Home Feature news 10 best family movies on HBO Max

10 best family movies on HBO Max

After a long day of school and work, it’s time to settle in with the whole family and enjoy a marvelous movie night at home. But what to watch? With so many options on streaming, picking something that appeals to everyone’s tastes can be as tricky as ordering pizza for all. Don’t fret. Whether you’re hungry for wacky musicals, outrageous adventures, whimsical fantasy, sweet nostalgia, or fresh fun, we’ve got you covered. Bonus: all of them pair great with popcorn!

Here are the best family movies now available on HBO Max:

1. All Dogs Go To Heaven

Don Bluth is the visionary director behind such beloved animated adventures as Anastasia, The Secret of NIMH, and An American Tail. Yet the most fun of his filmography may be this 1989 adventure, which centers on a stray dog who hustles the heavens but finds his soul. Burt Reynolds leant his bravado and voice to Charlie B. Barkin, a rascally mutt who flees the afterlife to seek revenge against the rival who sent him there. Despite this dark premise, All Dogs Go to Heaven has a sugary sweetness, born from Charlie’s soft spot for an orphan girl in need. With the help of his whimpering sidekick (Dom DeLuise), this bad dog sets out to do good. Along the way, they’ll run into kooky characters, wild situations, and some wickedly catchy song numbers.

How to watch: All Dogs Go to Heaven is streaming on HBO Max.

2. Spies in Disguise

The premise of this 2019 movie is so bird-brained that it’s sort of shocking it was even made. But the result is of Troy Quane and Nick Bruno’s high-concept comedy soars into splendid silliness. Will Smith and Tom Holland star as an unlikely team of heroes. Lance Sterling (voiced by Smith) is an ultra-suave super spy, who never makes a misstep on a mission. That is until he crosses paths with socially awkward inventor Walter Beckett (Holland), who has concocted a potion that can turn a human into a pigeon. One mistaken swig, and—poof! Sterling is a bird. No only must he fight the forces of evil, but also, he has to survive an outrageous fish-out-of-water premise. And his only help is a goofy kid-genius and a fowl but fiercely loyal band of birds! Action-packed and deeply wacky, Spies in Disguise is sure please kiddos, while parents can additionally enjoy some spunky spoofing of espionage movies.

How to watch: Spies In Disguise is streaming on HBO Max.

3. Follow That Bird

HBO Max is the home of 50+ seasons of Sesame Street from which you can choose. But don’t overlook Ken Kwapis’s wonderful 1985 feature film, which spills these memorable Muppets across America in a rollicking road trip. The trouble begins when Big Bird (Caroll Spinney) is sent to live with a feathered family far away from his friends. Realizing home is where your heart is, he begins to hitchhike back to Sesame Street. Meanwhile worried friends (Cookie Monster, Grover, Oscar the Grouch, Burt, and Ernie) set out to find him. Along the way, they’ll be a slew of misadventures, song numbers, and celebrity cameos, including Waylon Jennings, Chevy Chase, Sandra Bernhard, and John Candy. Human or Muppet, they all revel in this magical world dreamed up by Jim Henson.

How to watch: Follow That Bird is streaming on HBO Max.

4. The Lego Batman Movie

an all-time great Will Arnett
Credit: Warner Bros/Kobal/Shutterstock

Want a superhero movie that won’t give the little ones nightmares? Scroll past the live-action Batman movies (there’s plenty of time for those later), and press play on this toy-centric treat. A whiz-bang spinoff of The Lego Movie, this animated adventure follows a snarling—yet silly–Batman as he battles a barrage of baddies with a little help from his friends. Far from the why-so-seriousness of the other Gotham films, this 2017 cartoon celebrates the wackier aspects of Batman lore, from ludicrous costumes to the Z-listers of his Rogues Gallery. (Looking at you Condiment King!) Director Chris McKay masterfully stacks this brightly colored romp with exciting action, loony laughs, fan-favorite foes (from the DC universe, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and far beyond), and a flurry of familiar voices, including Will Arnett, Zach Galifianakis, Rosario Dawson, Ralph Fiennes, and Michael Cera as a very plucky boy wonder. Bursting with energy, whimsy, and wit, it is little wonder critics were wowed by this charismatic crowd pleaser.

How to watch: The Lego Batman Movie is streaming on HBO Max.

5. Happy Feet

Want a toe-tapping good time? Then, check out this cool cartoon about a band of penguins, who love to sing and dance. Elijah Wood lends his voice to Mumbles, an emperor penguin who feels left out because he’s not much of a singer, like the rest of his raft. Instead, he prefers to shake a tail feather. Rhis winsome fable about learning to love yourself is directed by George Miller. Along with sweeping musical numbers, he brings together a star-studded cast that boasts Robin Williams, Brittany Murphy, Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman, Steve Irwin, and many more. Together, they lend their voices to cuddly critters who burst into a panoply of popular songs, like “Somebody to Love,” “Kiss,” and “Heartbreak Hotel.” A beak-to-toe delight, it’s only natural Happy Feet won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature in 2007.

How to watch: Happy Feet is streaming on HBO Max.

6. A Little Princess

In uncertain times, a good story can sustain us. This is the lesson learned by Sara Crewe (Liesel Matthews), an imaginative young aristocrat whose doting father places her in a boarding school before joining the fight in World War I. Sarah’s battle will be against the strict headmistress, a snooty classmate, and cruel twists of fate that threaten to rip her away from her father forever. Yet in this darkness, she finds the light by sharing stories of heroism and love, making friends, and illustrating how every girl might be a little princess. Frances Hodgson Burnett’s turn-of-the-century children’s novel is brought to glorious life by acclaimed director Alfonso Cuarón. Upon the film’s 1995 release, critics loved the richly realized world of fantasy and friendship that Cuarón constructed through vivid color, lush production design, and a keen eye for casting.

How to watch: A Little Princess is streaming on HBO Max.

7. Ponyo


Credit: Moviestore/Shutterstock

HBO Max boasts a whole hub dedicated to Studio Ghibli productions. So, subscribers have their pick of Hayao Miyazaki gems, including My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, and Howl’s Moving Castle. The best for a fun family night in; however, is this 2008 treasure about a magical goldfish who yearns to become a real girl. It all begins when a kind-hearted boy rescues the little fish, sparking a friendship that will enrage her sorcerer father and shake up land and sea alike. In this critically acclaimed cartoon, Miyazaki’s artistry is on rapturous display whether he is animating crashing waves, frolicking children, or homemade ramen. Kids will feel seen in the free-spirited young heroes, while parents will revel in the fantasy and heartfelt storytelling. Best of all, viewers can choose between the original Japanese language track or the English overdub, which features voice performances from Tina Fey, Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, and Liam Neeson.

How to watch: Ponyo is streaming on HBO Max.

8. Pee-wee’s Big Adventure

If you’re searching for something off the beaten path of family fun, check out Tim Burton’s lively feature directorial debut. The weird but enchanting worlds he’d come to create in films like Edward Scissorhands, Beetlejuice, and Batman Returns got their start in this bombastic road trip movie about a boy in search of his stolen bicycle. Cheeky comedian Paul Rubens stars as Pee-wee Herman, a live-wire (loner and rebel) whose determination to reclaim his beloved bike takes him on a jubilant journey across the nation. At every pit stop, he finds friends, trouble, or both! With this giddily odd movie, grown-ups can revel in the nostalgia of the madcap humor of the “Tequilla” dance and the frightful thrill of Large Marge. Kids can freshly enjoy Pee-wee’s wackiness and marvel over what a PG-movie looked like in 1985.

How to watch: Pee-wee’s Big Adventure is streaming on HBO Max.

9. Early Man

The Stone Age and Bronze Age collide with silliness and soccer in this 2018 comedy. Caveman Dug (voiced by Eddie Redmayne) must defend his tribe from invading tyrant Lord Nooth, who is armed and armored to the teeth! Rather than going to battle, they go to the soccer pitch in a winner-takes-all match full of shenanigans. Directed by Wallace & Gromit creator Nick Park, Early Man delivers his signature British humor and charming stop-motion animation, creating slapstick and laughs out of clay and a top-notch cast. Tom Hiddleston, Maisie Williams, Timothy Spall, Miriam Margolyes, Richard Ayoade and What We Do In The Shadows’ Kayvan Novak lend their voices, bringing plenty of spirit to these gleefully goofy characters. If you’re family has giggled over Aardman animation offerings like Chicken Run, Shaun the Sheep, or Flushed Away, then you’ll cheer for this unconventional sports movie.

How to watch: Early Man is streaming on HBO Max.

10. The Wizard of Oz

Remains perfect

Remains perfect
Credit: Mgm/Kobal/Shutterstock

Relish in the wonderful world of Oz with this 1939 classic. Adapted from L. Frank Baum’s fantasy novel, The Wizard of Oz follows Dorothy Gale (Judy Garland), a brave farm girl who is magically whisked away to a far-off realm of flying monkeys, deadly poppies, and a cascade of curious characters. On her quest to get back home, she—and her little dog too–befriend a daffy scarecrow (Ray Bolger), a cowardly lion (Bert Lahr), and a tin man in want of a heart (Jack Haley). Together, they must face off against the fearsome Wicked Witch of the West (Margaret Hamilton) and meet the mysterious wizard. With radiant colors, imaginative production design, and a panoply of jaunty songs, director Victor Fleming ushered audiences along the yellow brick road on an adventure that’s been treasured for generations.

How to watch: The Wizard of Oz is streaming on HBO Max.

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