23 Classic ’90s Movies for Kids That Still Hold Up

90s Movies for Kids Pixar / Walt Disney Pictures

These classic ’90s movies will take you back to your childhood

The Roaring Twenties. The Swingin’ Sixties. The Nostalgerific Nineties. Okay, that last one is not an official title for the decade following The Goonies but preceding Harry Potter. But if we were gonna peg our favorite decade with a phat nickname, well, there you go.

It’s the decade that gave us All That’s big-screen spinoff, Good Burger; Emilio Estevez’s claim to hockey fame, The Mighty Ducks; and the fantastic slew of animated gems that make up the Disney Renaissance, including Mulan, The Lion King, and Beauty and the Beast. It’s also the decade that celebrates humor, heart, and family-friendly entertainment.

Ahead, we’re rounding up our favorite ’90s movies for kids. Like a nostalgic time capsule, our list includes animated adventures, heartwarming tearjerkers, and even Oscar-worthy dramas, ensuring that not only will the little ones stay entertained, but the parents in the room won’t be tempted to reach for their earbuds.

Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast is a classic 90s movie
Walt Disney Pictures

A tale as old as 1991, Beauty and the Beast was the first full-length animated feature to be nominated for Best Picture. Though that may not be much of a selling point for the kiddos in the room, the hospitable dinnerware that can sing and dance, the enchanting tale of a bookworm befriending a cursed prince, and the intriguing mysteries hiding around every corner of the beast’s French Rococo castle certainly are.

Available on Disney+.

Mouse Hunt

Mouse Hunt
Dreamworks Animation

It’s always a good time when auteurs with elevated resumes take a break from more mature content and give kids fare a go. Gore Verbinski, the helmer of highbrow horror like The Ring and A Cure for Wellness, and the Pirates franchise, takes on this fun comedy about two unlucky brothers who inherit a crumbling mansion, along with the headstrong critter who already calls it home. A clever mix of humor and visual appeal, Mouse Hunt is the crowd-pleaser you’re in pursuit of.

Available on Amazon Prime.

Good Burger

Good Burger is a 90s kids movie
Nickelodeon

After their winning sketch comedy series, All That was followed by their own titular spinoff, Kenan & Kel, it was only natural that stars Kenan Thompson and Kel Mitchell would get their time to shine on the big screen. Enter: Good Burger. A feature-length comedy adapted from the guys’ popular recurring skit on All That, the fast-food frenzy sees the two in peak goofball form as they try and keep their burger joint from going under. Pro tip: You definitely want fries with that.

Available on Paramount+.

Harriet the Spy

Harriet the Spy is a one of the best 90s movies for kids
Nickelodeon

When her secret notebook is discovered by her friends, an 11-year-old master spy risks losing her close buddies and her secret identity. Michelle Trachtenberg makes her film debut in Nickelodeon’s very first movie, and if you have little ones who love a good sleuthing, then we spy a winner here. Beyond good-humored espionage for the pint-size, the role model relationships on display, especially the sweet bond between Harriet and her nanny, will surely engage the adults in the room.

Available on Tubi or Max.

The Lion King

The Lion King is one of the best '90s movies for kids
Walt Disney Pictures

The House of Mouse cranked out animated gems like a well-oiled machine in the ’90s. Enjoying what cinephiles like to call a “golden era,” Disney graced us with Beauty and the Beast, Mulan, Toy Story, and Hercules, but my goodness, when Simba, Nala, and Mufasa welcomed us to Pride Rock and taught us all about the circle of life, a new animated king was crowned. A roaring adventure engrained with Shakespearean nods and Elton John tunes, this classic ’90s movie for kids is a master of its domain.

Available on Disney+.

Matilda

Matilda is a classic 90s movie
TriStar Pictures

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Witches, The BFG: The works of Roald Dahl run deep with pure imagination. With this fanciful tale, adapted for the screen by Danny DeVito, whimsy comes in the form of a 6-year-old girl whose wit and intelligence confound her parents but enthuses her peers, as she leads a spirited rebellion against her school’s mean old headmistress. With themes of courage and compassion embedded in a tale of magic and enchantment, Matilda is A+ fare.

Available on Netflix.

The Iron Giant

The Iron Giant is a classic '90s movie
Warner Bros.

Action film extraordinaire Brad Bird caps off the decade with an animated Cold War fable about a nine-year-old boy, the steely alien he befriends, and the untrusting government officials determined to destroy that which they don’t understand. Bird’s film is actually quite the emotionally hefty cartoon, with themes of empathy, prejudice, and sacrifice at play. So, a post-movie conversation might be in little ones’ best interest.

Available on Max.

The Parent Trap

The Parent Trap is a '90s kids movie
Walt Disney Pictures

Children of the ’90s can all relate to the joy this gift from the film gods brings: a rom-com with not one, but two Lindsay Lohans! Not only did this Disney remake launch the career of its leading dual-role actress, but it’s had millennials living La Vita Lohan ever since. For today’s youth, the farfetched plot of estranged identical twins reuniting and then hatching a plan to rekindle their parent’s flame may be outdated, but the movie’s summer camp pranks and sisterly bonds never get old.

Available on Disney+.

The Sandlot

The Sandlot is a classic 90s movie for kids
20th Century Fox

Every family-friendly movie from the ’90s comes with a lesson. Some spill sage advice still useful today (hakuna matata forever), while others elevate their stories with morals that hit it out of the park. With The Sandlot, you get just that. One of the most classic coming-of-age ’90s movies for kids that plays ball with Smalls, Benny “The Jet,” and the rest of their Sandlot crew through an eventful summer of 1962, this underdog gem proves legends aren’t just made in the majors, but off the bats of anyone who dares to dream big.

Available on Starz.

Space Jam

Space Jam is a classic '90s movie
Warner Bros.

The court’s most legendary baller, Michael Jordan, teams up with the animated realm’s looniest toon, Bugs Bunny, for a sports comedy that blends live action, slapstick comedy, and hand-drawn animation into one star-studded romp. The zany action tips off when Bugs, MJ, and company take on the Monstars, a team of space goons equipped with the talent of the NBA’s finest. Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, and more grace the screen. Our favorite cameo, though? Granny Webster!

Available on Max.

Related: 15 TV Shows from the ’90s Your Kids Will Love

The Mighty Ducks

The Mighty Ducks is a '90s movie for kids
Walt Disney Pictures

“Quack, quack, quack!” Nope, that’s not the flock that forgot to fly south; it’s actually the onomatopoeic cheer that roars louder as everyone’s favorite underducks go from being a nameless peewee hockey team to the high-flying Mighty Ducks. Led by Coach Bombay (played by Emilio Estevez), this team of ragtag slapshooters learn that determination, teamwork, and friendship are how you win on and off the ice.

Available on Disney+.

Cool Runnings

Cool Runnings
Walt Disney Pictures

If you’re not including a John Candy flick in your roundup of classic ’90s movies for kids, you’re not doing it right. That said, John Candy isn’t even the best part of this Jon Turteltaub crowd-pleaser. That superlative goes to Leon, Doug E. Doug, Rawle D. Lewis, and Malik Yoba, the actors who portray the Jamaican bobsleigh team at the heart of the film. Loosely based on the country’s 1988 Winter Olympics debut, this sports comedy is not only an easy watch, but it’s a burst of pride and glory.

Available on Disney+.

Mrs. Doubtfire

Mrs. Doubtfire is a good 90s movie for kids
20th Century Fox

Robin Williams is a national treasure. And even though the comedic genius has left this world, his work on screens big and small lives on. A fun way to introduce littles to the actor’s varied talents is to queue up Mrs. Doubtfire, a charmer about a divorced father going incognito as a busty housekeeper to spend time with his kids, who live with their mom. It costars Sally Field, another huge plus, and gives Williams the floor to show off his impressions, energy, and rapid-fire wit.

Available on Tubi or rent on Amazon Prime.

Mulan

Mulan is a classic '90s Disney movie
Walt Disney Pictures

Strength knows no gender in this animated classic ’90s movie for kids. Mulan, a 16-year-old maiden who disguises herself as a soldier to join the Chinese Army in her ailing father’s place, battles her way to warrior status and solidifies her character as one of the greatest heroines in the pantheon of Magic Kingdom legends. Of course, it wouldn’t be Disney without a few laughs. So, count on Eddie Murphy’s Mushu, a little red dragon with a whole lot of attitude, to keep them giggling.

Available on Disney+.

My Girl

 

The bittersweet nostalgia of youth takes the form of a precocious 11-year-old named Vada Sultenfuss in this essential coming-of-age tearjerker. A budding writer, Vada grapples with some pretty heavy complexities, particularly death. Her mom died right after giving birth to her, so now she lives with her father who runs a funeral home out of their abode. Worry not, though, the serious stuff finds balance with lighter fare, namely adventures with the adorable Thomas J.

Available on CWTV or rent on Amazon Prime

Princess Mononoke

Princess Mononoke is a Studio Ghibli 90s movie for kids
GKIDS

Set in ancient Japan, Princess Mononoke tells the story of Ashitaka, a young Emishi prince on a quest to find the cure for a curse put on him while fighting for his village. This journey leads him to uncover the truth behind the conflict between humans and forest spirits, who are led by an enigmatic wolf girl named San, a.k.a. Princess Mononoke. This one comes from Studio Ghibli, Japan’s premier animation studio, so you can expect vibrant animation and a thematically rich watch.

Available on Max.

Ruby Bridges

Ruby Bridges is a great 90s movie for kids
Walt Disney Pictures

The first African American child to attend an all-white elementary school, Ruby Bridges became a civil rights icon at the wee age of six, with bows in her hair and buckles on her Mary Janes. This pick, an ABC made-for-television movie that was just one of several Wonderful World of Disney small-screen productions, takes place in New Orleans in November 1960 and chronicles that time a little girl paved the way for desegregation in schools across the nation.

Available on Disney+.

The Secret Garden

The Secret Garden is a classic 90s movie
Warner Bros.

Curiosity and imagination are given room to bloom in this adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s same-name novel first published in 1911. About a little girl who is sent from India to England to live on her uncle’s estate after her parents are killed in an earthquake, this enchanting tale sees her unlock the best-kept secrets Mother Nature has up her floral sleeve. Adventure, mystery, and magic abound—and trust us, it’s enchantment that will grow on both girls and boys.

Available on Prime Video.

Cinderella

Roger & Hammerstein's Cinderella
Walt Disney Studios

Once upon a time, Brandy and Whitney lit up the screen as the time-honored belle of the ball and the fairy godmother who gets her there in this Disney retooling of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic fairy tale. There’s singing and dancing that will keep the younger set entertained, and comedic stylings from industry greats like Whoopi Goldberg and Bernadette Peters parents will appreciate. It’s a win-win. Just watch it before midnight, or the kiddos might turn into pumpkins.

Available on Disney+.

Life With Mikey

Life with Mikey is a great 90s movie
Walt Disney Pictures

Christina Vidal stars as Angie Vega, a spunky kid with street smarts who’s about to make Mikey (Michael J. Fox), a former child actor now running a talent agency, a lotta dough. It all begins when Mikey spies Angie on the streets of the Big Apple turning on the charm to get out of some pickpocket trouble. Sure she could be the next big star he’s looking for, he talks her into auditioning. And the rest, as they say, is a wrap. Lots of laughs, lessons, and Nathan Lane to enjoy with this one.

Available on Prime Video.

Related: 10 ’80s Movies That Your Kids Need to See

A Little Princess

A Little Princess is a great 90s movie
Warner Bros.

The grown-ups in the room will appreciate this little nugget of film trivia: A Little Princess was not only directed by the stellar Alfonso Cuarón but it was also nominated for two Oscars in 1996, cinematography and art direction. As for the littles? They’ll enjoy the story about Sara, a little girl forced to work as a servant after her father is presumed dead from war. Sounds harsh, but it’s here where she finds compassion, friendship, and the family she deserves.

Available on Prime Video.

Muppet Treasure Island

Muppet Treasure Island is a classic 90s' kids movie
The Jim Henson Company

Adventure is always better with the Muppets. So, hop aboard the Hispaniola with Kermit, Gonzo, and the rest of Jim Henson’s felted friends for a swashbuckling journey to find sunken treasure. The bones of the story are, of course, based on Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island, a literary classic, but because we are dealing in the Muppetverse here, you and yours can expect more of a bonkers high-seas musical that shivers the timbers and tickles the funny bone.

Available on Disney+.

Toy Story

Toy Story is a classic 90s kids movie
Pixar Studios

We’re not crying, you’re crying; okay, everybody’s crying. Disney’s Pixar Studio is a master class in transcendent animated films that tug at the heartstrings. Perhaps its biggest case-maker is this 1995 gem. Tom Hanks lends his voice to Woody, a pull-string cowboy whose favorite-toy status is being threatened by a chatty space ranger that comes with all kinds of bells and whistles. The first in a five-movie franchise, Toy Story is one of the best representations of the passage of time.

Available on Disney+.

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