With dark winter nights, toasty fires, warm mince pies, and vegan hot chocolate, Christmas is the ultimate time to snuggle up and enjoy some classic family movies.
Christmas is also a time of love and compassion. That’s why we’ve compiled the best family movies reminding us to care for all living beings this festive season.
1. “Chicken Run” (2000)
“I don’t want to be a pie!”
This critically-acclaimed animation film offers a heart-warming yet poignant insight into the animal agriculture industry. The plot follows a group of chickens living on a poultry farm when the farmers decide that to maximise profit, they must stop selling eggs and make chicken pies instead. Can the smooth-talking circus cockerel, Rocky, help the chickens fly free, or are they fated to become food products?
2. “Babe” (1995)
“Sooner or later every pig gets eaten. That’s just the way the world works.”
When a gentle farmer (played by animal activist James Cromwell) saves a piglet named Babe from becoming Christmas dinner, the pig becomes a valued sheepherder and member of the farm. However, Babe learns that humans eat pigs, threatening the bond between the little pig and his farmer friend and causing him to question to ethics of the farm’s hierarchy.
3. “Free Willy” (1993)
“The Willy Show! It’ll make money. That, my friend, is what we’re all about!”
For those not ready to face the hard-hitting “Blackfish” documentary, Free Willy is the ideal family film to get everyone questioning the ethics of keeping orcas captive for human entertainment. The plot follows a young boy who befriends Willy, a captured orca, as he fights the money-making amusement park and hopes to return Willy to the ocean and his family.
4. “Black Beauty” (1994)
“Kind treatment makes good horses…Bad treatment ruins them.”
Based on the classic 1877 novel by Anna Sewell, this story explores the life of a working horse. Narrated by Black Beauty, a titular horse, the plot follows his life on a farm, his work pulling cabs around London, and teaches the viewer lessons about kindness, empathy, the mistreatment of horses.
5. “The Fox and the Hound” (1981)
“Why does that hound get the fox on the run? ‘Cause he’s got the hunter, and the hunter’s got the gun.”
“The Fox and the Hound” follows the unlikely friendship between Tod, an orphaned fox, and Copper, a hunting puppy. The pair vow to be “friends forever” but when hunting season arrives Tod is told that the two are natural enemies. This Walt Disney film explores friendship and loyalty and the heart-breaking world of hunting.
6. “Finding Nemo” (2003)
“Has anyone seen my dad?” “Honey, your father’s probably back at the pet store.”
When Nemo the clownfish is caught by divers and kept captive in a dentist’s fish tank, his father and a host of other ocean creatures set out to rescue the little fish. Showing how fish feel pain, build bonds, and want to be free in the ocean, this is the perfect family film to represent our sealife friends. The endearing characters will also remind you that “Fish are friends, not food.”
7. “Charlotte’s Web” (2006)
“Run pig! Be free! I would if I could.”
Wilbur the pig is set to become dinner until a farmer’s daughter saves him. However, Wilbur is forced to move to another farm, where he is told that one day he will be slaughtered for food. To prevent this, Charlotte the spider makes it her mission to prove his worth. Based on the 1952 novel by E.B. White, this story shows that all animals – from pigs to spiders to rats – deserve a chance to live.
8. “Okja” (2017)
“Our super pigs will…be big and beautiful… and most importantly, they need to taste f*cking good.”
A young girl named Mija has been raising Okja, her beloved super pig, for years. But then Okja is taken away by the Mirando Corporation, which has big plans to revolutionise the meat industry with super pig meat. Exposing the harsh realities of corporate animal agriculture, this Netflix Original will have you grabbing for the tissues – whether you’re a child, teenager, adult, or grandparent.
9. “Free Birds” (2013)
“You don’t get it! They’re fattening us up to eat us!”
Possibly the most relevant animal rights movie for the holiday season, “Free Birds” tells the story of Thanksgiving turkeys. One lucky turkey, Reggie (voiced by Owen Wilson) is pardoned from his fate by the president, and enjoys a life of luxury. That is until Jake (voiced by Woody Harrelson) shows up with a mission. “Free Birds” is ultimately the story of two turkeys travelling back in time to take turkey off the holiday menu.
Image credit: IMDb
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