When it’s raining outside and your options for family entertainment become distinctly indoor activities, sometimes a great movie, or even a movie marathon, can be just the right thing. Finding the best movies for a rainy day can be difficult, especially because the entire family is trying to agree. Having a few good selections ready to go can get the day started off quicker and with less hassle. Here’s a list of the best movies for a rainy day that our family goes back to over and over, without hassle and without fail.
For us, the best movies for a rainy day are:
- Spirited Away
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
- Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope
- …plus more
We love embracing rainy days, and the movies here fit the mood without making the day overwhelmingly sad or down. Action, adventure, and fantasy all work great!
While we do try and fit in new movies now and then, during a nice storm or a generally gray, rainy day, we find ourselves drawn to movies that we already know and love. Maybe it’s the familiar feeling that adds to the mood. Whatever the reason, we love coming back to our favorites over and over when the mood hits.
What makes a good rainy day movie?
A great rainy day movie should be one that is capable of creating a serious mood. It should evoke emotion no matter what the weather. For our family, it should also enhance the mood of a good storm or a lovely, gray, gloomy day.
If you’re looking for a movie to make you forget it’s raining, however, you’ll want to look for something seriously funny or action packed. Either way, there are some great choices to make a rainy day movie marathon wonderful.
If you’re settling in for a nice cozy afternoon or evening with the best movie snacks you can find, embracing the cold and the rain, you have loads of options when it comes to the mood of your movie choice. You could find something dramatic, maybe a bit sad, or you could go the other direction and find a “feel-good” movie or something that takes you to another world.
Our main picks for best rainy day movies
To be honest, almost anything Miyazaki will do. These are some of the absolute best rainy day movies around.
His movies are often centered around families and have an amazing sense of adventure. Movies from Studio Ghibli will probably work for you whether you’re looking to embrace the rainy day or forget about it altogether.
Spirited Away is a strong story of learning about yourself and becoming confident in a scary, unfamiliar situation. While some of the scenes might be a bit too much for very young kids, it’s near perfection for everyone else.
Note: We often swap this one out for Kiki’s Delivery Service, Howl’s Moving Castle, or almost any other Miyazaki film.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
We are a Harry Potter family, for sure. Our daughters read and loved the books, and we’ve watched the movies, some over and over again. In particular, the first in the series has gotten more airtime for us than any other.
These movies are amazing at transporting you to another world, and the (mostly) family-friendly adventure and peril fit into any kind of weather.
Note: Most of the family would probably choose Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban as “favorite” in the series, and this one is amazing for rainy days as well. However, Sorcerer’s Stone has more of that thick nostalgia that can’t be beat on a gloomy day.
Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope
This is one of the most important movies in my life, and it’s been amazing sharing it with my kids. The power that this movie has to completely encompass your attention and surround you with an entire world is truly incredible.
Star Wars is fun for any type of weather. You’ll never need a reason to watch this movie, but a rainy day is a great one anyway.
I highly recommend all of the Star Wars movies; however, the original trilogy has some nostalgia that just fits so well with a cold, rainy day.
Note: The Empire Strikes Back is potentially one of the best movies ever, and this one could easily fit in this spot as well.
The Princess Bride
“As you wish…” is something we never get tired of hearing from this movie.
This is another one filled with great nostalgia and fun. It’s also very impressive how well this one has aged. It just feels like a well worn, comfortable story. There’s no weird CGI that’s gotten embarrassing, or strange styles that look dated. Since it’s set in a fairy tale medieval time, it doesn’t have to worry about staying hip, cool, or current.
We also like this one a lot for the family friendliness of it. There’s really just the one spicy line near the end, and maybe one other word thrown in as well. In relation to movies released these days, it’s a blessing for parents to have movies like The Princess Bride.
There are so many great quotable lines in this movie that half of the fun is reciting them together as they come up. Sitting with your family or friends on a rainy day with some great snacks and The Princess Bride is a treat!
If you’re looking for something a little more grounded in the real world, this might be your movie.
National Treasure is so much fun, and you can learn little tidbits of American history if you pay attention.
Nicholas Cage has always been a favorite of mine, and his acting style fits really well with kids and teens here too. The adventure and mystery of this action story is great for most families. And the storyline will definitely take your mind off of the rainy day weather if that’s what you’re hoping for.
Note: The sequel, National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets, is a lot of fun too!
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
The Chronicles of Narnia is another book series that’s been important in our family. I highly recommend them for kids and adults if you’re into fantasy with a strong moral theme.
The movie version of this book is really well done. It’s often the other way around…movie versions of books don’t always come out that great. However, this one is wonderful.
There is a good amount of peril and fighting, and some of the story can be a bit much for very young kids. But, it has a great message, the acting is fantastic, and it’s a good, long watch for a stormy afternoon.
Sherlock Holmes (2009)
This one is for the older kids and adults in the family. The content isn’t overly adult, and the language is actually pretty tame overall. But, it does have some scarier moments and some themes that younger kids probably should miss.
Aside from that, this one is incredibly fun. Robert Downey Jr. is convincing and funny, and Jude Law is a great straight man for him in this adaptation.
If you like mystery and suspense mixed with humor and peril, this is your rainy day movie.
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
We waited a while to watch these movies with our daughters. There is a good amount of peril and some more adult themes, but when your kids are ready, this series is super entertaining.
Obviously nothing like the ride at Disneyland, this movie franchise provides tons of adventure, some romance, and lots of humor throughout. They’re great for rainy days too!
Guardians of the Galaxy
We’re huge Marvel fans, and Guardians of the Galaxy is one that we come back to over and over.
Regardless of the strong family and teamwork message in this movie, it’s got great action and is hilarious throughout the entire thing.
There’s a bit of spicy language and some suggestive themes, but we’re pretty conservative and still find it OK for a rainy day, a sunny day, and everything in between.
Note: Guardians of the Galaxy 2 is also really good, but because it’s got even more language, we don’t watch that one as much.
I, wonderfully, have lived in a house full of women for the past couple of decades. We are always on the lookout for good stories with a strong female lead character. It’s not always easy, but Maleficent is one I’d recommend.
I love stories that retell well known fairy tales and provide a completely different and unexpected point of view. This is one of those stories. We get a different perspective on what could have happened with the villainess Maleficent.
There’s romance, action, and a great fantasy world to dive into to take you away from the rainy day or help you embrace it.
Best movies for a rainy day – Wrap-up
This was a fun list to put together. I’ll keep updating it as I think of more or better movies, so check back.
In the meantime, please respond in the comments with your favorite movies for a rainy day or vote for your favorite from the list.