Movies That Inspire Empathy

Empathy is one of the most important traits for living in an interconnected world. It's one of the character strengths and life skills essential to kids' overall growth and success. These movies help kids learn the value of putting themselves in someone else's shoes to understand the feelings and perspective of others. These are excellent examples of empathy because they show how the character strength is intrinsic to the story or is repeated several times in the actions of a lead character, and empathy "wins" over character flaws such as focusing only on one's own needs. From classic films like To Kill a Mockingbird to modern kid-friendly faves like Inside Out and Zootopia, these picks will help your family step into a new point of view. (See even more movies and TV shows that inspire empathy.)

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown Poster Image
MOVIE

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

age 4+

Halloween isn't complete without this classic.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2000)
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Peanuts Emmy Honored Collection Poster Image
MOVIE

Peanuts Emmy Honored Collection

age 4+

Classic TV favorites are as charming and relevant as ever.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2015)
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VeggieTales: Lyle, the Kindly Viking Poster Image
MOVIE

VeggieTales: Lyle, the Kindly Viking

age 4+

Faith-based messages about sharing are sweet and funny.

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

Tangled

age 5+

Fantastic princess adventure is fun, with great messages.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2010)
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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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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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Paddington 2 Poster Image
MOVIE

Paddington 2

age 6+

Charming, heartfelt sequel entertains, inspires compassion.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2018)
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Pollyanna Poster Image
MOVIE

Pollyanna

age 6+

Wonderful family film with excellent messages.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 1960)
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Trolls Poster Image
MOVIE

Trolls

age 6+

Fun, colorful adventure has some peril, lots of great music.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2016)
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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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E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial Poster Image
MOVIE

E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial

age 7+

Spielberg's family classic is still one of the best.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 1982)
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A Little Princess Poster Image
MOVIE

A Little Princess

age 7+

Wonderful adaptation of classic book; some scary moments.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 1995)
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The Nightmare Before Christmas Poster Image
MOVIE

The Nightmare Before Christmas

age 7+

Tim Burton magic with just a touch of scariness.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 1993)
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Pete's Dragon (2016) Poster Image
MOVIE

Pete's Dragon (2016)

age 7+

Wonderful remake of Disney classic has peril, sad moments.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2016)
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Wreck-It Ralph Poster Image
MOVIE

Wreck-It Ralph

age 7+

Game-themed movie mixes potty humor with strong messages.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2012)
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Descendants 3 Poster Image
MOVIE

Descendants 3

age 8+

Satisfying end to trilogy has positive themes for kids.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2019)
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Freaky Friday Poster Image
MOVIE

Freaky Friday

age 8+

Mother-daughter switch is fun comedic chaos.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2003)
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High School Musical Poster Image
MOVIE

High School Musical

age 8+

A modern-day Grease for tweens.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2006)
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Imba Means Sing Poster Image
MOVIE

Imba Means Sing

age 8+

Vibrant, uplifting docu about African children's choir.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 2015)
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The NeverEnding Story Poster Image
MOVIE

The NeverEnding Story

age 8+

Boy bibliophile becomes part of fantasy tale.

On DVD/Streaming (Release Year: 1984)
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