Last updated date: July 29, 2019

DWYM Score


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Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in the category.

We looked at the top Children's Movies and dug through the reviews from some of the most popular review sites. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Children's Movis you should buy.

Overall Take

In our analysis of 83 expert reviews, the PARAMOUNT PICTURES PARAMOUNT PICTURES Charlotte's Web placed 6th when we looked at the top 10 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note August 20, 2019:
Checkout The Best Children’s Movie for a detailed review of all the top children's movies.

Expert Summarized Score
9 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
34,807 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
The film is more distinctive when it remembers that its heart and soul is the unique relationship between lonely piglet Wilbur and the compassionate barn spider who befriends him, vows somehow to save his life and finds the inspiration to do it. Wilbur alone finds Charlotte beautiful (well, she is pretty cute at that). Her qualities and his admiration for her show the barn’s other arachnophobic residents that every being is special and has a purpose, which plants the seed of an uplifting moral with some dark and sad undertones.
- Empire
October 10, 2015 | Full review
- Common Sense Media
And “Charlotte’s Web” is a sneakily sophisticated fable. White certainly appreciated the joys of life on the farm (while evading some of its bloodier aspects), but the book is really about the benevolent, even miraculous power of celebrity. It is, most simply, the story of a spider, Charlotte A. Cavitica, who saves the life of a pig named Wilbur by making him famous. She is a gifted writer whose chosen genre is what we might now call the pull quote — her oeuvre consists of the words “terrific,” “radiant,” “some pig” and, in a stroke of public relations genius, “humble,” all emblazoned in webbing for the world to see.
- The New York Times
December 15, 2006 | Full review
The animals come to life with enough credibility that it's not out of the question that a few tears may be shed for a CGI creature.
- Reel Views
- Rotten Tomatoes
The film stresses repeatedly that making friends and standing by your commitments to others is essential in life. When Wilbur asks the other standoffish animals if they are friends, they hem and haw but assure him that they all get along fine in the little barn. But the pig calls their bluff by responding, "I'm not sure that being in the same place is the same as being friends." When Wilbur finally finds a pal in Charlotte, he literally jumps for joy. The other animals wonder out loud how an ugly spider could cause such a reaction and express their disdain, to which Wilbur says, "I think she's beautiful," and points out her attributes.
- Plugged In
Winick's film doesn't just tell the story of "Charlotte's Web"; it captures the spirit, the essence, and the significance of E.B. White's classic. It gets the big picture, the broader strokes of what White's book does so well. It's more than a movie about Some Pig, it's a story about exalting in life, celebrating change, and finding hope in death. Charlotte's Web isn't just a good adaptation, it's a great film. A piece of moving poetry, the kind of movie that just might broaden young minds in the same way the book has for so many years.
- Cinema Blend
This isn't as magically enchanting as the 1952 children's classic by E.B. White, any more than a museum-shop print of La Giaconda is as mysteriously beguiling as Leonardo's original. But this respectful, live-action adaptation of White's gentle tale about an undersized pig, a clever spider and the everyday marvels that too often pass unnoticed is a charmer nonetheless.
- TV Guide
- Metacritic
What experts didn't like
The only real bad mark goes to the usually deft Danny Elfman, whose uncharacteristically mawkish score wells up intrusively every time something terrific or touching happens.
- Empire
October 10, 2015 | Full review
Strangely, even with plucky Dakota Fanning fronting for the human actors, the film loses some of its magic when it moves outside of the barn. Comparisons to Babe are expected and warranted, but one thing missing form this story is James Cromwell.
- Reel Views
Although Fern's desire to protect and care for Wilbur is honorable, she does show disrespect to her father while fighting to get her way. She also sneaks the pig into school and lies to her teacher about stowing him in her desk.
- Plugged In

From The Manufacturer

Based on the children's classic tale, Wilbur the pig forms an unlikely partnership with Charlotte the spider to make sure he does not end up on the dinner table.

Overall Product Rankings

Magic Light Pictures Room on the Broom
1. Magic Light Pictures Room on the Broom
Overall Score: 8.5
Expert Reviews: 4
Walt Disney Pictures Brave
2. Walt Disney Pictures Brave
Overall Score: 8.1
Expert Reviews: 8
Magic Light Pictures The Gruffalo
3. Magic Light Pictures The Gruffalo
Overall Score: 8.0
Expert Reviews: 4
Disney – Pixar Monsters Inc
4. Disney – Pixar Monsters Inc
Overall Score: 7.9
Expert Reviews: 13
Magic Light Pictures The Gruffalo’s Child
5. Magic Light Pictures The Gruffalo’s Child
Overall Score: 7.8
Expert Reviews: 4
Overall Score: 6.9
Expert Reviews: 9
Fox The Peanuts Movie
7. Fox The Peanuts Movie
Overall Score: 6.7
Expert Reviews: 10
Walt Disney Pictures Honey, I Shrunk The Kids
8. Walt Disney Pictures Honey, I Shrunk The Kids
Overall Score: 6.3
Expert Reviews: 7
Walt Disney Pictures A Goofy Movie
9. Walt Disney Pictures A Goofy Movie
Overall Score: 6.0
Expert Reviews: 5
Shout! Factory Maya The Bee
10. Shout! Factory Maya The Bee
Overall Score: 5.8
Expert Reviews: 10

An Overview On Children's Movies

As a parent, you’ve got tons of choices to make about what your child listens to, watches and reads. Are they old enough to handle the language of that song? Will they get something worthwhile out of that book? Is this movie’s message something they’ll pick up on?

That’s enough to make anyone exhausted, especially in a time when you’ve got endless content to choose from. Luckily, a great movie can teach them a lot (and give you a little time to put your feet up).

Storytelling is inherently valuable. A great story teaches your children how to tell their own stories. It also encourages them to empathize with characters who are different from them and shows them that there are many different ways to look at and experience the world. Finding that perfect movie for this moment in your kid’s life is a gift for both you and your child. 

The best children’s movies combine a compelling plot with relatable characters and exciting visuals. We’ve done the research for you and picked the best kid flicks around. Take a look at our Tips & Advice for specific info on these fantastic films. 

DWYM Fun Fact

Many childhood favorites are fully animated, but early animated films bear little resemblance to the CGI-heavy flicks of today.  Many people think of the 1928 short “Steamboat Willie” when they think about early animation, but the first animated film was released two decades earlier. 

“Fantasmagorie” by French artist Émile Cohl was the first animated film. It debuted in 1908, and it was about a stick figure interacting with various objects that transformed before your eyes (like a flower stalk turning into an elephant’s trunk). The animator’s hands were purposely featured in several frames. It clocked in at a minute and 17 seconds, and it was part of the Silent Era of animated films.

Synchronized sound came about in animated films around 1924. This was the “Steamboat Willie” era, and most of the action in that short movie revolves around Willie making sounds. The steamboat sounds and Willie’s whistling made this flick stand out. 

Color was finally featured in animated films in 1930. Steamboat Willie was rebranded as Mickey Mouse. His universe rapidly expanded with the addition of Goofy, Pluto and Donald Duck. Popeye, Betty Boop and Superman began dominating screens during this time, and Warner Bros. also launched Looney Tunes. 

Technology kept moving forward, improving the quality and realism of animated films.  “The Rescuers Down Under” was the first film that used digital ink and paint in 1990, and “Toy Story” made history in 1995 — it was the first feature film fully animated with computers. 

Today’s animated films can combine different styles, like cutouts, Claymation and old-fashioned hand drawings, to bring unforgettable stories to life. We’ve come a long way since stick figures and steamboats.

The Children's Movis Buying Guide

  • The most obvious feature you’ll want in a children’s movie is an engaging story. There are plenty of kids’ movies that are just slapped together, but even young children can tell the difference between a movie with heart and a storyline that falls apart. “Room on the Broom” is only 30 minutes long, but the story about a generous witch who teams up with her friends to fight a dragon is bewitching. The movie was even nominated for Best Animated Short Film at the 2014 Academy Awards.
  • Many kids’ movies are animated, and the best animated flicks are thoughtful about the medium and how it relates to the movie’s story. Great visuals add oomph to any kids’ movie. “The Gruffalo” uses a combination of Claymation and CGI to bring its story to life. It’s based on the children’s book of the same title, and the animation matches the book’s illustrations to help the story translate to the big screen. Pixar favorite “Monsters, Inc.” uses digital animation to capture every strand of Sulley’s teal fur. 
  • You can find a film with a great story and breathtaking animation, but it won’t matter if it’s not age-friendly for your kid. The length of the film, the complexity of the plot and the movie’s themes all play a role in determining whether it’s appropriate for your child’s age group. “Room on the Broom” and “The Gruffalo” are both ideal for the youngest viewers. They both have a runtime of 40 minutes or less, and the stories combine simple themes with novel animation to keep very young children (ages 5 and under) interested. Pixar’s “Brave” runs for an hour and 40 minutes. It has more complex themes, like promoting independence and standing up for your beliefs. (It’s also Pixar’s first film starring a female protagonist.) It’s rated PG, and it’s probably best for children ages 8 and up. 
  • Speaking of themes, movies can be a fun way to emphasize lessons you’re trying to teach your children in real life. It never hurts to have a fun movie with a great message in your home. “Room on the Broom”  speaks to the power of friendship in the face of adversity. “Monsters, Inc.” demonstrates how teamwork can get the job done, and it encourages the audience to give new people a chance. Seeing life lessons play out with fun characters can help kids connect with new ideas more easily.
  • No one knows your kid’s interests better than you. Many children love repetition, and they’ll watch the same film over and over again. If you’re going to invest in a movie to watch at home, you may as well get the most out of your money and make sure it’s something your little one will enjoy watching on repeat. “Monsters, Inc.” has a multilayered story with plenty of Pixar Easter eggs that make every viewing a little bit different. 
  • Obviously, your child will be the one watching their movie, but you’ll be around the house when the TV is on. It doesn’t hurt to pick a children’s film that you’ll also enjoy. You can watch it together for some family bonding time, and the movie won’t drive you crazy if you’re just trying to work at home. Pixar’s films, like “Brave” and “Monsters, Inc.” both include sly jokes for adults that will fly over younger children’s heads. “Room on the Broom” and “The Gruffalo” are both beautifully animated — it will feel like you’re watching art, not patiently waiting through a movie for kids. Plus, both of those films have famous adult actors as part of the cast (Helena Bonham Carter narrates “The Gruffalo” and Gillian Anderson’s voice makes a cameo in “Room on the Broom”).