2014 Films the Whole Family Will Love

Hispanic family enjoying popcorn at movie theater
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Every year, thousands of movies hit big screens around the country, premiering everything from summer blockbusters to feel-good family movies. In 2014 alone, 33 huge commercial blockbuster films were released with younger audiences in mind. Discover them all in the following list of movies released in 2014 that would be perfect for your children and family to enjoy together.

Some movies listed on this page may be rated PG-13, though all movies here are categorized as family or children's movies. With the explosion of PG-13 titles aimed at and marketed to families and kids —superhero movies, adventures movies and such — you may want to pre-screen the films before showing them to younger audiences. 

Animated Films

Almost every child loves animated movies, so let's start off with some of the great additions to animation that came out in 2014. Domestically, Disney smash-hit "Big Hero 6" blew away the box office in October. Meanwhile internationally, the stunningly hand-animated Japenese animation "The Wind Rises" tells a historical story about the first flight weaved in fantasy, dreams, and romance. In Mexico, "The Book of Life" tells a mystical story of the Mexican Day of the Dead in this bold, beautiful animation. 

The blockbuster smash "The LEGO Movie," which now has an entire franchise of LEGO-remade movies (like "LEGO Batman," etc) in the works, follows the story of one LEGO man who doesn't feel he fits into the follow-the-manual life of all other LEGOs. According to the parent review, the film is super entertaining with all kinds of celebrity-voiced characters, this movie is sure to delight for years to come.

Live-Action Films

If your child is more excited about live actors their age, there were also a number of live-action films released in 2014. From the story of a kid's worst day to high-flying adventures to musical masterpieces, the year was full of great film. Based on Judith Viorst's 1972 children's book of the same title, the movie "Alexander and the Terrible, No Good, Horrible, Very Bad Day follows a young boy as he goes through the worst day of his young life. 

In the musical genre, none can quite compare with the Christmas release of "Into the Woods." This funny, heartfelt musical is a modern twist on the Brothers Grimm fairy tales. The film finds Meryl Streep as the Witch who yearns to reverse a curse to restore her beauty while exploring the consequences of the quests of Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk and Rapunzel — all tied together by an original story involving a baker and his wife, and the witch who cast a spell on them. A remake of the popular classic film "Annie" was also released around the Christmas season. This new musical features all the favorite songs from the original Broadway version of "Annie" and is sure to delight the whole family.

Animal Features

What kid doesn't love animals? Fortunately, there were animals aplenty in 2014 cinematography. From documentaries about wildlife to zany cartoon adventures featuring talking animals, there's no shortage of fun ways films used our creature pals for good family entertainment.

"Mr. Peabody and Sherman," released in March follows the classic adventures of "Rocky & Bullwinkle" cameo stars Sherman and his overly intelligent talking dog Mr. Peabody as they travel through time to save the world from evil. Also featuring an animal main character — this time a squirrel — "The Nut Job," is an animated comedy-adventure that parent reviews find delightful. Also, if you liked the talking bird in "Rio," you'll love the sequel "RIO 2" released in 2014. 

Right in time for Earth Day in 2014, the documentary studio Disneynature released the beautiful film "Bears" that follows a family of Alaskan bears as they learn some important life lessons about survival. For dolphin lovers, another true story comes in the form of the sequel "Dolphin Tale 2" which involves a new baby dolphin named Hope. Meanwhile, halfway around the world, documentary filmmakers followed a number of lemur families high up in the island trees in "Island of Lemurs: Madagascar." 

Also set in the small island country off the coast of Africa, the follow-up to "Madagascar," appropriately titled "Penguins of Madagascar," features animated penguins and global espionage. And if you're in the mood for something more domestic, "Paddington" tells the story of a stuffed bear come to life. Based on the beloved fictional character from children’s literature created by Michael Bond in 1958, this film is sure to captivate young and old audiences alike. 

Sci-Fi and Fantasy Films

If these fluffy, funny critters don't suit your family's fancy — or maybe you're looking for a creature feature that's a little more fantasy-based — there's no better animation than "How to Train Your Dragon 2" released in 2014. In this exciting new adventure, Toothless and Hiccup are back to fight an even bigger foe — a warrior capturing and enslaving big scary dragons. 

Speaking of big scary dragons, introduce your family to the heartbreaking backstory of "Sleeping Beauty's" draconic queen in the live-action Disney film "Maleficent." Another sequel that came out that year, " Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return" was a 3-D animated adventure based on the books by Roger S. Baum — grandson of L. Frank Baum of the original "Oz" books. In another Disney sequel, planes are back to save people from terrible situations in the Disney sequel "Planes: Fire and Rescue."

Although there are more features for older children in the sci-fi and fantasy section, there was only one more big hit that came out that year for children: "Earth to Echo." In the film, three inseparable friends find their phones infected with a cryptic message. In their quest to trace the message, they discover a mysterious being that is stranded on Earth and wanted by the government. Enjoy this action-packed adventure with the whole family!

Action-Adventure Films

More adventurous families might enjoy films like "The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box" — based on the book series "The Adventurer" by G.P. Taylor and set in classic steampunk style — or the gorgeous animation style of "The Boxtrolls." In the latter, the creators of the hit film "Coraline" make a relatable satire of aristocracy in this story about boxes, trolls, and cheese.

For fans of the classic Jim Henson's "Muppets" franchise, the movie "Muppets Most Wanted" takes the family on a global tour, complete with twists, turns and mayhem as the Muppets travel overseas. Speaking of getting global, get set for another adventure-filled night in " Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb" which takes audiences back to the museum for more mayhem and lots of laughs. 

Older Audiences

For parents of older children — specifically over 13 years of age — there are even more options in each of the above genres. From Greek myth to superheroes and everywhere in between, 2014 was filled with blockbuster hits your teenagers will love.

In "The Legend of Hercules," you'll learn about the life of the most famous and powerful of the Greek demigods: Hercules. Although some young audiences may be familiar with the Disney animated movie about the same character, this has a few more graphic scenes of violence and sexual innuendo. 

As for superhero movies that came out that year, "X-Men: Days of Future Past," "The Amazing Spider-Man 2," "Guardians of the Galaxy," and "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," the Marvel superhero flick that follows "Avengers," all came out in 2014. Even the popular animated series made film franchise "Transformers" had a film released for teen audiences this year in "Transformers 4: Age of Extinction," which takes place five years after the events of "Transformers: Dark of the Moon." 

Science fiction also had a few blockbusters in 2014, namely the first in a series of films to come, "Divergent," based on the dystopian book trilogy by Veronica Roth. Another quasi-sci-fi comes in the form of "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles," where after a freak accident with some sewer goo, turtles anthropomorphize into crime-fighting teenagers. 

Another alternate two worlds came to life in the fantasy genre including the highly-anticipated follow-up film "The Hunger Game: Mockingjay, Part 1." After shattering the games forever, Katniss finds herself in District 13 and sets out to save Peeta. J.R.R. Tolkien's 1940s masterpiece literary work "The Hobbit" came to its grand film conclusion in 2014 as well with the release of " The Hobbit: There and Back Again," directed by "Lord of the Rings" director Peter Jackson.