Everyone loves animated movies. Kids love the cartoon style, the colors, and the characters. Parents and kids at heart love the story which can sometimes have real and relatable themes that children may not pick up on or fully understand. It’s important to judge the maturity of your kids to know if the subject matter is something they can handle.
What Is Netflix for Kids?
Netflix for kids is a collection of animated movies, kids tv shows, and other content suitable for kids. Many of the animated movies on Netflix and that we have listed here are foreign films with deep narratives and gorgeous art. Some of which may not be for younger kids, but may be great for a teenager.
How It Works
When you load Netflix on your device and choose the profile to view from, you have the option to choose “For Kids.” This will only load movies and television suitable for those under the age of 18. Much of the content is the mindless stuff kids watch, but a parent wouldn’t enjoy. However, that doesn’t mean there are not poignant animated movies that will connect with an adult.
Which Animated Movies to Watch
Run time: 107 min, IMDb: 7.6/10, Age: 6+
Moana has everything that good animated movies need to succeed and is one of Disney’s recent box office hits for good reason. It may have lost at the Oscars to Zootopia, which is also on Netflix and is also a wonderful film, but Moana has that magic that truly makes it shine. Fun, enjoyable characters, animal sidekicks, catchy songs you’ll fall in love with, and more. It’s a beautiful coming-of-age story set in the South Pacific islands and paying homage to the culture and folklore. You won’t be able to get enough of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson as demi-god Maui and songs by Broadway composer and superstar Lin-Manuel Miranda and Opetaia. You’ll want to watch this over again as soon as it’s over.
The Emperor’s New Groove (2000)
Run time: 84 min, IMDb: 7.3/10, Age: 6+
Another one of Disney’s animated movies that is an insanely good time. It’s funny and charming, with an arrogant, egotistical emperor named Kuzco, voiced by David Spade, who gets turned into a llama by his evil advisor Yzma. It’s a slapstick comedy buddy cop style movie that is just really fun. Kuzco meets Pacha, a gentle llama herder and together they work to get Kuzco turned back into his former self. It is compared heavily with Dreamworks slapstick comedy The Road To El Dorado (2000) representing Incan and Aztec heritages, respectively. Both are on Netflix, and both will have you laughing all night long.
The Little Prince (2015)
Run time: 108, IMDb: 7.8/10, Age: 10+
Based on the 1943 novel of the same name, The Little Prince is a French English-language 3D animated movie using stop-motion in the fantasy, adventure, drama, and family genres. A little girl is being prepared for adulthood by her mother, but she meets her neighbor, an aviator, she is introduced to the extraordinary, the universe of the little prince, taking a journey into her imagination and learning that the most important thing of all is the human connections she makes along the way. It’s a heartwarming movie that will stay with you long after it’s over.
The Iron Giant (1999)
Run time: 86 min, IMDb: 8/10, Age: 6+
The Iron Giant is a classic among animated movies centering on a boy meeting a giant robot, and the bonds of friendship that develop when a paranoid government agency decides that they want to destroy it because they think it’s dangerous. It’s the kind of movie that thrives on nostalgia and adults will want to watch again and again, while kids will enjoy it for the first time wishing for an adventure where they get to befriend a fantastical robot. Also, the robot is voiced by Vin Diesel which is almost as great as him voicing a giant tree that only says “I Am Groot.”
The Prince of Egypt (1998)
Run time: 99 min, IMDb: 7/10, Age: 8+
A Dreamworks animated movie that had an underwhelming reception at the box office, but never got the credit it deserved for its gorgeous artwork and soundtrack, along with a story that is renown in the bible. While it’s not completely accurate, it is the story of Moses learning about his Hebrew heritage and defying his brother Ramses, marching his people to the promised land. It may not have technically advanced animation, but for its time, it was stunning and deserves more appreciation than it gets.
Song of the Sea (2014)
Run time: 94 min, IMDb: 8.1/10, Age: 7+
An Irish folklore story about a boy and his sister, the of the selkies, a legend in Ireland and Scotland about women who can turn into seals. They go on an adventure to save the spirit world. It’s a magical and beautiful film directed by Tomm Moore, who also directed The Secret of the Kells (2009), a slightly more intense animated movie taking place during a medieval siege. Described by a reviewer on IMDb as “intoxicating,” Song of the Sea is definitely worth the watch and great for your young ones.
Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)
Run time: 101 min, IMDb: 7.8/10, Age: 9+
This Oscar-nominated film is a feat in stop-motion animation and is the story of a boy named Kubo, who with his snow monkey sidekick and samurai beetle, must go on a hero’s journey to locate magical, legendary armor that belonged to his late father, which destroys evil spirits that are pursuing Kubo and his family. The film has a fantastic soundtrack which plays a part in the plot and got a rating of 97% on Rotten Tomatoes. If there’s no other reason to watch this movie, the music and the stop-motion animation make it more than worth it.
My Life as a Zucchini (2017)
Run time: 70 min, IMDb: 7.8/10, Age: 11+
My Life as a Zucchini is a colorful stop-motion film that was nominated at the 89th Academy Awards for best animation. It is a dark comedy-drama about life in an orphanage as a boy gets sent to a foster home with many other children and must learn about love and trust. It is a French animation that was also nominated for best foreign film in Switzerland. It is not for younger viewers, but pre-teens and teens will enjoy it. It scored 98% on Rotten Tomatoes and should be lauded for the dark, emotional, and realistic themes it addresses.
April and The Extraordinary World (2016)
Run time: 106 min, IMDb: 7.3/10, Age: 9+
April and The Extraordinary World is a film that deviates from the world as we know it and explores France in 1941 ruled by Napoleon V and deprived of technological advancements, which are now primarily powered by coal and steam causing people to have to wear masks when they go outside into a world without trees. Scholars and scientists have been disappearing over the past 60 years, and April must go on an adventure to find her scientist parents facing dangers and mysteries in this unique world. The simple animation may not be the CGI standard we’ve grown accustomed to, but it is beautiful nonetheless.
The Breadwinner (2017)
Run time: 94 min, IMDb: 7.7/10, Age: 11+
The Breadwinner, created by the same company who released Song of the Sea and The Secret of the Kells, is the story of an 11-year-old girl, Parvana, living in Afganistan under Taliban rule in 2001, who must cut her hair and disguise herself as a boy to provide for her family after her father is wrongfully arrested. She enters a world with both freedom and dangers in a story that is dark and evocative.
It is a story that western culture does not get exposed to often. In that way, you can parallel it with another Middle Eastern animated movie, that while vastly different is also worth seeing: Persepolis (2007), based on a graphic novel, it’s the story of a girl coming of age during the Iranian revolution. Both films show the lives of girls in the Middle East and should be seen and praised for their beautiful representations of a culture and heritage that is largely ignored in America.
For this list, we tried to pick films which are not the gold standard of animated movies according to the Oscars or the general public, but the hidden gems that movie buffs and animation junkies everywhere will love and appreciate for what they bring to the table. Stories that have more adult themes that may not be appropriate for the youngest viewers, but are worthwhile for the topics they address. Their creative animation styles have a sense of cultural heritage. Netflix has a wide variety of animated movies and here are a few really great ones that you can start with and enjoy with your family.