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Five road trip movies to stream for your kids

Road trips are a great way to get in some quality family time while exploring the world. Many people have fond memories or tell funny stories about their own family road trips as kids. If you want to pass those good times on to your kids, you better be prepared. Many family-friendly SUVs and vans have screens in the backseats, so kids have something to watch on long car rides. Even if your vehicle doesn’t have built-in screens, your kids surely have handheld screens of their own to watch road trip movies on. Here are five family road trip movies we love — and your whole family will, too.

Finding Nemo (2003)

Finding Nemo
Animation, Family
Albert Brooks, Ellen DeGeneres, Alexander Gould
Directed by
Andrew Stanton

Finding Nemo is an animated movie about a clownfish named Nemo (Alexander Gould) and his overly-cautious dad, Marlin (Albert Brooks). When Nemo swims too close to the surface while attempting to prove himself and is caught by a diver, Marlin sets out to find him. Marlin is accompanied on his journey by a blue reef fish named Dory (Ellen DeGeneres), who has a really short-term memory. This film was released in 2003 but remains at the top of many favorite movie lists for both children and adults. The 1 hour and 40 minute movie is rated G, so it is wholesome enough for the entire family.

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Frozen (2013)

Animation, Family, Adventure, Fantasy
Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff
Directed by
Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee

Many parents may not want to hear the word Frozen ever again due to the film’s extraordinary popularity a few years back. But kids of all ages love this movie and what better time for a musical than on a road trip when everyone can join in on the sing-along? The whole family will enjoy singing along with Elsa (Idina Menzel) and her sister Anna (Kristen Bell) as they endure an adventure to save their kingdom with the help of friend Kristoff (Jonathan Groff). This movie’s runtime is 1 hour and 49 minutes, and it has a rating of PG.

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Mulan (1998)

Animation, Family, Adventure
Ming-Na Wen, Eddie Murphy, BD Wong
Directed by
Tony Bancroft, Barry Cook

Mulan (2020)

Adventure, Fantasy, Drama
Liu Yifei, Tzi Ma, Donnie Yen
Directed by
Niki Caro

This animated movie was released in 1998 originally, and there is now a live-action adaptation of the film that was released in 2020. Mulan is a fearless young woman who disguises herself as a man to battle with northern invaders in China to save her aging father from serving in the Chinese Imperial Army. The movie is empowering for all kids, and parents will love the story as well. The movie runs 1 hour and 30 minutes and is rated G (the live-action film runs for two hours and is rated PG-13). If you’re on a long road trip, you can watch both to compare and contrast.

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Toy Story (1995)

Toy Story
Animation, Adventure, Family, Comedy
Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Don Rickles
Directed by
John Lasseter

The first movie in this series was released in 1995, and due to its success, there are now three sequels. Toy Story takes place in a world where toys come to life when humans aren’t around. Woody (Tom Hanks) and Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) begin the film as rivals when Andy, the toy’s owner, gets Buzz for a birthday present. Soon enough, Woody and Buzz must learn to work together to escape and be reunited with Andy and the rest of the gang. The movie has a runtime of 1 hour and 21 minutes and is rated G, but there are four movies total in the series.

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Hook (1991)

Adventure, Fantasy, Comedy, Family
Dustin Hoffman, Robin Williams, Julia Roberts
Directed by
Steven Spielberg

Hook is a story about an adult Peter Pan (Robin Williams) and his children, who Captain Hook (Dustin Hoffman) kidnaps. The tale takes Peter to Neverland to save his kidnapped children, and along the way, he reclaims the memories of his past. The film was directed by Steven Spielberg and is a classic story that will entertain children of all ages and adults alike. The movie is 141 minutes long has a PG rating.

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Road trips are fun … as long as you’re prepared with good entertainment for the kids. They probably already have devices in their hands, so why not put a family-friendly movie on that screen and bask in the sound of silence? Any of the films above will keep your children — and even adults — entertained until it’s time for the next rest stop.

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Movie images and data from:
Kelly Kaliszewski
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Kelly's work has appeared in blogs and on websites. When she's not writing, she is playing with her two dogs, cooking, or…
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Learn to say "yes!"
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Stop often
On a long pleasure trip, forget about “making good time.” You probably won’t with an RV in tow anyway. Who cares if you get where you’re going an hour later than you expected if everyone was stressing over keeping to a predefined schedule? Stop frequently along the way whenever you or your S.O. needs a snack, bathroom break, or to snap a photo. Learn to ignore the clock and just enjoy the journey.
Document your journey
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