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Best family movies on Amazon Prime in July 2021

Best family movies on Amazon Prime: Ramona and Beezus, Super 8, Chicken Run
(Image credit: AF archive / Alamy Stock Photo; Paramount Pictures; Getty)

Finding the best family movies on Amazon Prime is difficult. Not only does the Kids section push more TV than movies, some of the films in that section are … well ... not that good. 

They’re either mindless neon pablum directed at the way-young crowd, or they're the films that are pretty darn old (1970’s flicks might be a tough sell with kids). So, we did the work of combing through Prime Video to find stuff that parents can watch with kids of all ages, from 6 year olds all the way up to mid-teens. 

In addition to the MPAA ratings, we’ve included the Common Sense Media ratings for each film. The group is highly respected when it comes to helping parents find the appropriate film for their specific family. We’ve got a wide range of films for various age groups, starting with the 6 and up Ramona and Beezus and other films better for teens.

E.T., The Extra-Terrestrial

(Image credit: Sunset Boulevard / Getty)

Steven Spielberg is the master of small-town sci-fi — I mean come on, he’s so good at it that Stranger Things is essentially an entire show based around trying to recapture the formula he perfected in the early 1980s. And nowhere is that magic more apparent than in ET. It’s a damn-near-perfect encapsulation of childhood, taking in family dramas, school, friendships and the all-important question of what to wear for Halloween, then turning it on its head by throwing an alien into the mix. Oh, and there are some nasty government agents, too. It’s a perfect family movie: kids will be bewitched by ET’s antics, adults will enjoy the nostalgia, everyone will be enthralled by the story. Common Sense Media rates it for 7+, but as its official PG rating makes clear, it does have some scary moments, so it’s not one for all ages. Oh, and expect tears at the end. Lots of them. — Marc McLaren

Common Sense Media rating: ages 7 and up

Rotten Tomatoes: 98%

MPAA Rating: PG

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Big Fish

Best family movies on Amazon Prime: Big Fish

(Image credit: AA Film Archive / Alamy Stock Photo)

The words “Directed by Tim Burton” carry a lot of weight. Because let’s face it, the man behind the likes of Edward Scissorhands and Beetlejuice is never likely to make a dull film. A bad film, sure — we’ve seen Planet of the Apes — but not a boring one. Big Fish is definitely not dull, and nor is it bad: rather, it’s a wildly inventive and frequently funny experience from start to finish. Ewan McGregor is brilliant as the tall-tale-telling Ed Bloom, who navigates a magical world of witches and werewolves, mermaids and enchanted villages while seeking his true love — or is he just making it all up? He’s ably supported by a stellar supporting cast including Albert Finney, Jessica Lange and Helena Bonham-Carter, and look out too for star turns from Danny DeVito and Steve Buscemi. Some (minor) nudity and mild swearing earn it a PG-13 rating, while Common Sense Media pitches it at ages 12 and above. That feels about right for a film that might be a little too complicated for younger kids anyway. But trust us, it’s a great family film for older children. — Marc McLaren

Common Sense Media rating: ages 12 and up

Rotten Tomatoes: 75%

MPAA Rating: PG-13

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Ramona and Beezus

Based on Beverly Cleary's best-selling books, the tales of young Ramona Quimby (Joey King) and big sis Beezus (Selena Gomez before her pop icon days) start off in a wholesome and chaotic manner. You know, the kind that many accident-prone tots will find both relatable and amusing. Things get a little sad when Ramona's father loses his job, and when a pet passes away, but the wholesome energy of the film shines through and teaches strong lessons about believing in one's self. 

Common Sense Media rating: ages 6 and up

Rotten Tomatoes: 70%

MPAA Rating: G

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Chicken Run

Best family movies on Amazon Prime: Chicken Run

(Image credit: Getty)

We don't really think much about the lives chickens lead before they wind up on our plates. But younger audiences may start once they see the peculiar flock that lay eggs at a quaint Yorkshire chicken farm. Of course, though, an American rooster winds up on the scene and brings things to a fever pitch in the name of freedom. That's Rocky (voiced by Mel Gibson), who is trying to teach his fellow chickens how to fly the coop. But when Mrs. Tweedy's farm gains a chicken-pie making machine, Rocky's got less convincing to do and more escaping to actualize.

Common Sense Media rating: ages 7 and up

Rotten Tomatoes: 97%

MPAA Rating: G

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Explorers

Best family movies on Amazon Prime: Explorers

(Image credit: Allstar Picture Library Ltd. / Alamy Stock Photo)

A very young Ethan Hawke and River Phoenix star in this classic coming-of-age movie that may seem familiar, but has a ton of heart. Ben Crandall (Hawke) and Wolfgang Muller (Phoenix) somehow manage to create an actual spaceship, inspired by their lifetime of loving fantasy and science. They even wind up going to outer space and meeting some alien creatures. Think slightly-less-Stranger Things, that's less scary and more charming.

Common Sense Media rating: ages 7 and up

Rotten Tomatoes: 74%

MPAA Rating: PG

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Super 8

(Image credit: Paramount Pictures)

Film and TV masters J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg directed and produced (respectively) this fantastic piece of family friendly sci-fi and fantasy. Meant to harken retro nostalgia vibes (like Stranger Things, but a little more natural), Super 8 focuses on a group of kids during the late 70's in a small Ohio town who happen to come across the supernatural while shooting a film on a super 8 camera. Your kids might ask "why don't they just use an iPhone?" and you can explain to them how back in your day, film had to be developed before it was seen. Elle Fanning leads a strong cast of lesser-known child actors while veteran actors Kyle Chandler and Noah Emmerich provide some adult supervision. If your kid might not like casual jump-scare sci-fi, you might want to wait. 

Common Sense Media rating: ages 13 and up

Rotten Tomatoes: 81%

MPAA Rating: PG-13

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The Big Sick

(Image credit: Amazon Studios)

OK, this might be a stretch, considering its R-rating, but Common Sense Media is willing to consider The Big Sick as a movie appropriate for kids 15 years and older, so we should consider it here. The film covers a lot of complicated things, including sickness, as Kumail (Nanjiani, playing a character based on his own courtship with co-writer Emily V. Gordon) falls for Emily (Zoe Kazan), only for her to start fighting a mysterious sickness that sends her to the hospital. The film also tackles the issues of mixed-race couples. Nanjiani's traditional Muslim parents are frustrated with his decision to date a white woman, while Emily's parents (played by Holly Hunter and Ray Romano) have a hard time getting to know Kumail and have some incredibly awkward questions to ask. 

Common Sense Media rating: ages 15 and up

Rotten Tomatoes: 98%

MPAA Rating: R

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More family movies to stream

If Amazon doesn't offer enough family friendly films for your household, check out our best family films on Netflix guide, as well as HBO Max, which has the excellent Studio Ghibli films and content from Looney Tunes and Sesame Street. Of course, there's always Disney Plus, but you already knew about the house of the mouse's big streaming service, didn't you? 

Henry T. Casey

Henry is an editor writer at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and Apple. Prior to joining Tom's Guide — where he's the self-described Rare Oreo Expert — he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. You can find him at your local pro wrestling events, and looking for the headphone adapter that he unplugged from his iPhone.