The best 2023 family films to watch this festive season

Chicken Run Dawn Of The Nugget
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From chickens to chocolatiers and seances to shoes, 2023 is ripe with family flicks to watch this Christmas – here’s a choice selection.

Picking a film for the family at Christmas is often fraught with peril. Grandad won’t watch anything with swearing, Mum is allergic to musicals, and Uncle Bill thinks Beau Is Afraid lacks a bit of festive spirit. Sometimes, it feels like you just can’t win.

Well, worry no longer. Here at Film Stories, we’ve searched high and low over the course of the year to find the very best cinematic offerings that won’t have half your relatives going upstairs to play on the Xbox in a sulk. We’ve got a 2023 film for every occasion and for every family – why not string them together for a 14-hour movie marathon?

Let us know if your family hates our choices (it’s for science), but without further ado – here’s the best family films 2023 had to offer.

The ‘You were all going to watch this anyway’ choice

Chicken Run: Dawn Of The Nugget

Last year, Netflix really nailed the “this is the film everyone will watch on Christmas Day” slot with Rian Johnson’s Glass Onion, and by Jove it looks like they’ve repeated the trick this year. Ginger, Rocky and the gang are back to face a new, existential threat – parenthood! Also, Mrs Tweedy has a sinister-looking factory that’ll turn all our feathered friends into nuggets. Both are equally terrifying. Find me an extended family that won’t be watching Aardman’s follow-up to the beloved animated classic and I will give you a pound (please don’t hold me to this). See also: Barbie.

The ‘We’ve not left the house in three days, lets go to the cinema’ choice


It’s the 27th of December. No one has any idea what day it is. You’ve just stood on a LEGO recreation of a Piranha Plant, and a nearby child has just vomited up half a tin of Quality Street. Time for a trip to the movies!

There’s really only one choice for the “three generations” market this year, and that’s Paul King’s delightful Chocolate Factory prequel, Wonka. Big, joyous, and a terrible way to forget the aforementioned Quality Street incident, you’re unlikely to find something more family-friendly on the big screen this winter (unless your relatives are all dead-keen on Godzilla Minus One, of course). See also: Aquaman 2.

The ‘Dad is in a huff because no-one wants to watch Napoleon’ choice


Engaging in some good old-fashioned stereotyping for a second, 2023 has been a pretty good year for the ‘dad movie’. Oppenheimer combined a story about a renowned scientist with the most dad-friendly of topics (World War Two) but it might be difficult to take in while digesting your body weight in turkey sandwiches. Ridley Scott’s Napoleon probably won’t make its way out of cinemas until January, and The Killer feels just a shade too murder-y for the season of goodwill.

Enter, then, Ben Affleck’s Air. Fun, pacey and way more exciting than a film about a shoe has any right to be, a stacked cast and tight direction could make this the surprise hit of the family Christmas. It’s also streaming for free with your Prime Video subscription, if you have one. See also: The Creator.

The ‘Trust me, it’s not as nerdy as it sounds’ choice

Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves

Personal experience tells that trying to get bemused family members to engage in anything mentioned in an episode of The Big Bang Theory is usually an uphill battle. John Francis Daley and Jonathon Goldstein’s version of the D&D universe, however, is worth fighting through some initial reticence. The Game Night directors bring a fantastic sense of fun to the fantasy universe, and the swashbuckling, heist movie plot is just the thing to bring the family together after abandoning that game of Trivial Pursuit. See also: Dumb Money.

The ’Wow, your family have an unusual relationship’ choice

Infinity Pool

What could be more Christmassy than the latest Cronenberg picture? Spirited debates over Brandon vs David; delighted rounds of applause when someone suffers a pleasingly inventive method of mutilation; passing round the Milk Tray in the middle of an orgy. If your family are, if anything, a little too close (and have excellent taste in horror) then Infinity Pool might be the festive flick for you. See also: Eileen, Pearl and Talk To Me.

The ’I thought I was going to have a nap but I actually got really into it’ choice

A Haunting In Venice

“A Christie for Christmas?” you say, rubbing your hands and cackling in your most festive tone. It’s pretty unlikely anyone’s going to say no. Simultaneously checking boxes as an entertaining murder mystery and a gateway horror movie, Kenneth Branagh’s latest outing as director/moustachioed mastermind isn’t the stately home whodunnit you might be expecting. With jump scares and bumps in the night aplenty, Poirot’s latest adventure has something in it for everyone. See also: Puss In Boots – The Last Wish.

The ’I’m too full to think about a plot’ choice

Blue Beetle

What Christmas list would be complete without some sparkly spandex representation? DC’s latest attempt to dethrone Marvel at the top of the box office sort of came and went when it debuted in August – but between a fun family dynamic and some of the year’s better-looking smashy crashy laser fights, you could do a lot worse if you’re looking for something to switch your brain off to. See also: Shazam! Fury Of The Gods.

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