Story 2

Buzz and Woody form one of the most iconic animated movie friendships ever. 

22. Princess Mononoke

A Miyazaki classic and a great introduction to Studio Ghibli for those who haven't seen its movies before.

23. How to Train your Dragon

3D adventure of young vikings destined to walk their own path.

24. The Iron Giant

Boy meets robot in an animated adventure like no other. Brilliantly drawn and with a wholly digestible story.

25. Wallace and Gromit in a Close Shave

The cheese loving dog and man duo attempt to impress a lady, while saving some sheep on the way.

26. Bolt

Showbiz dog with showbiz attitude goes on road/buddy movie adventure to save his co-star.

27. Belleville Rendezvous

Stylised French animated adventure where a lady tracks down her captured professional cyclist son with the help of her dog and friends.

28. Monsters Inc.

Pixar look from the other side at the monsters who really are sent into our rooms at night.

29. Ratatouille

Heart-warming story of a rat who can cook and a pot wash who really can't.

30. James and the Giant Peach

Large fruit and smaller child go on adventure with a host of crazy animals.

 

Classic 

Just because something is in black and white doesn't mean its boring - although you might have to explain that to the younger ones. A few minutes with one of these classics, though, and they should be totally hooked. 

31. Mary Poppins

This movie virtually invented the idea of a Christmas classic. No festive season would be complete without.

32. Kes

Lessons can be learned from this touching northern classic about one boy and his Kestrel.

33. An Affair to Remember

Love story with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr culminating on Christmas Eve at the Empire State building. Tissues/sick bags at the ready.

34. Singing in the Rain

Love story as change comes in the movie business along with umbrellas and hopelessly over-copied classic scenes.

35. My Fair Lady

Hubris abounds as phonetic professor bets that he can teach a commoner to behave like a lady.

36. Some Like it Hot

Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis in comedy cross-dress classic with music, mayhem and Marilyn Monroe.

37. The Wizard of Oz

Flying monkeys, green-faced witches and sickly sweet town with some really weird people in at the start of the road of a certain colour and stone.

38. The Railway Children

Jenny Agutter and siblings move to Yorkshire town on the lines and try to work out what happened to their father. No shower scene.

39. The Sound of Music

Julie Andrews and those pipes of hers in full Alpine family sing-song with evil Nazis thrown in for good measure.

40. Miracle on 34th Street (1947)

Old man claims to be Santa Claus and gets thrown in the loony bin for the privilege. Court room battle ensues as nice lady lawyer defends him.


Comedy

41. Mrs Doubtfire

Cross-dressing Robin Williams convinces his family to take him back.

42. Groundhog day

Being stuck in a time warp has never been so funny. Bill Murray at his best.

43. Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Not quite animated but most definitely funny, a rabbit takes on gangsets in this off the wall comedy.

44. Bugsy Malone

Not a lot else like Bugsy Malone; kids dressed as gangsters fire custard pies at each other.

45. Ace Venture - When Nature Calls

Jim Carey pushing the boundaries of slapstick comedy, difficult not to laugh no matter how old you are.

46. Planes, Trains & Automobiles

Over friendly guy and uptight guy thrown together in odd couple getting home for Thanksgiving comedy disaster road movie.

47. Big

A young Tom Hanks grows up overnight. Features a giant piano. 

48. Seems Like Old Times

Neil Simon's story of when on-the-run Chevy Chase looks for help at his ex-wife's now idyllic family set up. Includes Goldie Hawn, Charles Grodin and pack of wild dogs.

49. Ghostbusters II

Sadly frisky gatekeeper and scary ghosts make the original a bit much for grandma and the younglings alike but this will deliver the mood if not the full deal.

50. My Big Fat Greek Wedding

Terrible title, very good film - all about weird families and embarrassment which is basically what family is all about anyway.

 

Any more to add? Let us know in the comments.

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Check out more on how to get the family together this year at the Good Christmas on Pocket-lint.



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