For the last sixteen weeks, since lockdown began and Leeds Young Film Festival was postponed, we have been recommending a number of family films to watch each week, to help you navigate the huge amount of content available for free on TV and across the most popular streaming platforms. These have included many new and little-known films, along with some family favourites.

As lockdown restrictions are being lifted, life is returning to (some kind of) normal and cinemas are re-opening, we have decided to reduce the recommendations each week to just a few titles, all of which will be available to watch for free (with a TV licence).

Alongside these weekly recommendations, we have also created a list of the top ten family film recommendations that are available on the most popular streaming platforms (Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+) that you can watch anytime, as long as you have a subscription. You can find these top ten lists here.

In addition to this week's selection, we also have the top ten list of films that children have been watching during lockdown, chosen by children themselves. The BBFC commissioned a poll of over 1,000 children to see which films they would most likely choose to watch if they needed cheering up. Top of the list for children aged 4-11 was Trolls (U), with Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (12) topping the list for children aged 12-13. The full list includes Trolls (U); Frozen (PG); The Boss Baby (U); The Greatest Showman (PG); The Lego Movie (U); Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (12); Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (PG), Inside Out (U), Finding Nemo (U) and Spiderman: Into The Spider-verse (PG). We're very pleased to say that eight of these have been included in our recommendations over the last few months. You can read the full report on the BBFC's website here.

Here are the selections for w/c Friday 17 July.

Maleficent (BBC1, Sat 18 Jul, 5:15pm)

Dir. Robert Stromberg, 2014, USA, 93 mins, Cert PG


Loosely inspired by the original fairy tale and Disney's 1959 animated film Sleeping Beauty, Maleficent portrays the story from the perspective of the eponymous anti-hero, played by Angelina Jolie, in her highest ever grossing film role.

Growing up Maleficent has an idyllic life in a peaceful forest kingdom, until an invading army threatens the harmony of the land. Maleficent rises to protect the land, but is betrayed. Bent on revenge, she places a curse upon the king's newborn infant Aurora. As the child grows, Maleficent realizes that Aurora holds the key to peace in the kingdom.

Jolie reprised her role in the equally entertaining sequel, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil in 2019.

Read more on IMDB here.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 (E4, Sat 18 Jul, 6:40pm)

Dir. Francis Lawrence, 2014, USA, 123 mins, Cert 12

The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 1

The adaptation of the final book in the Hunger Games trilogy was split into two parts, similar to the Harry Potter franchise.

In this first part Katniss finds herself in District 13, a below-ground district isolated from Panem that has been spearheading the rebellion. Under the leadership of President Coin and the advice of her trusted friends, Katniss reluctantly becomes the 'Mockingjay', a symbol of a mass rebellion against the Capitol, and fights to save Peeta and a nation moved by her courage.

You can watch The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 on Sunday 19 July.

Read more on IMDB here.

Epic (Film4, Sun 19 Jul, 2:40pm)

Dir. Chris Wedge, 2013, USA, 102 mins, Cert U


Epic is loosely based on William Joyce's 1996 children's book The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs and is directed by Chris Wedge who made Ice age and Robots.

When Mary, a 17-year-old teenager, shrinks in size, she discovers a world inhabited by strange creatures. Soon, she finds herself reluctantly pulled into a battle between good and evil forces.

Fans of the film should also check out Arrietty, Ferngully: The Last Rainforest and Avatar.

Read more on IMDB here.

Stand By Me (Ch5, Sun 19 Jul, 4:30pm)

Dir. Rob Reiner, 1986, USA, 89 mins, Cert 15

Stand by Me

Based on the short novella, The Body, by Stephen King, the coming-of-age film has become a cult hit over the years.

Set in 1959, Gordie, Chris, Teddy and Vern are four young friends who decide to hike to find the corpse of Ray Brower, a local teenager, who was hit by a train while plucking blueberries in the wild. While on their adventure they find out more about each other and cement their friendship.

The film stars Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman, and Jerry O'Connell, all of whom became well known actors in their own rights.

Read more on IMDB here.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 2 (E4, Sun 19 Jul, 6:15pm)

Dir. Francis Lawrence, 2015, USA, 137 mins, Cert 12

The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2

The fourth and final instalment in The Hunger Games series.

The story continues from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 with Katniss Everdeen preparing to win the war against President Snow (Sutherland) and the tyrannical Capitol. Together with Peeta, Gale, Finnick, and others, she travels to the Capitol to kill Snow.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman, who played Plutarch Heavensbee, died in February 2014, making this his final film role.

Read more on IMDB here.


Some of the films that we've recommended on terrestrial TV over the last few weeks are repeated again this weekend. Here's another chance to catch them if you missed them first time round.

The Spongebob Squarepants Movie (Film4, Sat 17 Jul, 11:00am)
Labyrinth (Ch5, Sun 18 Jul, 2:30pm)