The Best Kids’ Movies From the 1990s You Can Stream Now

Ora Sawyers

Remember when every movie you loved was on a VHS tape stored in a giant plastic clamshell? Our children will never know the struggle of prying one of those things open to watch their favorite Disney classics. On the other hand, thanks to streaming, you can still show them what made family movies in the ’90s so great—without the hassle of a trip tp Blockbuster (and no need to rewind them either). Here are 13 family movies from the ’90s that still hold up, from obscure animated gems to great book adaptations.

The Mighty Ducks (1992)

It’s never too early to show your kids an inspirational sports movie. You probably already know the plot of this one (or could guess it if you’ve ever seen any other sports movies): A reluctant coach teaches the worst youth team in the league the power of teamwork, with an assist with a few good montages. What makes this movie different is that the team (which ended up inspiring an actual NHL franchise) expects just as much from their coach as he does of them, and rakes him over the coals when he doesn’t come through.

Where to stream: Disney+, Digital rental

Cats Don’t Dance (1997)

Chances are you missed this colorful animated gem back in the day. Due to the merger between Time Warner and Turner Broadcasting, the studio’s marketing department forgot about it, so it quickly came and went from theaters. But those who have seen it absolutely love it for the songs (penned by Randy Newman), animated choreography (developed by the late, great Gene Kelly), and a fun story about a cat named Danny who dreams of breaking into Hollywood. 

Where to stream: Tubi, The Roku Channel, Digital rental

Babe: Pig in the City (1998)

You and your kids don’t need to see the first Babe to appreciate its superior follow up (though you won’t mind watching that one either). Using the vivid color palette and visual flair he more recently brought to Mad Max: Fury Road franchise, director George Miller builds a tough but dreamy metropolis that tests the optimism of its hero, a wee pig trying to save his farm from bankruptcy. While this factoid may not mean much to your kids, the film is a favorite of musician Tom Waits, making it much cooler than your typical kid’s movie.

Where to stream: Starz, Digital rental

A Goofy Movie (1995)

The ’90s had its share of pop stars, but none reached the heights that “Stand Out” singer Powerline did when he appeared in this movie spin-off of the television series Goof Troop. The film chronicles a road trip between the titular dad and his teenage son Max, and the inevitable hi-jinx that ensue. When you show this cult classic to your kids, you can tell them how Powerline inspired Justin Bieber to be a performer (not true).

Where to stream: Disney+, Digital rental

Matilda (1996)

Much like today, the ’90s were littered with Roald Dahl adaptations and reboots. There was James and the Giant PeachThe Witches, and this quirky little film about a young girl who uses her wits and psychic powers to get even with the sadistic adults around her. Director Danny Devito (who also plays Matilda’s awful father) uses low camera angles to capture Matilda’s literal point of view, a trick that makes the film visually relatable to its intended audience, who will appreciate some fantastic gags as Matilda plays tricks on her parents and attempts to keep one step ahead of her monstrous, bully of a school principal.If your kids love this one, the recent Netflix musical adaptation makes a nice chaser (though the plots differ slightly). 

Where to stream: Digital rental

Life With Mikey (1993)

Michael J. Fox breaks the W.C. Fields’ rule of never working “with children or animals” in this film about a former child star turned talent agent who tries to land his newest pint-sized client a job. Throw in some Broadway stars like Nathan Lane, Christine Baranski, Mandy Patinkin (in a cameo), plus a young (and kind of horny) David Krumholtz, and you’ve got the makings of a fun family comedy. 

Where to stream: Disney+, Digital rental

Mouse Hunt (1997)

Speaking of Nathan Lane, the actor’s physical comedy chops were tested in this classic about a pair of brothers trying to flip their father’s house to make a small fortune. There’s only one problem: the tiny mouse who lives inside its walls won’t leave, which leaves the duo no choice but to exterminate it by any means necessary. Think Home Alone with a rodent.

Where to stream: Prime Video, Paramount+, Fubo TV, MGM+, Digital rental

Fly Away Home (1996)

Before they were a couple in Noah Baumbach’s The Squid and the Whale, Jeff Daniels and Anna Paquin played a father and daughter who build a goose-shaped glider so they can lead a flock of geese on their first migration south for the winter. Assuming your children aren’t into mid-2000s art house films, the pairing of these two actors won’t affect their enjoyment of this heartwarming, visually stunning film.

Where to stream: Digital rental

The Parent Trap (1998)

Yes, Nancy Meyers, the creative force behind nearly every romantic comedy you’ve loved since, well, the ’90s, co-wrote and directed this remake of the Disney classic about a pair of twins (both played Lindsey Lohan, truly winning in her debut role) who scheme to reunite their divorced parents. While it borrows liberally from the 1961 original, this version is entirely its own thing, filled with humor that will satisfy adults and kids. 

Where to stream: Disney+, Digital rental

Casper (1995)

Finding a ghost story your kids will like without freaking them out is tough. But somehow, in the ’90s, they got one right. Based on the beloved comic and cartoon, Casper focuses more on slapstick than scares, with a cute (and innocent) teenage love story thrown in: Christina Ricci plays a young teenager who moves into a dilapidated old house with her ghost hunter father, who is shocked to discover it is inhabited by real ghosts—including one who is very friendly. 

Where to stream: Digital rental

The Sandlot (1993)

I know I already put one sports movie on this list, but if I had left this one off, I know it would have come up in the comments. On the off chance you’re unfamiliar with this classic, the plot revolves around a group of neighborhood boys trying to retrieve a valuable signed Babe Ruth baseball from their neighbor’s backyard, guarded by his huge, slobbery Mastiff. What makes it memorable are the vignettes spread throughout the film, each of which captures a genuine slice of childhood whimsy.

Where to stream: Disney+, Digital rental

Harriet the Spy (1996)

Before Mean Girls brought the concept of “burn books” into the cultural lexicon, there was Harriet the Spy. Based on the novel by Louise Fitzhugh, the movie follows grade schooler Harriet as she writes all her thoughts about her friends in her notebooks. But when one of her tomes is discovered by a classmate who shares all the secrets inside, her friends begin shutting her out. Though there is a clear moral to be learned from Harriet’s shenanigans, it’s a fun journey getting to it. 

Where to stream: Hoopla, Paramount+, Fubo TV, Digital rental

Muppet Treasure Island (1996)

Since your children are probably not old enough to watch Clue or The Rocky Horror Picture Show, you can introduce them to the genius of Tim Curry with this wacky adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic novel concerning pirates and treasure. They won’t be disappointed.

Where to stream: Disney+, Digital rental

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