No matter how old you are, you never really tire of stories about talking animals, magical kingdoms, princesses locked away in towers, or toys coming to life. Sadly, though, for many years those tales were trapped inside VHS tapes, stuffed in the back of the wardrobe with our tamagotchis and Bratz doll never to see the light of day again. Thank god, then, for the dawn of online streaming, as sites like Netflix, Amazon, NOW TV, and Disney+ have allowed us to relive our childhood fantasies, with all the classics now available at the click of a button. Below are all the best childhood movies you can stream in the UK right now, divided by platform. Let the marathon begin.
Available on Disney+ UK
'Beauty & the Beast'
For a certain type of kid – of which I definitely was – Belle from Beauty and the Beast was the ultimate goal. The library, the little village, the singing: it was all a dream come true (minus the kidnapping, obvs). But even now, the princess story remains one of Disney’s most magical, with Emma Watson’s 2017 live action adaptation capturing the cartoon’s charm as well. I could watch both on repeat for a whole weekend. – Isobel Lewis
The cartoon Aladdin is the perfect film: end of. There’s something about it that never gets old, from Robin Williams’ incredible voice work as the Genie, to "A Whole New World" and even everyone’s favourite villain Jafar. It’s spawned a 2019 remake and Broadway musical, but go back to where it all began on Disney+. – Isobel Lewis
'High School Musical'
It’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly 15 years since Zac Efron first burst onto our screens in High School Musical, but the Disney Channel fave is still just as good in 2020. We challenge you to give it a rewatch and not sing along to ‘Breaking Free’, dance along to ‘Get’cha Head In The Game’ and question why the clearly superior Sharpay didn’t get the lead role in the spring musical. – Isobel Lewis
Given all the Disney films that have been given live action versions in recent years, it’s somewhat surprising that nobody has ever touched Hercules. Based on the Greek legend, the 1997 classic sees the titular demi-god go on a quest to find his destiny after being abandoned as a baby and discovering his superhuman strength along the way. Then again, maybe it’s a good thing it’s yet to be remade: you can’t improve on perfection. – Isobel Lewis
Another Julie Andrews fave, it’s impossible to rewatch this 1964 classic and not be charmed by the “practically perfect in every way” Mary Poppins. With Dick Van Dyke starring opposite Andrews as the questionably accented chimney sweep Bert, songs such as ‘Feed the Birds’, ‘A Spoonful of Sugar’ and unexpected feminist anthem ‘Sister Sufragette’ will be in your head for weeks. – Isobel Lewis
'The Princess Diaries'
Like many teenagers, I grew up loving Meg Cabot’s Princess Diaries book series. Hilarious and clever, the film version that made a star of Anne Hathaway somehow managed to exceed the expectations as school-girl-turned-Princess-of-Genovia Mia Thermopolis. Could 2020 be the year we finally see Princess Diaries 3 in the works? We’re crossing our fingers... – Isobel Lewis
Jamie Lee Curtis! Lindsay Lohan! A fictional band we definitely wish was real! The 2003 remake of Freaky Friday remains one of the best early 00s movies on Disney+ and is the perfect watch for any residual teenage angst you may be feeling after being cooped up in your bedroom. – Isobel Lewis
'The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe'
You don’t have to like Turkish delight to love this adaptation of C. S. Lewis’ classic children’s story. With Tilda Swinton in the role she was born to play as the White Witch who wants it to be “always winter, never Christmas” and James McAvoy popping up as the faun Mr. Tumnus, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe is still one of our faves. – Isobel Lewis
'Pooh’s Grand Adventure'
One of the best parts of Disney+’s massive back catalogue is being able to search for those long-forgotten, straight-to-VHS cartoons you loved as a kid but haven’t been accepted as one of the classics. For me, that film is Pooh’s Grand Adventure, which sees the world’s favourite honey loving bear attempt to rescue Christopher Robin from the mysterious “skull.” With a genuinely heart-wrenching song in ‘Forever and Ever’, this film taught me about growing up way before Toy Story 3 could and I get emotional just thinking about it. – Isobel Lewis
An adaptation of Robin Hood where the outlaw is a fox and King John is played by a thumb sucking lion (with a snake as his assistant) may sound like something out of a very weird dream, but this 1973 adaptation is a true Disney classic. – Isobel Lewis
Available on Netflix UK
'The Wizard of Oz'
This Hollywood classic is a childhood favourite of all generations, and starring the late, great Judy Garland, The Wizard of Oz follows Kansas farm girl Dorothy as she’s transported to a mysterious wonderland with her little dog Toto by her side. The film was adapted from L. Frank Baum’s original novel of the same name, and following its release back in 1939, became known as one of the greatest children’s movies of all time. – Sam Ramsden
'Wallace & Gromit: A Grand Day Out'
This short but sweet animation centres around goofy inventor Wallace and his highly-intellectual pooch, Gromit. A Grand Day Out follows the pair as they embark on a mission to the moon in search of all things cheese (because, why not?) — and, as expected, not everything goes according to plan during this Academy Award-nominated short film. – Sam Ramsden
Adapted from the hit Broadway musical, Annie tells the heartwarming story of a New York City orphan who is taken in by one of America’s richest men. The film’s resounding optimism and delightful musical numbers have continued to capture the imaginations of audiences in the decades following its release, and although various interpretations of the original production are out there, this 1982 classic is arguably the best place to start. – Sam Ramsden
Directed by Steven Spielberg, the 1991 fantasy-adventure Hook takes place within the Peter Pan universe, and is intended as a sequel to J. M. Barrie’s original novel. The film centres around the now-adult Peter Pan, who appears to have left his childhood behind — and with the immensely-talented Robin Williams at the helm, it’s no surprise this flick went on to become a childhood favourite of many. – Sam Ramsden
A child genius, who just so happens to possess psychokinetic abilities, makes use of her special powers to stand up to her dysfunctional family and dictator-like elementary school principal. The 1996 fantasy is inspired by Roald Dahl’s original book of the same name, and the classic Brue Bogtrotter chocolate cake scene is still etched in my memory to this very day. – Sam Ramsden
Available on NOW TV
Meg Ryan, Angela Lansbury, and Kirsten Dunst are just some of the names who lent their voices to the 1997 animated adventure Anastasia. The plot centres around a young orphan named Anya, who whilst searching for her family, becomes involved with a dodgy crowd — who have underlying plans to exploit her likeness to a long-lost princess. – Sam Ramsden
'Honey, I Shrunk the Kids'
Honey, I Shrunk the Kids follows the story of a wacky inventor who, as the title suggests, accidentally shrinks his own and next-door neighbour’s children. Following their unfortunate decrease in size, the tiny kids are unknowingly thrown out with the trash and forced into a dangerous trek through their backyard in the hopes of making it back home to safety. – Sam Ramsden
'Who Framed Roger Rabbit?'
Set in a universe where cartoon characters and humans live side-by-side, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? follows a washed-up cop’s mission to clear Roger Rabbit’s name after he is accused of murdering a wealthy businessman in 1940s Toontown. Perhaps the best element of this classic ‘80s flick is the crossover of some of our favourite Disney and Warner Bros. stars, including the likes of Daffy and Donald Duck, Jessica Rabbit, and many more. – Sam Ramsden
The 1998 animated adventure Antz features some major Hollywood heavyweights, and centres around a highly-ambitious ant who becomes a hero within his own colony after rescuing a beloved princess. – Sam Ramsden
'The Addams Family'
Angelica Houston and Christina Ricci make up the cast of this 1991 black comedy. Based on the original cartoon and TV series of the same name, The Addams Family follows the spooky clan as they become faced with the threat of an intruder — who has his eyes firmly set on the family’s fortune. – Sam Ramsden
Available on Amazon Prime
'Tom’s Midnight Garden'
Based on the fantasy novel of the same name by Phillipa Pearce, Tom’s Midnight Garden is about a young boy who is sent to live with his aunt and uncle in their flat after his brother contracts measles. Owing to the fact that he might be infectious, Tom isn’t able to go out and play and this leaves him lonely and frustrated. Restlessness leaves him finding it harder to get to sleep and when he hears the big old grandfather clock in the hall strike 13, he checks out the small back yard which is now a beautiful garden. There he meets a young girl called Hattie who he has magical adventures with. But, it seems only he can see her and she can see him. And so follows lots of adventure and mystery that is a true heartwarmer from start to finish. – Aoife Hanna
The original film IMO is far better than the remake. Siblings Judy and Peter find a mysterious board game which all seems legit until they begin to play and it releases a man who was trapped by it 26 years previously. Alan Parrish, played by the late great Robin Williams, became trapped in the board game while playing with his friend Sarah Whittle. With the help of the kids Alan seeks to find Sarah and undo all the damage the board game has done. – Aoife Hanna
Bogus is a fantasy tale starring Whoopi Goldberg, Gerard Depardieu, and Haley Joel Osment. When magician’s assistant Nancy dies, her son Albert (Joel Osment) is orphaned and he’s sent to live with his mum’s foster sister Harriet (Goldberg). The pair struggle to adjust to this new life as they both try to get on in their New Jersey home. Albert begins to see an imaginary friend called Bogus (Depardieu), a French magician who helps him get used to his new surroundings. A total heartwarmer and super silly, this is one to watch if only for pure ‘90s nostalgia. – Aoife Hanna
‘The Little Princess’
Child actor turned politician Shirley Temple stars in the film adaptation of the classic book A Little Princess. It’s the story of a young aristocratic girl who’s taken from her happy life in India to live in an English boarding school. When tragedy strikes and misery befalls her family, a change of circumstance leaves her presence in the school a precarious one and makes her miss India even more. A black and white classic, this film is escapism at its finest. – Aoife Hanna