Movies about families and their relationships are always interesting to watch. We love to compare, witness different stories and experience the reality of the stories on screen. Grandparents and grandchildren have a beautiful bond that has been portrayed wonderfully in numerous movies. This is the list of the 35 movies about grandparents and grandchildren. It is a subjective list with some movies where this relationship is in the center of the story and somewhere it is in the background but nevertheless important for the movie itself.
Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
This brilliant humorous drama is one of the most remarkable portrayals of a relationship between a grandfather and his granddaughter. It is a story of a dysfunctional family who decides to embark on a road trip across America to accompany their youngest member, the seven-year-old Olive to a Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant.
Olive is an unusual little girl, very artistic and unconventional, and has an interesting relationship with her grumpy grandfather, which results in one of the most unforgettable and funny scenes in the whole movie. It shows how the youngest and the oldest are alike and how the youngest don’t question and criticize other people and their choices.
The Education of Little Tree (1997)
This beautiful and visually stunning movie was based on a wonderful and heartwarming novel from 1977, about an 8-year-old Cherokee boy, Little Tree. He has to face one of the greatest life tragedies, the loss of his parents.
It is a time of depression and Little Tree is sent to live with his Indian grandparents and has to adapt and get used to a somewhat different way of life than he is accustomed to. He will have to learn the wisdom of the Cherokee way of life and philosophy, all through getting to know his grandparents and forming a strong bond with them.
On Golden Pond (1981)
One of the most beautiful movies of all time and an excellent depiction of a relationship between family members, in this case, one that needs mending. Norman and Ethel Thayer are back on the Golden Pond, a wonderful place where they’ve had a summer cottage since the beginning of their marriage.
Their estranged daughter Chelsea decides to leave her fiance’s son there for the summer, while she is away with her future husband. When she comes back, her stepson and her father have formed a relationship she has always wanted to have with him. Maybe now is the time for her and Norman to get reunited and communicate at last.
The Princess Bride (1987)
This Rob Reiner’s classic masterpiece is a combination of drama and fantasy at its best. It is the story of a young boy who is home sick in bed and listens to a story his grandfather reads to him. It is a story full of adventures and exciting events.
It is a story of a farmboy who becomes a pirate and encounters numerous dangerous and interesting obstacles, fierce enemies, and honorable allies on his quest to be reunited with his true love. Along with the wonderful, intense, and exciting story, the most important thing is to see what the grandson will think of it as it proceeds and especially how he will interpret the ending.
The Princess Diaries (2001)
Another wonderful portrayal of a grandparent-grandchild relationship is this interesting story of a young girl who finds out she is the heir to the throne of Genovia. Mia Thermopolis is 16, sweet and a bit geeky, and invisible to everyone except her mother and best friends and the only thing she wants is to get through high school.
But when she finds out about her royal ancestry, she will soon have to deal with so much more than regular teenage problems. She will meet her estranged grandmother Queen Clarisse Renaldi and have to learn how to behave like royalty. Their relationship will have a rocky start but very soon grandmother and granddaughter will realize they are much more alike than they ever imagined.
This visually stunning cartoon takes us on a long and beautiful journey across the Pacific. Moana is a rebellious daughter of a village chief, his only child who definitely inherited his family’s love for the sea and navigation. When her island faces the loss of fish and therefore food supplies, Moana learns that it was caused when the demigod Maui stole the heart of the goddess Te Fiti.
The only way to help her people is to force Maui to return Te Fiti’s heart. On this journey, Moana will discover a lot about her ancestors and show her bravery and independence. This is a beautiful cartoon based on Polynesian mythology, one that you will definitely want to see more than once. And it has a beautiful portrayal of family relationships, including the one between a grandmother and a granddaughter.
The Royal Tenenebaums (2001)
This humoristic drama introduces us to Margot, Chas, and Ritchie Tenenbaum, all geniuses of some kind who live with their mother in their fascinating family household. Their problems will become bigger when their father decides to return after many years of abandonment, determined to bring his family together.
Even though the grandparent-grandchild relationship isn’t very elaborated here, it is still a good depiction of what happens when grandchildren are not used to the presence of their grandparents and the way they behave when put in the same surrounding.
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (2011)
This is a heartwarming and sad story about a young boy who has to learn how to cope with his father’s death. Oscar is a troubled boy who chooses anger as the way to deal with the loss of his father. She begins to lash out at his mother and the rest of the world.
Everything changes one year later when he finds a mysterious key and embarks on a scavenger hunt to find the matching lock. It was one of his favorite things to do with his father. This will be a journey of self-discovery, one where he will meet many interesting people and learn a lot about himself.
This movie masterpiece tells the story of a Texas rancher Jordan “Bick” Benedick Jr who travels from his home to Maryland to buy a prize horse. There he meets and immediately falls in love with the owner’s daughter Leslie, marries her instantly and returns with her back to Texas.
But the story goes much further and deeper since it continues telling the tale of their life, family and business, and most importantly, the rivalry between them and the cowboy and later oil tycoon Jett Rink. These issues go a long way and spread across two generations, including the oldest and the youngest among them.
The Bucket List (2007)
This Rob Reiner’s comedy-drama beautifully depicts what a resolute mind and a brave heart can accomplish when they are followed. Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman play two terminally ill men who decide to make their dreams come true so they escape the cancer ward and embark on a journey of a lifetime.
They head off on a road trip to cross the things from their bucket list and on their way become very good friends while healing each other and finding happiness and purpose in life.
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)
An adaptation of one of the most famous children’s books of all time, Roald Dahl’s story with the same title, about five children who enter a marvellous chocolate factory. Willy Wonka is the owner of this sweet empire and one day he decides to welcome five children who win a special golden ticket in one of his bars. Charlie is one of these kids and he is about to have the time of his life. Or at least he thought so.
This is a Mel Stuart classic and the best and most beloved movie adaptation of this excellent novel and Gene Wilder delivered a brilliant performance as Willy Wonka, together with the rest of the cast, including Peter Ostrum as Charlie and Jack Albertson as his grandpa Joe.
Ulee’s Gold (1997)
Ulee Jackson is a widower and a beekeeper who lives with his two granddaughters in Wewahitchka, Florida. His son Jimmy is in prison and Jimmy’s wife Helen has abandoned their daughters so Ulee has to act as a surrogate parent to his son’s daughters.
Soon, Ulee finds out that Helen is back and sick and that he has to bring her back home and take care of her. After many unwanted situations, Ulee will have to deal with his new role and give up some of his responsibilities, including taking care of his granddaughters.
Cocoon is one of Ron Howard’s first movies and one which gained cult status very soon after its release. It is a sci-fi drama about a group of aliens who return to earth to retrieve the cocoons with people they left at the bottom of the ocean after one of their earlier visits.
They managed to retrieve them and stored them in the swimming pool of a house they had rented in a small Florida town. But they never imagined that their mission would get disrupted by a group of elderly citizens who had been secretly using the pool and found out the cocoons have special powers.
Terms of Endearment (1983)
This heartbreaking drama depicts a relationship between a mother and a daughter, but it also shows the connection between a grandmother and her grandchildren. It is the story of Aurora and Emma who go through various situations in their lives, dealing with their differences and issues.
Aurora is difficult and loving at the same time and this is an excellent portrayal of the complexity of family relations where Aurora has to deal with her private problems, but also her daughter’s family problems which are pretty serious.
In Her Shoes (2005)
This is a lovely romantic comedy-drama about two sisters, with completely opposite personalities. Rose is the older one, responsible and lonely and with a closet full of shoes. Maggie is beautiful and irresponsible and soon finds herself tossed by her stepmother from her dad’s apartment.
Her life will change when she finds an address in her father’s desk and with this address, a revelation will arrive, one that might bring her closer to her estranged sister. The strange and cold atmosphere between the two sisters is broken by the arrival of Ella, their grandmother they never knew existed.
Everything Is Illuminated (2005)
This masterpiece directed by Liev Schreiber tells a remarkable and marvelous, but heartbreaking tale about a young Jewish American man who travels with his grandfather to a Ukrainian village. They are searching for a woman who saved his grandfather during World War II.
Jonathan and his grandfather are aided by an eccentric local named Alex who is responsible for some of the most hilarious situations in the movie which is in fact an extremely sad and devastating story of a love that could never have happened.
And So It Goes (2014)
Michael Douglas plays Oren Little, a man who has decided to turn his back on all his neighbours and friends after the death of his wife. And on the other side is Diane Keaton as his next-door neighbour Leah who is trying to engage in her stagnant singing career after the death of her husband.
When Oren’s son shows up with a request that Oren simply can’t refuse, his life will slowly start changing. He will have to take care of his 9-year-old granddaughter Sarah but as he has no patience with children, we will ask Leah’s help. Leah has never had any grandchildren but this situation will soon change their perspectives toward one another and their lives in general.
A Touch of Spice (2003)
This is a brilliant Greek comedy-drama about Fanis, an astrophysics professor who returns to his abandoned home in Constantinopole after three decades of being away. He returns to visit his grandfather and mentor, a spice merchant.
Fanis will soon start thinking about the past and his first loves, passion for food and his difficult childhood and teenage years that are responsible for the person he is now. This will become the story of the history of Constantinopole and the forced expulsion of its Greek-Orthodox population in 1964/1965 and the story of how Fanis became a gastronome.
This comedy-drama features two brilliant actresses who function perfectly in their relationship as a grandmother and a granddaughter. Lily Tomlin is Elle who has just gotten through a breakup with her girlfriend and isn’t really ready for the situation she is going to find herself in.
Her granddaughter Sage appears unexpectedly with an unusual request. She is in urgent need of six hundred dollars before sundown. As both of them are broke at the moment, they will have to come up with a solution to get hold of cash during the day and while doing it, they will learn a lot about each other.
An Unfinished Life (2005)
Jean Gilkyson is a woman running from her ugly life situation and an abusive boyfriend. She takes her young daughter Griff and shows announced at her father-in-law’s ranch in Wyoming. They have been estranged for many years since Einar blames her for the death of his son who died in a car accident.
Einar has his own issues and is also taking care of his wounded friend Mitch, completely unaware of the fact that he has a granddaughter. But soon he will open up to the possibility that Jean might not be guilty of everything and is slowly dealing with these new individuals in his life, so far but at the same time close to him, especially his granddaughter Griff.
My Grandfather’s People (2011)
This is a wonderful, warm and interesting story about a grandfather whose life was torn apart when he had to flee Crete with his family, They were exiled from their land during the population exchange between Greece and Turkey when he was only seven years old.
His greatest desire now after so many years is to visit Crete before he dies. This wish is so strong that he frequently writes letters and puts them in bottles which he then drops on the Aegean sea, hopeful to be taken there somehow.
Hope and Glory (1987)
This is a semi-autobiographical story about a nine-year-old Bill who grows up on the outskirts of London during the blitz of World War II. This was a time of adventure for him as a little boy, the period when he learned about life, sex, death, love, and hypocrisy.
He has also witnessed adults’ faults and wrongdoing while roaming around the ruins of bombed houses. He wasn’t aware of the seriousness of the situation and laughed at and enjoyed things that were common for a little boy, but shocking and unimaginable for older people.
Little Lord Fauntleroy (1980)
One of the most beloved and beautiful stories about the relationship between a grandchild and a grandparent is this family drama about a small boy called Ceddie who finds out he is the only grandson and heir of the wealthy Earl of Dorincourt.
Ceddie lives with his mother in America but moves to England with her at his grandfather’s request. Ceddie is now Lord Fauntleroy and he becomes his grandfather’s greatest pride and teaches him how to get closer to people and figure out what family. But things will become a bit complicated when a woman called Minna appears, claiming her son is the eldest Earl’s grandson and therefore his true heir.
A Child’s Christmas in Wales (1987)
This wonderful and heartwarming tv-movie takes place on Christmas Eve somewhere in Wales. Thomas is a young boy who is looking forward to his holidays but is disappointed since it’s raining and not snowing. His grandfather comes to his aid and as the story unfolds, we are witnessing one of the most beautiful grandfather-grandson stories ever told.
Thomas’ grandfather gives him a snow globe and begins telling him interesting stories from his childhood. Thomas is constantly asking questions since he doesn’t want to go to bed and wants to continue listening but as his parents convince him to and he finally falls asleep, his grandparent opens the window and sees the snow falling.
Another beautiful tv-movie absolutely worth watching is this family drama about the legends of the Native American nations. They are told from the point of view of a hundred-year-old storyteller and his 17-year-old grandson who embark on a journey across the country.
The grandfather asks his grandson to give him a ride from South Dakota to Albuquerque to an old Indian meeting. Aware of his grandson’s debts to a number of bad guys, the grandfather decides to take his pony and leave with his grandson. While travelling, he tells him mysterious Indian tales of love and magic.
This is one of the first movie adaptations of one of the most beautiful children’s stories of all time, Johannas Spyri’s Heidi. Shirley Temple plays this eight-year-old orphaned girl who is taken to the Swiss mountains to visit and stay with her grumpy old grandfather.
She captures his heart very soon with her wonderful personality and good nature and his world crumbles down as her aunt decides to take her back to the city to be the companion of a rich man’s invalid daughter. Both of them are desperate but Heidi is confident that they will be reunited one day.
Whale Rider (2002)
This is a beautiful story that teaches us a lot about the Maori culture, beliefs, and tradition. The Whangara people are a tribe living on the east coast of New Zealand and like many other natives, they believe that their presence goes a thousand years or more back in the past to Paikea, a single ancestor who escaped death when his canoe capsized.
He arrived at the shore on the back of a whale survived and now he is considered to be the ancestor of the first-born, always male new members of a family. We follow the story of Pai, an 11-year-old girl who believes she is destined to be the new chief.
But her grandfather wants to follow tradition and chooses a male descendant. This is where their relationship starts changing because, even though Pai adores her grandfather, she will have to find him and this tradition if she wants her dreams to come true.
Samantha: An American Girl Holiday (2004)
Samantha Parkington is a lovely and kindhearted girl whose life changes when she befriends Nellie O’Malley who has moved next door with her father and two sisters to work as servants for the Ryland family.
Even though their backgrounds couldn’t be more different, Nellie and Samantha very soon form a strong bond and a beautiful friendship.
They are always there for each other, in happiness and sorrow and adventure and danger and they think their friendship would last forever. But no one could prepare for the future and all the life-changing surprises that await them.
Georgia Rule (2007)
This Garry Marshall’s comedy-drama tells the story of a young troubled woman Rachel who is spending her summer holidays with her grandmother Georgia. It is obvious that Rachel has problems at home but manages to forget about them while spending time in this Mormon country.
Soon she decides to reveal her secret to one of her new friends very soon her alcoholic mother is back in town, desperate to see if this is true. It was an act of fate since these three women will form a bond they have never imagined and started understanding each other.
Carolina is a young woman who was raised together with her two sisters by her eccentric and strict grandma Milicent. They grew up in the country but always loved having Carolina’s best friend Albert Morris for visit.
Tired of this free-spirited way of life and thinking, Carolina decides to leave her family and head to the city where she starts dating Heath Pierson who seems to be a bit too brilliant. But soon, her past will catch up with her and some truths will be revealed, including ones about true love and family relationships.
The Way Home (2010)
This is an interesting and inspirational true story about a catastrophe in a rural community that gathered everyone together and proved that people can be extremely helpful when others are in need. It is a heartwarming story of a desperate family whose two-year-old son goes missing and they need to rely on their neighbors’ help and goodwill.
Meet the Fockers (2000)
This hilarious comedy shows all the sides of family relationships, from the ones between married couples to their descendants and ancestors. It is the sequel to the even more successful and funny Meet the Parents but is more closely related to the topic in question.
We have already met Pam Byrnes’s strict and serious father Jack and her laid-back mother Dina and in this sequel, we are meeting Pam’s husband’s parents.
They are Bernie and Rozalin Focker, free-spirited hippies who have a completely different view of raising children and will try to implement their carefree thoughts on their son and his wife, which will cause great problems for the stuck-up Jack.
Ordinary People (1980)
This Robert Redford drama is a heartbreaking story of Beth, Calvin and their son Conrad who are grieving the death of their other son. Conrad’s sadness ends with a suicide attempt so he ends up in therapy.
This is when everything slowly starts coming to the surface. Beth has always loved her other son more and can’t seem to sympathise with her son’s problems so Calvin becomes the one responsible for keeping their family together.
The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
Based on one of the most beloved and important American novels of all time, John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, this brilliant adaptation follows the Joad clan who is looking for a better life in California. After they lose their farm, they decide to travel to this promised land in the West, in search of a better life.
On the way there they meet an array of interesting families with the same plan, believing in the same dream. But as soon as they arrive in California, they quickly realize that it is nothing like they have imagined.
Let Him Go (2020)
Diane Lane and Kevin Costner play a married couple, Margaret and George Blackledge who are grieving over the death of their son. The only way to try and let go of him is to distract themselves through various activities.
But the only that might seem successful is when they decide to find their daughter-in-law and their grandson who are trapped with her husband and in-laws.