5 Baby-Led Movies That'll Make the Whole Fam Go Gaga

Daredevil babies, heart-melting babies, international babies, spotted babies, and babies with leadership qualities.

Babies. We’ve all been one. And we—the Baker-Burnett family—currently have one. As it happens, “our baby”—as her older siblings call her—will mark her first trip around the sun tomorrow. Happy Birthday, Baby! Join us in celebration with six baby-starring, if not baby-friendly (remind me: how soon can they start screen time????), family picks.

Baby’s Day Out (1994, Disney+):

While this one has long been a go-to the big kids and me, James (my husband) was recently shocked to walk in on the three of us hee-hawing and quoting our favorite lines. His surprise was understandable: I’m not typically a fan of broad comedy and H.B. is a high-school sophomore, an age that usually has little interest in diaper-clad protagonists. And yet! We all yucked it up once again as we witnessed our titular baby, Bink (short for Bennington Austin Cotwell IV), eagerly treat his PG-rated Chicago kidnapping as a pleasure cruise. Balancing the infant hijinks (and the unappealing, bumbling criminals) is a wonderful supporting cast: Lara Flynn Boyle plays Bink’s hoity-toity mommy, Cynthia Nixon rocks as Bink’s put-upon nanny, and Fred Thompson as usual milks the role of FBI leader.

Baby Boom (1987, HBO Max):

Anyone who knows me well (and/or has read this newsletter’s introductory post) knows that this Diane Keaton-led corporate-warrior-in-shoulder-pads-suddenly-inherits-a-baby film is pretty close to my cinematic nirvana. Evidence that I am a very lucky lady: Our kids are also enthusiastic fans of Boom (although they obviously don’t yet understand all the layers), and James is okay with rewatching it with us (although he always fixates too much on Sam Shepard’s teeth). Even my mother-in-law once agreed to sit through it. She did dismissively label it a fairytale near the end—to which I say, it’s my kind of fairytale, Sue! And thank you for reading!

Boss Baby (2017; rent it on Prime Video et al. for $3.99):

I haven’t actually watched Alec Baldwin’s star turn as a domineering animated infant, but after making a lot of noise about wanting to see it in the theater (noise that fell on deaf ears), L.B. devoured it on a plane once and gave it two thumbs up. There seems to be a spinoff series on Netflix, plus at least one feature-length sequel, so I guess she’s not the only one.

Babies (2010, watch it for free on Tubi):

This documentary follows a set of infants from Namibia, Mongolia, Japan, and the U.S. from birth to their first birthday. Can I recommend it to women who have given birth recently or even semi-recently? I cannot! It’s taken me 11 years and a newsletter edition about baby movies to actually sit down and consume this film. Now, considering I had a human baby a mere year ago, I can confidently share that I should have waited another few to spend an hour and a half in the trenches with these darling creatures. It’s not that this doc is overly graphic or otherwise trauma-evoking per se; I actually think both of our big kids would like it, and the younger, girl one would probably watch it without any convincing. It’s just a very real portrait of year one. I’m going to stop now and move onto a lighter classic…

Bringing Up Baby (1938; Apple TV et al.):

Until my colleague Keziah recommended it to our family six years ago, I dumbly thought Bringing Up Baby was about the infant child of Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant. And so I passed, despite its glowing name-check in Father of the Bride (Annie and Brian met at an otherwise empty screening of Bringing Up Baby in Italy). Yes, this leopard lover spent decades missing out on the feline grandeur of the best jungle-cat comedy of all time! Once finally wise to the premise (thanks again Keziah—when it’s time, we’ll make sure all TBP readers pre-order your novel!), I immediately placed it at the top of my DVD queue for Saturday night. My real-time review as we neared the finale: This movie is so charming, but it’s a black-and-white picture and almost two hours and also a little confusing plot-wise, so I bet the kids are about to whine. Five-year-old L.B.’s review: Can I watch it again tomorrow morning before church?