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Movies for Tweens the Whole Family Will Love

mother and daughter watching a movie

My family and I love Saturday nights because it’s movie time! We would spread mattresses in the living room, make old-fashioned stovetop popcorn, and cuddle over that day’s film choice. Over the years, as my daughters grew from little girls to tweens to teens, we have watched many movies for tweens that everyone loved. 

Now that my son has crossed the line to tweenhood, our must-watch list has become longer. I understand choosing the best pg movie is like doing homework all over again. I spent many hours scouring Common Sense Media, IMDb, and parenting forums to find age-appropriate films for the whole family. The good news is, I’m sharing them with you, moms and dads! Check out the best movies for tweens you could watch on your next movie night.

Classic Favorites

I love sharing movies I enjoyed watching as a child with my kids. It allows them to peek into our world back then and opens up conversations about how our life was growing up. 

E.T (1982)

E.T movie

This lovable classic deserves a spot in any best movie list, perfectly combining the excitement of Sci-Fi and the warmth of childhood nostalgia. It is about an unlikely friendship between an extra-terrestrial and a young boy from California. Many would agree that it’s the best among Steven Spielberg’s masterpieces because of the way-ahead-of-its-time visual effects and the brilliant storytelling that appeals to both young and old.

The Baby Sitter’s Club (1995)

The Babysitter's Club

Moms who devoured the book series would have a blast watching this movie with their daughters. Witness the Stoneybrook babysitters come to life as they navigate young love, family issues, and the many facets of friendship. After enjoying the film, you will want to reread the books and share this Anne C. Martin classic with your kids. 

The Goonies (1985)

The Goonies

This movie spells adventure in big, bold letters! It takes your family on a wild treasure hunt filled with comedic villains, a trip under the streets, booby traps, and clever challenges. But it’s not all fun and games; it also dives into life lessons such as not judging others based on their appearance and valuing family, friends, and the community. 

Back to the Future (1985)

Back to the Future

So many movies about time travel have been made, but this is one for the books. It shows how life was for teens during the 80s – a perfect vantage point for conversations about your childhood. The music, the slow and steady pace, and Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd’s superb acting will get you hooked. The film maybe 38 years old, but it is still entertaining today.

The Princess Bride (1987)

The Princess Bride

Fairy tales are common in movies, but this reimagined classic stands out because of its ingenious storytelling. It’s hysterical, heartwarming, and suspenseful – an ideal recipe for a night of entertainment. Witness the journey of beautiful Buttercup, played by Robin Wright,  as she navigates romance and heartbreak while fending off bandits and a prince she does not love.

The NeverEnding Story (1984)

The NeverEnding Story

It’s surreal, inventive, and out of this world! Witness as a young boy named Bastian goes on an adventure through the pages of a magnificent book. He explores a fantasy land filled with bizarre creatures including Falkor the Luck Dragon, and the mysterious Childlike Empress. Its spellbinding visual effects and touching story will surely captivate you and your kids – you will not even notice that an hour and a half has passed! It’s a visual odyssey that can ignite young imaginations and instill a love of storytelling in the entire family.

The Karate Kid (1984)

The Karate Kid

Think of a classic underdog story with a twist, and you’ve got The Karate Kid. Set against the backdrop of 1980s California, it follows the story of Daniel LaRusso, a determined high schooler who learns kung fu from an unlikely master, Mr. Miyagi. With its themes of resilience and friendship, the enduring story of this film will draw both parents and kids in (an all-too-rare occurrence!).

Comedy Movies for Tweens

A good comedy movie is the best antidote to a tiring week. Nothing beats moments of laughter with the people you love.

The Princess Diaries (2001)

The Princess Diaries

Calling all princess fans! We invite you to watch this delightful story about Mia Thermopolis, an ordinary teenager who discovers she’s the heir to the throne of Genovia. With the help of her quirky grandmother, Queen Clarisse, Mia finds a way to do what’s best for everyone while sticking to who she is. You will love the movie’s positive messages about self-acceptance and inner strength. Your kids will find Mia’s transformation from an awkward teen to a graceful princess awe-inspiring. It is an old-school family movie fun with a little bit of everything: humor, heart, and just a dash of royal magic. 

The Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2010)

The Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Based on a book series by Jeff Kinney, The Diary of a Wimpy Kid narrates the middle school mishaps of Greg Heffley. His journal entries cover everything from the trivial to the monumental, from laughable moments to harebrained schemes. You will appreciate the film’s take on the trials of adolescence. Meanwhile, your kids will relate to Greg’s highs and lows as he journeys from kid to teenager. 

Ramona and Beezus (2010)

Ramona and Beezus

If your kids are fans of Beverly Cleary’s books, they’d love this film adaptation. Ramona’s wild imagination and Beezus’s steady hand make for a great pair. It’s a story with something for parents and kids, showing how one family navigates family life with laughter, heart, and teaching moments. With winning performances from Selena Gomez and Joey King, the film will make for a great family movie night.

School of Rock (2003)

The School of Rock

Out-of-work musician Dewey Finn (Jack Black) decides his fortune lies in being a teacher (or at least pretending to be one.) As he and his talented students form a rock band to join a contest, viewers get a front-row seat to their hilarious and heartwarming journey. You’ll find yourself searching for and singing the catchy tunes even days after watching it. It belts out a resonating message of individuality, friendship, and the power of music to kids and parents alike!

13 Going 30 (2004)

13 Going 30

This whimsical ride through the ups and downs of adolescence will elicit laughter and cheers from your brood. It follows Jenna Rink, a 13-year-old who wakes up one day as a 30-year-old woman, navigating the trials of adulthood with the heart of a teenager. Its endearing characters and relatable storyline will surely be part of everyone’s core memory, whether they’re 13, 30, or beyond!

The Parent Trap (1998)

The Parent Trap

This all-time favorite is double the fun and double the mischief! It’s about identical twins, Annie and Hallie, who meet for the first time at summer camp and devise a plan to bring their estranged parents together. You’ll love how the girls hatch their well-meaning schemes as they try to bring their mom and dad together. It is probably Lindsay Lohan’s most charming performance, packing it with a nostalgic and timeless appeal. 

Cheaper by the Dozen (2003)

This hilarious and heartwarming film celebrates the joys and challenges of large families. Tom and Kate Baker, played by  Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt, have twelve children, and their daily life is pretty chaotic, to say the least. You’ll enjoy a relatable portrayal of parenthood and dealing with kids of various ages and personalities. Your kids, on the other hand, will LOL at the Baker kids’ mishaps and tricks.

You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah (2023)

You are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah

Tara Feinstein, played by Adam Sandler’s real-life daughter, is planning her Bat Mitzvah. On top of it, she had to deal with friendship drama and family quirks. The movie presents the realities of being a teenager – the search for acceptance, the need to belong, and the pitfalls of social media without being preachy. You’ll also get to see a fresh portrayal by Adam Sandler as the dad. He is more subdued here, unlike his other over-the-top performances. Lastly, the film allows us to peek into Jewish culture and tradition, providing a fun way to learn about history and religion. 

Yes Day (2021)

Yes Day

Based on the beloved children’s book, this film tells the story of the Torres family and the chaos after the parents relinquished control for 24 hours. The brood embarked on a day of wild adventures, unexpected challenges, and, yes, a giant serving of ice cream! Through their journey, the parents and kids learn the value of compromise, communication, and the power of saying ‘yes’ to new experiences. Indeed, your family will learn a thing or two, too!

Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret ( 2023)

Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret

This adaptation of Judy Blume’s beloved novel is a coming-of-age tale told with refreshing honesty and humor. It tackles young friendships, identity, puberty woes, and even religious beliefs. You’ll appreciate the sensitive portrayal of children’s challenges during this transitional period, making it a good jumping point for conversations about the birds and the bees with your kids. On the other hand, your tween girls can step in Margaret’s shoes and relate to her experiences – crushes and all! 

Drama Movies for Tweens and Adults

We all know life isn’t always peachy, but it goes on anyway. These movies reflect this reality and offer lessons on heartbreak, failure, and grief.

Little Women (2019)

Little Women

This adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel brings you to 1860s Massachusetts, to the world of  Jo, Meg, Amy, and Beth. You’ll cry and laugh with the March sisters as they explore the joys and struggles of womanhood in 19th-century America. Its cast, including Saoirse Ronan as Jo and Timothy Chalamet as Laurie, had unforgettable scenes you’d recall (and maybe recite) for days. Add the stunning locations to the mix, and you have a film worthy of the top spot in your “to watch” list.

The Help (2011)

The Help

Experience life in Mississippi during the ’60s as you voyage into the lives of African-American maids during that time. This heartrending film sheds light on the racial tensions and discriminations of the era, as seen through the eyes of Skeeter, played by Emma Stone. She’s a young journalist determined to tell a compelling narrative. The brilliant acting will prompt discussions you can have with your family about sensitive issues, including equality and empathy. You can also use this movie to educate your children about standing up against society’s injustices.

The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (2005)

The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants

Imagine a magical pair of jeans that can fit four girls perfectly despite their different body types and personalities. Implausible as it may seem, this film explores this premise. The friends share the pants over the summer. They also navigated love, loss, friendship, and growing pains, forging an unbreakable bond that transcends distance and time. Your kids can relate to the characters’ journey of empowerment and self-discovery. You, on the other hand, will have fun looking at the friendships that have molded you over the years. 

My Girl (1991)

My Girl

This film encapsulates the challenging experience of transitioning from childhood to adolescence. It honors the special platonic bond between an eleven-year-old girl and her best buddy as they grow up in a small Pennsylvanian town. The daughter of a mortician, Vada, struggles with identity crises, loss, and unrequited childhood love. You can use this movie to discuss delicate subjects like relationships, honesty, grief, and moving on with your children. Celebrate childhood innocence and family values as you gather and enjoy this classic.

Now and Then (1995)

Now and Then

Take a “time machine” with your family with this coming-of-age, girl-power film. It goes from the 1970s to the 1990s, showing the story of four childhood friends reuniting to reminisce about their adventures and secrets from long ago. These shared memories will remind you of the value of childhood friendships and their lasting impact on our lives. Your brood will have fun grooving to 70s music and humming “Knock Three Times” for many days. 

Adventure Tween Movies

Sometimes routines can feel a tad too mundane, and they begin to weigh heavy on young hearts and minds. Fortunately, exciting adventure movies can break the monotony. They’ll be the perfect addition to your family movie night list.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001)

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Did your kids (and you) devour the J.K Rowling masterpiece? You will all enjoy your first glimpse into enchanting Hogwarts on the big screen. You’ll also meet the star wizard Harry Potter as he discovers his true identity and begins his extraordinary adventure. Alongside his loyal friends Ron and Hermione, he explores the magical school and its equally intriguing inhabitants and features (moving stairs, anyone?). This start to the franchise opens doors to unforgettable characters and haunting villains. For sure, you’ll be clicking on “Watch Now” to part two sooner than you can imagine.

Beauty and the Beast- Live Action (2017)

Beauty and the Beast- Live Action

The live-action sister of a beloved Disney classic brings you and your loved ones to an imposing castle and an enchanted village. Its exquisite sets and costumes represent the romantic French countryside to a tee. Emma Watson is excellent as Belle, giving the popular role nuance and charm. Meanwhile, Dan Stevens captivates as the Beast with his powerful portrayal. Fall in love all over again with the exciting musical sequences, including a modernized version of “Beauty and the Beast”, “Something There”, and “Be Our Guest”. Get ready to bring out the mic and belt these songs out with your kids.

The Little Mermaid (2023)

The Little Mermaid

Your kids will feel like they’re actually swimming with Ariel and Flounder because of this film’s lifelike underwater scenes. Halle Bailey nailed it as Ariel, bringing a mix of curiosity and independence to the character we all loved. Plus, the updated twists in the storyline will keep you glued to the screen for a long time. Let’s not forget about the songs – you’ll catch yourself singing them for days – “Part of Your World” or “Under the Sea” karaoke session anyone? 

Hugo (2011)


Martin Scorsese might not be someone you’d imagine directing a children’s movie, but he did! He gave life to 1930s Paris with stunning cinematography and storytelling – every scene feels like a work of art. The story brings you on a rollercoaster of emotions, from mystery to adventure to heartwarming moments. Just a heads up, though. You’ll be reaching for the tissues. Your kids will find Hugo and Isabelle so real and relatable. They’ll feel like they are right there with them on their journey.

Ghostbuster’s: Afterlife (2021)

Ghostbuster's: Afterlife

This new version is worth the hype and debate about whether it will live up to its “ancestors”. It provided the right mix of nostalgia for parents who grew up with the franchise and fresh, modern twists for the young ones. The special effects will make you feel like you are in the middle of the action – you’ll catch yourself holding your breath in some scenes. Additionally, the new cast, including Antman’s Paul Rudd and Stranger Things’ Finn Wolfhard, brought a unique vibe to the Ghostbusters universe. It may seem like your usual adventure movie, but beyond the chase scenes and laser guns lies a story about family love and forgiveness.

Animated Films

Good animated movies have this magnetic charm that transcends generations. They can captivate your family’s hearts and minds with rich narratives and visually enchanting worlds.

The Mitchells and the Machines (2021)

The Mitchells and the Machines

From the very beginning to the end credits, this film is an absolute joyride. The team behind Gravity Falls and Spiderverse provided impressive CGI work, especially with the innovative blending of different mediums. And let’s not forget the dad humor – it hits the mark perfectly, making for a laugh-out-loud experience. This film also has emotional depth, adding a layer of richness that stays with you long after the credits roll.

Turning Red (2022)

Turning Red

This Pixar film’s sharp, witty humor flawlessly captures the essence of adolescence. While there are cringe-worthy moments, they only add to the authenticity of the characters’ experiences. The portrayal of geeky culture would surely resonate with many kids. Meanwhile, the exploration of mature themes was both entertaining and heartfelt, lessening the awkward conversations you might have with your tweens. The music beautifully complements the film’s dynamic story – you and your kids might be belting out songs like “Nobody Like You” days after the movie. 

Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse (2018)

Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse

This film is not just a hit with the little ones – adults will be hooked from the get-go, too! Beyond the visual spectacle comes valuable life lessons about bravery, resilience, and embracing our differences. Watching Miles Morales discover his true potential is inspiring for the kids and also a powerful reminder for grown-ups to never give up on their dreams. Plus, the humor had us all in stitches – it’s rare to find a film that can appeal to both generations so effortlessly. 

My Neighbor Totoro (1988)

My Neighbor Totoro

This Studio Ghibli picture will magically take you back to the simpler childhood times. The animation is gorgeous, colorful, and dream-like, with every scene appearing as a picture that has been beautifully drawn. Seeing the sisters bond over their magical journey with Totoro shows how a family should always value each moment they’re together. On one hand, the movie’s calm tone and moments that melt your heart will serve as a balm for life’s uncertainties. 

Get Ready for Movie Night with Your Tweens

It is apparent there are many movies to entertain and engage this unique age group. Fortunately, tweens don’t have to go all the way to adult or kids categories to find something appropriate for them. There are many wonderful stories about coming of age and daily adventures.

Our cinematic journey does not stop at the credits. We would love to know your experiences as well! We’re excited to hear from your own list. Your suggestions may lead to a new movie night tradition, create an energetic atmosphere for conversations, and give other parents a chance to view outstanding choices they would have otherwise missed.

Movies for Tweens the Whole Family Will Love
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