It can be difficult to find interesting or suitable films to watch as a family, so Leeds Young Film is curating a list of the best films that are available on various streaming platforms, as well as to rent or buy. While we are updating this list, here is a selection of our top ten recommendations that we think all children should watch (depending on age classification). Some of these titles are available for free on mainstream streaming platforms, while others may require that you pay a fee.

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982, Steven Spielberg, USA, Cert U)
The beloved sci-fi drama from Steven Spielberg about a young boy and the abandoned alien he befriends.

My Neighbour Totoro (1988, Hayao Mayazaki, Japan, Cert U)
Two young sisters discover that the forest next to their new home is inhabited by magical creatures who take them on adventures.

Toy Story (1995, John Lasseter, USA, Cert U)
The first full CGI animated film from Pixar is a funny, moving and action-packed story about friendship, jealousy and belonging.

The Iron Giant (1999, Brad Bird, USA, Cert PG)
A young boy befriends a giant robot from outer space that a paranoid government agent wants to destroy.

Bend it Like Beckham (2002, Gurinder Chadha, UK / Germany / USA, Cert 12)
A humourous culture clash where an Indian family in London tries to raise their soccer-playing daughter in a traditional way.

Whale Rider (2002, Niki Caro, New Zealand / Germany, Cert PG)
A remarkable coming-of-age story about an iconoclastic young girl in a Maori community who wishes to be the next chief of her tribe.

Azur & Asmar: The Princes' Quest (2006, Michel Ocelot, France / Belgium / Spain / Italy, Cert U)
A visual masterpiece from award-winning animator Michel Ocelot that combines cut-outs with CGI to create a magical fantasy world.

Paddington (2014, Paul King, UK, Cert PG)
A great modern live-action children's films based on the beloved books about a young talking bear and the family that adopted him.

He Named Me Malala (2015, Davis Guggenheim, UAE / USA, Cert PG)
An intimate portrait of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai, a 15-year-old girl targeted by the Taliban for going to school.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016, Taika Waititi, New Zealand, Cert 12)
Juvenile delinquent Ricky Baker and his grizzled foster uncle go on the run from the authorities in this New Zealand comedy.

Lockdown Family Film Lists

Song of the Sea still from LYFF Lockdown Film recommendations list

As well as this list we have curated a number of films to watch during lockdown, that are available on each of the most popular streaming services (Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+) that you can watch with a subscription whenever you like. You can find a link to these lists here.

Black Lives Matter: Family Films

Image for Hair Love in Black Lives Matter Family Films programme

We have also curated an introductory list for children and families on the theme of Black Lives Matter, as we felt that it was important to put together a list of films at U, PG and 12A classification that families could watch together that could inform, show positive black representation on screen and/or behind the camera and entertain.​ We have explained the reason for including each film on the list and provided details of the themes and content. You can view the list here.

We hope these lists are useful and you find something new and exciting to watch.​