The 10 Best Family Movies of 2023

Michael Foust

ChristianHeadlines.com Contributor
Published Jan 09, 2024
The 10 Best Family Movies of 2023

The year included impressive family content during the spring (Super Mario), the summer (The Little Mermaid), the fall (PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie), and the Christmas season (read on to discover those). The year also included a solid list of family-centric streaming movies -- several that can be enjoyed by small kids and big kids alike.

For fans of family-friendly movies, 2023 was an exceptional year.

Three of the ten highest-grossing films of 2023 were animated titles, led by The Super Mario Bros. Movie, which finished at No. 2.

The year included impressive family content during the spring (Super Mario), the summer (The Little Mermaid), the fall (PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie), and the Christmas season (read on to discover those). The year also included a solid list of family-centric streaming movies -- several that can be enjoyed by small kids and big kids alike.

Following are the ten best family movies of 2023, in alphabetical order. (For our list of the best Christian movies of 2023, click here.)

1. Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget

A family of chickens is horrified to discover that a local amusement park -- Fun-Land Farms -- produces chicken nuggets. (The company’s comical tagline: “Where chickens find their happy endings.”) The family then sets out to save one of their own. Dawn of the Nugget is a sequel to the 2000 movie Chicken Run and features stop-motion animation. It was made by the same company that released the Shaun the Sheep films. Rated PG for peril, action and some thematic elements. Cleaplay and VidAngel offer filters.

2. Chupa

A teenage boy comes face-to-face with a mythical creature -- a “chupacabra” -- while visiting his family in Mexico. Soon, they become friends, and the boy is risking his life to save it. The plot echoes the award-winning film E.T. but has plenty of elements that make it different. Luchadores (masked Mexican wrestlers) give the film a comical charm. (The boy’s grandfather is an ex-luchador). Rated PG for some action, peril and thematic elements. Clearplay and VidAngel offer filters.

3. Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny

Harrison Ford in Indiana Jones, things to know about the new Indiana Jones movie

Photo credit: ©Disney, used with permission.

If you want an action movie for teens and adults, this is my top choice for 2023. It is set in 1969 and tells the story of an elderly Indiana Jones as he (begrudgingly) joins forces with his goddaughter, Helena, to search for an ancient dial that was supposedly created by the Greek mathematician/inventor Archimedes and holds untold powers. The catch? They must find it before the Nazis find it. (The Nazis are trying to revive their old empire.) Dial of Destiny is rated PG-13 for sequences of violence and action, language, and smoking. Clearplay offers a filter.

4. The Little Mermaid

A young mermaid (Ariel) falls in love with a young man (Eric) and makes a deal with a sea witch to become a human. This well-known love story is a live-action remake of the 1989 animated classic and is also based on the Hans Christian Andersen 1837 story of the same name. The film celebrates cultures and encourages audiences to embrace those who look different. It is rated PG for action/peril and some scary images. Clearplay offers a filter.

5. Migration

Migration kids movie

Photo credit: ©Illumination; used with permission.

A once-reclusive family of mallards venture out on their first-ever vacation. Of course, not everything goes as planned. (For starters, they get lost in New York City.) This kid-friendly animated movie was released by Illumination, the same company behind the Despicable Me, Minions, Sing, and The Secret Life of Pets franchises. It features the voices of Kumail Nanjiani, Elizabeth Banks, Danny DeVito, and Awkwafina. Rated PG for action/peril and mild rude humor. As of this writing, it is not yet on home video.

6. PAW Patrol: The Mighty Movie

A tiny pup known as Skye helps save the day in Adventure City thanks to her mysterious new superpowers. The film is the sequel to 2021’s PAW Patrol: The Movie and follows the story of the Paw Patrol friends as they stumble upon glowing green crystals left behind from a meteor and develop otherworldly abilities. Unlike characters in other films, the members of Paw Patrol almost always get along. It’s like watching a group of crime-fighting, friendly kids on an elementary school playground. Rated PG for mild action/peril.

7. Peter Pan & Wendy

A girl named Wendy, who doesn’t want to grow up, is transported to a place called Neverland thanks to the magic of Peter Pan and his companion, a fairy named Tinker Bell. There, Wendy helps her new friends battle the evil Captain Hook. This live-action remake is based on the 1953 classic movie and stars Alexander Molony, Ever Anderson, Yara Shahidi, and Jude Law. Rated PG for violence, peril, and thematic elements. Clearplay offers a filter.

8. Spy Kids Armageddon

Siblings Tony and Patty team up to save the world when the “bad guys” in their video games escape to the real world. Eventually, this brother-sister tandem unites with their secret agent parents. It is the fifth movie in the Spy Kids franchise, which is one of the most family-friendly live-action franchises in recent years. Robert Rodriguez directed all. Rated PG. ClearPlay offers a filter.

9. The Super Mario Bros. Movie

The Super Mario Bros Movie

Photo credit: ©Illumination/Nintendo

Mario teams up with his brother Luigi and their friend Princess Peach to combat evil forces in her domain, the Mushroom Kingdom. The movie is based on the mega-popular Nintendo video game and features the vocal talents of Chris Pratt, Anya Taylor-Joy, Jack Black, Charlie Day, and Keegan-Michael Key. It was the top-grossing animated film of 2023. Rated PG for action and mild violence. Clearplay and Vidangel offer filters.

10. Wonka

An eccentric inventor and chocolatier named Willy Wonka tries to introduce his magical treats to a new city, only to be thwarted by a group of local businessmen. This charming musical fantasy film is the backstory to the well-known story of Willy Wonka, a franchise that included 1971’s Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (starring Gene Wilder) and 2005’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (starring Johnny Depp). This newest one features Timothée Chalamet in the lead role. Rated PG for some violence, mild language, and thematic elements. As of this writing, it is not yet on home video.

Photo credit: ©Getty Images/Monkey Business Images

Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chroniclethe Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.