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.)

Browse Movies That Inspire Empathy

It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown Movie Poster Image
Halloween isn't complete without this classic.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2000)
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Peanuts Emmy Honored Collection Movie Poster Image
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 Movie Poster Image
Faith-based messages about sharing are sweet and funny.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2001)
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Tangled Movie Poster Image
Fantastic princess adventure is fun, with great messages.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2010)
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Beauty and the Beast Movie Poster Image
Disney fave has great music, strong messages, some scares.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 1991)
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Inside Out Movie Poster Image
Beautiful, original story about handling big feelings.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2015)
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Paddington 2 Movie Poster Image
Charming, heartfelt sequel entertains, inspires compassion.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2018)
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Pollyanna Movie Poster Image
Wonderful family film with excellent messages.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 1960)
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Trolls Movie Poster Image
Fun, colorful adventure has some peril, lots of great music.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2016)
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The BFG Movie Poster Image
Sweet Dahl book adaptation has big heart, big scares.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2016)
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E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial Movie Poster Image
Spielberg's family classic is still one of the best.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 1982)
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A Little Princess Movie Poster Image
Wonderful adaptation of classic book; some scary moments.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 1995)
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The Nightmare Before Christmas Movie Poster Image
Tim Burton magic with just a touch of scariness.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 1993)
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Pete's Dragon (2016) Movie Poster Image
Wonderful remake of Disney classic has peril, sad moments.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2016)
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Wreck-It Ralph Movie Poster Image
Game-themed movie mixes potty humor with strong messages.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2012)
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Freaky Friday Movie Poster Image
Mother-daughter switch is fun comedic chaos.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2003)
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High School Musical Movie Poster Image
A modern-day Grease for tweens.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2006)
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Imba Means Sing Movie Poster Image
Vibrant, uplifting docu about African children's choir.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2015)
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The NeverEnding Story Movie Poster Image
Boy bibliophile becomes part of fantasy tale.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 1984)
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Zootopia Movie Poster Image
Charming buddy-animal story promotes tolerance, teamwork.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2016)
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Kindness Is Contagious Movie Poster Image
Warm, feel-good docu about being nice is uplifting.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2015)
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Fiddler on the Roof Movie Poster Image
Epic musical story of Jews facing religious persecution.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 1971)
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Remember the Titans Movie Poster Image
Inspiring football drama brings history to life.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2000)
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Wonder Movie Poster Image
Earnest, emotional book adaptation has strong messages.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2017)
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Liyana Movie Poster Image
Inspiring, unique film tells two stories of perseverance.
In Theaters Now
(Release Year: 2018)
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My Life as a Zucchini Movie Poster Image
Animated drama about orphan is touching, unforgettable.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2017)
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Napoleon Dynamite Movie Poster Image
One-of-a-kind high school comedy for the family.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2004)
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Spider-Man Movie Poster Image
Fun movie, but may be too intense for younger kids.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2002)
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Bully Movie Poster Image
Powerful docu addresses critically important issue for kids.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2012)
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The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants Movie Poster Image
Sensitive portrayal of four girls' friendships.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2005)
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To Kill a Mockingbird Movie Poster Image
Masterpiece with crucial lessons about prejudice.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 1962)
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The Armor of Light Movie Poster Image
Insightful docu poses questions about faith, gun reform.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2015)
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Green Book Movie Poster Image
Crowd-pleasing drama explores race, class, friendship.
In Theaters Now
(Release Year: 2018)
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Love, Simon Movie Poster Image
Affecting, lovable romcom about gay teen has a little edge.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2018)
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Lucas Movie Poster Image
A realistic look at a teen's coming-of-age.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 1986)
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About a Boy Movie Poster Image
Edgy, sweet book-based dramedy has profanity, mature themes.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2002)
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The Breakfast Club Movie Poster Image
Classic '80s teen movie has mature themes, profanity.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 1985)
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Good Will Hunting Movie Poster Image
Moving story of brilliant, troubled youth for older teens.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 1999)
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Amelie Movie Poster Image
Thoughtful, charming for 16+.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 2001)
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Do the Right Thing Movie Poster Image
Spike Lee's masterwork of racial unrest; discuss with kids.
On DVD/Streaming
(Release Year: 1989)
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