Mexican cinema has been steadily rising, with many innovative films coming to the fore once Mexican filmmakers began embracing their own unique history in producing new works. The industry also has a range of movies great for kids, especially original animated films.
Join me as we look at 15 of the best Mexican films that can be watched by kids spanning a range of genres including horror, comedy, adventure, drama, and much more. So let’s get into it and find that next hidden gem!
1. La Leyenda de la Llorona (2011)
While containing some mature themes such as death and ghosts and what could be called horror elements, overall this is a great film as it focuses on a mother’s love and family.
With amazing animation, dialogue, and rich characterizations, kids will get a lot out of this even if the story is a bit out of their reach. In the end, the scary ghost is revealed as just wanting to care for her own children, and the kidnapping is not all that it seems.
2. Nikté (2009)
An animated comedy, Nikté follows the adventures of a selfish Nikté who inadvertently finds herself back over 2000 years to the time of the Olmecs.
A mixture of the old and new, Nikté has accessible humor aimed at children, and the strong female lead has an interesting part to play as she strives to be a princess, while also helping the people avoid an imminent catastrophe.
3. Atlético San Pancho (2001)
A sports film about underdog kids, this film combines many of the great elements from other sports movies, as we follow the kids go from being the worst in the league to making the championship game.
This rag-tag bunch of misfits is coached by Don Pepe, who has the kids’ best interests at heart although there are a few obstacles in the way.
With good acting by the cast of kids and a solid formula, this is a great movie to watch on a Friday night with the family.
4. Un Gallo Con Muchos Huevos (2015)
The third installment of the Huevos franchise and featuring heavyweights of the Mexican voice acting scene such as Bruno Bichir, Maite Perroni, and Omar Chaparro, this is an entertaining film following the exploits of some chickens.
A mixture of animals, including ducks and vultures, are involved in training the protagonists to help them rescue the farm from being taken by the banks due to the nonpayment of loans.
While some of the humor may seem a bit adult, most kids won’t understand the references and so this makes for an entertaining watch.
5. Ana y Bruno (2017)
While the themes including mental illness and death as well as the overall dark tone should keep this film reserved for slightly more mature kids, Ana y Bruno is still a fantastic film that boasts an amazing story.
The film follows a young girl named Ana while she searches for her father, who likely holds the key to help save her troubled mother. One of the most expensive Mexican films ever, it spent over 13 years in production and won several awards, including best-animated feature.
6. La Leyenda de la Nahuala (2007)
Set in 1807 on the Day of the Dead, the central antagonist is an evil spirit who was interrupted during a ritual and is waiting for the right person to come by the abandoned house where she resides to complete the final part needed.
The story follows Leo, a young boy who has to confront his fears to rescue the town, despite having been tricked into entering the abandoned house.
While there are some scary moments, overall this is a story about facing up to the bullies and doing the right thing, even if it is hard.
7. Caperucita y Pulgarcito contra los Monstruos (1962)
A continuation of the Little Red Riding Hood story, the film follows the adventures of Little Red Riding Hood and Tom Thumb.
They are up against an evil witch and her minions, who take the forms of various monsters like vampires and wolves.
Pitting humans against magic, the story shows how a hero is needed to conquer evil, but a hero need not be anything special.
8. AAA Sin Límite en el Tiempo (2010)
A wrestling film based around the Lucha Libre AAA World Wide organization, this animated film from 2010 follows the feud between Rudo and Técnicos. This story also includes some interesting characters such as killer robots, huge insects, and time travel.
A kidnapping plot followed by the appearance of the wrestling organization’s main rival thought to be dead long ago, results in one of the most spectacular wrestling bouts ever fought.
9. El Agente 00-P2 (2009)
A comedy movie spoofing spy films, Tambo Macaw is a janitor on the large side who wants to join the CIA or Central Intelligentus Animalus.
After mistakenly getting assigned to solve the agency’s biggest assignment, the untrained but ambitious Macaw has a lot on his plate. He is assisted by a senior turtle, who seems to be the only friend Macaw has.
With brilliant voice acting by Jaime Camil, the film features a range of hilarious gags playing off Macaw’s janitor skills with a story revolving around saving the world that can appeal to kids of all ages.
10. Guardianes de Oz (2015)
Mexico’s take on The Wizard of Oz books by L Frank Baum, the story continues after the Wicked Witch of the West is defeated and her powers are transferred into a broom. This broom is given to Dorothy’s friends, but then subsequently stolen by another witch.
The three of them being under a spell, they are assisted by a rebel flying monkey, Ozzy, who has taken the broom back from the witch but faces an uphill battle against her many minions who attack the party constantly.
Not as scary as the original Wizard of Oz movies, this is a great kids’ film that examines the themes of courage, stopping evil, and teamwork.
11. Ya Veremos (2018)
The protagonist, Santi, is a young boy dealing with the aftermath of his parent’s divorce. An unfortunate medical diagnosis sees the two parents needing to come together to ensure their son gets the care he needs.
Unbeknownst to the parents, Santi has a plan in mind and uses the opportunity to plan many activities to get the family closer together, hoping that the events will cause a permanent reunification.
While not receiving the best reviews, this film does hold appeal to children who are more likely to look past the lack of chemistry between the two actors playing the parents, as the mischievousness of Santi is the real draw for this film.
12. Día de Muertos (1988)
A 1988 comedy, this film does involve some explicit drinking of alcohol leading to arguments but is a great laugh under appropriate parental supervision.
The story follows Talamantes, a somber man looking to commemorate his mother’s death and running into other friends who also have their families along for the ceremony. Arguments and other drama ensue due to the emotionally charged nature of the visit.
However, eventually, the characters realize their grief and sadness are just causing them to lash out, and through a series of events, they come to realize the real issues plaguing them and help each other through tough spots.
13. La Misma Luna (2007)
A story exploring loneliness, separation, and the heartbreak of family life, the main character is Carlitos, a boy left behind in Mexico while his mother works in the United States.
After his life in Mexico breaks down with the death of his guardian, Carlitos is left with no recourse but to try and find his mother. A series of lucky breaks see him eventually get on the road to meeting his mother, but not without some hardships along the way.
While dealing with some slightly mature content, the film’s main themes of determination and love are perfect for kids to learn about the importance of family. Strong performances by the cast as well as excellent dialogue put this at the top of excellent Mexican films.
14. El Camino de Xico (2020)
An animated film following a girl, a dog, and her best friend as they try to stop a mega-corporation from destroying a nearby mountain in search of gold, the story throws up many surprises, revealing how sometimes the solution to a problem is a lot closer to home.
With an easy-to-follow story with relatable characters, this film is perfect for children. The lack of mature themes coupled with excellent animation combines with a rich story to make a great viewing experience.
The parallels to Avatar are strong, although it is only superficially familiar and this movie goes in its own direction, with a great conclusion to a strong cast led by Pablo Gama Iturrarán, Verónica Alva, and Luis Angel Jaramillo.
15. La Liga de Los 5 (2020)
A superhero comedy film that draws heavily on Latin American elements, the film follows Chema and Dolores who have similar abilities to how mutants work in X-Men.
Meeting up with other similar characters with varying usefulness of superpowers, they are on a quest to prevent the summoning of an evil vampire by Tin Marín and also try to rescue Chema’s kidnapped sister.
A range of colorful characters and innovative problem-solving employed by the gang make this an enjoyable watch for young and old alike.