What makes the perfect family movie? It needs to be smart enough to keep the parents engaged but wacky enough to make the little ones laugh. It needs to have warmth and hope as much as it has stakes and danger — but not too much fear, ’cause we still gotta get these kids to bed tonight.
Below are some of the best family movies streaming on Hulu. They’ll make you laugh, they’ll take you to outer space and underground and back again, and they’ll have you seriously consider buying a zoo. In general, get ready to enjoy a nice dose of fuzzy feelings no matter your age.
1. The Bob’s Burgers Movie
Credit: 20th Century Studios
Your favorite burger-flipping family, now on the big screen? Dreams do come true! The Bob’s Burgers Movie, written by series creators Loren Bouchard and Nora Smith, has all the charm of the beloved Emmy-winning series with an extra helping of wacky, burger-related hijinks.
When a massive sinkhole opens up directly outside their restaurant, Bob and Linda must try new and creative ways to bring in business and make rent, while the kids launch a Hardy Boys-esque investigation into a skeleton they found in the sinkhole. There’s danger, there’s intrigue, and there are laughs to spare in this warm musical comedy that will win over longtime Bob’s Burgers fans and newbies alike.
How to Watch: The Bob’s Burgers Movie is streaming on Hulu.
2. Muppets from Space
Credit: James Bridges/Jim Henson Prods/Kobal/Shutterstock
Nothing hits quite like a Muppets movie, and Muppets from Space, following fan favorite Gonzo, is a great pick from the storied Jim Henson crew. Gonzo is having a crisis of identity, tired of not knowing what he is or where he comes from. So when he begins to receive strange messages seemingly from outer space, he does everything he can to learn about their origins, and in turn, his own. Unfortunately for Gonzo, there are other, more nefarious agents out there on their own search for alien life. Packed with slapstick shenanigans, visual gags, and punchy one-liners, Muppets from Space is both a smart and silly pick that will make the whole family smile.
How to Watch: Muppets from Space is streaming on Hulu.
3. Mary and the Witch’s Flower
Mary is an eager young girl with bright red hair who can’t seem to get anything right. When a friendly cat leads her to a mysterious flower that grants her temporary magical powers, Mary discovers a hidden world of adventure where all is not as it seems. Mary and the Witch’s Flower is an exuberant, lovable story from Hiromasa Yonebayashi, a former Studio Ghibli animator. Brimming with heart and excitement, this beautifully animated film (whose English dub features the voice talents of Kate Winslet and Jim Broadbent) will soon become a family favorite.
How to Watch: Mary and the Witch’s Flower is streaming on Hulu.
Is there a movie featuring a more charming Tom Hanks than Big? Well, maybe — Tom Hanks is very charming. But Big is certainly at the top of the list! When 12-year-old Josh Baskin makes a wish to be big, he’s shocked to find the next morning that his wish has actually come true. With the help of his best friend, who is still a kid, Josh starts experimenting with being an adult for a change and learns that being “big” isn’t as easy as he thought. Big, written by Gary Ross and Anne Spielberg and directed by the GOAT Penny Marshall, is a classic for a reason — it’s funny, well-paced, deeply endearing, and makes us all feel a little bit like kids again.
How to Watch: Big is streaming on Hulu.
5. Ernest and Celestine
You probably haven’t seen Ernest & Celestine. The film was released in France in 2012, and though it received an English dub in 2014, it was overshadowed by other animation movies — like Frozen — which was still riding high off of its success at the time.
However, just because Ernest & Celestine is not a grand CGI animation doesn’t mean it’s worth skipping over. Because with storybook-like visuals and a friendship-filled story, the movie gives off the feelings of an old-fashioned film you’ll want to cozy up to.
The comedy-drama sees a world in which, separated by fear, the rodents live underground and the bears live aboveground. However, instead of eating Celestine (Mackenzie Foy) after stumbling into her, musician bear Ernest (Forest Whitaker) teams up with the mouse to complete their varying agendas. Unfortunately, this also forces them to run from the police together. – * Brooke Bajgrowicz, Entertainment Fellow
How to Watch: Ernest and Celestine is streaming on Hulu.
6. We Bought A Zoo
Credit: Twentieth Century Fox Film/Kobal/Shutterstock
The movie that launched a thousand memes, We Bought a Zoo tells the true story of Benjamin Mee (Matt Damon) and his two children struggling to find a new normal after the death of their mother and Benjamin’s wife. Looking for a fresh start, Benjamin looks for a new house and ends up — look, it’s right there in the title — buying a dang zoo! Based on a best-selling memoir of the same name, We Bought a Zoo is a heartfelt tale of love, grief, and rebuilding, with the added bonus of pretty animals!
How to Watch: We Bought a Zoo is streaming on Hulu.
7. Monster House
Craving something creepy but kid-friendly? Then step on up to this sensational 2006 film, in which the Big Bad is a towering, sentient, old house that gobbles up toys as well as trespassing children. While the premise might sound perturbing, children will relish the tale of three spirited kids who not only discover the Monster House‘s horrors but also its hidden heart. A surprisingly poignant finale follows a bunch of frights and fun, making this a great pick for family movie night. Using motion-capture animation, director Gil Kenan taps into Amblin Entertainment’s established aesthetic, where grounded drama meets freaky fantasy. Adding oomph — and some grown-up curb appeal — is a voice cast that includes celebrated actors, like Steve Buscemi, Fred Willard, Catherine O’Hara, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Kathleen Turner, Jon Heder, and Jason Lee. Trick or treat? Why not both! – * Kristy Puchko, Film Editor
How to Watch: Monster House is streaming on Hulu.
Before Tom Holland was out here charming the pants off the world, or Andrew Garfield was breaking all of our hearts, there was only one Spiderman, and that was Tobey Maguire. Sam Raimi’s 2002 Spider-Man is the seminal spidey-guy origin story that absolutely holds up to today’s exacting superhero movie standards, in no small part thanks to its stellar cast (Willem Dafoe, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Cliff Robertson, and Rosemary Harris). Spider-Man will always be a fun watch. After all, this is the movie that taught us that with great power comes great responsibility, that high schoolers can be 35-year-olds if you want, and that the best way to make out is upside down and in the rain.
How to Watch: Spider-Man is streaming on Hulu.
For a throwback watch that will entertain the kiddos, look no further than 2005’s Robots. Ewan McGregor, Robin Williams, Halle Berry, Stanley Tucci, Dianne Wiest, Mel Brooks, Jennifer Coolidge, Jim Broadbent, Amanda Bynes, and more — we can’t list names forever! — star in this high-energy animated sci-fi adventure about, you guessed it, robots. Rodney Copperbottom (McGregor) is an idealistic young inventor who becomes a local hero when he uses his skills to repair damaged or outmoded robots. The company that was trying to sell upgrades to these busted robots at a major premium? Well, suffice it to say, they’re pissed. The movie’s strength comes from its imaginative depiction of a robotic world (its transportation system is basically a Rube Goldberg Machine), making Robots an enchanting pick for family movie night. *
How to Watch: Robots is streaming on Hulu.
10. Father of the Bride
The movie that made a generation of women look at Steve Martin as a father figure, Father of the Bride is a lovely family comedy that will likely make you clutch your kids or call your parents, depending on where you’re at in life.
A remake of the 1950 classic of the same name, Father of the Bride tells the story of a dad surprised by his daughter’s sudden engagement and having trouble letting go. For very little reason, he disapproves of his future son-in-law and is an absolute curmudgeon throughout the wedding planning process. It’s a relatable, endearing romp written by rom-com queen Nancy Meyers, and also starring Diane Keaton, Martin Short, BD Wong, Kieran Culkin, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, and George Newbern.
How to Watch: Father of the Bride is streaming on Hulu.
UPDATE: Oct. 21, 2022, 4:07 p.m. EDT This list was originally published on November 13, 2021. It has been updated to reflect the current highlights available on Hulu.