WFMW: Choosing Family-Friendly Movies

One of our favorite family activities is watching a movie together. We turned off cable a few years ago and just have Netflix. I think since we try and limit screen time, it makes the time together more special. But honestly? It’s not that easy to find family friendly flick these days.

We also have a wide age span with a preschooler and nearly a teen, so finding something appropriate for the whole family can be challenging.

1. Check in with sites like Plugged-In Online– This is such a fantastic website, created by Focus on the Family. It not only reviews movies and TV shows, it also reviews games. I find it especially helpful for checking out movies. It breaks down movies by:  Positive Elements, Spiritual Content, Sexual Content, Violet Content, Crude or Profane Language, Drug and Alcohol Content and Other Negative Content. It wraps up each review with a helpful Conclusion. Two thumbs up for this site, plus there’s a handy smartphone app. Movie Mom (Belief Net) is also an option for a quick glimpse into a movie or DVD. It love the “grades” it gives movies.

2. Ask someone you trust– Odds are someone you know has seen a movie you’re considering. You can always preview it yourself. I’m always a little hesitant to recommend movies unless it’s something I’m really confidant about sharing.

3. 90 Family Movie Night Suggestions– Plugged In Online also offers suggested Movie Night films based on age breakdown (a list of 20 recommended movies for teens and kids). Simple Mom also has a list of 11 great family movies. Here’s a list of 50 good, clean older movies. Many older movies I saw as a kid would be rated PG-13 today, so beware. But I also think classics (My Fair Lady), musicals (Sound of Music) and old Disney movies (Apple Dumpling Gang) are fun to watch with your family

4. Make it a Teachable Moment– There have been a few movies our older kids have begged to watch, that we weren’t sure about. We have a strict No PG-13 policy, but we bent the rules to watch Courageous together and we’ve done it a few other times. Instead of always saying no, sometimes we surprise our kids and then look for the teachable moment.

“Aside from the simple pleasure of spending time together and discussing films over a big bowl of hot-buttered popcorn, there are teachable moments in Hollywood’s modern parables and character studies. Crafted properly, movies can lift the spirit, tap into eternal truth and convey moral messages that challenge us to live out what we’ve experienced. We have a brief window for watching age-appropriate movies together before our children have to make those decisions for themselves. Here’s your chance to influence the process. The key is to use movies with which you feel comfortable in a controlled setting.” Focus on the Family

5. Use the Remote Control Libererally-I’ve lost count of how many movies we’ve turned off. It’s always disappointing, so doing research is a great idea. We usually end up watching America’s Funniest Videos and laugh our heads off. Clearplay is also a great option for filtering movies.

6. Follow Your Instinct– If you’ve done your research and still don’t have a peace, go with your gut. Just because everyone is watching it, doesn’t mean you (or your family ) should.

How do you choose a movie for your family?

Final countdown to the first ever Works For Me Wednesday compilation e-book called, That Works For Me! Tried and True Tips from WFMW. Coming NEXT WEEK!


  1. 1


    I have exactly the same sentiments, Kristen. Here in our country, it’s hard to find DVDs that are family-friendly, Dove-approved and most of all, Christian movies. And since we don’t go to the theater, what I do I order DVDs online from and Barnes and Noble. The good thing about it is, I can review each movie thoroughly especially the reviews of those who have watched it. That’s my WFMW but I also linked my latest post “Guiding Our Children in the Faith”. I hope and pray your readers will find help through it.


  2. 2

    says is also a really good resource. It not only rates every movie, but also describes each instant of whatever it’s rating against. For instance it might list “child shoved to ground” as an act of violence. This way you can ‘preview’ in words what you might be up against.

  3. 8


    The Vision Forum catalog has some great family-friendly films that won film festival awards. We really loved “The Secrets of Johnathan Sperry.” I also put in a purchase order request at our library for “The Runner from Ravenshead.” A critic called it the best family film of the year. We love the older films from Sherwood Pictures, like FlyWheel and Facing the Giants, too.
    I agree Plugged In is a great resource!

  4. 9


    I don’t think enough parents monitor what their children watch. So, thank you for posting this. :-) Great list! We’re pretty strict on what our 2.5 year old watches. As a general rule, I don’t even like to watch Rated R movies myself.

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    Good morning! I’ve been asked by several how I make my own Sushi at home (I’m no pro, but it looks and tastes like an expensive restaurant roll!). Today, I’ve linked up a simple tutorial-sans raw fish. It’s healthy, cheap to make and oh, so tasty. Thanks for hosting the partee! Hope you enjoy-have a great day!

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    I’ve never heard of Plugged In…I’ll check into that…thank you! We actually stopped our NetFlix streaming because we felt like we had seen EVERY appropriate movie available. 😉 We use Kids in Mind, and imbd has good info on what movies contain as well. We are very strict about what our kiddo sees, but as he is in 7th grade, we made an exception for The King’s Speech.

  7. 12

    Mom of 3 boys says

    We also love clearplay. If you are not familiar with this it is a DVD player that filters out the “bad-stuff”. You can set how strict you want the filtering and it even filters for bigotry, and parental disrespect! As my boys have hit the teen years they want the action adventure movies but I don’t want the language and “boy-girl” content so we compromise and filter it! Highly recommend it as the kids get older. It can take a good movie and make it great!

  8. 14


    Great information. I love the movie lists. And I’ve never heard of Clearplay before. I’ll have to look into that a little more I think.

  9. 16

    AK says

    We LOVE LOVE LOVE Clearplay! It has really expanded the movies we have been able to watch together.

    We also have been watching ‘old’ movies. There are some good books out there for recommended them – one of our fav is ‘Best Old Movies for Families’.

  10. 17

    whitney says

    i am a silent reader on of your blog but I have to tell you about this movie. This past weekend I got the surprise of my life when Encore Family played all three ‘Wilderness Family’ movies all day long, back to back. My 5 year old and I watched the first one and DVR’d the other two. They are from the 70’s and G rated Disney movies. It took me back to my childhood when they were my sister and my favorite movies to watch. The music is horribly out-dated however the story is awesome and the movie is wholesome. It’s about a family that decides to move to the rocky mountains to live a simple life in a log cabin. they work together as a family to make it work. I have told everyone i know that i finally got to see my favorite childhood movie! You have to check them out!!!!

  11. 19


    You may want to check out our website. We only carry family friendly movies and we are adding a bunch of reviews to help you decide if you and your family want to watch each movie. We also have a list of several other parent review sites that you don’t have above. It is here:

    Also, would you consider doing some kind of post where you feature our website or would you consider re-posting some of our blogs? We are also planning on adding a wide variety of blogs and would be open to some kind of reciprocation.

  12. 20


    The movies that are becoming really popular nowadays are filled with violence, drug use, and sexuality that it has become difficult to pick and choose which ones we can and should show to our children. But as responsible and loving parents, we should definitely make the effort, because we don’t want our children missing out on enjoying good films and learning a few lessons on the way. There will come a time when they will be old enough to understand what’s happening, but before that, it’s best to sit with our children and watch kid-friendly, lesson-filled movies first.

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