These Beloved Kids Movies Are Guaranteed To Make You Smile

Sometimes, when the weight of the world is on your shoulders, you just need a break. You could head to the local multiplex to check out the latest blockbuster, but is watching Leonardo DiCaprio get mauled by a bear really the break from reality you so desire?

Instead, think back to a simpler time. A time when you didn’t need to pay rent or think about things like income taxes. Because seriously, screw taxes, am I right?

We’re talking, of course, about your childhood. It was a time of whimsy and magic, creativity and possibility. A time when movies transported you to new worlds, and you willingly let them. It was easy to suspend disbelief and travel to Ariel’s cavern of treasure under the sea, or watch Matilda Wormwood get the best of Miss Trunchbull using her telekinetic powers.

We highly recommend watching one of these flicks whenever you need to take a brief respite to a happier, less complicated time. It’s the circle of life, really. They continue to move us all, no matter what your age.

Spirited Away (2001)
Is it a kid’s movie if it scares adults? Jury’s still out. In this Japanese animated movie, a 10-year-old girl and her parents stumble upon an abandoned amusement park. As if that weren’t creepy enough, Chihiro’s mom and dad are turned into pigs (!) and she’s whisked away to a bathhouse where the world’s supernatural creatures go for a little R&R. In her job as a bathhouse cleaner, Chihiro has to rely on guile and luck to remember her life on earth and rescue her parents. With stunning illustrations and wild plot lines, Spirited Away is an imaginative film that doesn’t talk down to its audience. Instead, it reminds kids that the world’s possibilities are more wonderful and more terrifying than they’d dreamed.
Chicken Run (2000)
The 2000 claymation film has everything going for it: chickens who can knit, an evil piemaker, and a you-can-do-this tale of underdog triumph. Add to that British accents — yes, the chickens speak with proper English accents — and you've got an absolute winner. In the movie, a cockerel named Rocky ends up in the henhouse, and no fowl hanky-panky occurs. Instead, the hens convince Rocky to help them escape the farm. How do they escape, they ask? Why, they learn how to fly.

Like we said, flying chickens. Chickens who knit. Mice with British accents. This movie is gold.
The Adventures Of Milo & Otis (1986)
This live-action film follows Milo, the cat, and Otis, the dog, in their Odyssey-like quest to find each other after a river current separates the two. Narrated by the British Dudley Moore, The Adventures Of Milo And Otis is just an excuse to watch kitties and dogs play in the snow for 90 minutes. That being said, you should be forewarned: this movie is scarier than you might expect. Both Milo and Otis get lost in the woods. There are some harrowing sequences there, especially when the furry friends first get separated.
A Bug's Life (1998)
When a lowly ant Flik mucks up his colony's food supply, a menacing grasshopper threatens to destroy the community of ants. Flik goes on an adventure to recruit stronger insects to defend his creepy crawly colony.

(Also: An objective truth in this world is that Bug's Life is not as good as Antz. Bug's Life might have the color and jokes of a feel-good family movie, but Antz was gritty and nuanced.)
George of the Jungle (1997)
"George George George of the jungle, strong as he can be / George George George of the jungle, watch out for that tree!"

Forget Tarzan. The undisputed king of the jungle is hapless George of the jungle, who battles to save his ape friends from bozo poachers. In the spirit of get you a man who can do both, George can swing through the jungle on hanging vines and also rock a black turtleneck.
Mighty Joe Young (2000)
Pre-Harambe and post-Kong, there was the 15-foot tall Joe Young.

Jill Young (Charlize Theron) and Joe Young (the genetically modified ape) are a pair of orphans who have sworn to protect each other. Jill's mom rescued Joe from poachers just before her death. As a result, the pair share a close bond. Now that Jill is an adult, the poachers have returned, and she's looking for a new place to house her friend.
Monsters Inc. (2001)
Take a tour of corporate scare-merica. (A corny joke, but come on.) Sulley and Mike are the Michael Jordan-Scottie Pippen of making children scream at Monsters, Inc., a scare factory in Monstropolis. When a little girl named Boo accidentally follows them through the closet portal and into the world of monsters, the duo make a mad dash to return her home.
Antz (1998)
Boy meets girl. Boy is neurotic ant voiced by Woody Allen; girl is princess ant voiced by Sharon Stone. In retrospect, everything about this animated flick is a little random (Anne Bancroft in a movie with Jennifer Lopez? Danny Glover in a movie with Woody Allen?), but it's a sweet, underdog story about overcoming a stiflingly classist, homogenous city of ants.
The Brave Little Toaster (1987)
Household appliances never had more charm than in this cartoon about loyalty and friendship. A toaster, a blanket, a lamp, a radio, and a vacuum cleaner journey through the outside world to find their missing owner.
Like Mike (2002)
You watched it because basketball is your favorite sport, but you loved it because stories about blended families melt everyone's heart.
Holes (2003)
Young Shia LaBeouf spends a summer at a detention camp looking for treasure and trying to undo a centuries-old curse put on his family by Madame Zeroni (a.k.a. Eartha Kitt). The star-studded cast is still just a good as you remember: Sigourney Weaver, Jon Voight, Patricia Arquette, and Dulé Hill.
Stuart Little (1999)
A mouse makes a home with his human family. (Disclaimer: The prospect of a mouse brother was much more appealing before you grew up and moved to a big city where rats scamper around the streets at night.)
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
You could wile away the hours, conferrin’ with the flowers, or you could watch The Wizard Oz. It’s never a bad time to revisit Dorothy (Judy Garland) and her pals, and remember there’s no place like home.
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
A man (Edmund Gwenn) claims to be Santa Claus, so a lawyer (John Payne) and a young girl (Natalie Wood) step up to his defense.
The NeverEnding Story (1984)
Also known as “the movie that made kids everywhere TERRIFIED of quicksand.” Actually, pretty much all sand for a short period of time after watching this film. Miss you, Artax.
An American Tail (1986)
Fievel Mousekewitz and his family escape Cossacks in Russia for a better life in America — where they hear the streets are paved with cheese — but they get separated along the way.
The Adventures of Milo and Otis (1986)
A pug named Otis and a tabby cat named Milo have to find their way back home after Milo accidentally floats away on the river in a box, and Otis runs after him.
The Little Mermaid (1989)
Sebastian warns Ariel that “the seaweed is always greener in somebody else’s lake,” but she still dreams about going “up where they walk, up where they run, up where they stay all day in the sun” to meet the dreamy Prince Eric she espies on the shore. A real dreamer, that redheaded mermaid.
Home Alone (1990)
A boy (Macaulay Culkin) defends his house from two thieves (Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern) when his parents accidentally leave for their holiday trip to Paris without him.
Beauty and the Beast (1991)
A most peculiar girl who’s always got her head buried in a book is the only one who can break the spell that turned a prince into a hideous beast. Tale as old as time, really.
The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)
What’s this? What’s this?” Jack Skellington hasn’t got a clue, but it’s something very new.
Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey (1993)
This remake of 1963’s The Incredible Journey follows Chance, an American bulldog, Sassy, a Himalayan cat, and Shadow, a golden retriever, as they set off through the wilderness to find the family they worry has left them behind.
Free Willy (1993)
The movie somehow seems even more relevant now than it did when it came out in 1993, what with the documentary and news stories exposing the horrible treatment of orcas in places like SeaWorld.
The Lion King (1994)
A young lion named Simba is living his best life on Pride Rock when his evil uncle Scar has the cub’s father Mufasa killed in a stampede. Simba runs off, scared and alone, and does a lot of growing up with help from Timon, Pumba, and catchy songs by Tim Rice and Elton John. Can you feel the love tonight?
Little Giants (1994)
Yet another movie from the '90s that nursed our childhood crushes on Devon Sawa. Plus, Becky “Icebox” O’Shea (Shawna Waldron) is one of the best female characters ever.
Little Rascals (1994)
Alfalfa (Bug Hall) finds himself on the outs with the rest of the He-Man Woman Haters Club when he develops a crush on Darla (Brittany Ashton Holmes).
Now and Then (1995)
In 1991, four women reunite in their hometown and reminisce about the summer of 1970. That magical summer, they had two main goals: to buy a tree house and to stay away from the Wormer brothers, who of course had just gotten cute — especially Scott (Devon Sawa). A séance in the town cemetery led them to the discovery of a tombstone that only reads “Dear Johnny,” and the girls added finding out the mystery of his identity to their agenda.
Babe (1995)
An orphaned pig is taken in by a Border Collie and becomes a sheepdog. Well, sheep-pig.
Casper (1995)
Can I keep you?
Toy Story (1995), Toy Story 2 (1999), Toy Story 3 (2010)
Woody, Buzz Lightyear, and the rest of Andy’s lovable gang of toys come to life when he leaves the room. And oh, the adventures they have. To infinity and beyond!
Matilda (1996)
The movie is based on Roald Dahl’s beloved novel about Matilda Wormwood, a telekinetic genius with horrible parents and an even crueler school principal.
Anastasia (1997)
Have you heard? There’s a rumor in St. Petersburg. In this happier, animated version of events, Anastasia Romanov manages to avoid the same fate as her family.
The Parent Trap (1998)
Lindsay Lohan burst onto the scene playing adorable meddling twins trying to get her estranged parents back together in this remake of the 1961 original.
The Incredibles (2004)
A family of superheroes finally gets to use their powers despite a government ban, and we learn that capes are a total mistake in any superhero outfit.
Ratatouille (2007)
Remy (Patton Oswalt) just wants to cook, but there’s a problem: He’s a rat. So he teams up with the gangly human garbage boy Linguini (Lou Romano). Kids love it for the cute talking animals. Adults love it for its meditation on criticism and artistry. Break out a baguette to eat while you watch.
Frozen (2013)
The animated movie about two royal sisters — one with the ability to produce and control snow, ice, and frost — who reconnect after years of isolation from each other has become a megahit phenomenon. Plus, there's that one catchy song — you’ll never be able to let it go from your head.
Song of the Sea (2014)
Irish myths come to life in this tale of a young girl named Saoirse (Lucy O'Connell), a selkie, and her brother (David Rawle). What are selkies, you ask? Well, they are humans who become seals in the water.
Like this post? There's more. Get tons of celebrity news, fun takes on pop culture, and trending stories on the Refinery29 Entertainment Facebook page. Like us on Facebook — we'll see you there!