50 Modern Movies All Kids Should Watch Before They're 12

There are movies that are easy to forget, and then there are the titles on this list -- bursting with memorable characters, plots that twist and turn, and positive messages relevant for years to come. Consider this your own personal checklist to the best kids' movies released since the turn of the millennium. They'll take you everywhere from fantastical places like a school of witchcraft and wizardry to the real-life (but equally epic) shores of New Zealand. And if you're looking for our favorite picks from before the year 2000, make sure to check out 50 Classic Movies All Kids Should Watch Before They're 12.

Finding Nemo Poster Image
MOVIE

Finding Nemo

age 5+

Sweet father-son tale has some very scary moments.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2003)
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Frozen Poster Image
MOVIE

Frozen

age 5+

Wintry Disney musical is fabulous celebration of sisterhood.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2013)
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Lilo and Stitch Poster Image
MOVIE

Lilo and Stitch

age 5+

Cute story, great characters, fabulous soundtrack.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2002)
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Luck Movie Poster
MOVIE

Luck

age 5+

Colorful, charming animated tale has positive messages.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2022)
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Shaun the Sheep Movie Poster Image
MOVIE

Shaun the Sheep Movie

age 5+

Tons of barn-animal fun in sweet stop-motion adventure.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2015)
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WALL-E Poster Image
MOVIE

WALL-E

age 5+

Brainy, charming, eco-friendly animated adventure.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2008)
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Despicable Me Poster Image
MOVIE

Despicable Me

age 6+

Clever, funny, and sweet villain-with-a-heart-of-gold tale.

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

Encanto

age 6+

Vibrant visuals, catchy songs, moving messages.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2021)
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Ferdinand Poster Image
MOVIE

Ferdinand

age 6+

Sweet story about compassion, nonviolence has a few scares.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2017)
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Ice Age Poster Image
MOVIE

Ice Age

age 6+

Clever, funny, touching; like a great road movie.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2002)
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Inside Out Poster Image
MOVIE

Inside Out

age 6+

Beautiful, original story about handling big feelings.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2015)
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The Lego Movie Poster Image
MOVIE

The Lego Movie

age 6+

Hilarious toy tale plugs product but is nonstop fun.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2014)
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Moana Poster Image
MOVIE

Moana

age 6+

Great characters, memorable music, some monsters/scares.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2016)
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Shrek Poster Image
MOVIE

Shrek

age 6+

Gross-out laughs meet a marvelous fairy tale mix.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2001)
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Up Poster Image
MOVIE

Up

age 6+

Pixar's stunning adventure is an upper for everyone.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2009)
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Big Hero 6 Poster Image
MOVIE

Big Hero 6

age 7+

Awesome origin story is action-packed, deals with grief.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2014)
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The BFG Poster Image
MOVIE

The BFG

age 7+

Sweet Dahl book adaptation has big heart, big scares.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2016)
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Coco Poster Image
MOVIE

Coco

age 7+

Stunningly animated, poignant tribute to family and culture.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2017)
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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone Poster Image
MOVIE

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

age 7+

First Potter movie is a magical ride but also intense.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2001)
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How to Train Your Dragon Poster Image
MOVIE

How to Train Your Dragon

age 7+

Thrilling adventure sends brains-over-brawn message.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2010)
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