How sick of Frozen 2 are you at this point? If we hear “The Next Right Thing” one more time, we’re going to melt. Kids get attached to movies, it’s only natural. But, that’s not always great for any parent’s sanity. Thankfully there are plenty of really good kids movies that you and your little ones might have missed.
While there are plenty of newer movies out for children that are wonderful (Inside Out and Coco come to mind), we encourage you to think back to your own childhood for inspiration. Perhaps you loved a movie that you think your own child would probably like as well. We decided to take a look back at some underrated and forgotten children’s movies that kids today should enjoy. Here are 10 streaming kids movies that you probably haven’t thought about in forever.
James and the Giant Peach (1996)
This odd kids movie based on Roald Dahl‘s beloved children’s tale is very weird in the best sort of way. James and the Giant Peach is nearly 25 years old which is hard to believe. If you haven’t seen the movie or read the story, James is an orphaned British boy who ends up on an adventure sailing in an enchanted peach for New York City. The film features stop-motion animation and live-action to keep the kids interested. The team that brought you The Nightmare Before Christmas (Tim Burton included) created this very inventive movie.
James and the Giant Peach is streaming on Disney+ or available to rent.
The Iron Giant (1999)
In this animated adaptation of Ted Hughes‘ Cold War fable, a giant alien robot (Vin Diesel) crash-lands near the small town in Maine, in 1957. Examining the area, a 9-year-old boy named Hogarth discovers the robot, and soon forms an unlikely friendship with him. This is truly a touching and sincere animated feature that all kids should see.
The Iron Giant is streaming on HBO Max or available to rent.
Spirited Away (2001)
Hayao Miyazaki‘s masterpiece (one of many) Spirited Away follows a 10-year-old Japanese girl named Chihiro who is upset that she and her family are moving to the suburbs. On the way their, the family stumbles onto an abandoned amusement park which is ruled by magic. After Chihiro’s parents are transformed into animals, the girl must navigate through the strange world she finds herself in to return to the human world. It’s an absolute gem.
Spirited Away is streaming on HBO Max or available to rent.
The Great Mouse Detective (1986)
Set on the cobblestone streets of 1897 London, The Great Mouse Detective is a thrilling mystery and adventure film for kids. Olivia, the daughter of a famed toymaker reaches out to Basil for help with her father’s disappearance. A fun take on Sherlock Holmes, this mystery unfolds in a charming miniature world. Your kids will love how the characters stumble upon clues and the thrilling climax of this blast of a movie.
The Great Mouse Detective is streaming on Disney+ or available to rent.
The Princess Bride (1987)
The Princess Bride is as hilarious today as it was 30 years ago. The movie is structured as a children’s story being told to a sick boy by his grandfather who reads him the story of a farmboy-turned-pirate and his quest to be reunited with his one true love. It’s a complete blast that’s truly a timeless classic. Although this film might be one of your favorites, sharing is caring.
The Princess Bride is streaming on Disney+ or available to rent.
Oliver & Company (1988)
Oliver & Company is an updated twist on the Dickens’ classic Oliver Twist. Your favorite characters are all here in this animated musical only instead of an orphaned boy, we follow an orphaned kitten. Unlike most Disney movies, this one is set in New York City which is an interesting change of pace. You’ll recognize some of the voices in this one including Bette Midler, Billy Joel, Cheech Marin, and Sheryl Lee Ralph.
Oliver & Company is streaming on Disney+ or available to rent.
Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993)
If you’re not too tired of cats and dogs yet, give Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey a try. Before the Seaver family leave for a vacation to San Francisco, they drop off their pets: Chance (Michael J. Fox), a bulldog; Shadow (Don Ameche), a golden retriever; and Sassy (Sally Field), a cautious cat, at a friend’s ranch. The animals start to worry that they’ve been left for good and the three embark together on a treacherous and thrilling journey to find their way back home through the wilderness.
Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey is streaming on Disney+ or available to rent.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)
Another animated musical on the list, The Hunchback of Notre Dame is an adventure following disfigured Quasimodo, the bell-ringer of Notre Dame Cathedral, who stays locked away in a tower. With only gargoyles to keep him company, Quasimodo longs to be with other people, leading to his chance encounter with the enchanting Esmeralda (can you believe Demi Moore was in this?). Then, the drama begins. This very heartfelt movie has some great musical moments that kids will love.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame is streaming on Disney+ or available to rent.
FernGully: The Last Rainforest (1992)
In a children’s movie that tried to warn us about the devastating effects of deforestation, Robin Williams voices a deranged bat and Tim Curry slays as a polluting shadow of destruction. A powerful fairy named Crysta must save the rainforest after discovering that humans are behind the ruin the inhabitants of the forest are experiencing. This very strange animated movie was ahead of its time. If your kids like weird and batty, they will love the characters in this film.
FernGully: The Last Rainforest is streaming on Starz or available to rent.
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Harriet the Spy (1996)
Based on Louise Fitzhugh‘s 1964 novel of the same name, Harriet is a sixth-grader who is determined to become a spy. In a private journal, she records suspicious activity and keeps a running list of observations on virtually everyone she knows. Then one day, someone finds the journal and exposes Harriet’s judgmental opinions about her classmates. Suddenly, even her best friends are against her, and Harriet resolves to take revenge. Michelle Trachtenberg stars in this live-action movie and is joined by Rosie O’Donnell and even Eartha Kitt. This isn’t going to be too much fun for the little ones under 10.
Harriet the Spy is streaming on CBS All Access and Amazon Prime or available to rent.
There you go! 10 somewhat older and underrated kids movies that we think children today will still get a kick out of.
Andrew is a Chicago-based writer who enjoys finding the best of the internet, obsessively making lists, and cooking for friends. After studying Film and Art History, he developed a deep love for both topics. Celebrity news, pop culture, and stories that bring people together are his passions.
- 1 James and the Giant Peach (1996)
- 2 The Iron Giant (1999)
- 3 Spirited Away (2001)
- 4 The Great Mouse Detective (1986)
- 5 The Princess Bride (1987)
- 6 Oliver & Company (1988)
- 7 Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993)
- 8 The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)
- 9 FernGully: The Last Rainforest (1992)
- 10 Harriet the Spy (1996)
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