The Best Films for Outdoor Movie Night

Choose the best films for outdoor movie night

Did you catch our post last week with all of our outdoor movie night resources?! I’m weirdly passionate about movie night in our backyard. It’s become a serious tradition at our house and in our neighborhood! Seriously, we’re known far and wide as the “move night house,” and those sweet days of late summer when all of our friends come over with their lawn chairs are some of my favorite. Last week we talked about everything from our favorite projector to the best popcorn machine. So this week I thought we’d chat about how we choose the best films for outdoor movie night.

How we Choose Films for Outdoor Movie Night

At this point, we have a few criteria when we choose movies for outdoor movie night. Firstly, you have to know your crowd. Our lives are currently filled with toddlers and little kids, so we always try to find movies that will be entertaining to kids and adults. I also like to keep any film that we choose under a running time of two hours. I feel like an hour and a half or an hour and forty five minutes is the sweet spot. Any longer and we have found that the crowd thins out, or kiddos fall asleep, or it gets cold or uncomfortable. The last thing that I consider when I’m choosing films is that they’re appropriate for little ears — no major profanity or violence.

It’s also fun to think seasonally! We have our movie nights in late summer or early fall, when it’s a little cooler in California. So we always incorporate one Halloween-themed movie. Each season of movie nights also always has at least one Pixar or Disney movie. We’ve screened one Star Wars film every year, working our way through the original trilogy. So if there’s something similar that your family or friends love, consider making it an annual thing and working through a series of films. It’s a fun way to organize it!

Our Past Outdoor Movie Night Selections

This will be our fourth movie night season, so we’re keeping track of what we’ve shown in the past, along with ideas for the future. See below for all of the films we’ve shown to get ideas for your next outdoor movie night.

We’ve Shown
Hocus Pocus
Frozen
The Lego Movie
The Princess Bride
Coco
Star Wars
The Empire Strikes Back
Return of the Jedi
Princess Bride
Toy Story
Elf

On our To-Show List
Pete’s Dragon
Indiana Jones
Back to the Future
Muppets Take Manhattan
Night at the Museum
Harry Potter
Hook
Ghostbusters
Any Pixar or Disney Animated Films

Holiday Movie Ideas
Home Alone
Muppets Christmas Carol
White Christmas
Charlie Brown Christmas
A Christmas Story
Christmas Vacation

On Our List for When the Kids are Older
Jurassic Park
Ferris Beullers Day Off
Clue
Dirty Dancing
National Treasure
Pirates of the Carribbean
That Thing You Do

So that should give you a ton of ideas for your next movie night (or your movie nights for the next ten years, ha)! It sounds silly, but we truly put a ton of thought into the movies we choose to make sure that people really enjoy their time. It’s become such a special tradition to our family and friends, and there’s just something so magical about it. I know that years from now, I’ll think back to these nights of barefoot kiddos all piled on blankets, and twinkle lights on our patio, and dads nursing beers while moms chat in the back, and I’ll miss them so much. These are the days!

Have you ever been to an outdoor movie night? Or hosted one? Do you love them as much as we do? xoxo

5 thoughts on “The Best Films for Outdoor Movie Night”

  1. I just hosted a 90s Disney Themed party and we screened A Goofy Movie in the backyard. It was perfect! The perfect length, good sing-along opportunities, and some awesome 90s nostalgia 🙂 I can’t wait to host another movie night! It does sound fun to snuggle up by the fire pit for an Xmas movie night!

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