Top 50 Films every Child Should see Before they Grow Up

I recently asked my youngest what she wanted to do this summer while off of school. I expected her to say go to the beach, go camping or go to the zoo. Instead she said she wanted to go to the drive-in theatre with the entire family. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Some of my best memories of growing up are around great movies. My first sleepover, first drive-in theatre and the first time I went to see a movie with a friend. Themed birthday parties, character bedding and other fun stuff that filled my childhood. Crying , laughing and experiencing adventures as well as learning new words thanks to great movies.

The BFG, The Lion King and Up! have been named as three of the films all children should watch before the age of 11, according to a new list compiled by leading film industry experts.

The guide to the 50 films every child should see before they grow up has been created by film education charity Into Film, in partnership with the UK video industry. 

Each film was measured against a series of metrics, from the impact of the movie on a child’s intellectual, educational and emotional development, through to suitability for family viewing plus overall entertainment and nostalgia factor.

Must see movies before you grow up

From next generation CGI and animation, to historically innovative breakthrough storylines and concepts, the 50 films were selected for their timeless appeal with their narrative, themes and characters continuing to resonate with audiences. The selection criteria also measured a film’s effect on a child’s emotional and rational understanding of social interaction, creative development and knowledge growth.

The list of 50 Must See Movies Before You Grow Up are revealed (in alphabetical order) as:


101 Dalmatians Jumanji The Gruffalo
A Little Princess Kubo and the Two Strings The Iron Giant
Annie Mary Poppins The Jungle Book
Babe: The Gallant Pig Matilda The LEGO Movie
Beauty and the Beast Nanny McPhee The Lion King
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs Night at the Museum The Lorax
Coraline Oliver! The Never-Ending Story
Diary of a Wimpy Kid Paddington The Princess Bride
Dumbo Secret Life of Pets The Secret Garden
E.T. The Extra Terrestrial Shaun The Sheep Movie The Witches
Fantastic Mr Fox Shrek Toy Story
Free Willy Space Jam Trolls
Frozen Spirited Away Up!
Home Star Wars: A New Hope Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
Hook Swallows and Amazons Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory
Hotel Transylvania The Adventures of TinTin Zootropolis
How To Train Your Dragon The BFG

I think my children have seen most of these. Some are such faves we have watched them over and over again. I have a few faves that did not make the list as well.

What movies do you think should be added? Or is your fave listed?


  1. cgrandy823 says

    Do you have a Drive-In movie theatre near you? I thought they had all closed down. Some of the movies listed are books I’ve read; I didn’t know they’d been made into movies.

  2. We have seen quite a few of these as a family. We also watch TV shows from when I was a kid, my daughter loves my choices,hubby not so

  3. These are all great movies, I think there is only like a couple there that I have not seen!

  4. Laurie P says

    Fantastic list! So glad to see The Princess Bride on it!

  5. I would also include the Chronicles of Narnia, the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. That movie had a big impact on me as a kid.

  6. Nicolthepickle says

    Swallows and Amazons is a movie? I loved the books, but I had no idea there was a movie.

  7. Elizabeth Matthiesen says

    I haven’t seen most of these I must admit, how about Anne of Green Gables, I think that would be very good as it’s made after a book by a Canadian author.

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