Indie Films

Quirky, offbeat, charming -- indie films are great for kids, teens, and even adults who like something a little out of the ordinary when it comes to their entertainment. This list of our favorite independent movies has everything from heartwarming hand-drawn animation to emotional award winners. These alternative, artistic movies push the envelope when it comes to creativity and storytelling (although keep in mind that also means they can get a bit edgy). But each one is an excellent, unusual cinematic masterpiece unlike any other. For more indie picks and anime classics, check our list of Studio Ghibli movies.

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Ernest & Celestine Poster Image
MOVIE

Ernest & Celestine

age 6+

Touching animated story celebrates unlikely friendships.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2014)
Boy and the World Poster Image
MOVIE

Boy and the World

age 7+

Poignant hand-drawn story promotes family, environmentalism.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2015)
Wolfwalkers Poster Image
MOVIE

Wolfwalkers

age 8+

Lush, lyrical Irish folktale has dark moments, peril.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2020)
April and the Extraordinary World Poster Image
MOVIE

April and the Extraordinary World

age 9+

French steampunk tale for kids mixes science, adventure.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2016)
The Secret of Kells Poster Image
MOVIE

The Secret of Kells

age 9+

Magical animated adventure is intense but beautiful.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2010)
The Painting Poster Image
MOVIE

The Painting

age 9+

Stunning animated drama tackles prejudice, forbidden love.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2013)
Zarafa Poster Image
MOVIE

Zarafa

age 9+

Enchanting African fable with some scares and sadness.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2015)
Belle and Sebastian Poster Image
MOVIE

Belle and Sebastian

age 10+

Beautiful film about WWII has intense themes, drinking.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2015)
Paper Planes Poster Image
MOVIE

Paper Planes

age 10+

Thoughtful, inspired look at grief soars.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2015)
Phantom Boy Poster Image
MOVIE

Phantom Boy

age 10+

Poignant crime caper follows sick boy with ghostly ability.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2016)
The History of Future Folk Poster Image
MOVIE

The History of Future Folk

age 11+

Quirky indie sci-fi film has positive messages about music.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2013)
Napoleon Dynamite Poster Image
MOVIE

Napoleon Dynamite

age 11+

One-of-a-kind high school comedy for the family.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2004)
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon Poster Image
MOVIE

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

age 12+

Magical, award-winning martial arts fairy tale.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2000)
A Girl Like Her Poster Image
MOVIE

A Girl Like Her

age 12+

Bullying drama is disturbing but should spark conversation.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2015)
Hunt for the Wilderpeople Poster Image
MOVIE

Hunt for the Wilderpeople

age 12+

Quirky Kiwi dramedy promotes teamwork, friendship.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2016)
Raiders!: The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made Poster Image
MOVIE

Raiders!: The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made

age 12+

Story of kids' labor-of-love Indy remake is fun, moving.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2016)
Adam the First Movie Poster: The faces of Adam (Oakes Fegley) and James (David Duchovny) appear large at the top of the frame; the various "Jacobs" appear in the center just above the title. Below and to the right, Adam walks away from us, along some railroad tracks
MOVIE

Adam the First

age 13+

Gun use, teen smoking in indie drama about family.

In Theaters (Release Year: 2024)
The Burial of Kojo Poster Image
MOVIE

The Burial of Kojo

age 13+

Beautiful indie drama from Ghana has some violence.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2019)
The Cleaner Poster Image
MOVIE

The Cleaner

age 13+

Earnest indie drama has some violence, heavy themes.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2021)
The Last Black Man in San Francisco Poster Image
MOVIE

The Last Black Man in San Francisco

age 13+

Painful portrait of gentrification in extraordinary indie.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2019)