A lot of people confuse kids movies with animated and anime flicks, which isn’t the case all the time. For kids between ages 5 to 10, there are a lot many other live-action movies to choose from. Earlier, filmmakers usually didn’t venture into genres like action, horror, sci-fi, if they wanted to appease kids of a certain age group. Things have changed now. Kids are also loving sci-fi, action and horror flicks, though it is difficult to conclude whether it’s the kids or the filmmakers who’ve evolved.
Another change that has happened over the years is that adults are loving the so-called kids movies too. Take the example of ‘Kung Fu Panda’ or ‘The Incredibles’ that have been incredibly popular both among kids as well as adults. Not only that, kids have invaded the live-action space too and have pretty much been watching movies which we thought would appeal only to the grown-ups. ‘Avatar’ and ‘Star Wars’ are good examples. After the advent of the MCU and widespread commercialization of our beloved comic superheroes, the line between kids movies and adult movies might be blurring pretty fast.
If you want to have a family film night or if you need more film recommendations for the young people in your life, this list is for you. Netflix has so many kids movies that sometimes it is incredibly hard to choose what to watch next. We’ve managed to compile several amazing kids flicks — from classic animation films to live action adaptations, from spooky to musical movies. With that said, here is the list of really good children and G-rated movies on Netflix that are available to stream right now. The list includes funny kids movies, scary kids movies, classic kids movies, Halloween kids movies and Christmas kids movies.
30. Scooby-Doo (2002)
‘Scooby-Doo’ is a live-action film, based on the brilliant original T.V. show of the same name. The Mystery Inc. gang has gone their separate ways and has been apart for two years. Until they each receive an invitation to Spooky Island. They show up and discover an amusement park that affects visitors in very strange ways. Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy and Scooby soon realize that they cannot solve this mystery without help from each other. This is the perfect spooky film for kids, especially good for this time of the year. The story is quite simple but very well paced and entertaining. There are good fight scenes, hilarious jokes and eerie moments. Perfect if you fancy something different.
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29. Nancy Drew (2007)
Teen detective Nancy Drew accompanies her father on a business trip to Los Angeles, where she happens upon clues to a murder mystery involving a movie star. This is a good adaptation of the Nancy Drew book series about a young confident girl who solves mysteries. Although there are a couple of spooky moments, it is also funny and appropriate for kids of all ages. Featuring a young Emma Roberts, kids will for sure love this film.
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28. Hoodwinked! (2005)
‘Hoodwinked’ is an updated re-telling of the classic Brothers Grimm fairy tale ‘Little Red Riding Hood’. Chief Grizzly and Detective Bill Stork investigate a disturbance at Granny’s cottage, involving a girl, a wolf and an axe. The charges are many: breaking and entering, disturbing the peace, intent to eat, and wielding an axe without a license. Despite being a low-budget animation, this badass re-telling is completely absorbing and funny. There’s a level of originality and cleverness in the scriptwriting and storytelling that is not very common in animation.
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27. Ballerina (2016)
Also titled ‘Leap!’, ‘Ballerina’, set in the 1880s France, revolves around Felicie. Felicie is an orphan kid who dreams big to become a ballerina. To fulfill her dreams, she elopes with her friend Victor to Paris, where Victor starts working as an office boy under Gustave Eiffel, the famed builder of The Eiffel Tower. Felicie is rescued by Odette, a former prima ballerina who walks with a limp and works at a local opera as a cleaner. Felicie spies on Camille, the daughter of a wealthy restaurant owner, while the latter practices in the opera. When a postman is about to deliver a letter to Camille that states her acceptance into the prestigious Paris Opera Ballet, Felicie decides to pose as Camille and enters the Paris Opera Ballet instead, where she’s all set to play the leading lady Clara in a play called ‘The Nutcracker’, soon before her ploy is uncovered. ‘Ballerina’ has a superior animation, hits the high notes and is a relatable and palpable affair.
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26. Penelope (2006)
Penelope belongs to an affluent family which supposedly has everything against her. She’s also affected by the mysterious Wilhern’s spell, which gives her the eyes and nose of a pig (well, somewhat). The spell will be broken only if she manages to find herself a suitor and a true love who would accept her the way she is and loves her back. Max is a reporter who wants to get a photograph of Penelope, as he’s heard many tales around her while ‘Penelope’ prepares to elope from the clutches of her family and the boundaries set by her near and dear ones to explore the world on her own. An undying love story and the story of becoming, ‘Penelope’ will impress you with its oddities.
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25. Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001)
Milo Thatch works in the boiler room of a museum. He knows that Atlantis was real, and he can get there. But he needs someone to fund the voyage. His employer refuses to fund that crazy idea but a mysterious woman finds him and proposes a plan. They travel through the Atlantic Ocean, facing many dangers to encounter the lost city under the sea. Although a profound film with a lot of deep messages, it still has a lot of action and funny scenes that will draw your kids in. The voice-overs are great, as is the animation. Definitely worth your time.
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24. Bolt (2008)
The story of a brave white shepherd dog who needs to find his way out all by himself in this dog-eat-dog-world, ‘Bolt’ begins with a young Penny adopting the little Bolt. As they grow up, Penny and Bolt start working in a television series called ‘Bolt’ which is the story of an all-powerful dog who has superpowers and saves his friend Penny at the time of need. When ‘Bolt’ suspects that Penny has been abducted, he ventures out of the film set in order to find her, only to realize that he was mistaken and he’s the one who’s missing. Bolt’s journey from New York City to find Penny and reunite with her human friend is not without any ordeal, but he makes new friends and acquaintances and finds out all his superpowers were made up for the sake of television. ‘Bolt’ is funny, inspiring and boasts of spectacular animation, thus making it an amazing kids movie.
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23. Meet the Robinsons (2007)
Lewis is a 12-year-old kid who exudes brilliance and is an aspiring inventor. He invents a scanner that would be able to scan a person’s memories to look into the past. He uses the scanner to scan his own memories to see what his mother would have looked like. As he takes the device to his school’s science fair for a demonstration, he meets Wilbur, an apparent time-traveler who is a cop in the future and asks Lewis to come along with him. He also warns about a guy with a bowler hat who’s trying to alter the timelines. A reluctant Lewis accompanies Wilbur into the future and finds out that the former has a new name in the future – Cornelius Robinson. And Wilbur is none other than his own son from the future. ‘Meet the Robinsons’ was immensely lauded for its animation and the science angle in the premise.
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22. Chicken Run (2000)
Having been miserably repressed and facing certain death at the chicken farm where they are held, Rocky the rooster and Ginger the chicken decide to rebel against the evil Mr and Ms Tweedy, the farm’s owners. Therefore, Rocky and Ginger become the leaders of a great escape from the cruel farmers. “Chicken Run” is a wonderfully entertaining movie. Kids will love how chickens are doing absurd things and definitely adore their funny dialogue; adults will enjoy the funny and sweet story; all this while valuing the importance of all kinds of animals and their feelings.
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21. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009)
Flint Lockwood is a young zealous scientist who has invented the FLDSMFDR, a device which converts water into food. Owing to and learning from his past failures as an upcoming scientist, and given the socially awkward person that he always has been, Flint has pinned high hopes with his latest invention. During the first run of the device, it’s raining cheeseburgers on the town island of Swallow Falls, much to the respite of the locals and the greedy mayor, who plans on turning the place into a tourist destination while continuing his voracious eating. Soon, the number of demands take a toll on the machine and it starts over mutating, thus leading to giant food hurricanes, pushing the town into chaos. Flint must capitalize on his scientific prowess to shut the machine down despite strong opposition from the mayor. ‘Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs’ boasts of a novel, never-heard-before script and is a heartwarming story of the transformation of Flint Lockwood as a person.
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20. How to Steal a Dog (2014)
The only South Korean flick on this list, ‘How to Steal a Dog’ is not a guideline, to begin with. The story revolves around a 10-year-old girl named Ji-so, who lives in a dilapidated condition with her mother Jeong-Hyeon and brother Ji-Seok inside a van after their father left them owing to financial failures. She sees a poster of a missing dog carrying a reward of $500 and gets immediately intrigued by the idea – find an affluent person with a dog, steal the dog and return it to get the reward, believing the reward would be good enough for them to buy a house. She takes the help of Chae-rang, her friend, and steals a dog named Wolly which belongs to an old woman. A homeless man helps them hide the dog while Soo-young, the old woman’s nephew, is also after the same dog. Ji-So eventually makes her plan work the way she wanted it. ‘How to Steal a Dog’ is a breath of fresh air and is the undying proof of the fact that Korean cinema is a class apart from regular Hollywood flicks.
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19. Sing (2016)
Much like ‘Zootopia’, ‘Sing’ is set around a bunch of anthropomorphic animals viz. a koala, a piglet, a mouse, an elephant, a gorilla to name a few. Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey) is a koala and owns a theatre which is in a dire condition. He tells his assistant to come up with fliers and adverts for a $1000 prize money to win a singing competition. The assistant mistakenly publishes it as a $100000, thus leading to a deluge of animals appearing for an audition. The final contestants include Rosita, a pig, Mike, a mouse, Johnny, a gorilla, and Ash, a porcupine. A disaster ensues and the theatre is flooded, but a determined Buster goes on to host the competition which turns out to be successful in the end. What’s more important than the competition itself are the small yet inspiring stories of all the contestants which make ‘Sing’ a beautiful movie every kid must see.
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18. The Prince of Egypt (1998)
The legendary story of Moses and Ramses, ‘The Prince of Egypt’ will definitely take you down the memory lane with one of those powerful, legendary tales of the good vs. the greater good. As it appears, Pharaoh Seti has ordered the killing of all newborn Hebrew boys fearing a rebellion from his slaves. Yocheved, a woman who fears the life of her newborn son, places him in a basket and makes it sail across the river to Pharaoh’s palace, where Queen Tuya, the wife of Pharaoh Seti adopts the baby boy. Years later, the boy grows up to be known as Moses, while his brother is the legendary Ramesses II, regarded as one of the most powerful rulers of Egypt at the time. Moses and Ramesses have a strong bond of brotherhood but eventually, they are destined to separate, given their past. ‘The Prince of Egypt’ was hailed for its emotional quotient, the visuals and the storytelling. See it for yourself.
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17. The Christmas Chronicles (2018)
A recent addition to Netflix, ‘The Christmas Chronicles’ revolves around Teddy and Kate, two teenager siblings who live with their workaholic mother. Their father had passed away in an incident and all they share amongst them is a dysfunctional family. Teddy is into drinking and partying and their mother often works overtime at the local hospital. On Christmas Eve, as their mother had to leave for the hospital owing to an emergency. Kate finds her late father’s camcorder which has a recorded message for Santa Claus. Kate and Teddy hatch up a plan to catch a glimpse of Santa by hiding the camera and waiting up. I need not tell what happens after. ‘The Christmas Chronicles’ is predictable, still makes for a watchable story, especially for the kids.
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16. Angela’s Christmas (2017)
A typical Christmas story tailor-made for the kids, ‘Angela’s Christmas’ is all about 6-year-old Angela, a girl who lives with her single mom and her three siblings in Limerick, Ireland. On Christmas Eve, her mother’s challenge is to get all four of her kids ready for the church, while Angela fights with her brothers, for they don’t have enough warm coats. As the family joins the rest of the crowd at the church, a curious Angela notices the Baby Jesus who is only in a diaper, much to her resentment, given it is very cold outside. She makes a commitment to herself to keep Jesus warm, something that sets her off on an adventure she couldn’t imagine. A heartwarming, uplifting story, ‘Angela’s Christmas’ is a perfect watch for the Christmas Eve.
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15. Beauty and the Beast (2017)
An eternal love story featuring one of the kids’ favourites these days, Emma Watson, ‘Beauty and the Beast’ begins with Belle, a young bibliophilic girl living in a countryside house along with her father. One fine day, when her father is kidnapped by the irritable and self-loathing Beast inside the castle, for he plucked a flower, she takes it upon herself to set her father free. The Beast captures her instead and she realises the Beast is none other than a cursed prince and the household objects are his servants. To get rid of the curse, the Beast must love someone and be equally loved back, before the last petal of the enchanted rose falls. Need I say more? Watch this spectacular extravaganza with your kid(s) and prepare to be amazed.
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14. Okja (2017)
Bong Joon-ho‘s masterpiece is a wondrous tale of the love and togetherness between Mija, a young South Korean girl and her lovable super-pig, a beast named Okja, ‘Okja’ is a heartwarming and tear-jerking tale which you won’t regret seeing. The movie begins with Mija and Okja playfully wandering in the woods and the mountains — something that’s been happening from the past 10 years. Things go awry when their family-owned corporation picks up Okja and transports it to New York — a ploy led by Lucy Mirando, the CEO of Mirando Corporation. Mija has to fight wealthy businessmen, powerful henchmen and crony capitalists to bring her friend home, which is not going to be an easy task. ‘Okja’ is a must-watch for the fans of kids’ movies and South Korean movies. Easily one of the best flicks on this list.
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13. Tarzan (1999)
The uber-famous tale which every child would’ve heard of, ‘Tarzan’ is the telltale of its titular character, a wonder-boy who was originally an infant and the son of a British couple who has taken refuge inside Congo’s rainforest following a shipwreck. The couple is killed by a tiger named Sabor after they’ve built a treehouse that houses their infant son. A gorilla Kala, after hearing the infant’s cries, heads to the treehouse and takes him in, for her own son was also killed by Sabor. The infant comes to be known as Tarzan who is at crossroads after realizing he really is a human. He falls for Jane, another British explorer and has to fight Clayton, a hunter and Tarzan’s arch nemesis who threatens to put the forest’s fauna into jeopardy. An immortal tale of love and discovering one’s own identity, ‘Tarzan’ is one of those eternal flicks that must be there on every movie lover’s list.
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12. Hercules (1997)
‘Hercules’ is the son of Zeus, the fabled Greek God, but is quickly turned into a half-mortal by Hades who has his own evil design against Zeus. Although Hercules is not raised among the Gods, he still is all-powerful and remains to be the most powerful mortal. To accomplish his true identity and to establish himself as the true son of Zeus and also to return to Mount Olympus, Hercules must prove to be a hero to the people on Earth. He sets off on an adventurous journey with the help of his friend Pegasus and trainer Phil. After taking on monsters released by Hades, followed by the Hades and the Titans themselves, Hercules must sacrifice one of his loved beings to be hailed as a true hero. This heroic Greek mythical tale could serve as a historical fodder for the kids, along with its compelling narrative and stunning visuals.
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11. Divines (2016)
Nominated for a Golden Globe, ‘Divines’ follows a teen from a dysfunctional family from Paris. She comes across a young dancer who turns her life upside down. Although the plot seems pretty simple on the surface, it is actually quite complex. Scene after scene, the characters, the settings, the relationships, every element comes with incredible strength. From a classroom argument to a daughter-mother discussion, almost every scene is heart-breaking. ‘Divines’ is a film about survival in a mad world in which the characters feel incredibly real. Actresses Oulaya Amamra and Déborah Lukumuena are incredible and I’m sure we will hear more about them in the future.
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10. Kung Fu Panda (2008)
‘Kung Fu Panda’ is an animated comedy about a lazy panda, Po, who must somehow become a Kung Fu Master in order to save the Valley of Peace from a villainous snow leopard, Tai Lung. Set in the mythical world of ancient China, Po is an unlikely hero, who enters the rigid world of Kung Fu and turns it upside down. Dreamworks Animation managed to create a story that keeps kids glued to the screen. It is about the power of believing in yourself and following your dreams. The animation and the music are wonderful. Jack Black’s voice-over as the vulnerable yet zealous Po and the struggles Po has to go through in order to be the dragon warrior, combined with the quirky dialogues would make you laugh and keep you intrigued throughout the movie.
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9. White Christmas (1954)
I urge you not to look at the year of this movie’s release while judging it. ‘White Christmas’ is a near-perfect Christmas story revolving around two friends, Bob and Phil. They are song and dance men and are known to be among the famous Broadway producers. Betty and Judy are sisters and are into the dance and song act themselves and as their paths cross with Bob and Phil, Bob is immediately smitten with Betty. The four of them agree to perform at the Vermont Lodge on Christmas’ Eve and as they arrive at the lodge, they find the lodge belonging to one of their commanding officers during the second world war – Major General Thomas F. Waverly. Apparently, the Major is in mounting debt and the troupe need to help their boss out while setting their personal differences and getting Bob and Betty on the same page. ‘White Christmas’ is a perfect Christmas watch and one of the best family movies on this list.
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8. Mulan (1998)
A very few would know that ‘Mulan’ is an age-old folklore of the Chinese culture. It is the narrative of a young maiden girl named Mulan who enlists in the army to fight the Huns, in lieu of her ageing father, while posing as a boy. Because conscription was mandatory, Mulan’s ancestors send Zushu, a dragon, to dissuade her from joining the army but looking at Mulan’s zeal, Zushu agrees to help her out in her new journey. ‘Mulan’ is a vindictive, coming-of-age film which teaches the triumph of truth and determination in the oddest circumstances. That makes ‘Mulan’ a wonderful kids and family film to watch over a weekend.
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7. Coraline (2009)
When Coraline moves to an old house, she feels bored and neglected by her parents. But she finds a hidden door with a bricked up passage. There she finds another world that is a strangely idealized version of her home, but it has sinister secrets. Based on a book by Neil Gaiman, this film is visually amazing and has a powerful storyline. Its director is Henry Selick, also known for his work in ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’. Therefore, expect a very entertaining but extremely creepy and eerie film.
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6. The Little Prince (2015)
Believe it or not, the animation is superior and the story is equally compelling in this French-English animated feature which is centered around a little girl, known as The Little Girl. The movie begins with a mother who cares for her daughter and likes to plan everything for her in advance, like studies, career etc. Currently in school, The Little Girl is intrigued by her neighbour, an old man who was an aviator once, but she is too busy to meet the man herself. After a lot of pondering, when she finally gets to meet him, he tells her about The Little Prince he once met, leading to a magical and emotional journey of the Little Girl she would’ve never expected. ‘The Little Prince’ received a thumping response from critics and audiences alike and has some of the most stunning visuals in the animation space.
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5. Shrek (2001)
No one would’ve imagined that the story of an ugly green ogre living in his swamp would turn out to be one of the most beautiful love stories ever told. ‘Shrek’ revolves around its titular character, a green ogre who loves his swamp and likes to dwell there the whole day. His life is seemingly disturbed when a deluge of fairy-tale creatures invade his swamp, who have been exiled by Lord Farquaad. When Shrek complains, Farquaad asks him to get him princess Fiona, whom he resolves to marry, from a dragon which is guarding a castle. Shrek, accompanied by his friend Donkey, head to the castle and rescue Fiona, only to know that Fiona never wanted to marry Farquaad. Meanwhile, Shrek falls in love with Fiona. ‘Shrek’ received universal critical acclaim upon its release and is often hailed as one of the best-animated flicks ever made.
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4. The Iron Giant (1999)
Hogarth Hughes is a 9-year-old kid during the late ’50s, precisely during the time of the launch of Russian Sputnik I. Briefly after the launch, an extraterrestrial object falls upon earth, near Maine where Hogarth is presently living. Hogarth discovers a giant alien who’s eating electrical wires and is very curious to know about everything and befriends him. Kent Mansley is a U.S. Government agent who is hell-bent on determining what transpired in Maine and comes across the Iron Giant and vows to destroy him. Hogarth resolves to protect his giant friend and a “battle” ensues. A movie which is reminiscent of ‘E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial’ in many ways, ‘The Iron Giant’ is a classic alien flick which isn’t based on an invasion theme but is much softer and friendlier in its approach. Stream it on Netflix right away, if you will!
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3. Song of the Sea (2014)
‘Song of the Sea’ begins with a pregnant woman who’s telling fairy tale stories to her young son Ben about the selkies, humans who turn into seals when in water. After giving birth to a baby girl Saoirse, the mother passes away, leaving Ben with a younger sister to look after, a gloomy father and a very nosy yet caring grandma. Their father, Conor, is a lighthouse keeper and the grandma thinks it is not safe for her children to stay at the lighthouse. One night, when Saoirse is playing a shell that used to be her mother’s, little lights lead her to a mystical coat which takes her inside the sea, transforming her into a seal — something that has been her destiny all along. ‘Song of the Sea’ is originally Irish lore and makes for a fulfilling story with stunning visuals and intriguing narrative. Watch it for yourself!
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2. The Princess Diaries (2001)
I won’t say this could be one of the best kids movies on Netflix right now, but it definitely makes for a feel-good film that could be watched over and over again, thanks to the ever-charming Anne Hathaway. The narrative is the story of a teenager named Mia Thermopolis who lives in a run-down apartment with her widowed artist-mother Helen. Mia is a socially awkward shy girl who has equally laid-back friends – Lily and Michael. When Mia hears news about the arrival of paternal grandma Clarisse from Genovia before her 16th birthday, she is also shocked to know that her grandmother is none other than the Queen of Genovia and her late father was the crown prince, making Mia the next in line for the throne of Genovia. A shocked Mia has to learn the ways of the princess while dealing with greedy, opportunistic suitors and her newfound fame.
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1. Coco (2017)
Arguably one of the most beautiful, visually stunning and compelling animated movies ever made, ‘Coco’ begins its narrative with Miguel, a Mexican boy born into a shoemaker family. There is an apparent ban on playing and listening to music in their family, as Miguel’s great-great-grandfather had left his wife and daughter for the love of music. Miguel wants to be a musician and idolizes la Cruz, one of the late singers from his town.
On the day of the dead, following a squabble with his family members, Miguel steals la Cruz’s guitar and gets teleported to the Land of the Dead. To return to the Land of the Living, he must receive a blessing from one of his dead relatives and he finds out La Cruz is none other than his great-great-grandfather. Miguel’s extraordinary journey and the connections between family, ancestors, relatives and culture form a brilliant narrative put together. ‘Coco’ is a fulfilling flick that is a must-watch for all the kids and grown-ups alike.
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