I didn’t know (or appreciate) how sheltered I was until I got to college and began hearing words that I’d never heard before. While I knew what a cuss word was, my parents did not use them.
My parents raised me to not repeat something unless I knew what it meant, so I would go home and ask my parents what the words I had heard meant. Turns out, they aren’t ones you want to be repeating.
It seems like there aren’t many good TV shows and movies nowadays that the whole family can watch. They’re almost always filled with things that are completely inappropriate.
I have compiled a list of some of my absolute favorite family friendly and kid appropriate movies and TV shows, which everyone will enjoy watching. Some are serious, some are funny, and some are just good ol’ entertainment.
There are all levels of things parents (and you) might deem inappropriate (sarcasm, cussing, taking the Lord’s name in vain, crude humor, bikini swimsuits, a guy having his shirt off, kissing, smoking, drinking with/without drunkenness, and the list goes on and on). I have categorized cussing at the end of this post, so be sure to check that out, too. With this list of my favorite movies, I have tried to point out anything that you may not like (drinking, green blood, etc.), but I could have missed something. You should always research a movie/TV show for yourself, and never take anyone else’s world for anything (but you already knew that, right?).
I have divided the list into three categories – one that I believe is suitable for younger kids to watch, one for older kids (these involve more thinking and the subjects are often deeper…nothing inappropriate, in my opinion, but a young child may find them too suspenseful), and one for mature audiences (these movies are rated R, but only because of violence and nothing else).
Without further ado, here are my suggestions for family friendly TV shows and movies.
Young Kids (and older)
This story is about a young girl who has a leg injury. All she wants to do is barrel race, and she just needs someone to give her a second chance. This is a good movie if you love horses! Note: it’s free on YouTube.
Liberty’s Kids is an animated TV series that shows the Revolutionary War through the eyes of a kid. You get to see George Washington, Ben Franklin, and many other Founding Fathers through a new light – how a kid who lived during that time would see them. This series portrays America in a good light…and with the way people are nowadays, I doubt this series will remain available for very long. It doesn’t seem like people want you to think America is good and stands for what’s right (but that’s a whole other post for another day).
Schoolhouse Rock is filled with songs that will help you learn how a bill gets passed, how to count in multiples of 3, what planets are in the solar system, and much more! It’s an easy way to learn things, and they will stick with you throughout life. I’m probably the only college kid who is able to sing through the multiples of 9 to know what 8×9 really is.
Moondance Alexander struggles with getting bullied at school, but she stumbles onto a horse ranch where she falls in love with a horse, Checkers. Moondance wants to compete with Checkers, but there’s just one problem…he’s a pinto, and the competition committee doesn’t believe that kind of horse fits into the competition. A must see for all horse lovers!
Mandie Shaw is a young girl who grows up in the Blue Ridge Mountains. This movie series is filled with adventure, and the first two are my favorite. Filled with suspense, humor, and likeable characters, these movies are perfect for family movie night.
If you love Don Knotts and Tim Conway, these movies will make you laugh! Two guys who try so hard to create a fierce, “western bad guy” reputation…most of the time they can’t even figure out how to break into a bank without doing it the hardest way possible. Together, with three kids, they form the Apple Dumpling Gang – the baddest, and funniest gang in the Old West! (Note: There are scenes in a saloon, with a beer, but nobody gets drunk).
This TV series is set in the late 1950s/early 1960s, and is good, wholesome entertainment. The first 3-4 seasons are the best, though, when “The Beaver” is younger. The show loses its appeal as he gets older, though, in my opinion.
- Kurt Russell movie set: The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes/Now You See Him, Now You Don’t/The Strongest Man in the World/The Horse in the Gray Flannel Suit
These Kurt Russell movies are great. Now You See Him, Now You Don’t is probably my favorite. These movies, filled with things such as invisible ink and a computer-like brain, are good for the whole family.
This Shirley Temple Collection contains lots of old-timey movies. My favorites are The Little Princess and Heidi. Kids of all ages will love these movies!
The Legend of 5 Mile Cave is filled with treasure-hunting adventures. A comic book turns into a real-life story of adventure and excitement, through the eyes of a young boy.
How hard is it to catch an organized betting crime ring when you’re a bunch of church members trying to get back the church’s sinking fund that someone bet? Turns out, it’s very hard and hilarious. This movie does involve gambling, some smoking, and reckless driving.
This is a great TV series, following four Green Berets who were charged with a crime they did not commit. As they’re evading the U.S. Government, they never miss a chance to help someone in need. (Note: includes very mild language, some drinking, cigar smoking, and very little blood – there are a lot of guns, and while the sound effects are spectacular, people rarely get shot).
You probably remember the original Mary Poppins. Mary Poppins Returns picks back up with the Banks children, except now Michael has two kids of his own. With help from Mary Poppins, of course, these kids are also able to thwart the evil banker trying to take their home.
Starring Ernest Borgnine, Tim Conway, & Joe Flynn, McHale’s Navy is a TV series set around the misfit crew of the PT-73 during World War II. They always manage to get the job done, but often break the rules and frustrate their commanding officer to no end to get it done. This series is full of good, family fun, and it’s guaranteed you’ll be laughing through each episode. (Note: there is beer involved, but nobody gets drunk…they just act like it).
Hogan’s Heroes follows POWs in World War II. The Nazis are easily fooled (and, fun fact, a couple of them were played by Jews who actually went through the Holocaust) by Colonel Hogan’s underground operations, which include smuggling people out of Germany. Of course, his escapades go undiscovered by the bumbling German Camp Kommandant, Colonel Klink (who can’t play a violin to save his life). This is one of my favorite TV series, and is appropriate for kids of all ages (younger ones just may not get the humor because of the deeper tones to the show). (Note: there are a few scenes in the series where they meet at the Hofbrau – the local pub – but again, nobody gets drunk).
This TV series follows the childhood of Laura Ingalls Wilder, set in the late 1800s. The show is entertaining, especially when the bully gets dunked in a pond, but it is not a comedy. Some of the episodes are sad, and can contain violence and drinking, but it is a good show.
Someone has just inherited the Grand Imperial Inn and you want to turn it into a ski resort…what could possibly go wrong? Certainly not racoons, a corrupt banker, and a runaway steam engine. (Mention of drinking, as the ski resort sells liquor).
One of my favorite movies of all time. The songs in this musical are amazing, and the story line is wonderful. Starring Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds, and Donald O’Connor, this movie will surely become a family favorite.
Spies, mystery, intrigue, and Agent Maxwell Smart. Despite his last name, he can’t seem to eat a piece of pie without somehow sticking his elbow in it. He always manages to catch the bad guy though, and the way he does is hilarious. If you like spies, secret agents, and love to laugh, then I know you’ll enjoy this series. (Note: in that era, smoking and drinking were just things you did. That carried on into this show, but it’s not overwhelming…not a lot of cigarettes, and no one gets drunk).
This is a TV show set in Los Angeles County in the 1970s. While this is a Fire Department/Rescue Squad TV show, it is not like the ones on today. There is humor, and nothing dark involved. Of course, being a rescue TV show, there are scenes of drinking, drug use (after the fact), peril, injuries, and if there is any blood shown, it’d be in a cut over the eye or a bloody nose (obviously fake). Nothing dark, and a good, fun-filled show.
A man visits a foster home to drop off some toys for the kids and gets asked to tell a story. In this story, two kids find a medallion belonging to an ancient king. This medallion transports them back in time, and they need to take down the evil king. In the process, they learn that love doesn’t just come from a parent. Love comes from Someone who willingly died to save you. This movie is filled with adventure and you can learn some good lessons, too (even as an adult).
Starring Cary Grant and Sophia Loren, events lead up to Cary Grant hiring Sophia Loren as a maid (his wife has died). She is the daughter of a famous Italian composer, but she hides her identity and accepts the job, because she likes his kids. This is a good, old movie of humor, singing, and romance.
Rooster Cogburn is a one-eyed lawman who got his badge suspended. In order to earn it back, he tries to find robbers who have taken a wagon full of nitroglycerin. In the process, a Christian, missionary woman joins him, searching for her father’s killer. This is your routine western movie, good for the whole family.
The theme of this movie is literally the title. Adam just got married to Millie, and now his seven brothers want to get married, too. Set in the old west, they end up taking seven girls from the town, and an avalanche blocks the town from coming to get them. This musical is filled with good songs, dancing, adventure, and even some laughs! I know you’ll enjoy this old movie!
Zorro (Spanish for fox) is a superhero of the old, old west. He is a masked swordsman, who’s alternate identity is a nobleman. The small town of Los Angeles (which is why we know it’s set far, far back in history) has a corrupt alcalde, and Zorro constantly has to defend his friends from him. This is a fun, adventure-filled, family appropriate TV series.
If you love watching Jackie Chan movies, here’s one that’s appropriate for the whole family. It’s filled with Jackie Chan fighting (no blood, just slap-stick-like fighting), three kids helping him defeat the bad guys, and growing closer as a family. This is a fun, adventure-filled movie good for any age.
Kids (probably 12+)
If you’ve been reading my blog for any amount of time, you’ll know that I am a huge Chronicles of Narnia fan. Therefore, what would any movie list I give you be without including the Narnia series? The reason I said these are for older kids is because there are mythical creatures (fauns, centaurs, etc.), and some suspenseful moments (Aslan dying to save Edmund, etc.). Also, older kids will be able to see the parallel between the Bible and Narnia better than younger ones. Battle scenes aren’t bloody – if any blood is found, it’d just be in a small cut over the eye. If I had to pick a favorite movie out of the three, it would be The Lion, The Witch, & The Wardrobe. But all of these movies are fantastic!
After their parents die, James has to raise all of his younger siblings. 12 years later, their parents’ will finally is read. This movie is filled with humor, figuring out who you are, and trusting in God, even when things don’t go the way you had planned. The reason I said Bringing Up Bobby was for older kids is because the main character dresses as a Goth to relate to his friends and a side character has a mom who’s drunk. Nothing bad or graphic, but some younger kids may not understand it.
Captain America embodies all of the virtues that America used to hold near and dear – standing up for what’s right, even if you’re the smallest guy around. Unlike many superheroes, it’s not Captain America’s shield or strength that makes him great…it’s his heart and who he is. This is the best movie in the Marvel universe. Of course, you have Nazis who aren’t super nice and some scenes of peril (that’s a fun word to use), so this movie is for older kids (and adults, of course). (Note: mild language, and there is a scene in a bar).
This collection of five movies is fantastic, and are written by the same people who made The Lost Medallion.
Facing the Giants is about football (but even if you don’t care for the sport, like me, the movie still holds your attention).
Fireproof is about a fireman whose marriage is falling apart (his wife is falling for another guy, and he struggles with internet porn, though nothing is shown).
Flywheel is about a crooked car salesman, who eventually puts his faith and trust in Jesus Christ and goes straight.
War Room is about a family falling apart at the seams. An older woman suggests that the wife start praying in her “war room”. A battle is fought in this movie, but there is no blood (because the battle being fought is spiritual).
Courageous is a movie about dads, three of whom are police officers. There is the death of a minor character, which prompts these men to become better, Christian dads. It is a good movie, even though it is geared more towards fathers.
These five movies are really good, but the themes are more grown-up. There’s nothing inappropriate in the movies, but younger kids may not enjoy them.
Hidden Figures is a fascinating movie, about the African American women who helped get us to the moon. The movie is really good, and if you watch all of the math that these women do without a calculator, you’re likely not going to complain about your next math test. Even better, it’s a true story. The movie may not be enthralling for younger kids, but it’s totally appropriate for them.
Based on a short story by Louisa May Alcott, a widow and her three kids are having a hard time keeping their farm – and can’t afford even a turkey for Thanksgiving. The widow’s rich mother shows up, and tends to attach herself to the oldest daughter, who desperately wants to be an author. However, the widow does not want her mother’s help or pity. This movie might be a little “slow” for younger kids (as there are no sword fights), which is why I put this for older kids, but there’s nothing in it that younger kids wouldn’t be able to see.
A German mother and her young boy are very close to a war zone. They get invaded by three American soldiers, and later, three German ones. The mother convinces both sides to lay their weapons down and just spend Christmas together, in peace. This movie has intense themes (World War II), and is not a comedy, which is why I put it for older children. Silent Night does show that not all Nazis were bad…they were human, too.
Made by Burns Family Studios (a Christian group), Beyond The Mask is a movie set in the Revolutionary War. It follows an ex-assassin who works for the East India Company (EIC) and falls in love with the American daughter of the EIC owner. In the process, the ex-assassin tries to figure out who he is and if he can even get rid of his past to help America break free from Great Britain. This is a wonderful, adventurous movie. It’s a little violent, with explosions, minimal blood, and sword and gun fights, so if you have a young child, you may not want them to watch it ‘till they’re older.
In ancient China, some European soldiers find themselves facing the Great Wall and the army that protects the land from monstrous creatures. This movie is great, and the drum music scores are fantastic. These creatures that they fight against could be scary looking, there is green blood from the creatures, people do die (not graphic and not visible, but you know that they die), and because of this, you may not want young children to watch it.
These movies are really good, although I would say my favorites are the first and third one. These movies help you see that God is not dead, and while you may not be able to prove His existence, you can’t disprove His existence either. The reason I said these were for older children is because the themes are deeper, and the third one does involve a somewhat major character death, with some blood (again, not graphic). I really like this series, and am waiting for a fourth installment.
If you love history, treasure hunts, and adventure, these movies are perfect. The main characters in the first movie end up stealing the Declaration of Independence to protect it. These movies are filled with historical tidbits and facts that lead the characters on an adventure to find lost treasure. There is nothing inappropriate in these movies. The only reason I said it was for older kids is because in the first 15 min of the first movie, they find an old, frozen ship, which includes skeletons that were also frozen, which may scare younger kids. The first movie would be my favorite, but they’re both filled with history, humor, and adventure. (Note: very mild language).
Movies for Mature Audiences
These movies are good, and I thoroughly enjoy them for their historical accuracy, although they are rated R for violence…both realistically portray the struggles of war. However, there’s no sex or language.
As someone who loves studying the Revolutionary War, I really like this movie. This, of course, has intense battle scenes. I would not recommend watching this movie before you go to bed – but, if you don’t mind violence and love American History, you can learn all about the “Swamp Fox” of the American Revolution. Along with violence, there is drinking (not drunkenness) – but that was common during the time period.
This movie revolves around the Civil War, and as a result, is bloody. This movie shows you why those who fought for the Confederacy chose to fight for the South…and, contrary to popular opinion, it was not for slavery (but you could have figured that out by reading their own words). This movie is really good, but, like The Patriot, is very violent, and there is drinking (not drunkenness) – but that was common during the time period.
Mild Language: d***, a**, h***
Very mild language: contains very few instances of mild language, defined above.
My absolute favorite movie is Singing in the Rain, followed by the Chronicles of Narnia, and then Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. As for TV shows, it’d have to be Hogan’s Heroes, McHale’s Navy, and Get Smart.
Although this list seemed super long, hopefully you’ll be able to find a new (old) TV show or movie you can enjoy with your family. I did include links to Amazon of complete series and movie sets, but you are able to get them individually (after doing research, I found it was cheaper to get the entire series instead of buying them season-by-season). As always, don’t just rush out and buy something (unless you just found the perfect present for your friend, grandmother, veteran, or someone else in your life…in that instance, you’re welcome!). Check out the library, eBay, wait for it to come on TV, or see if you have a friend that will let you borrow them.
Hopefully you’ll try out one of these family friendly movies or TV shows! Let me know in the comments what movies you like to watch when you’re just having “one of those days”.
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