Movies About Orphans

Some of the best movies that exist are based upon real life scenarios.

Even a lot of sci-fi and futuristic movies take real life scenarios and insert them into their movies.

One of the most common real life scenarios that you will see in movies is children being orphaned. 

While very few movies actually show the process of a child being orphaned, a lot of storylines use an orphaned individual as the main protagonist as it is great for character development.

You might not have noticed it before, but now that we’ve mentioned it, I’m sure your mind is racing with all the different movies that use this prompt in their storyline. 

So what movies are about orphans? Well, keep on reading to find out all about some of the best movies out there that are about orphans. 

Movies About Orphans

A Series Of Unfortunate Events

By far one of the most famous movies that focuses on orphans is A Series of Unfortunate Events.

Based upon the famous book series by Lemony Snicket (a.k.a. Daniel Handler), there have been a number of adaptations, but one of the most popular versions has to be the 2004 adaptation starring Jim Carrey. 

A Series of Unfortunate Events focuses on three young children known as the Baudelaire siblings, who consist of an older sister, a brother, and a younger sister (who is just a toddler).

The siblings are orphaned after a fire breaks out in their mansion, and then they are shipped off to live with a distant relative, Count Olaf (Jim Carrey).

This distant relative isn’t as nice as you might expect, and from there a series of unfortunate events unfold throughout the movie. 


Another movie that stars an orphan as the main protagonist is Tarzan.

This 1999 Disney animation has seen a variety of different remakes and has also been made into video games, and lots more.

But throughout these adaptations, the main character remains the same, and Tarzan is, unfortunately, an orphan. 

Tarzan begins with a British couple and their young child being shipwrecked. Eager to adapt to their new life, the family built a treehouse to live in.

But, soon disaster strikes and both parents are killed by a leopard, known as Sabor, but the child survives.

Meanwhile, a friendly female gorilla, called Kala, had recently lost her own child to Sabor. She stumbles across the human child, and decides to raise him as her own.

She calls him Tarzan, and he grows up with her and her gorilla family.

From there the story expands, as humans stumble across the gorilla’s home once Tarzan has grown into an adult. 

Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone

Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone

Perhaps the most famous orphan in any movie is Harry Potter.

The Harry Potter franchise has taken over the world, and you will be hard pressed to find somebody who hasn’t heard of either the movies or the books.

And at the heart of this franchise is Harry Potter. 

Early on in the first Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, we learn that a young child has been orphaned.

His name is Harry Potter, and he was just a baby when his parents were murdered. Harry is sent to live with his Aunt, Uncle, and their spoiled child, Dudley.

Harry is treated badly by his Aunt and Uncle (a.k.a. The Dursley’s), and is even made to live in a cupboard under the stairs.

But when Harry turns 11 a letter arrives, and it is revealed that Harry is, in fact, a wizard.

From there, Harry Potter moves to a magical school known as Hogwarts, and a whole load of magic occurs throughout the 8 movies in this franchise. 


If you would prefer a musical that is about orphans, then Annie is the one for you.

The original movie adaptation of the stage show, Annie, was released in 1982, but it was recently made in 2014, when the storyline was altered slightly to modernize it. 

Annie tells the story of a spunky young redhead orphan, named Annie, who lives in an all-girls children’s home in New York City, run by a nasty alcoholic known as Miss Hannigan.

Annie is challenging, and early on in the film she escapes the orphanage, and adopts a stray dog.

Sadly, she is found and returned to the orphanage, but eventually her luck changes when she is adopted by a rich businessman, Oliver Warbucks, for a week.

The movie is filled with great songs that have become absolute classics over the years, and it is generally a heart-warming and touching film to watch.

Kung Fu Panda 2 

In the first Kung Fu Panda movie, it becomes apparent that the main protagonist, Po, is adopted.

However, it isn’t until the second Kung Fu Panda movie that we learn that Po was adopted as he was orphaned. 

In Kung Fu Panda 2 it is learned that Po came to be adopted by Mr Ping, a goose, after the death of his parents.

When Po was just a baby, his panda parents were being chased by wolves. To protect Po, his mother hid him in a crate to save his life.

Sadly, both of Po’s parents were killed. But ultimately, he was found, and adopted, by Mr Ping, and that is where the Kung Fu Panda films begin. 


Finally, as the name suggests, Orphan is about an orphan.

This 2009 horror film is absolutely fantastic, and it really takes this real life scenario and puts a great spin on it.

Orphan stars scream queen, Vera Farmiga, and Peter Sarsgaard who play husband and wife, Kate and John Coleman.

As parents of two, the couple had recently lost their youngest child, Jessica, in a stillbirth.

This puts a strain on the couple’s relationship, and ultimately they make the decision to adopt a new child into their lives.

Ultimately they decide to adopt Esther, a 9-year-old Russian girl.

But, things are not as they seem, and soon after the adoption, dark things begin to happen, and Esther’s mysterious past becomes apparent. 

The plot of this storyline is truly mind-blowing, and what is even more baffling is the fact that this film is based on events that have happened in real life.

A sequel to Orphan is in the works, so that is another film that will be about an orphan. 


So, there we have it, a complete list of 6 different movies that are all about orphans.

These movies are all very different from one another, and it really demonstrates how versatile this plot point is. 

If you are interested in watching a movie that has orphans as a central plot, then check out this guide to find the next picture for your movie night. 

Thanks for reading!

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