Stories allow us to share our humanity. They help us feel a spectrum of emotions in a place that feels safe because they’re bound within the confines of fiction. This writer’s opinion is that a great story should serve a feast of emotions, ranging from wonder, to delight, to disgust, to sadness… what have you.

There are a lot of incredible stories that are geared toward a more “mature” audience, which basically means that the story contains graphic depictions of violence, sex, drug use, or other things. There’s an argument to be made that these things can serve as a vehicle for more authentic emotional experiences, but I don’t believe that’s true in all cases. For those of us who prefer to shy away from material that is a little more suggestive, it can be hard to find excellent stories with real substance.

That’s why this list has been compiled. If you’re looking for a great TV show, movie, book, or video game at an excellent narrative caliber but don’t want “suggestive” content, this list is for you.

(Last updated 5/28/21)

Movies

Rated G, PG, or PG-13 (in rare cases)

  • 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • Back to the Future
  • Ben-Hur
  • Casablanca
  • Citizen Kane
  • Coco
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox
  • Hunchback of Notre Dame
  • The Iron Giant
  • Isle of Dogs
  • Laurence of Arabia
  • The Lego Movie
  • The Lion King (1994)
  • Life of Pi
  • Little Women (2019)
  • The Lord of the Rings trilogy
  • The Princess Bride
  • Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • Shrek
  • Star Wars, the original trilogy
  • Spirited Away
  • Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse
  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Toy Story 1-3
  • Up
  • Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

TV Shows

Rated TV-Y, TV-Y7, TV-G, TV-PG, or TV-14 (in rare cases)

  • Adventure Time
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender
  • Batman: The Animated Series
  • Bluey
  • Gravity Falls
  • The Mandalorian
  • Over the Garden Wall
  • Planet Earth
  • Planet Earth II
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation

Books

Titles typically targeted to young adults or children, but may be adult-focused books devoid of graphic depictions of sex, violence, drug use, etc.

  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
  • The Chronicles of Narnia
  • Ender’s Game
  • Fahrenheit 451
  • Frankenstein
  • The Great Divorce
  • The Harry Potter series
  • The Lord of the Rings trilogy
  • The Martian Chronicles
  • The Screwtape Letters
  • To Kill a Mockingbird

Video Games

Rated E, E10, or sometimes T (in rare cases)

  • Celeste
  • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
  • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
  • The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask
  • Undertale

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