50 Movies All Kids Should Watch Before They're 12

From musicals, prince and princess tales, and animated animals to heroic adventures and feel-good favorites, these must-see classic movies will appeal to the whole family. All released before the year 2000, these all-time favorites aren't just hugely entertaining, they're also packed with positive messages and role models, giving them the potential for significant impact on kids and families. Some are cultural touchstones. Others give kids a look at different worlds—both real and imaginary. Many will bring on gales of laughter, and some might lead to a few tears. But all are worthy of a comfy couch, a bowl of fresh popcorn, and some family togetherness. For our top picks that came out after the year 2000, be sure to check out 50 Modern Movies All Kids Should Watch Before They're 12.

101 Dalmatians Poster Image
MOVIE

101 Dalmatians

age 5+

Lovable cartoon classic with cute dogs and a mean villain.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 1961)
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An American Tail Poster Image
MOVIE

An American Tail

age 5+

Heartwarming tale of immigrant mouse has some peril.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 1986)
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Bambi Poster Image
MOVIE

Bambi

age 5+

Disney's original circle-of-life story.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 1942)
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The Brave Little Toaster Poster Image
MOVIE

The Brave Little Toaster

age 5+

Appliances make a suspenseful, incredible journey.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 1987)
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Mary Poppins Poster Image
MOVIE

Mary Poppins

age 5+

World's coolest nanny celebrates family and fun.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 1964)
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Mulan Poster Image
MOVIE

Mulan

age 5+

Disneyfied but dignified tale of Chinese warrior.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 1998)
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My Neighbor Totoro Poster Image
MOVIE

My Neighbor Totoro

age 5+

Beautifully animated fantasy about friendship fit for all.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 1988)
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Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Poster Image
MOVIE

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

age 5+

Animated classic is enchanting but also scary.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 1937)
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The Sword in the Stone Poster Image
MOVIE

The Sword in the Stone

age 5+

Delightful classic brings King Arthur legend to life.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 1963)
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Toy Story (1995) Poster Image
MOVIE

Toy Story (1995)

age 5+

Pixar classic is one of the best kids' movies of all time.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 1995)
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The Absent-Minded Professor Poster Image
MOVIE

The Absent-Minded Professor

age 6+

'60s classic is sweet, clever, and funny.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 1961)
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Air Bud Poster Image
MOVIE

Air Bud

age 6+

Sweet dog tale has some peril and mature themes.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 1997)
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Annie (1999) Poster Image
MOVIE

Annie (1999)

age 6+

Joyous '90s version of classic musical.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 1999)
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Beauty and the Beast Poster Image
MOVIE

Beauty and the Beast

age 6+

Disney fave has great music, strong messages, some scares.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 1991)
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Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Poster Image
MOVIE

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

age 6+

A fantastical car story custom-made for kids.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 1968)
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Heidi (1993) Poster Image
MOVIE

Heidi (1993)

age 6+

Family entertainment at its best, expect emotional moments.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 1993)
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Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey Poster Image
MOVIE

Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey

age 6+

Adventurous animal tale will have kids riveted.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 1993)
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The Iron Giant Poster Image
MOVIE

The Iron Giant

age 6+

Touching robot-kid friendship tale has great messages.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 1999)
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The Land Before Time Poster Image
MOVIE

The Land Before Time

age 6+

Original baby-dinosaur buddy tale has scares, sadness.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 1988)
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The Lion King (1994) Poster Image
MOVIE

The Lion King (1994)

age 6+

Musical king-of-the-beasts blockbuster is powerful, scary.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 1994)
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