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The best family films on every UK streaming service

Keep your entire family entertained with the best films on four of the best streaming services in the UK

All of us have been coping with lockdown in different ways. There’s no denying that it’s soon becoming “the new normal”. However, for many of us, what keeps us sane is switching off from work and switching on the telly, especially on the weekend. Thankfully, the UK has tons of streaming services that many of us subscribe to, or share accounts with friends and family.

While each of these streaming services have over 1,000 films and TV series each, finding a film that you watch with your entire family can often be a daunting experience. You may try to search for a good film on one streaming service and not find it, only to later realise it’s available on another streaming service. To save you this hassle, we’ve compiled a list of the best family films on each streaming service in the UK.

Apart from letting you unwind, these films will also help parents working from home, who are no doubt grappling with the challenge of keeping young children entertained for days on end. With school and childcare on indefinite hiatus, distractions are hard to come by, so it’s easy to see why so many are resorting to a good streaming service – a TV show can buy you hours of stress-free, kid-free time.

With the plethora of streaming services available, finding something to plonk yourself or your kids in front of can be tough – not because there’s nothing to watch, but because each service offers content that appeals to a specific target audience. Some, like Disney Plus, are more child-friendly, while others like Amazon Prime Video cater more for adults.

To make this choice easier for you, we’ve trawled four of our favourite UK streaming services – namely, Disney Plus, Now TV Sky Cinema Pass, Amazon Prime Video and Netflix – to cherry-pick the best family films to keep the kids entertained and give the parents out there a chance to unwind.

You’ll be pleased to know that all streaming services – except Disney Plus – have a limited free trial for new members. This gives you enough time to see what’s on offer and even cancel your subscription without being charged a penny if you feel that it’s not the right service for you. Read on for the best family films from our favourite streaming services.

Best family films on Disney Plus

As we stated in our recent Disney Plus review, Disney’s new streaming service – which arrived in the UK on 24 March – is a great option if you have kids because it has an expansive catalogue of Disney and Pixar content that you and your children will love. Disney Plus costs £5.99/mth or £59.99/yr, making it the cheapest streaming service in the UK.

If you’re wondering what’s in it for you, Disney Plus also has all the Marvel and Star Wars films, most of which are available in 4K UHD – like all of the films we’ve mentioned below. Not only you can stream Disney Plus content simultaneously on four devices at once, but you can even download content to watch it offline.

READ NEXT: How to watch every single Star Wars movie

1. The Lion King (Original and live-action remake)

The Lion King is without a doubt a classic family film that has survived the decades and will continue to do so for years to come. Follow the adventures of young Simba as he battles against his evil uncle, Scar, and follows in his father’s paw-steps to become ruler of the animal kingdom. If this doesn’t fulfil your lust for lions then watch last year’s stunning live-action remake, which is also available on Disney Plus.

2. Toy Story (1, 2, 3 and 4)

Disney Plus is only streaming service where you can watch all four Toy Story movies, including 2019’s Toy Story 4. Join Woody and Buzz Lightyear, voiced by Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, and the rest of the toybox as they survive crazed kids, thieving enthusiasts, jealous stuffed animals and a DIY creation that’s struggling to get to grips with its own mortality. 

3. Aladdin (Original and live-action remake)

When Aladdin, a lowly street urchin, falls in love with Princess Jasmine he could never imagine the magical story that lies ahead. Relive Robin Williams’ fantastic voicing of everyone’s favourite big blue genie. As with The Lion King, you’ll also be able to watch last year’s live-action remake, starring Will Smith as the genie. Both films are available to stream in 4K, including the remastered original.

4. Frozen

Sit back, put your feet up and, in the spirit of Queen Elsa, let it go! Anna and her friends must protect their land from freezing over – but at what cost? Disclaimer: put this on at your own risk, as song fatigue may occur. Frozen 2 is, unfortunately, not available on Disney Plus in the UK (it comes here next week), but it’s available on Disney Plus US if you want to watch it using a VPN.

5. Finding Nemo and Find Dory

The classic Disney animation that made the humble clownfish a household name. Follow Marlin and Dory on their aquatic adventure to find Nemo, Marlin’s son. Indulge yourselves further with the follow-up, Finding Dory, where it’s Dory’s turn to find long lost relatives.

READ NEXT: Disney Plus review

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Best family films on Now TV Sky Cinema Pass

Now TV is perfect for those of you that want high-quality Sky programming and loads of movies without any setup fees or lengthy contracts. You can cancel whenever you wish and you can customise your package so you only pay for what you watch. Choose between an Entertainment Pass, Sky Cinema pass, Hayu, Kids and Sky Sports pass, all of which you can mix and match to create a unique bundle.

With the introduction of Now TV Boost you can watch all this content in Full HD on three devices simultaneously, instead of the default two. You need to buy the Now TV Sky Cinema Pass you want if you want to watch the below films. This will set you back £11.99/mth which, considering the extensive library of films available, is pretty reasonable.

OFFER: Get 7-day free trial of Now TV Sky Cinema Pass

1. Up

Winner of Best Animated Feature at the Oscars, Pixar outdid themselves once more with this animated masterpiece. The story follows an elderly man and a young boy who take a trip into the jungle in a floating house. It’s sure to warm your heart and bring a tear to your eye.

2. Mary Poppins Returns

Emily Blunt excels as the nation’s favourite nanny in this modern retelling of Mary Poppins. She must rescue the second generation of the Banks family as they, once again, find themselves in turmoil. Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Meryl Streep and Colin Firth are amongst the star-studded cast.

3. Matilda

Danny Devito brings Roald Dahl’s classic tale to the screen with a terrifying Pam Ferris as the child-hating headmistress and Mara Wilson as the gifted school girl. Once Matilda discovers her superpowers, she realises she can fight back against the adults in her life.

4. Instant Family

When a hopeful couple (Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne) are looking to adopt a teenage girl they don’t expect the extra baggage that comes with her. Soon they go from a family of two to five overnight, but this kindness comes at a cost.

5. The Goonies

Stephen Spielberg directs this adventurous tale about a group of outcasts on the hunt for the lost fortune of One-Eyed Willie, a legendary pirate. They know the booty is hidden under the house of evil Mama Fratelli, but how will they get there?

READ NEXT: Now TV review

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Best family films on Amazon Prime Video

You may well already have access to Amazon Prime Video if you have an Amazon Prime account, but if you don’t, here’s the lowdown. For a full Prime membership, you pay £7.99/mth or £79/yr and get a whole host of perks including free next day delivery, unlimited music streaming and of course access to a huge library of TV shows and movies at no extra cost. If you’re unsure, you can make use of the generous 30-day free trial before you choose to sign up.

If you prefer, you can opt for an Amazon Prime Video only which costs £5.99/mnth but you’ll forgo all the great perks you get with a full membership. As well as the standard range of films and TV expected on a streaming service, you’ll also get exclusive access to Prime originals like Star Trek Picard, Fleabag, The Marvelous Mrs Maisel and Jack Ryan.

OFFER: Try Amazon Prime free for 30 days

1. Paddington 1 and 2

It’s Paddington bear as you’ve never seen him before, brought to life (not literally, of course) for the live-action remake. The bear, voiced by Ben Whishaw, finds himself in England in search of a new home since the Peruvian rainforest he used to live in was demolished. Soon he finds solace with the Brown family – but not without a fight from an evil taxidermist.

2. Alvin and The Chipmunks 1, 2 and 3

Who would have thought that the story of three chipmunks getting signed by a big music label would make for such a successful movie? If you (but more likely your kids) love high-pitched covers by incredibly cute chipmunks, then Alvin and his siblings could be right up your street.

3. Happy Feet

Mumble the penguin suffers from one big affliction: he can’t sing. Surrounded by penguins that sing beautifully to attract mates, he is made to feel as though he doesn’t belong. But he soon uncovers a hidden talent, and turns the tables on penguin tradition in spectacular fashion.

4. The BFG

Directorial genius Steven Spielberg lavishes us with visual wizardry in the live-action adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic children’s book. When young Sophie meets the Big Friendly Giant she is initially scared of his 24-foot presence, but soon their friendship blossoms while also drawing attention from other dangerous giants.

5. The House with a Clock in Its Walls

Based on the novel by John Bellairs, this movie – starring Jack Black and Cate Blanchett – follows a young boy who lives with his uncle in a creaky old house that was previously inhabited by an evil Warlock. We must warn you that even though it’s a family film, some scenes might be a bit too spooky for smaller children.

READ NEXT: Amazon Prime Video review

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Best family films on Netflix

Netflix has long reigned supreme in the land of streaming services but, with the release of Disney Plus, it has increasingly strong competition. Netflix offers three subscription plans: Basic, Standard and Premium. The Basic plan costs £5.99/mth but it restricts you to watching in standard definition on only one device at a time. The Standard plan costs £8.99 but you can watch content on two devices at the same time and in high definition.

The Premium plan is costly at £11.99/mnth but you can stream on four devices simultaneously and in 4K, provided you have a 4K TV. Netflix originals often go on to gain critical acclaim (The Last Dance, Tiger King, Marriage Story, The Witcher, Stranger Things, The Irishman) so you’ll have plenty of quality content to keep you busy even after your trial period elapses.

OFFER: Try Netflix free for 30 days

1. Minions

The prequel to the children’s’ favourite, Despicable Me, spends its time explaining what the hoard of Minions are and how they came to be. The little ones are sure to love the Minions mischief and slapstick humour, although be warned: this one might drive you loopy.

2. Annie (original and recent adaptation)

The original movie was released in 1982, the other in 2014 starring Jamie Foxx, Cameron Diaz and Rose Bryne. Both movies trace their origins to the Broadway musical, which in turn was inspired from the Little Orphan Annie comic strip that was first published in 1924. All the aforementioned tell the story of an outgoing orphan looking for a home, a rich billionaire looking for company and how fate brings them together.

3. Peter Rabbit

James Corden, Rose Byrne and Margot Robbie are amongst the impressive star-studded cast in this retelling of the classic children’s book. What was once a pleasant existence for the three rabbits in Mr McGregor’s vegetable garden becomes a life-threatening tussle once his relative moves in.

4. Free Willy

The tale of a young misfit named Jesse who, after being placed with new foster parents, is made to work at a waterpark as penance for vandalising it. He meets an orca whale named Willy who has also been separated from his parents. Soon they form an unbreakable bond. But can Jesse save Willy before it’s too late?

5. Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle

Yet another live-action remake to feast your eyes on. Mowgli is raised by wolves in the jungles of India. He is taken in by the animals of the jungle and treated as their own, but he’ll soon find that not everyone is so welcoming. Starring Andy Serkis, Christian Bale and Cate Blanchett.

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