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The Best Movies About Orphans 

Ranker Film
Updated August 8, 2020 3.5k votes 933 voters 104.9k views 50 items

List Rules Films about orphans and orphanages. Vote up the best orphan movies.

Some of the sweetest and most inspirational movies of all time are those that feature the life of a child who has been abandoned by his or her parents, whether through a death or a circumstance such as war. These stories that touch our hearts in the deepest place possible. It’s no wonder that some absolutely amazing films have told the story of an orphaned child. What are the best movies about orphans? Vote up your favorites below and see where they rank!
 
The movies on this list have been ranked as the best of films on this topic. Some of these films are classic greats in the film industry that have forever impacted our hearts. Some of the movies featured here are based on true events of survival, finding a home, and the impact that losing a parent can have on a child. Others are based on famous fictional books and fictional orphans.
 
This list features the best movies about orphans including, Les Miserables, Hugo, The Jungle Book, Jane Eyre, Great Expectations, Oliver, The Red Violin, August Rush, The Book Thief, and The Cider House Rules. Vote up the best orphan movies below or add one you love that isn't already on the list.
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1
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Zachary Levi, Mark Strong, Jack Dylan Grazer

Released: 2019

Directed by: David F. Sandberg

Shazam! is a 2019 superhero film directed by David F. Sandberg, based on the DC Comics character. A boy (Asher Angel) is given the ability to become an adult superhero (Zachary Levi) in times of ...more

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#36 of 172 The Best Superhero Movies Ever Made #698 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies #681 of 923 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films

2
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RavenBrookeCooper added Alec Guinness, Diana Dors, Anthony Newley

Released: 1948

Directed by: David Lean

Oliver Twist is the second of David Lean's two film adaptations of Charles Dickens novels. Following the success of his 1946 version of Great Expectations, Lean re-assembled much of the same ...more

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#190 of 360 The Best Movies Based On Books #21 of 23 The Best Movies Where The Director Is Directing His Wife #8 of 52 The Best Alec Guinness Movies

3
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Camilla Belle, Liam Cunningham, Vincent Schiavelli

Released: 1995

Directed by: Alfonso Cuarón

A Little Princess is a 1995 drama film directed by Alfonso Cuarón, starring Liesel Matthews, Eleanor Bron, Liam Cunningham, and Vanessa Lee Chester. Set during WWI, it focuses on a young ...more

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#18 of 76 The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels #262 of 693 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made #131 of 355 The Best Rainy Day Movies

4
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Liam Neeson, Tilda Swinton, James McAvoy

Released: 2005

Directed by: Andrew Adamson

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a 2005 fantasy adventure film directed by Andrew Adamson and based on The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the first published ...more

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The Best Characters in the Chronicles of Narnia, Ranked #4 of 76 The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novelslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

5
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Jude Law, Chloë Grace Moretz, Christopher Lee

Released: 2011

Directed by: Martin Scorsese

Hugo is a 2011 American 3D historical adventure drama film directed and co-produced by Martin Scorsese and adapted for the screen by John Logan. Based on Brian Selznick's novel The Invention of ...more

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#5 of 76 The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels #147 of 360 The Best Movies Based On Books #33 of 63 The Best Adventure Movies for Kids

6
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Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson, Heike Makatsch

Released: 2013

Directed by: Brian Percival

This film is a 2013 American-German drama film directed by Brian Percival and starring Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson, and Sophie Nélisse. The film is about a young girl living with her ...more

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#166 of 360 The Best Movies Based On Books #36 of 76 The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels #164 of 214 The Greatest World War II Movies of All Time

7
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Tia Carrere, Ving Rhames, Kevin Michael Richardson

Released: 2002

Directed by: Dean DeBlois, Chris Sanders

Lilo & Stitch is a 2002 American animated action-adventure comedy-drama film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation and released by Walt Disney Pictures on June 21, 2002. The 42nd ...more

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15 Small But Poignant Details Fans Pointed Out About 'Lilo & Stitch' 18 Years Later #8 of 568 The Best Animated Films Ever #920 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies

8
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Robin Williams, Keri Russell, Jonathan Rhys Meyers

Released: 2007

Directed by: Kirsten Sheridan

August Rush is a 2007 drama film directed by Kirsten Sheridan and written by Nick Castle, James V. Hart, and Paul Castro, and produced by Richard Barton Lewis. Deciding to run away to New York ...more

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#66 of 195 The Best Movies About Music #175 of 299 The Greatest Soundtracks of All Time #47 of 51 The Best Musical Love Story Movies

9
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Richard Farnsworth, Zack Ward, Colleen Dewhurst

Released: 1985

Directed by: Kevin Sullivan

Anne of Green Gables is a 1985 Canadian television drama film based on the novel of the same name by Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery. An orphan girl (Megan Follows), sent to an elderly ...more

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#141 of 144 The Best Old School Anime From 1999 and Before #1,100 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies #217 of 388 TV Shows That Only Smart People Appreciate

10
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Mickey Rooney, Shelley Winters, Red Buttons

Released: 1977

Directed by: Don Chaffey

Pete's Dragon is a 1977 live-action/animated musical film from Walt Disney Productions. It is a live-action film but one of its title characters, a dragon named Elliott, is animated. The story ...more

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#155 of 568 The Best Animated Films Ever #82 of 194 Musical Movies With the Best Songs #177 of 317 The Best Movies for Kids

11
The Dark Knight is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Movies About Orphans
JimJenkins added Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Heath Ledger

Released: 2008

Directed by: Christopher Nolan

Batman is an orphan, too! The Dark Knight is a 2008 superhero film directed by Christopher Nolan, based on the DC Comics character, Batman. Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale), Police Lieutenant James Gordon (Gary Oldman) and ...more

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Behind-The-Scenes Stories From The Set Of 'The Dark Knight' #1 of 172 The Best Superhero Movies Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

12
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Oliver Reed, Leonard Rossiter, Hugh Griffith

Released: 1968

Directed by: Carol Reed

Oliver! is a 1968 British musical drama film directed by Carol Reed and based on the stage musical of the same name, with book, music and lyrics written by Lionel Bart. The screenplay was ...more

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#34 of 194 Musical Movies With the Best Songs #63 of 83 The Very Best Oscar-Winning Movies For Best Picturelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

13
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Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Hugh Jackman

Released: 2012

Directed by: Tom Hooper

Les Misérables is a 2012 musical drama film directed by Tom Hooper, based on the 1862 French novel of the same name by Victor Hugo, which also inspired a 1980 concept album and 1985 ...more

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#755 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies #28 of 48 Every Movie Coming To Netflix In August 2020 #10 of 194 Musical Movies With the Best Songs

14
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Clint Howard, George Sanders, Louis Prima

Released: 1967

Directed by: Wolfgang Reitherman

The Jungle Book is a 1967 American animated film produced by Walt Disney Productions. Inspired by the Rudyard Kipling's book of the same name, it is the 19th animated feature in the Walt Disney ...more

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The Jungle Book Was Originally Written To Prove That White People Are The Superior Race #116 of 568 The Best Animated Films Ever #288 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies

15
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Angela Lansbury, Roddy McDowall, Bruce Forsyth

Released: 1971

Directed by: Robert Stevenson

This film is a 1971 American musical film produced by Walt Disney Productions and released by Buena Vista Distribution Company in North America on December 13, 1971. It is based upon the books ...more

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#177 of 568 The Best Animated Films Ever #63 of 194 Musical Movies With the Best Songslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

16
Man of Steel is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Movies About Orphans
JimJenkins added Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon

Released: 2013

Directed by: Zack Snyder

Don't forget Superman is an orphan! Man of Steel is a 2013 superhero film directed by Zack Snyder, based on the DC Comics character. Clark Kent (Henry Cavill), one of the last of an extinguished race disguised as an unremarkable ...more

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#29 of 172 The Best Superhero Movies Ever Made #1,043 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies #881 of 1,138 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time

17
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Orson Welles, Joan Fontaine, Margaret O'Brien

Released: 1944

Directed by: Robert Stevenson

Jane Eyre is an American film adaptation of Charlotte Brontë's 1847 novel of the same name, released by 20th Century Fox. It was directed by Robert Stevenson and produced by William Goetz, ...more

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#448 of 693 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made #66 of 75 The Greatest Classic Romance Movies #50 of 78 The Best Period Romance Movies

18
Batman Begins is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Movies About Orphans
Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Liam Neeson

Released: 2005

Directed by: Christopher Nolan

Batman Begins is a 2005 superhero film directed by Christopher Nolan, based on the DC Comics character. After training with his mentor (Liam Neeson), Batman (Christian Bale) begins his fight to ...more

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#14 of 172 The Best Superhero Movies Ever Made #84 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies #9 of 182 The Greatest Comic Book Movies of All Time

19
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Charlize Theron, Michael Caine, Paul Rudd

Released: 1999

Directed by: Lasse Hallström

The Cider House Rules is a 1999 American drama film directed by Lasse Hallström, based on John Irving's novel of the same name. The film won two Academy Awards, and was nominated for the ...more

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#266 of 693 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made #178 of 360 The Best Movies Based On Bookslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

20
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Tom Islava added Carrie Fisher, Aretha Franklin, Steven Spielberg

Released: 1980

Directed by: John Landis

Jake and Elwood's mission from God was in order to save the orphanage they were raised in.

The Blues Brothers is a 1980 American musical comedy film directed by John Landis and starring John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd as "Joliet" Jake and Elwood Blues, characters developed from ...more

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#43 of 522 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #99 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies #29 of 1,138 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time

21
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Alec Guinness, Jean Simmons, John Mills

Released: 1946

Directed by: David Lean

Great Expectations is a 1946 British film directed by David Lean, based on the novel by Charles Dickens and starring John Mills, Bernard Miles, Finlay Currie, Jean Simmons, Martita Hunt, Alec ...more

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#1,163 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies #558 of 693 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

22
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Albert Finney, Lynn Redgrave, Susannah York

Released: 1963

Directed by: Tony Richardson

Tom Jones is a 1963 British adventure comedy film, an adaptation of Henry Fielding's classic novel The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, starring Albert Finney as the titular hero. It was one ...more

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#822 of 1,138 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time #302 of 334 The Greatest Movies in World Cinema Historylisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

23
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Nick Nolte, Joaquin Phoenix, Don Cheadle

Released: 2004

Directed by: Terry George

Hotel Rwanda is a 2004 American historical drama film directed by Terry George. It was adapted from a screenplay written by both George and Keir Pearson. It stars Don Cheadle and Sophie Okonedo ...more

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#104 of 378 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #40 of 629 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #98 of 276 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry

24
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Mickey Rooney, Spencer Tracy, Gene Reynolds

Released: 1938

Directed by: Norman Taurog

Boys Town is a 1938 biographical drama film based on Father Edward J. Flanagan's work with a group of underprivileged and delinquent boys in a home that he founded and named "Boys ...more

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#1,241 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies #110 of 232 The Best Black and White Movies Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

25
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The Secret Garden Colin Firth, Maeve Dermody, Julie Walters

Released: 2020

Directed by: Marc Munden

The Secret Garden is an upcoming fantasy film directed by Marc Munden, based on the novel of the same name by Frances Hodgson Burnett. An orphaned girl, Mary Lennox (Dixie Egerickx) is sent to ...more