111 Middle Schools Movies List

111 Best All-Time Middle School Movies List (In Categories!)

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Oh, middle school – that wacky rollercoaster ride where every day feels like your socks are on backward and someone’s turned the gravity off. But between the emotional avalanches and the social media minefields, there’s a silver lining – and it’s spelled M-O-V-I-E-S. Yup, diving into a good film is like finding a secret passage out of Awkwardville and into a world where anything’s possible. Movies grant them a backstage pass to the big, bold lessons of growing up, and let me tell you, picking the right flick for our middle schoolers isn’t just about what makes them laugh or cry – it’s about what speaks to this crazy, kooky chapter of their lives without wandering into the “Whoa, that’s too much” territory. So if you want a really good middle school movies list that has a variety of categories to watch at different times, this is it!

middle school movies list

Disclaimer: Always consider a film’s overall content for young kids and how themes are handled when deciding if it’s appropriate for your kids. What I deem approporiate for my kids may not be what you think appropriate for yours. So handle with care. Also, this post may contain affiliate links for your convenience.

Comedy Classics That Laugh Out Loud

As I was flipping through what felt like the millionth page of Netflix’s extensive library of feature films, looking for some good movies, I was trying to hit the jackpot for our next family movie night. When you’re aiming to sprinkle a bit of that laughter magic into the mix, it’s like looking for a needle in a haystack. But then it hit me – comedy, that golden ticket to joy and giggles, especially for those young minds navigating through the rollercoaster that is middle school.

Think about it. There’s nothing like a good belly laugh to wipe away the day’s stress, right?

Middle school emotions, snobbish homeschool co-op kids, or the dread of social anxieties stand no chance against a hearty laugh. I figured, why not dive into these middle school movie night ideas, such as…comedy classics, those laugh-out-loud gems that can turn any regular old night into a marathon of chuckles and snorts? After all, amidst all the hard work, social scene navigation, and endless homeschool lessons, shouldn’t we all just hit pause and have a good laugh? I say yes, and I reckon, for middle schoolers, it’s a great opportunity to just let them let loose and learn that sometimes, you’ve just gotta laugh at the craziness of it all.

  1. The Princess Bride (1987) – A delightful blend of comedy, adventure, and romance, this film features swashbuckling action and witty dialogue in a fairy tale setting.
  2. Home Alone (1990) – A hilarious tale of a young boy who ingeniously defends his home from bumbling burglars after his family accidentally leaves him behind on their vacation.
  3. Back to the Future (1985) – A teenager travels back in time in a DeLorean car turned time machine, encountering his parents in high school and sparking a series of comedic and thrilling misadventures.
  4. The Sandlot (1993) – In this nostalgic coming-of-age story, a group of young friends enjoys the adventures and misadventures of a summer filled with baseball and life lessons.
  5. Ghostbusters (1984) – A team of scientists turns to ghost catching in New York City, blending supernatural action with comedy in this iconic 80s film.
  6. Elf (2003) – The story of Buddy the Elf’s journey from the North Pole to New York City in search of his father, spreading Christmas cheer and causing festive hilarity.
  7. School of Rock (2003) – A down-and-out rock musician poses as a substitute teacher and turns a class of high achievers into a high-voltage rock band, all while imparting lessons on music and life.
  8. Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989) – A quirky scientist accidentally shrinks his and his neighbor’s kids with his experimental machine, leading to a perilous and comedic backyard adventure.
  9. Matilda (1996) – (The Old Version) A young girl with telekinetic powers and a sharp mind uses her abilities to overcome her cruel parents and a tyrannical principal, with plenty of humorous and magical moments.
  10. Holes (2003) – In this unique blend of adventure, comedy, and mystery, a wrongly convicted boy is sent to a brutal desert detention camp where he digs holes as part of a mysterious punishment that turns into a quest for justice.

Saddies But Goodies

Once upon a not-so-sunny day, I found myself wrapped in a blanket, binging on what I call the ‘Saddies But Goodies’. These movies, oh boy, they made me weep. But, here’s the thing, amidst the sniffles and the search for another tissue box, I found myself feeling like I could conquer the world. Or at least, the pile of laundry waiting for me.

You see, these films, they spin a yarn of sadness, sure, but they’re like that friend who tells you, “I know it’s tough, but I’ve got your back.” Or that other friend, the gentle candid one, who says, “You’re not going to like what I have to tell you.”

They teach us about bouncing back, about finding that silver lining when the sky’s full of gray clouds. When you see your kiddo feeling a bit down, or maybe when the world seems a tad too intimidating for them, these stories of overcoming adversity, they kind of whisper, “Hey, you got this. Chin up, buddy.”

(And this saddie but goodie middle school movies list isn’t just great for your middle schooler kiddos, but you’ll also love them too! Bet!)

  1. The Bridge to Terabithia (2007) – This film tells the story of two lonely children who create a magical forest kingdom in their imaginations. It explores themes of friendship, creativity, and the harsh realities of life, leading to a poignant conclusion.
  2. A Monster Calls (2016) – A visually stunning and emotional story about a young boy who summons a monster to help him deal with his mother’s terminal illness and the complexities of his emotions.
  3. My Girl (1991) – A coming-of-age story of a young girl dealing with the death of her mother and the changes around her. The film beautifully captures the joys and sorrows of growing up.
  4. Marley & Me (2008) – Following the life of a couple and their dog, Marley, this film explores the lessons learned from Marley’s untrainable nature and the emotional bonds that pets forge with their owners.
  5. Bridge to Terabithia (1985) – This earlier adaptation of the novel shares the same heart as its 2007 successor, focusing on the friendship and imaginary world created by two isolated children, with a touching and emotional finale.
  6. Up (2009) – An animated adventure about an elderly widower who embarks on a balloon-powered journey to fulfill a promise to his late wife. This poignant film deals with themes of loss, adventure, and friendship.
  7. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (2008) – Set during WWII, this film tells the story of an unlikely friendship between the son of a concentration camp commandant and a Jewish boy on the other side of the camp fence, leading to a devastatingly powerful conclusion.
  8. Charlotte’s Web (2006) – A heartwarming yet bittersweet story that follows a young girl who teams up with a loving spider to save
    her pig from being slaughtered. It’s a tale of friendship, sacrifice, and acceptance.
  9. Wonder (2017) – This film explores the experiences of a boy with facial differences as he attends a mainstream elementary school for the first time. It is an inspiring story about community, empathy, and resilience.
  10. Life of Pi (2012) – A story of survival and spirituality that follows a young man and a tiger stranded in the Pacific Ocean, this film combines profound themes with spectacular visuals to deliver a powerful emotional impact.

Good Lessons Learned: Educational Movies for Middle School

They’re like those moments when you were back in school, sitting in class and zoning out because…how many more times can we go over the Pythagorean theorem? And then suddenly, your teacher hits you with a story that actually grabs you. Yeah, that kind of “unexpected.”

Think about your kiddo. That age range for middle schoolers can be a wild ride, full of ups and downs, and sometimes they feel like nobody really gets it.

But then, there are these educational films for tweens, right? They’re like secret guides, packed with laughs, tears, but most importantly, lessons that stick. It’s like finding a secret map in your favorite video game (Fortnite, anyone?), uncovering shortcuts and hidden treasures that teach us about hard work, social status, the real value of friendships, and that it’s okay to be your unique self.

It’s not just a middle school movies list – it’s like those cool English teachers that somehow make every lesson relatable. Through the rollercoaster of life, these films become our allies, showing us and our sweet kiddos that we’re not alone in this journey. Let these stories remind you that every challenge is a great opportunity to learn and grow!

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) – Based on Harper Lee’s novel, this film deals with themes of racial injustice and moral growth.
    Lesson: Emphasizes the importance of empathy, doing what is right, and standing up against prejudice.
  2. Akeelah and the Bee (2006) – A film about an 11-year-old girl from Los Angeles who tries to make it to the National Spelling Bee.
    Lesson: Encourages viewers to pursue their dreams relentlessly and the importance of community support.
  3. Freedom Writers (2007) – A teacher inspires her class of at-risk students to learn tolerance, apply themselves, and pursue education beyond high school.
    Lesson: Shows the impact of education and the power of understanding and tolerance.
  4. The Karate Kid (1984) – A martial arts master teaches a bullied boy not only karate but also important life lessons.
    Lesson: Teaches the value of mentorship, discipline, and the strength of the human spirit.
  5. October Sky (1999) – Based on a true story, a boy becomes inspired to take up rocketry against his father’s wishes in a coal mining town.
    Lesson: Highlights following one’s passion, innovation, and challenging the status quo.
  6. Hugo (2011) – A boy lives alone in a Paris railway station, fixing clocks and other gadgets, until he gets wrapped up in a mystery involving his late father and an automaton.
    Lesson: Explores themes of resilience, the significance of family, and the joy of discovering one’s purpose.
  7. Pay It Forward (2000) – A young boy creates a goodwill movement known as “pay it forward.”
    Lesson: Explores the power of kindness and the ripple effect of good deeds.
  8. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (2019) – Based on a true story, this film follows a 13-year-old boy in Malawi who builds a wind turbine to save his village from famine.
    Lesson: Teaches innovation, resourcefulness, and the impact one individual can have on a community.
  9. The Iron Giant (1999) – This animated film is about a young boy who discovers and befriends a massive robot from outer space.
    Lesson: It teaches the values of friendship, heroism, and the importance of choosing one’s own destiny rather than following a predetermined path.
  10. The Mighty Ducks (1992) – A self-centered lawyer is sentenced to community service coaching a disorganized youth hockey team, which he transforms into a cohesive, competitive squad.
    Lesson: Highlights the importance of teamwork and personal growth, showing how collective effort can lead to shared success and how personal redemption can be achieved through mentorship and leadership.

Puppy Love

So, lemme dive into this like a tween plunging into their first ever crush — a wild, exhilarating, and oh-so-terrifying adventure. You’ve been there, right? That heart-pounding, stomach-fluttering world of sweet crushes. We’re talking about the realm where a glance in the hallway or a like on social media sends your day into the stratosphere.

It’s about those first looks, awkward talks, and the sweet, innocent love stories that are so middle schooler. It’s crucial, you know? To see that fluttery, awkward phase of first loves and crushes mirrored back, telling them it’s okay to feel all weird and wonderful.

Perfect for the next family movie night, or when you’re just chilling and scrolling through Netflix, looking for that great story to dive into. So here’s to crushing — it’s a wild ride, but, gosh, is it worth every blush-worthy moment. Enjoy these movies for middle school aged kiddos (and you!)!

Worth repreating: Always consider a film’s overall content and how themes are handled when deciding if it’s appropriate for your kids. What I deem approporiate for my kids may not be what you think appropriate for yours. So handle with care.

  1. Little Manhattan (2005) – A sweet film about young love set in New York City, telling the story of a 10-year-old boy who falls in love with his classmate.
  2. The Little Rascals (1994) – A classic comedy about a group of young children and their attempts to sabotage the budding relationship between their friend Alfalfa and his sweetheart, Darla.
  3. Anne of Green Gables (1985) – The film adaptation of L.M. Montgomery’s novel, where young Anne develops a complex friendship and eventual romantic feelings for her schoolmate Gilbert Blythe.
  4. Flipped (2010) – A delightful look at young love from both sides, this film tracks the evolving relationship between two grade school friends as they grow and learn about life’s complexities.
  5. The Secret Garden (1993) – Based on Frances Hodgson Burnett’s novel, this film explores the rejuvenating power of friendship and the first stirrings of affection between two neglected children who restore a forgotten garden.
  6. Casper (1995) – A friendly young ghost and a living girl form a deep bond that transcends the boundaries between the living and the supernatural, highlighting themes of friendship and first crushes.
  7. Pollyanna (1960) – In this classic film, a young orphan spreads her infectious optimism everywhere she goes, affecting everyone around her including a tender friendship that hints at young love with her friend Jimmy.
  8. Ramona and Beezus (2010) – Based on Beverly Cleary’s beloved children’s books, this film captures the misadventures of young Ramona Quimby and her interactions with her family and friends, including sweet moments of young crushes.
  9. Kit Kittredge: An American Girl (2008) – Set during the Great Depression, this film follows Kit Kittredge, a resourceful young girl who has a slight subplot involving a budding friendship and admiration for a young boy who helps her solve a mystery.
  10. Frozen (2013) – While primarily about sisterly love, this animated hit also delicately handles themes of young love and the idea of “love at first sight,” questioning its authenticity and encouraging a more thoughtful, profound connection.

Looking for clean tv shows on Netflix without the filth? I've got you covered with our curated list of the top clean tv shows to watch. Enjoy some guilt-free watching on your next movie night!

Family-Oriented Togetherness

Oh boy, pull up a seat and let me dive into the heartwarming world of family-oriented flicks. Now, we’re not talking about just any movies here. We’re chatting about those special kinds of films that glue us to the couch, surrounded by our kin, as we embark on cinematic adventures from the comfort of our living room.

There’s something about these movies, right? They’ve got this magical way of wrapping us up in a big, invisible hug, reminding us of that unspoken bond we share with our folks.

One moment, your kids are arguing over who gets the last slice of pizza, and the next, everyone’s all snuggled up, riding emotional rollercoasters together. Laughing at the same jokes, tearing up at the touching moments, and maybe — just maybe — learning a thing or two about understanding, love, and the power of unity.

And let me tell you, in a world that’s always hustling and bustling, finding that golden opportunity for family bonding during family movie nights is like striking entertainment gold.

So, the next time you’re scrolling through Netflix, looking for that perfect flick for your family movie night, remember: it’s about so much more than just popcorn and pressing play. It’s about creating memories, sharing laughs, and growing a little closer together. And isn’t that the kind of magic we all could use a little more of?

  1. Cheaper by the Dozen (2003) – This comedy-drama follows the Baker family as they navigate the chaos and love that comes with raising twelve children, emphasizing the strength found in family unity.
  2. The Incredibles (2004) – A film about a family of superheroes who, despite their individual struggles with identity and societal expectations, learn that working together is their greatest strength.
  3. Parenthood (1989) – This film explores the complexities of familial relationships through the Buckman family, who face various personal trials that test their bonds but ultimately bring them closer together.
  4. Little Women (2019) – (The New Version, but also the Older Version is so good too!) An adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s novel, it beautifully depicts the lives of the March sisters and their journey of growth and togetherness through life’s many trials.
  5. We Bought a Zoo (2011) – Based on a true story, a widowed father buys a dilapidated zoo and, along with his two children, works to reopen it to the public, discovering the healing power of caring for animals and working together as a family.
  6. Coco (2017) – This animated film explores the themes of family heritage and the bonds that tie through the story of a young boy who travels to the Land of the Dead, where he learns the importance of remembering family history.
  7. Finding Nemo (2003) – A heartwarming tale of a father’s perilous journey across the ocean to rescue his son, demonstrating the lengths to which family will go for each other.
  8. Mrs. Doubtfire (1993) – After a bitter divorce, an actor disguises himself as a female housekeeper to spend more time with his children. This film explores themes of familial bonds, the lengths one will go to stay connected with family, and the dynamics of love and responsibility within a divided family.
  9. The Blind Side (2009) – A true story that emphasizes the transformative power of love and support within a family, following a young man’s journey with the family that takes him in and supports his development into an athlete and student.
  10. Honey, I Shrunk the Kids (1989) – A sci-fi comedy where an inventor accidentally shrinks his and his neighbor’s kids, leading to a wild adventure that brings the families together in unexpected ways.

Traditional School Life

Let me tell you about this wonderful little world, where the aroma of chalk dust (yes, they still exist in my mind) blends with the drama of middle school – it’s the magical land of school life movies. Now, why, you ask, should we dive into this genre? Well, it’s like looking into a mirror, seeing our own past middle school drama unfold but with better lighting and maybe a soundtrack by Jack Black.

It’s also a good opportunity to show your kids that it’s not always greener on the other side.

We, as moms, enjoy these films because they are our past stories, our struggles, our triumphs…and your kids enjoy them because they are their stories, their struggle, their triumphs. Watching as the main characters wade through the social scene, or conquer a hard school project, your kids see pieces of theselves in them – and we see pieces of ourselves in them too!

They teach that there’s a camaraderie in the shared struggle, a silent pact among us all that says, ‘I’ve got your back.’ Cheesy? Maybe. True? Absolutely.

  1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001) – The first in the series, where young Harry enters Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and begins his journey into magic, friendship, and adventure.
  2. Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2010) – Centers on a young boy navigating the complexities and tribulations of middle school life and the social hierarchy.
  3. Mr. Popper’s Penguins (2011) – The story centers around Mr. Popper and his adventures after inheriting six penguins and transforming his apartment into a winter wonderland, affecting his professional life and his children.
  4. The School of Magic (2020) – A family-friendly film about a young girl who attends a school for children with magical abilities, where she must overcome challenges and make new friends.
  5. Because of Winn-Dixie (2005) – A heartwarming tale of a young girl who, with her mischievous dog, makes friends and brings her small town community together, all while navigating her new life and school.
  6. Harriet the Spy (1996) – This film follows a young aspiring writer who spies on her classmates and neighbors, writing down her observations in her notebook, leading to lessons about privacy, trust, and friendship.
  7. Nim’s Island (2008) – A story about a girl who lives on an isolated island and the adventure that ensues when she reaches out for help through her favorite adventure writer to save her home and her father.
  8. Fly Away Home (1996) – A young girl and her father attempt to lead a flock of orphaned Canada Geese south by ultralight plane, a beautiful story of healing and growth through a shared project that starts at her new home and impacts her school life.
  9. The Indian in the Cupboard (1995) – A boy discovers that he can bring toys to life with a magical cupboard, leading to adventures and an understanding of history and responsibility through his interactions with the toys.
  10. Stuart Little (1999) – Adopted into a human family, Stuart, a small but brave mouse, navigates life and adventures, including dealing with school challenges and making friends.

Hidden Gems, Neat Talents

There is this turquoise sea of hidden gems that shine a spotlight on the underdogs and the overlooked, packing a punch with their neat talents and quirky skills. Boy, how I love these kinds of movies! It’s like stumbling upon a treasure trove in your grandma’s attic, each film a glittering jewel waiting to inspire some young mind out there. Like you’r kid’s.

Imagine unearthing a tale where the main character, maybe she’s a junior high student or maybe he’s the unlikely hero with a smart older brother, discovers a talent so unique, it catapults them from zero to hero status.

These movies, my friend, they’re not just about popcorn munching and soda sipping. Nope. They’re about lighting that fire inside, whispering, “Hey you, yeah you, the one with the cool sock collection and the knack for making other people laugh, there’s something special in you waiting to take center stage.”

So, let me reel off a list that might just tickle your fancy for your next family movie night, offering a mixed bag of adventures featuring everything from a young girl with telekinetic powers to a substitute teacher who turns a group of misfit kids into a rock band.

And who knows? Maybe somewhere between the opening credits and the closing scene, we’ll uncover a new passion or learn to appreciate those neat talents that make us, well, us. It’s a chance to rediscover the magic pulsing through our veins, a magic that whispers of possibilities and dreams ready to take flight. So, grab your popcorn and let’s set sail on this cinematic journey. Who’s with me?

Always consider a film’s overall content and how themes are handled when deciding if it’s appropriate for your kids. What I deem approporiate for my kids may not be what you think appropriate for yours. So handle with care.

  1. August Rush (2007) – A musical prodigy uses his unique ability to hear music in the world around him to find his birth parents, showcasing the power of sound and connection.
  2. The Fall (2006) – Set in a 1920s Los Angeles hospital, an injured stuntman begins to tell a fantastical story to a little girl with a vivid imagination, where both of their talents for storytelling blend reality with fantasy.
  3. Secondhand Lions (2003) – A shy adolescent boy is sent to live with his eccentric uncles in Texas and discovers his talent for storytelling, turning his seemingly mundane summer into one full of adventure and self-discovery.
  4. Miss Potter (2006) – The film explores the life of Beatrix Potter, the author of the beloved Peter Rabbit books, showcasing her talents not only as a writer and artist but also as a pioneering conservationist in the early 20th century.
  5. Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993) – Based on the true story of Josh Waitzkin, a prodigy who embraces his gift for chess under the guidance of a strict instructor, exploring the balance between child prodigy and normal childhood.
  6. The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet (2013) – A young boy who is a science prodigy embarks on a cross-country journey to receive an award at the Smithsonian Institute, dealing with family dynamics and his unique perspective on the world.
  7. Ballerina (2016) – Also known as Leap!, this animated film tells the story of an orphan girl who dreams of becoming a ballerina and disguises herself to enter a prestigious ballet school in Paris, highlighting her raw talent and determination.
  8. Whale Rider (2002) – A young Maori girl fights to fulfill a destiny her grandfather refuses to recognize. She possesses an extraordinary ability to connect with whales, which is a unique and mystical talent that challenges cultural norms.
  9. Powder (1995) – The story of a boy born with incredible intellectual abilities and the power to harness electricity, navigating a world that doesn’t understand him while illuminating the lives of those around him.
  10. The Miracle Worker (1962) – This classic film dramatizes the volatile relationship between the lonely child Helen Keller and her steadfast teacher Annie Sullivan. Helen, trapped in her own silence and darkness due to her disabilities, meets Annie, who ultimately breaks through the silence and darkness to teach her communication.


Here’s something that’s real close to the heart! Movies that aren’t just movies, but like, whispers from above. They got this special blend of faith, hope, and that sprinkle of kindness that lights up something inside of us.

It’s this beautiful, unexpected guide that’s more than entertainment…it’s like a buddy helping us navigate this wild ride called life. And the best part? It’s something the whole fam can get on board with, making it the ultimate movie night pick.

  1. The Prince of Egypt (1998) – This animated film is a great choice for middle school students. It presents the biblical story of Moses in an accessible and visually impressive manner. The themes of freedom, courage, and faith are universal and presented without the graphic content found in many live-action biblical stories.
  2. Heaven is for Real (2014) – This movie, which tells the story of a young boy who claims to have visited heaven during a near-death experience, can be a good choice for middle school students. It opens up opportunities for discussions about faith, the afterlife, and personal beliefs in a way that is accessible to younger audiences.
  3. Miracles from Heaven (2016) – Similar to Heaven is for Real, this film deals with near-death experiences and miraculous healing, wrapped in a family-oriented story. It’s a moving film that encourages discussions about faith, miracles, and the power of hope.
  4. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005) – While not on the original list, this addition fits well into faith-focused films appropriate for middle school students. It’s an allegorical tale with strong Christian themes, presented through a fantasy adventure that captures the imagination and conveys messages about bravery, self-sacrifice, and redemption.
  5. Joseph: King of Dreams (2000) – An animated biblical story from the creators of The Prince of Egypt, this film tells the story of Joseph, whose gift of dream interpretation and his journey from slave to the governor of Egypt showcases themes of perseverance, forgiveness, and trust in divine plans.
  6. Letters to God (2010) – Based on a true story, this film centers on a young boy battling cancer who writes letters to God, touching lives in his community. The story navigates themes of coping with illness through faith, the impact of a child’s innocence and optimism, and how a community comes together in support.
  7. The Secret of Kells (2009) – Though not overtly religious, this animated film is rich with spiritual symbolism and has a storyline centered around the creation of the Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript of the Christian Gospels. It offers a mystical, visually stunning adventure that delves into themes of faith, art, and the power of light against darkness.
  8. The Young Messiah (2016) – This film tells a story about Jesus Christ at seven years old as He and His family depart Egypt to return home to Nazareth. Told from His childhood perspective, it explores the challenges Jesus faces in understanding His divine nature and mission.
  9. The Star (2017) – An animated film that tells the story of the first Christmas through the eyes of the animals who witnessed it. It’s a family-friendly movie that combines humor and warmth, exploring themes of faith and friendship.
  10. Breakthrough (2019) – This inspirational film is based on a miraculous true story about faith, prayer, and a mother’s devotion to her son. After her son falls through an icy lake, all hope seems lost; but through prayer and divine intervention, a miracle occurs.

Action Adventures with Heroes and Quests

There’s something utterly magnetic about these movies that just pulls you in, you know? It’s like, one minute you’re sitting there with your popcorn, and the next, you’re on the edge of your seat, fists clenched, utterly lost in a world where the impossible becomes possible.

These flicks are a feast for the eyes with those jaw-dropping sequences. They’re like a pep talk for the soul. They whisper (or, let’s be real, sometimes shout) tales of courage that make you wanna climb mountains, or at least, tackle that pile of declutter you stopped doing mid-doing it.

Heroes facing down villains, standing up against odds that would make anyone else quake in their boots – it’s the stuff of legends. Watching best friends standing side by side, ready to face whatever comes their way, teaches us a thing or two about sticking by your friends, through thick and thin.

  1. Divergent (2014) – In a dystopian world where society is divided into five factions that each represent a different virtue, a young woman named Tris discovers she is Divergent, meaning she does not fit into any one faction. When she uncovers a conspiracy to destroy all Divergents, she must find out what makes being Divergent so dangerous before it’s too late.
  2. Tomb Raider (2018) – This film is a reboot that follows Lara Croft, a fiercely independent daughter of a missing adventurer, who must push herself beyond her limits when she finds herself on the island where her father disappeared. The story centers on her quest to unravel the mysterious death of her father and survive the perilous environment of the island.
  3. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) – An epic quest to destroy an ancient ring that embodies ultimate power and evil.
  4. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003) – Pirate Captain Jack Sparrow seeks to reclaim his ship from mutinous ex-crewmembers and rescue a kidnapped maiden in the process.
  5. The Matrix (1999) – A computer hacker learns about the true nature of his reality and his role in the war against its controllers.
  6. Avatar (2009) – On the alien world of Pandora, a former Marine becomes torn between following his orders and protecting the world he feels is his home.
  7. Black Panther (2018) – King T’Challa returns to his technologically advanced but isolated nation, only to face a challenge for the throne that could have global consequences.
  8. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) – A group of intergalactic criminals must pull together to stop a fanatical warrior with plans to purge the universe.
  9. The Hunger Games (2012) – In a dystopian future, young Katniss Everdeen volunteers to replace her sister in a series of televised survival games.
  10. Iron Man (2008) – After being held captive in an Afghan cave, billionaire engineer Tony Stark creates a unique weaponized suit of armor to fight evil.

Animated Wonders Beyond Reality

Ever get that feeling, you know, when you’re slipping into your comfy PJs, plopped down with a giant bowl of popcorn, and you just know you’re about to dive into another universe? That’s the magic of animated films, right there. It’s like, one minute I’m here, in my kinda-messy, way-too-normal living room, and the next, BAM! I’m whisked away to worlds where animals talk, dragons befriend young Vikings, and toys have their own secret lives.

And let’s not even get started on the various lessons these films throw at us – courage, friendship, believing in the oddball that reminds me just a tad too much of myself.

It’s kinda cool, honestly, how these movies, with their wild tales and even wilder characters, can teach us a thing or two. Like, here I am, thinking I’m just enjoying some quality animation, but really, I’m seeing life through a whole new, technicolor lens. Who knew, right?

  1. Spirited Away (2001) – A young girl stumbles upon a secret world of strange spirits, mysterious creatures, and forgotten gods where she must work to save her parents and return to the human world.
  2. Howl’s Moving Castle (2004) – A shy young woman is cursed with an old body by a spiteful witch, her only chance of breaking the spell lies with a young but insecure wizard and his four-legged moving castle.
  3. The Secret World of Arrietty (2010) – A tiny girl and her family, who are four-inch-tall people living anonymously in another family’s residence, borrow simple items to make their home, but her life changes after being discovered.
  4. The Iron Giant (1999) – A young boy befriends an innocent alien giant robot that a paranoid government agent wants to destroy.
  5. Kubo and the Two Strings (2016) – A young boy with magical powers summons a spirit from the past which threatens an age-old vendetta, and he must discover his family’s history to battle gods and monsters.
  6. The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (2013) – Based on the Japanese folktale “The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter,” this Studio Ghibli film follows a tiny nymph found inside a glowing bamboo shoot who grows into a beautiful and desirable young woman who must confront her celestial lineage while trying to find personal happiness in a world that sees her as a prize.
  7. Song of the Sea (2014) – This visually stunning Irish animated film tells the tale of a young brother and sister, Ben and Saoirse, who embark on a fantastic journey to save the world of magic and discover secrets about their family. Saoirse is a selkie, a seal-child, which is a creature of Irish folklore known to transform from a seal to a human.
  8. Arthur and the Invisibles (2006) – A young boy travels to the land of the Minimoys, a tribe of tiny creatures living in harmony with nature, to find a lost treasure that will save his grandfather’s house from being demolished. This film blends live-action with animation to create a vibrant, fantastical world.
  9. The Book of Life (2014) – The movie focuses on themes of love, adventure, and cultural celebration, particularly around the Mexican tradition of the Day of the Dead. It deals with humor, music, and colorful visuals to convey its story. The film is about personal growth, bravery, and the power of remembering loved ones who have passed away.
  10. Epic (2013) – A teenage girl finds herself transported to a secret forest realm where she joins a battle between the forces of good, who keep the natural world alive, and the forces of evil, who wish to destroy it. As she fights alongside a ragtag group of characters, she must save their world—and ours.
  11. Bonus Movie: Mirai (2018) – A young boy feeling forgotten by his family when his little sister arrives finds a magical garden that allows him to travel through time and meet his relatives from different eras, with guidance by his younger sister from the future.

Real Stories Based on True Events

Oh boy, do I have a tale for you about those true story flicks. You know, the kind that actually happened. We’re talking real people, real struggles, and oh-my-gosh, did that really take place kind of vibes.

So, here’s the deal. When we dive into movies for middle school based on true events, it’s like we’re getting a backstage pass to the real world, but you know, without having to leave our cozy couch. It’s kinda like bringing history books to life but in full color and surround sound. And several of these can absolutely be counted as a history lesson for your homeschool!

These stories, whether they’re about a young woman conquering Everest or a small town team winning big, they’re not just tales, they’re lessons wrapped in drama and triumph, making all those dates and facts we snooze through in class stick. For middle schoolers, it’s a great opportunity to see that our dreams aren’t just, well, dreams. They can be as real as Matt Damon and Ben Affleck writing their way to an Oscar. So, next time you’re scrolling through Netflix TV shows, maybe give one of those based-on-a-true-story tags a chance. Who knows what sort of adventures or life lessons you’ll find, right?

  1. Dolphin Tale (2011) – Tells the story of Winter, a dolphin who was rescued off the Florida coast after she was caught in a crab trap, resulting in her losing her tail. Scientists come together to create a prosthetic tail to save her life.
  2. Miracle (2004) – Chronicles the true story of Herb Brooks, the player-turned-coach who led the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team to victory over the seemingly invincible Soviet squad.
  3. Soul Surfer (2011) – The inspiring true story of Bethany Hamilton, a teenage surf champion who loses her arm in a shark attack but overcomes all odds to get back on the board.
  4. Hidden Figures (2016) – The untold story of Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson—brilliant African-American women working at NASA, who served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit.
  5. October Sky (1999) – The true story of Homer Hickam, a coal miner’s son who was inspired by the first Sputnik launch to take up rocketry against his father’s wishes.
  6. The Rookie (2002) – The story of Jim Morris, who never made it out of the minor leagues before a shoulder injury ended his pitching career. Twelve years later, he’s a high school chemistry teacher and coaches the school’s baseball team. He tries out and makes it to the major leagues.
  7. Race (2016) – Based on the incredible true story of Jesse Owens, the legendary athletic superstar whose quest to become the greatest track and field athlete in history thrusts him onto the world stage of the 1936 Olympics, where he faces off against Adolf Hitler’s vision of Aryan supremacy.
  8. Hachi: A Dog’s Tale (2009) – A college professor forms a lasting bond with a dog he finds on a train platform. Based on the true story of Hachikō, known in Japan for his remarkable loyalty to his owner.
  9. Penguins (2019) – A Disney Nature documentary that follows Steve, an Adelie penguin, as he joins millions of fellow males in the icy Antarctic spring on a quest to build a suitable nest, find a life partner, and start a family.
  10. March of the Penguins (2005) – This documentary depicts the yearly journey of the emperor penguins of Antarctica. In autumn, all penguins of breeding age leave the ocean, which is their normal habitat, to walk inland to their ancestral breeding grounds.

And They Lived… Enlightened Ever After

111 Best All-Time Middle School Movies List (In Categories!)

And as we wrap up this mega movie marathon, it isn’t just about killing a couple of hours on the couch, it’s way more than just munching on popcorn and zoning out. These educational movies for middle school are like a GPS through the wild ride of growing up for your middle school-aged kiddos. Ech one’s a bright little beacon pointing them towards the next big adventure or life lesson, waiting just around the bend. So grab that remote with gusto because each movie is a step, a leap, a hopscotch hop for your kiddo (and you!) to understanding this whacky, wonderful life a tad more. Ready for the next jump?

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