15 Best G-Rated Movies, Ranked

It’s the holidays! Time to relax, have some fun and … plonk the kids down in front of a movie to keep them out of your hair. I kid, I kid. But if you do find yourself with the need to distract a small child with a film for a while while they’re not in school, look no further than this list. These are family friendly films in the traditional sense, meaning they’re all G-rated and adults will find plenty to love in them, too.

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15. Finding Nemo (2003)

Marlin and Nemo in Finding Nemo (Disney)
(Disney)

Pixar have been providing the world with excellent kid-friendly entertainment ever since the first Toy Story flick back in 1995. Finding Nemo is one of their most beloved and popular ones. In a story that may freak out parents but will delight kids, Marlin the clownfish loses his little son Nemo and must go on an ocean-traversing adventure to find him and bring him home.

This is the movie that gave us a pre-downfall Ellen DeGeneres as Dory the forgetful blue tang fish. She was such a great character that she ended up getting her own movie in the end, 2016’s Finding Dory.

14. The Secret World of Arrietty (2010)

Arrietty smiling in The Secret World of Arrietty (Studio Ghibli)
(Studio Ghibli)

I’m a little biased on this one because I grew up in the quiet English town where The Borrowers, the novel this lovely little movie is based on, is set. (No tiny people sightings as of yet.) This Studio Ghibli movie switches the action from England to Toyko and it’s all the better for it.

Arrietty is a Borrower, a tiny person who lives in the nooks and crannies of an old house. She and her family “borrow” what they need from the humans without being seen. But when she befriends a human boy, she puts her family in danger.

13. The Sound of Music (1965)

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

One of those movies that’s played without fail every Christmas! The Sound of Music is a beloved classic. It’s about governess Maria, played by Julie Andrews, and her relationship with the Von Trapp children and their strict father. To say more would be spoiling it, but just for the sake of reassurance: the Von Trapps cleverly escape the Nazis in the end.

This film gave us some of the best-loved movie songs of all time, including “Sixteen Going On Seventeen” and “Do-Re-Mi.” The hills really are alive with the sound of music!

12. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)

Robert Helpmann in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (MGM)
(MGM)

A film that provides kids with a good healthy scare in the form of the Child Catcher, played with creepy and elegant relish by 60-year-old ballet dancer Sir Robert Helpmann. He’s not enough to distract from the pleasures of the flying car or Dick Van Dyke’s winning performance, however.

The songs are simple and catchy enough to get the whole family singing along. When I was a kid, I loved the “Toot Sweets” and the “Me ‘Ol Bam-Boo” numbers best of all.

11. Aladdin (1993)

Aladdin and Jasmine (voiced by Scott Weinger and Linda Larkin) in Aladdin (Disney)
(Disney)

You already guessed there would be a lot of Disney on this list, didn’t you? Well, millions of people grew up with Disney movies playing on their little TV screens every single day, for better or for worse. Aladdin is one of their best offerings from the ’90s, which was a very strong decade for the company. It made everyone fall in love with Robin Williams as the Genie, and it presented a great heroine in Jasmine, a new kind of Disney princess who knew what she wanted and refused to be treated as a prize for the prince. Aladdin isn’t perfect, but it’s still to this day considered one of the studio’s best pictures for kids.

10. Chicken Run (2000)

Ginger the chicken (voiced by Julia Sawalha) in Chicken Run (Dreamworks)
(Dreamworks)

The tale of a plucky chicken and her quest to get not only herself, but every other chicken out of the farm where they’ll inevitably be made into pies. It was made by the claymation wizards at Aardman and to this day it’s one of their masterpieces, full of action and adventure and fun and puns. May make the viewer think twice about their chicken sandwiches as well.

A sequel, starring Thandiwe Newton and Bella Ramsey (and fortunately, no Mel Gibson) is set to be released on Netflix this December. Will it be as egg-cellent as the original? We’ll just have to wait and see.

9. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)

Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (Paramount)
(Paramount)

This musical adventure gave the world Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka, an iconic casting choice that hasn’t been bettered by any other Chocolate Factory adaption yet. Wilder plays the eccentric chocolatier with charm and humor but also an undercurrent of menace, something that raises the stakes for poor young Charlie and his family.

Seeing as how Hollywood is running low on ideas these days, a musical prequel to the story titled Wonka is due out this year. It’s not officially stated this is a direct prequel to the Gene Wilder version of the movie but star Timothée Chalamet appears to be channeling that particular Wonka’s fashion sense. Sorry, Timothée, Gene wore the coat first—and better!

8. Mulan (1998)

Mulan and Mushu in Mulan (1998) (Disney)
(Disney)

Another very strong 90s flick from Disney. Mulan tells the story of a young woman who goes to war in her ailing father’s place, disguised as a boy. She struggles at first, but gradually wins respect from her commander and begins to come into her own as a cunning and capable warrior.

This film has the winning Disney formula down to a T. There’s a wacky talking animal sidekick in Mushu the dragon (played to perfection by Eddie Murphy), some fantastic songs, and an important message about knowing your own worth. Oh, by the way, as with many Disney films of this era there was a live-action remake…but it’s nothing on the original.

7. Muppet Treasure Island (1996)

Sam the Eagle, Kermit the Frog, Tim Curry as Long John Silver, Kevin Bishop as Jim Hawkins, and The Great Gonzo (Disney)
(Disney)

The Muppets are here to take you on a wacky, silly, G-rated high-seas adventure! This and the equally great Muppet Christmas Carol are arguably the best Muppet flicks to show a kid who’s expressed interest in graduating from Disney Junior’s Muppet Babies. Kermit the Frog plays Captain Smollett, Miss Piggy plays his long-lost love Benjamina Gunn, Sam the Eagle plays Samuel Arrow, and non-Muppets Tim Curry and Kevin Bishop play the famous literary characters of Long John Silver and Jim Hawkins.

Also, there are some fantastic songs that you won’t be able to stop singing. Cabin! Fever! Ahhh!

6. The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Margaret Hamilton as the Wicked Witch, Judy Garland as Dorothy, and Billie Burke as Glinda in The Wizard of Oz (Warner Bros.)
(Warner Bros.)

Arguably no movie has stood the test of time better than The Wizard of Oz. It came out before (albeit just before) World War II and it’s still utterly beloved today. Judy Garland’s Dorothy is swept away by a tornado along with her house and finds herself waking up in the mystical land of Oz. And she’s accidentally killed a wicked witch with her falling house. Oops!

Most of the mythology around The Wizard of Oz, such as the ruby slippers, actually comes from this movie rather than the original L. Frank Baum book. Not that the book isn’t a good read too, mind.

5. The Princess and the Frog (2009)

Tiana (voiced by Anika Noni Rose) in The Princess and the Frog (Disney)
(Disney)

Disney’s first movie featuring a Black princess—yes, it took them that long—and also the last Disney princess film to be traditionally animated. This is a truly beautiful movie with an important message about following your dreams but not allowing them to overtake your life, all centered around a great voice performance from Anika Noni Rose as Tiana.

Again it took Disney a long time to do this, but they’re finally capitalizing on Tiana’s popularity: she gets her own ride at the Disney parks in 2024!

4. Mary Poppins (1964)

Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins in Mary Poppins (Disney)
(Disney)

Still everyone’s favorite English nanny. (Sorry, Nanny McPhee.) Mary Poppins floats down from the sky with an umbrella and immediately sets about improving the lives of the Banks family, all with a song and dance ready to hand. It’s one of the most beloved musicals ever made, a Best Picture Oscar nominee, and still the role Julie Andrews is best known for despite her long and varied career.

There was a sequel released in 2018, Mary Poppins Returns, with Emily Blunt taking over the title role. It’s actually pretty good, but can’t outclass the original.

3. Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)

Kiki (voiced by Minami Takayama/Kirsten Dunst) in Kiki's Delivery Service (Studio Ghibli)
(Studio Ghibli)

Many adults will be able to tell that Kiki’s Delivery Service is about burnout, self-care and trying to find a purpose in life. But to most kids, Studio Ghibli’s masterpiece is just a fun adventure about a witch and a talking cat. And that’s fine! It’s a beautifully animated movie, wholesome and sweet and kind, and there’s something in there for everyone to love.

Disney changed a crucial aspect of this film’s ending when dubbing it into English: I greatly prefer the original version and what it means for Kiki’s journey into adulthood.

2. The Lion King (1994)

Simba (voiced by Matthew Broderick) in The Lion King (Disney)
(Disney)

No, not the soulless CGI remake, the original. The one that made a whole generation of kids sob as Simba discovered the dead body of his murdered father and cheer as the evil Scar gets metaphorically stabbed in the back by his band of hyena henchmen. (It’s all bloodless, you don’t see anything!) The original of The Lion King is forever an absolute triumph of animation and music and I will accept nothing else in its place. Even its direct-to-video sequel is one of the better ones!

1. Toy Story 3 (2010)

Barbie and Ken (voiced by Jodi Benson and Michael Keaton) in Toy Story 3 (Disney)
(Disney)

Wait, Toy Story 3 got a G rating? The movie that features all the main characters holding hands as they slowly slide into a giant furnace?! Well, they were rescued at the last minute and got to have a happy ending so yep, it did! The horrors of Toy Story 3 are outweighed by its wholesomeness: this is a movie about love first and foremost, even though it’s the love between a bunch of toys and their owner. It doesn’t matter if you watch it as a kid or as an adult, you’ll never forget it, and you’ll be holding your toys a little closer for the rest of your life.

(featured image: Studio Ghibli)


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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.