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Family Flicks

The Museum's Brown Auditorium Theater provides the perfect setting to enjoy a lively selection of new and classic movie adventures on the big screen. Unless otherwise noted, these films are suitable for family members of all ages.

Past Films in This Series


The Karate Kid

Directed by John Avildsen
A handyman (Pat Morita) agrees to teach a bullied boy (Ralph Macchio) karate and shows him that there is more to the martial art than fighting. (Included with Museum general admission, no tickets required.) more info


Directed by Brad Bird
Remy (Patton Oswalt) loves fine French food. The problem? He happens to be a rat. Remy lives in an expensive French restaurant and wants to become a chef despite the disapproval of his father and brother, who are happy eating garbage. Remy has adventures every day with a rat-despising staff that wants him gone. This family comedy—from Pixar Animation Studios—also features the voices of Brian Dennehy, Ian Holm, Peter O’Toole, and John Ratzenberger. (Included with Museum general admission, no tickets required.) more info

The Kid

1921 (silent with musical soundtrack)
Directed by Charlie Chaplin
Slapstick comedy and sweet sentiment combine when the Little Tramp (Charlie Chaplin) finds an abandoned baby. Jackie Coogan and Edna Purviance also star. (Included with Museum general admission, no tickets required.) more info

Bugsy Malone

Directed by Alan Parker
Thirty years after its release, Bugsy Malone, an adult gangster comedy/musical in which all the roles are played by children, can make you nostalgic for the 1970s and the 1930s at the same time. That this oddity was directed by Alan Parker (Midnight Express), only makes the whole thing more bizarre. Local mob boss Fat Sam (John Cassisi) finds his empire under threat from newcomer Dandy Dan (Martin Lev) who unleashes a new weapon on his enemies: the Splurge gun ... more info

E.T. the Extraterrestrial

Directed by Steven Spielberg
Director Steven Spielberg's heartwarming masterpiece is one of the brightest stars in motion picture history. Filled with unparalleled magic and imagination, E.T. follows the moving story of a lost little alien who befriends 10-year-old, Elliot (Henry Thomas). Experience all the mystery and fun of their unforgettable adventure in the beloved movie that captivated audiences around the world. (Included with Museum general admission, no tickets required.) more info

It Came from Outer Space

Directed by Jack Arnold
(Included with Museum general admission, no tickets required.) Presented in 3-D! A spaceship from another world crashes in the Arizona desert that makes an amateur stargazer and a schoolteacher suspect alien influence when the local townsfolk begin to act strange. “It Came from Outer Spaceis a crucial gatefold film . . . It was the first screenplay produced by Ray Bradbury, although Bradbury only turned in a treatment and the finished result was rewritten by Harry Essex.” —Science Fiction, Horror, ... more info

The Secret of Kells

Directed by Tomm Moore and Nora Twomey
(Included with Museum general admission, no tickets required.) Magic, fantasy, and Celtic mythology come together in this Academy Award-nominated animated feature about the power of imagination and faith to carry humanity through dark times. “The Irish import takes its inspiration from, of all things, the 12th-century-old Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript transcribed by Celtic monks. The stirring tale, with its startlingly vibrant, mainly hand-drawn animation, serves as a valuable reminder that one doesn't always need 3-D to make an ... more info

Fantastic Mr. Fox

Directed by Wes Anderson
(Included with Museum general admission, no tickets required.) An urbane fox cannot resist returning to his farm raiding ways and then must help his community survive the farmers' retaliation. The animated comedy features the voices of George Clooney, Bill Murray, and Meryl Streep. more info
Enjoy three short animated films that bring storybooks to life! Families with little ones will love these fashionable and fun tales. This film is part of MFAH Family Day: Work It! Fashion in Art. Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed Wilbur is different from the other Naked Mole Rats in his colony, because he wears clothes—and he likes it! But what will happen when Grand-pah—the oldest, wisest, and most-naked Naked Mole Rat ever—discovers Wilbur’s secret? Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed is a gentle ... more info

Funny Face

Directed by Stanley Donen
A New York bookseller (Audrey Hepburn) is offered a modeling contract and a trip to Paris by a fashion photographer (Fred Astaire) after being discovered on a photo shoot. The musical contains the classic Gershwin tunes “S’Wonderful” and “How Long Has This Been Going On?” and features revelry, romance, and runways! This film is part of MFAH Family Day: Work It! Fashion in Art. more info

A Little Princess

Directed by Alfonso Cuarón
No film ticket purchase required. Free with general museum admission. As World War I begins, 10-year-old Sara Crewe (Liesel Matthews) is growing up in India. But after she's sent to an English boarding school for safety, her wealthy father goes missing, and she is soon relegated to servitude by the headmistress. Based on the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, A Little Princess is directed by the filmmaker responsible for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. “ . . . another magical family ... more info

Night at the Museum

Directed by Shawn Levy
A newly hired security guard (Ben Stiller) at the Museum of Natural History discovers that an ancient curse causes the animals and exhibits on display to come to life at night. The cast of this family-favorite comedy-adventure also includes Carla Gugino, Dick Van Dyke, and Robin Williams. more info

Party Mix 2011

Directed by Various directors
Free with museum admission. A selection of entertaining, thought-provoking, and visually stunning short films for ages 7 to 14.  Dot (UK, 2010, 2 min.) Animation, Sumo Science Multiple Oscar®-winning studio Aardman Animations (Wallace & Gromit, Creature Comforts) has created the world's smallest stop-motion character. Dot measures just 9mm tall and was animated using a microscope and tweezers. In this miniature escape adventure, Dot runs away from unraveling thread, jumps over pins, and hitches a ride on the back of a bee... all before ... more info

Whisper of the Heart

Directed by Yoshifumi Kondo
As she approaches the last summer of junior high, fourteen-year-old Shizuku determines to read as many books as possible in preparation for her future career as a writer. After meeting a boy named Seiji, whose taunts clearly indicate that he has a crush on her, Shizuku discovers an antique shop whose array of fantastical items inspires her to start writing a book starring the shop's most intriguing artifact, a top-hatted cat figurine called The Baron. This sensitive teenage love story ... more info


Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Ponyo is a fish-girl who lives in an underwater castle with her father and several sisters. Wanting to see more of the world, she floats away on the back of a jellyfish and finds herself stranded on the shore of a small fishing village, where she is rescued by a 5-year-old boy named Sosuke. Falling in love with Sosuke, Ponyo determines to transform herself into a human using her father's magic—but the forces she unleashes throw the natural balance out ... more info

Summer Wars

Directed by Mamoru Hosoda
This animated cyberpunk/sci-fi story is a visual tour-de-force. Kenji is a teenage math prodigy recruited by his secret crush Natsuki for the ultimate summer job—passing himself off as Natsuki’s boyfriend for four days during her grandmother’s 90th birthday celebration. But when Kenji solves a math riddle sent to his cell phone, he unwittingly breaches the security barricade protecting Oz, a globe-spanning virtual world. Like the Internet as conceived by pop artist Takashi Murakami, Oz is a hallucinatory pixel parade of ... more info

The Cat Returns

2002, dubbed in English
Directed by Hiroyuki Morita
Free admission After high-school student Haru rescues an elegant black cat from being hit by a speeding delivery truck, the awkward teenager finds her locker inundated with gift-wrapped mice and her desk inscribed with crayoned cat hieroglyphs. The feline in question is Lune, Prince of the Cat Kingdom, and Haru is plunged into the cats’ underground realm, where she finds that the hardest part of growing up is staying yourself—quite literally, when her body starts to take on an unmistakably ... more info

Howl’s Moving Castle

2001, dubbed in English
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
Free admission A shy young milliner is cursed with an old body by a spiteful witch. At first horrified, she discovers a new zest for adventure. Her only chance for breaking the spell, though, lies with a moody, insecure wizard. “Admirers of [Miyazaki’s] work, which is wildly imaginative, emotionally intense, and surpassingly gentle, will find much to appreciate in this film because it demonstrates, once again, his visual ingenuity and his sensitivity as a storyteller." —New York Times more info

My Neighbor Totoro

1988, in Japanese with English subtitles
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki
When the Kusakabe family moves to a new home next to a dark forest, sisters Satsuki and Mei discover that both the house and the woods abound with spirits and strange creatures, most notably the massive but good-natured “Totoro,” who befriends the girls and takes them on a series of magical adventures. more info

Looney Tunes

Directed by Various directors
  Cartoon compilations featuring Bugs Bunny and Tweety Bird! more info

The Adventures of Prince Achmed

1926 (silent with musical soundtrack)
Directed by Lotte Reiniger
Inspired by The Arabian Nights, this enchanting fairy tale follows the journey of a handsome prince who is tricked by a wicked sorcerer. Check out the unique silhouette animation! more info

Eleanor's Secret

Directed by Dominique Monféry
ADMISSION Thursday, December 27: Free (general admission is free on Thursdays) Friday, December 28: Free with general admission MFAH Members always receive free general admission. From Academy Award–nominated director Dominique Monféry comes a sumptuously animated movie about a magic library where all the characters from classic children’s books come alive. Nat has fond memories of his eccentric Aunt Eleanor reading to him from her enormous collection of storybooks, but he's frustrated by his inability to read the books himself. So ... more info

Turtles Can Fly

Lakposhtha parvaz mikonand

2004, in Kurdish with English subtitles
Directed by Bahman Ghobadi
Thirteen-year-old Kak and other refugee children near the Iraqi-Turkish border await their fate on the eve of an American invasion. “I was totally unprepared for the exuberance and unforgettable power of Kurdish director Bohman Ghobadi’s (Time For Drunken Horses) Turtles Can Fly. A joint Iran-Iraq venture, the film is the first narrative film to be shot in Iraq following the fall of Saddam Hussein and is a view of war from the inside of a Kurdish refugee camp close to ... more info

Jason and the Argonauts

Directed by Don Chaffey
The legendary Greek hero (Todd Armstrong) leads a team of intrepid adventurers in a perilous quest for the renowned Golden Fleece. Jason assembles a sailing crew of the finest men who are under the protection of Hera (Honor Blackman), queen of the gods. Their voyage includes battles against harpies, a giant bronze Talos, a hydra, and an animated skeleton army, all brought to life by the special-effects wizardry of the late Ray Harryhausen (1920–2013). Rated G for some intense action ... more info

The Thief of Bagdad

Directed by Ludwig Berger, Michael Powell, and Tim Whelan
Handsome Prince Ahmad (John Justin), the rightful King of Bagdad, has been blinded and cast out as a beggar. Now a captive of the wicked Grand Vizier Jaffar (Conrad Veidt), he is cast into a dungeon where he meets Abu (Sabu), the best thief in all Bagdad. Together they escape and embark on a series of escapades that involve a wish-granting genie in a bottle, a mechanical flying horse, an all-seeing magic jewel, a flying carpet, and a beautiful princess ... more info

A Cat in Paris

2010, dubbed in English
Directed by Jean-Loup Felicioli and Alain Gagnol
The Academy Award-nominated A Cat in Paris is a beautifully hand-drawn animated caper set in the shadow-drenched alleyways of Paris. Dino the cat leads a double life: By day he lives with Zoe, a little girl whose mother is a detective in the Parisian police force; at night, Dino sneaks out the window to work with Nico—a slinky cat burglar with a big heart, whose fluid movements are poetry in motion as he evades captors and swishes across rooftops. A ... more info

Creature from the Black Lagoon (3-D)

Directed by Jack Arnold
3-D glasses included! Scientists track a prehistoric monster in the South American jungle while it tracks them. The explorers capture the mysterious creature, but it breaks free. The Gill-Man returns to kidnap the lovely Kay, one of the scientists, with whom it has fallen in love. “Interestingly enough, Creature from the Black Lagoon was inspired by a Mexican folk tale. Producer William Alland recalled (in Tom Weaver's collection of interviews, Monsters, Mutants and Heavenly Creatures) a dinner with Orson Welles, ... more info

The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T

Directed by Roy Rowland
Dr. T (Hans Conried) is a mad music teacher who runs a school where 500 boys are forced to play the piano 24 hours a day—all part of a diabolical effort to rule the world. If the boys try to run away, they are blocked by an electric fence and sent to a dungeon. Theodor Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss) wrote the story, composed the songs, and designed the set of this spectacularly imaginative family film. more info

Best of the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival

Directed by Various directors
Ten entertaining, multicultural short films challenge and engage children's creativity. Selected especially for ages 5 to 9, the lineup is a mix of animated and live-action shorts: • Domo-Kun and the Egg (Japan, 2005, 5 min.) • Luka (Ireland, 2004, 3 min.) • Mondo's Myths: Where Did the Night Come From? (Brazil, 2005, 8 min.) • Nineteen (Colombia, 2005, 8 min.) • Egghunt (USA, 2005, 4 min.) • The Mantis Parable (USA, 2005, 8 min.) • Do Other Things (USA, 2005, 4 min.) • The Magic Lio (Canada, 2004, 7 ... more info

The Painting

Le Tableau

Directed by Jean-Francois Laguionie
This family film is recommended for ages 7+. Admission These screenings are included with your Museum admission. General admission to the MFAH is free on Thursdays, courtesy of Shell. In this wryly inventive parable, a kingdom within a painting is divided into three castes: the impeccably colored Alldunns, the incomplete Halfies, and the barely outlined Sketchies, who are treated as outcasts. Chastised for her forbidden love of the dashing Ramo, Claire runs away into the cursed forest. Ramo and his ... more info

Best of NYICFF: Party Mix

Directed by Various directors
Recommended for ages 8+. The New York International Children's Film Festival is North America's largest festival of film for children and teens, and stands at the forefront of a movement to define a new, more provocative and compelling film for kids. Each year the festival presents a carefully curated collection of the best new animation, live action and experimental film from around the world in an exhilarating festival atmosphere with all the immediacy and excitement of a Cannes or Sundance. ... more info

Best of NYICFF: Kid Flix Mix

Directed by Various directors
Recommended for ages 3–6. The New York International Children's Film Festival is North America's largest festival of film for children and teens, and stands at the forefront of a movement to define a new, more provocative and compelling film for kids. Each year the festival presents a carefully curated collection of the best new animation, live-action, and experimental film from around the world in an exhilarating festival atmosphere with all the immediacy and excitement of a Cannes or Sundance. The ... more info