Buzz Lightyear, Mary Poppins, and Gonzo.
(Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)

Awaken Your Inner Child With These Disney+ G-Rated Movies

G-rated movies take a lot of flack, but you know what? A lot of them are actually fantastic. Just because something is suitable for young children doesn’t mean it’s automatically bad! Here’s ten G-rated movies you can watch with the kids … or without.

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1. The Emperor’s New Groove

Pacha and llama-Kuzco in The Emperor's New Groove
(Buena Vista Pictures Distribution)

Disney tried something different with The Emperor’s New Groove and the result was one of the best G-rated comedies of all time. It tells the story of Kuzco (David Spade), a spoiled and arrogant Incan emperor who is turned into a llama by his scheming advisor Yzma (Eartha Kitt). His only hope of survival lies with a kindly peasant, Pacha (John Goodman), but unfortunately Kuzco has already threatened to destroy his home and replace it with “Kuzcotopia.”

You’ve probably already seen several memes spawned by this movie, but seeing them in context is much better. A LLAMA? HE’S SUPPOSED TO BE DEAD!

2. Honey, I Shrunk the Kids

Rick Moranis and Marcia Strassman in Honey, I Shrunk The Kids
(Buena Vista Pictures Distribution)

Honey, I Shrunk The Kids terrified me as a child! It wasn’t just the giant insects, either. It was the fact that the movie ends with Rick Moranis’ character very nearly eating his shrunken son from a bowl of cereal. Dear god! And yet it’s a G rating.

But aside from the moments of tiny terror, there’s plenty to love and laugh at in this film. It did so well at the box office that it spawned a couple of sequels, and rumor has it that eventually, one day, we’ll see Moranis come out of retirement for a reboot film called Shrunk, although the project is apparently on hold at the moment.

3. Mary Poppins

Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins in Mary Poppins (Disney)
(Buena Vista Distribution Company, Inc.)

Mary Poppins, the classic tale of the firm English nanny who floats down on an umbrella and brightens the lives of the dysfunctional Banks family. Julie Andrews plays the title role, and she is of course a delight. Walt Disney knew she would be; he hand-picked her for the role and even delayed filming while she had a baby, because he simply couldn’t fathom another actress playing Poppins.

Who can forget the animated segments, or the wonderful made-up word that is Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, or Dick Van Dyke’s incredibly dodgy Cockney accent? This movie has been entertaining kids since the far-off days of 1964, and it’s not about to stop anytime soon.

4. Toy Story

Woody and Buzz in Toy Story
(Buena Vista Pictures Distribution)

When Toy Story came out, it revolutionized computer animation … and it told a great story, as well. Pixar’s first feature-length movie deals with themes of friendship and jealousy, things kids (and plenty of adults) need to learn to navigate, and it does so via the great characters of Woody (Tom Hanks) and Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen).

Woody is the top toy in the bedroom of young Andy, but when a flashy new “space ranger” toy named Buzz Lightyear arrives during a birthday party, Woody suddenly finds himself relegated to the second favorite. And then, to make matters a hundred times worse, Woody and Buzz end up in the hands of a terrible child who likes to blow up toys. This movie may be G-rated, but there’s so much toy abuse! Yet it does, of course, have a happy ending.

5. The Sound of Music

Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music
(20th Century Fox)

Julie Andrews again! Isn’t she just the queen of family-friendly movies? This time around she plays Maria in The Sound of Music, a young nun who the other nuns simply don’t know what to do with. How do you solve a problem like Maria? She takes a job as governess to the seven Von Trapp children, but finds herself falling in love with their father, Captain Georg Von Trapp (Chistopher Plummer).

Young kids may not fully understand of the plot of The Sound of Music, but they’ll love the songs. Tunes like “My Favorite Things,” “Do-Re-Mi,” “So Long, Farewell,” and of course, “The Sound of Music” have stood the test of time and how.

6. Anastasia

Anastasia (voiced by Meg Ryan)
(20th Century Fox)

Hey, remember when Anastasia first came out and everyone insisted on lumping the title character in with the Disney Princesses, even though Anastasia was not in fact made by Disney? Well, that problem persists to the modern day, seeing as how the movie is on Disney+ now.

Anastasia is one of those movies where everyone who watches it is bewildered it got a G rating. It does, after all, revolve around the deaths of the Princess Anastasia’s entire family. So, prepare your young children in advance, but remember that they’ll still probably love the talking bat and the catchy musical numbers.

7. The Muppet Christmas Carol

Robin the Frog, Kermit the Frog, and Miss Piggy
(Buena Vista Pictures Distribution)

A Christmas movie that can be enjoyed all year round, because anything involving the Muppets shouldn’t be reduced to a one-a-year affair, The Muppet Christmas Carol (which I have no doubt Charles Dickens would have LOVED) stars Michael Caine as Ebenezer Scrooge, and he gives it his all and then some. He plays the role completely straight, and the movie is all the better for it.

Caine is joined by Kermit, Miss Piggy, The Great Gonzo (playing Dickens himself), Rizzo the Rat, Fozzie Bear, and all your favorite Muppets, in what is considered one of the best Christmas films, one of the best Muppet films, and one of the best G-rated films of all time.

8. The Straight Story

Richard Farnsworth in The Straight Story
(Walt Disney Pictures)

Wait, David Lynch directed a G-rated film for Disney? The same David Lynch who gave us Eraserhead and Blue Velvet? THAT David Lynch? Yes he did, and it’s a lovely piece of work.

The Straight Story is all about Alvin Straight (Richard Farnsworth), an elderly man who lives with his daughter Rose (Sissy Spacek). One day he learns that his estranged brother Lyle (Harry Dean Stanton) is dying, but Alvin can no longer safely drive across the country to go see him. So instead he decides he’ll drive a lawnmower all the way.

This charming but almost completely forgotten movie is based on a likewise charming but almost completely forgotten true story: there really was a man named Alvin Straight, and he really did drive a lawnmower across Iowa and Wisconsin to visit his brother.

9. The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Esmeralda and her pet goat in The Hunchback of Notre Dame
(Buena Vista Pictures Distribution)

Sorry, Disney’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame has a G rating? Doesn’t that film contain all sorts of horrors, including the implication of sexual violence?! Yep, it very much does, and yep, it’s still G. (Disney+ still politely warns you when you start the movie, though, that it contains smoking.)

Not for nothing is Hunchback called “the most R-rated G you will ever see in your life.” It’s a beautiful film, but it doesn’t remotely shy away from what Judge Claude Frollo (Tony Jay) wishes to do to anyone who doesn’t fit into his vision of society. Kids might end up watching it from between their fingers, but once the credits roll, they might have learned some new things about acceptance and resistance.

10. The Lion King

Mufasa and Simba in The Lion King (1994)
(Buena Vista Pictures Distribution)

The Lion King is quite simply one of the best G-rated films ever made. Actually, scratch that, it’s one of the best films ever made. From the first stunning frame of the bright red sunrise, you know you’re in for a treat.

The Lion King tells the story of a lion cub who is betrayed by his treacherous uncle (it’s all very Hamlet) and goes on a hero’s journey to reclaim his throne and his land. Along the way, he meets a variety of colorful characters, including Timon and Pumbaa (Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella), a meerkat and warthog duo who have delighted children for decades now.


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Author
Sarah Barrett
Sarah Barrett (she/her) is a freelance writer with The Mary Sue who has been working in journalism since 2014. She loves to write about movies, even the bad ones. (Especially the bad ones.) The Raimi Spider-Man trilogy and the Star Wars prequels changed her life in many interesting ways. She lives in one of the very, very few good parts of England.