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16 Best Backyard Movies to Show This Summer

There's nothing like a great movie projected on the big screen. Set up a backyard cinema for awesome family films and guaranteed fun for all.

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Star Warsvia

Star Wars

Travel back to Tatooine and to a galaxy far, far away. Everyone loves the classic 1977 version of the Force franchise, which is also the most kid-friendly of the bunch. Get prepared for retro thrills with Jawas, the Cantina showdown, and Princess Leia’s epic strength. May the Force be with you.

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The Sandlotvia

The Sandlot

If you’ve got a spare baseball diamond in your neighborhood, that’s the best place to set up the big screen for this heartwarming classic film about America’s favorite pastime. A group of neighborhood kids must contend with the mean old man who lives just beyond the sandlot where they like to play ball.

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Finding Nemovia

Finding Nemo

Pixar ramped up its stellar animation for this classic tale about the fierce bond between father and son. Marlin and Nemo are so relatable you’ll forget they’re a pair of clownfish. And don’t forget about Dory, their scene-stealing blue tang friend. The cool and undulating undersea flora looks awesome against a dark backyard sky. Kids will love it and adults can’t help but be moved. Here are some more of the best movies to watch with Dad on Father’s Day.

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Inside Outvia

Inside Out

This one will hit you right in the feels! Get ready to explore your inner world of joy, sadness, anger, fear, and disgust in this Pixar crowd-pleaser with a message about the emotional balance between the good and the bad. The beloved character Bing Bong will take everyone back down memory lane. You’ll be shook.

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The Wizard of Ozvia

The Wizard of Oz

There’s no place like home—especially when you want to settle in for a great movie! Follow the yellow brick road in this must-see classic that always captures the attention (and hearts) of audiences, and has been ever since its premiere in 1939. When Dorothy opens the black & white door on the technicolor Munchkinland, your backyard crowd won’t be in Kansas anymore.

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The Sound of Musicvia

The Sound of Music

The hills will be alive and looking awesome on your backyard movie screen backdrop. Sing along to The Sound of Music. New viewers and those who’ve seen it before alike love the epic love story about a wayward nun, her militaristic boss, and the seven mischievous kids who pull them together.

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Frozen (Sing-Along Edition)via

Frozen (Sing-Along Edition)

Everyone’s seen it a million times and they’re still ready for a million times more. So let it go and blast frozen fractals all around your backyard this summer. It’s best shown on a warm summer night with melted s’mores when everyone could use some snowy scenes on the big screen. Here are some more of the best movie musicals everyone will want to sing along to.

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Careful what you wish for because Zoltar will provide. Tom Hanks rose to stardom in this sweet and funny romp about a boy mystically transported into the body of a grown man. He manages to get the girl, an awesome NYC apartment, and the perfect day job as a toy tester! Pull out your electric floor piano for extra fun.

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9 / 16
Back to the Futurevia

Back to the Future

This classic action flick still packs a punch. Take a blast to the past in the iconic adventure starring Michael J. Fox as Marty McFly. He’s the kid who time-travels back to the 1950s and hangs out his teenaged parents. Keep your eyes on the 80s “it” car—the DeLorean with the epic license plate OUTATIME. Check out the best Fourth of July movies to watch with the whole family.

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10 / 16
The Karate Kidvia

The Karate Kid

Wax on, wax off, Daniel-san. Get ready for this epic and endlessly lovable underdog tale. There are sequels, remakes, and even a web series, Cobra Kai, but the original is still the best. Ralph Macchio and Elisabeth Shue star as high schoolers looking for romance in the midst of snotty popular kids who are obsessed with karate. Enter Mr. Miyagi, played by Pat Morita in an Oscar-nominated performance. He saves the day with wisdom, stealth, and authentic karate skills.

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11 / 16
Mary Poppinsvia

Mary Poppins

Everyone loves a little magic, especially with a spoonful of sugar! Kids still adore the prim, proper, and pretty nanny who takes them on supercalifragilisticexpialidocious adventures in this Disney classic. It was one of the first films to mix live action with animation for charming, retro effects.

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The Lego Movievia

The Lego Movie

Everything is awesome! Calling all master builders for this epic adventure about everyone’s favorite toy. Emmet, a LEGO mini-figure (voiced by the ever-lovable Chris Pratt), zooms across LEGO landscapes trying to battle an evil tyrant (voiced by Will Ferrell). Get ready for fun, jokes galore, and adorable LEGO bricks all around. Here are more funny kids movies that’ll get everyone laughing.

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Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factoryvia

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Oompa Loompas are totally wise and parents are sometimes impossible. Take a soak in 70s nostalgia with this original crowd-pleaser about being honest and decent—or at the very least trying to not become a spoiled brat. Be sure to screen this movie classic with plenty of treats. Songs set in a candy store and in Wonka’s dreamy candy park will make everyone want some chocolate!

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Beauty and the Beastvia

Beauty and the Beast

The spectacular live-action version promises epic visual displays of the French countryside and the Beast’s Baroque and magical castle. Settle in for a touching love story, smashing special effects, and performances that give extra gravity to this enduring fairy tale.

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Spirited Awayvia

Spirited Away

Audiences are forever enraptured by the stunning story of Chihiro, whose parents transform after a stop at an abandoned village. She’s forced to work in a bathhouse filled with demons, spirits, and other fantastical creatures before she plans her escape and parental rescue. This animated classic from Hayao Miyazaki promises dream-like immersion in a world of wonder. Be mesmerized by the spellbinding visuals and gorgeous adventure about a young girl whisked into another land.

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Wonder offers the perfect family film, filled with heart and a great message about strength, compassion, and acceptance. Based on the bestselling novel by R. J. Palacio, Wonder follows Auggie, born with facial difference, as he enters school for the first time. He’s enraptured by space and the universe and movingly finds his way in a world that seems as though it will never accept him. Check out some more great choices for movie night with these fun kid-friendly movies that the whole family will enjoy.

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Molly Pennington, PhD
Molly is a writer and collage artist with a PhD in film and cultural studies from the University of Pittsburgh. Her professional astrology services and artwork are available at Baroque Moon Astrology. She covers the zodiac, books, movies, TV and culture for Reader’s Digest, and loves to talk about all the ways we make meaning.