56 Kids' Movies That Are So Good, If You Haven't Seen Them, You Haven't Fully Lived

As a GenZ'er in her mid-twenties, I pride myself on growing up during the prime of great children's movies, from the animation world to live-action. Ratatouille and The Parent Trap were my favorites, but I watched many others so much that the dialogue burned into my brain. So, here's a list of the 56 most extraordinary kids' movies that are so good they literally altered my brain chemistry:

🚨 🚨 🚨 Warning, movie spoilers ahead🚨 🚨 🚨

1.The Parent Trap

Annie and Hallie watch their mother, dressed in a suit, react with surprise, in 'The Parent Trap'

2.The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, And the Wardrobe

Susan and Peter from Chronicles of Narnia stand with solemn expressions, medieval army in background

This movie was pure imagination about four siblings who discovered an entire secret world inside of a wardrobe and must fight to protect its people from the evil witch. I had the movie poster in my childhood bedroom, and it was great.


3.Bridge To Terabithia

Person smiling and looking up while pulling on a thick rope, surrounded by darkness

4.High School Musical 3: Senior Year

Troy, Chad, and other Wildcats in a huddle on the basketball court, looking focused

The end of a childhood era. This final film hit theaters in 2008 and had every High School Musical fan balling their eyes out. Go Wildcats!



Two characters from the film "Holes" lie on the ground, pointing towards something outside of frame

This fantastic movie about a boy named Stanley who is sent to dig holes as punishment for stealing a pair of shoes is Shia LaBeouf's most iconic role. Yes, it was a little scary, but everyone NEEDS to watch this movie.



Close-up of a male character from a film, smiling while lying on his back, in an indoor setting

The '90s version of Jumanji is still the only one I acknowledge because Robin Williams is so good. This movie was a bit fantastical, but that made it a classic. Like, I'm scared, but kind of want to play the game at the same time.


7.The Game Plan

Dwayne Johnson and a young girl in a messy kitchen with splattered food, portraying a playful and chaotic cooking scene

The Game Plan is a heartfelt movie about a celebrity football player who learns he has a young daughter. It teaches the importance of family over superficiality and stars The Rock and Madison Pettis.


8.Race To Witch Mountain

Three characters in a car scene from a movie, with a young boy holding cash in the center

You can't go wrong with The Rock; this is one of his best movies! You might have forgotten this one about a cab driver who fights to protect the lives of two alien siblings who have come to Earth and are being targeted by the US government.


9.Richie Rich

Young boy in formal attire with an adult man in a suit and hat standing behind him near a classic car

This movie, starring Home Alone's Macaulay Culkin, is a 10/10! A film about the richest boy in the world who only truly wants friends his own age, and discovers what it truly means to be "rich."


10.Jump In

Person with curly hair wearing a yellow shirt under a black jacket, looking to the side, partially obscured face on right

This was Corbin Bleu's (from High School Musical) solo movie about joining a jump roping team despite his dad's dream for him to be a boxer. "Come on with the come on!" will always be the most iconic line from this movie, and it is an early 2000s gem.



Two characters from a scene appear to be in an emotional conversation

This Nickelodeon spin on a Cinderella story starring Keke Palmer and Max Schneider is criminally underrated! The chemistry, the music, and the acting were top-tier for a TV movie. Arguably, one of Nickelodeon's best films.

Amazon Prime

12.The Spongebob Squarepants Movie

SpongeBob SquarePants dressed as a wizard, playing a guitar with music notes floating around

This movie was simply chaotic, and I loved every second. The original "Goofy Goober" can do no wrong.



Shrek standing in front of his house with a bemused expression, holding a spear

Shrek was such a great movie that it got FIVE sequels, which is almost unheard of in animation! This is the story of an Ogre shunned by his community who finds true love in Princess Fiona and a best friend in Donkey.



Group of children standing together in a classroom, looking forward

This movie will always be a comfort to watch, even though I am 100% still afraid of Miss Trunchbull.

Amazon Prime

15.Sky High

Woman in a green pleated dress with outstretched arms, standing in a room with windows in the background

This 2005 classic is one of the best Disney Channel movies ever. It is about a group of high school kids who attend school to learn how to use their superpowers for good.


16.Monsters University

Mike Wazowski is smiling in a bus seat with Sulley visible behind him, both from Monsters, Inc

This prequel to the classic 2001 movie Monsters Inc. follows the same characters Mike and Sully, who attend college to learn how to scare children properly.


17.Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs

Animated characters shocked on a dock, with scattered objects around

This was one of my favorite childhood books, and the movie absolutely did it justice. No notes, simply fantastic!


18.The Karate Kid (2010)

Girl lying on ground appearing distressed in a scene from a film

This 2010 version of The Karate Kid, starring Jaden Smith and Jackie Chan, is better than the original, simply because of Smith's song in the finale with Justin Bieber called "Never Say Never."


19.Lemonade Mouth

Five band members performing, with a female singer at the microphone and others with guitars and drums

This was arguably one of the best movies to come out of Disney Channel — a musical about a group of unlikely friends who meet in high school detention and form a world-famous band. It's a crime that this one never got a sequel.


20.Hannah Montana: The Movie

Hannah Montana holds a microphone stand on stage with backup dancers behind her

The film is unforgettable, one of Disney's best! In this movie, we finally got a look into Hannah Montana's, a.k.a Miley Stewart's roots, back in Tennessee before becoming a pop sensation. Also, the movie soundtrack had zero skips.


21.Drake & Josh Go Hollywood

Two characters from a TV show, one with a backpack and the other in a jacket, are indoors with a view of the ocean through a window behind them

This TV movie from the hit kids' show Drake and Josh is so underrated and a fan favorite for every Nickelodeon kid.

Amazon Prime

22.Let It Shine

Young female performer holding microphone on stage, with head accessory and casual attire

Let It Shine is a Disney musical movie about a teenage pop star who gets catfished by a guy who dreams of becoming a famous rapper. This movie's soundtrack is legendary, but it's not surprising since it stars GRAMMY-WINNER Coco Jones.


23.Shrek Forever After

This was the fourth Shrek movie that came out in 2010, which focused on the evil character Rumpelstiltskin, who tricks Shrek into signing a contract that erases his existence in an alternate reality. The comedy in this one it top-tier!

This was the fourth Shrek movie that came out in 2010, which focused on the evil character Rumpelstiltskin, who tricks Shrek into signing a contract that erases his existence in an alternate reality. The comedy in this one it top-tier!

Amazon Prime

24.Catch That Kid

Two children look upwards with awe inside a sci-fi corridor

This 2004 Disney movie starring a young Kristen Stewart is about a group of kids who devise a plan to rob a high-security bank to pay for Kristen's character's father's surgery. This movie is high-stakes and feels like a kid's version of the film Set It Off.

Amazon prime


Rapunzel from Tangled sits in a tower, her long hair cascading down as she looks thoughtful

This spin on the classic Disney story of Rapunzel is such a fun watch, and it had Broadway-level music.


26.Merry Christmas, Drake & Josh

Two shirtless young men looking at a person with their back to the camera

This is the second movie to come out of Nickelodeon's show Drake and Josh, and to this day, it is absolutely hilarious and fun to watch during the holidays.

Amazon Prime

27.Daddy Day Care

Eddie Murphy with an expression of surprise, wearing a red shirt, in a scene from a film

I've seen this one too many times to count; Eddie Murphy is brilliant as the leader of an at-home daycare center run by neighborhood dads.


28.Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior

Woman in traditional Asian attire performing with arms extended

I remember this movie making me want to sign up for karate classes. Brenda Song went from playing a rich heiress in The Suite Life of Zach and Cody to being a teenage karate warrior in this film. She's a Disney Channel legend, and this movie solidified it!



Hercules and Pegasus look concerned in a scene from the animated film "Hercules."

This Disney animated movie about a young man with superhuman strength learning to become a hero is a 10/10, and it gave us the amazing song "Go The Distance."



Animated characters Marty the zebra, Alex the lion, and Melman the giraffe from the movie "Madagascar" are shown together smiling

Who doesn't love a movie with talking/dancing animals? This film had every 2000s kid singing, "I like to move it, move it!"

Amazon Prime


Animated characters Linguini and Chef Skinner in a kitchen from the movie Ratatouille. Skinner is pointing angrily

I must have watched this movie 8 million times as a kid. This uniquely chaotic animated film about a rat who loves to cook, teaming up with a clumsy kitchen worker to help him impress his boss, is one of the best Pixar movies ever made! It has everything — humor, imagination, talking animals, and friendship.


32.Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie

Selena Gomez looks concerned in a purple jacket outdoors

The ending scene between Justin and Alex in Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie breaks me to this day! It's definitely one of the best Disney Channel movies based on a show, and it is when I started stanning Selena Gomez.


33.The Haunted Mansion

Eddie Murphy and Shari Headley hugging in a scene from "Coming to America"

This 2003 scary movie starring Eddie Murphy is the perfect Halloween watch because it is equally hilarious and terrifying!


34.Monsters Inc.

Animated character Roz from Monsters, Inc. with glasses and a visible frown

This movie was kind of terrifying as a kid, but also so, so good. I still say, "WAZOWSKI" in this character's scratchy voice on occasion.



Animated character with hairpin and earrings looking into a mirror; expressing contemplation

Mulan was the bravest Disney princess who took on an entire army to save her father's life.


36.Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer

Animated character Granny from Looney Tunes, holding a hot beverage and gift, in a snowy forest

This cartoon Christmas movie about a grandmother who literally gets run over by a reindeer is one of my holiday favorites.


37.Princess Protection Program

Character in a high school setting with a surprised expression, covered in spilled food

This Disney movie about a princess who flees her home country and has to move in with a regular teenage girl is so underrated and starred real-life best friends Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato.


38.The Incredibles

The Incredibles family in a group hug, smiling in their superhero suits

This movie will never, ever get old. It is a 2004 Pixar classic about a charmingly relatable superhero family saving the world together while trying to be normal.


39.Finding Nemo

Marlin looking at an exhausted Nemo on the ocean floor

Ellen Degeneres as the voice of Dory will always be iconic, and so will this movie.


40.Cadet Kelly

Woman in military uniform with ribbons and rope aiguillette, smiling. Character from a film or show

This Disney Channel original starring Hilary Duff was about a young girl trying to succeed after enrolling in a military school.


41.High School Musical 2

Two characters from High School Musical, a male and a female, singing together with microphones

I mean, come on, it's a Disney Channel classic. This musical movie sequel is still a summer must-watch, reminding me that life was way simpler back in 2007. Go, Wildcats!



Animated character Z from the movie "Antz" with a surprised expression, surrounded by other ants

This '90s animated movie about ants living in an ant colony and fighting for "worker rights" was surprisingly deep for a kids' film.



Mulan in animated film, looking thoughtful with concerned expression

Though pretty historically inaccurate, Pocahontas is a great animated movie about a native woman who falls in love with a settler who is looking to colonize her homeland.


44.Toy Story 3

Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and other toys look at a waving Lotso in a toy room

The third movie in the Toy Story series was my personal favorite, mainly because of the evil pink teddy bear named Lotso.


45.Home Alone 2: Lost In New York

Child character Kevin McCallister sitting in a limousine with a cheese pizza, holding a slice

This is one of my favorite Christmas movies ever, it's so good! Young Kevin McAlister gets left behind by his family (again!), ventures into the Big Apple on Christmas, and cleverly escapes the same pair of bad guys from the first movie.


46.Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief

Medusa with snakes in her hair grabbing Percy Jackson

The new Percy Jackson series on Disney+ will never compare to this iconic movie starring Logan Lerman as Percy Jackson. The book AND the movie shaped my childhood, what kid didn't want magic water powers!?


47.The Cheetah Girls 2

Character from a show wearing floral patterned top and multiple accessories, expressing surprise

This was the best Cheetah Girls movie, period, and the last movie with all four girls. Four best friends from different backgrounds came together to form an elite girl-group and win a singing competition in Spain. Disney did what they had to do!


48.Freaky Friday

Two characters from the movie "Freaky Friday" display surprise and concern

Lindsay Lohan can do no wrong in my eyes, and this movie is just another example of her star power. This movie — about a bickering mother and daughter who wake up one morning and have switched bodies — is a perfect Mother's Day watch. A sequel was also just announced, and I can't wait!


49.The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

Character in medieval armor portrayed by an actor

This sequel to the original movie follows the four siblings as they return to Narnia to save it again. This movie was a 10/10 because Ben Barnes was so perfectly cast as Prince Caspian!


50.The Polar Express

Two animated characters, a boy and a girl, inside a train cabin with a cupcake

This classic kid's Christmas movie about a young boy who gets on a train to the North Pole to meet Santa is a great family watch for the holidays. As a kid, I can't lie; the animation was creepy, but Tom Hanks made this movie a fan favorite.

Amazon Prime

51.Cheaper By The Dozen 2

Three characters from a movie appear shocked; man on left makes a funny face, woman in center with necklace, man on right grimaces

The Cheaper By The Dozen sequel is a story about a family of 12 kids on summer vacation that turns into complete chaos because they are constantly competing with the family next door.

Amazon Prime

52.The Princess and The Frog

Animated characters, a man and Tiana from "The Princess and the Frog," in a cozy diner setting with a pie on the table

The Princess and The Frog perfectly embodies Louisiana culture through music, food, and joy. Princess Tiana is arguably the most relatable Disney princess and remains an icon in this unique love story.


53.Over The Hedge

Animated character RJ from "Over the Hedge" looks at an object in the sky with his paw outstretched

Some so many people have never heard of this movie, and that should be a crime! This animated film about animals venturing over a newly built hedge into a developed neighborhood is so creatively hilarious. I'd argue there's no other animated movie like it; the story is so unique.


54.Monster House

Animated character with an exaggerated surprised expression

This scary animated movie about a group of kids who venture into a haunted house in their neighborhood freaked me out, but I couldn't look away.

Amazon Prime

55.The Pacifier

Vin Diesel with child in carrier and co-stars in a scene from "The Pacifier."

The family comedy starring Vin Diesel was a hilarious story about a military soldier who becomes a nanny and (security guard) for a family in danger.


And finally...

56.College Road Trip

Two characters from a film, a man and a woman, stand outdoors with the man holding a fishing rod and the woman raising her arm in excitement

This hilarious coming-of-age comedy stars Martin Lawrence and Raven Symoné and is a must-watch for all high school seniors! This movie follows an over-protective dad and his daughter on a road trip to find a dream university, though they each have different ideas of what that means.


What was your favorite kids' movie growing up? Let us know in the comments below.