GCSE Film Studies (WJEC)

Attack the Block © OPTIMUM RELEASING ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Attack the Block © OPTIMUM RELEASING ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

This film list is a comprehensive source of all titles on the WJEC and EDUQAS Film Studies GCSE syllabus which are currently available to stream on Into Film+ and Into Film+ Premium. The syllabus titles are correct as of November 2023 for the 23/24 academic year and will be updated whenever relevant. All titles listed have accompanying film guides for further discussion.

The titles, and the sections they appear in on the syllabus, are as follows:

Component 1: Key Developments in US Film 

  • Singin' in the Rain (Section A: US mainstream films for comparative study)
  • Rebel without a Cause (Section A: US mainstream films for comparative study)
  • Ferris Bueller's Day Off (Section A: US mainstream films for comparative study)
  • E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (Section A: US mainstream films for comparative study)
  • Whiplash (Section C: US independently produced films)
  • Lady Bird (Section C: US independently produced films)
  • The Hate U Give (Section C: US independently produced films)
  • The Hurt Locker (Section C: US independently produced films)

Component 2: Global Film: Narrative, Representation and Film Style

  • Slumdog Millionaire (Section A: global English language films)
  • District 9 (Section A: global English language films)
  • The Breadwinner (Section A: global English language films)
  • Jojo Rabbit (Section A: global English language films)
  • Wadjda (Section B: global non-English Language films)
  • Girlhood (Section B: global non-English Language films)
  • Submarine (Section C: contemporary UK films)
  • Attack the Block (Section C: contemporary UK films)

All of the films below are available to stream via Into Film+ but some of them (labelled) are only available to Into Film+ Premium users. Find out more here.

Singin' in the Rain
Available to stream on Into Film+

CertU

Age groupAll ages

Duration98 mins

Singin' in the Rain(1952)

Widely considered the best musical ever made, this tribute to Hollywood is about an actress who can't sing trying to move into sound films.

This cornerstone of cinema is a joyous introduction to Film Studies, a quintessential musical from the Golden Era of Hollywood that the explores the advent of sound in filmmaking. It appears on the GCSE syllabus as part of component 1: Key Developments in US Film, paired with the 1978 musical ‘Grease’ for a comparative study.

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Rebel Without a Cause
Available to stream on Into Film+

CertPG

Age group11+

Duration106 mins

Rebel Without a Cause(1955)

Classic 1950s drama about a moody teenager who is the new kid in town and all too soon gets into all kinds of trouble, much to his parents' despair.

This stylish film was one of the first to capture modern society’s fascination with teenagers as a social group, crystallising the intensity and drama of being on the cusp of adulthood. This title is paired on the syllabus with ‘Ferris Bueller's Day Off’, offering a comparison of how these two films frame teenage rebellion against authority.

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Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Available to stream on Into Film+

Cert12

Age group14+

Duration99 mins

Ferris Bueller's Day Off(1986)

Classic 80s teen comedy in which a charming yet cheeky high school student skips school with his friends to explore Chicago.

Fast forward a few decades after ‘Rebel Without a Cause’ to when teenagers represented consumerism and freedom – at least they do in this 1980s Hollywood depiction, in which the young protagonists’ challenge to authority takes a very different tone.

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E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
Available to stream on Into Film+

CertU

Age group7–14

Duration115 mins

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial(1982)

This heart-warming family favourite about an alien stranded all alone on earth contains some of the most magical scenes in movie history.

A creature from outer space unlocks a world of human emotion and childhood wonderment in this film from the New Hollywood era, which is an area of focus for component 1 of this syllabus. The film is studied in juxtaposition with an earlier example of the sci-fi genre, ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’, for a comparison of different attitudes towards the unfamiliar or ‘alien’.

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Whiplash
Available to stream on Into Film+

Cert15

Age group14+

Duration102 mins

Whiplash(2014)

Riveting two-hander about a jazz drummer and his demanding tutor.

Moving on to the US independently produced films that feature in the GCSE syllabus, this tense film about devastating perfectionism has generated much debate on how musicians, masculinity and mental health are represented. This lends itself particularly well to the focus on specialist writing, including film criticism, required by section C of component 1.

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Lady Bird
Available to stream on Into Film+

Cert15

Age group14+

Duration94 mins

Lady Bird(2017)

Coming of age film focusing on the prickly relationship between a 17-year-old girl and her mother in Sacramento, California.

Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut was this semi-autobiographical film, born out of the mumblecore subgenre of US independent film, which emphasises naturalist dialogue and performances over traditional plot devices. A critical analysis of the film offers opportunities to explore feminist perspectives and the development of teen narratives on screen.

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The Hate U Give
Available to stream on Into Film+

Cert12

Age group14+

Duration133 mins

The Hate U Give(2018)

A young girl is drawn to activism after witnessing the police shooting of her childhood friend.

Also placing young people’s experiences at the centre of its narrative, this film provides the opportunity to establish the importance of context in film analysis and the role of powerful storytelling to help audiences understand social and political issues. Based on a YA novel, the film’s production and release models are also illustrative of the US independent film industry.

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The Hurt Locker
Available to stream on Into Film+

Cert15

Age group16+

Duration126 mins

The Hurt Locker(2008)

Kathryn Bigelow became the first female Best Director Oscar-winner for this tense action film about mentally pressured bomb squad specialists in Iraq.

Another independent feature which showcases the key developments in US film (component 1) is this immersive story taking audiences into the day-to-day reality of American soldiers during the 2003 - 2011 Iraqi insurgency. Students may debate whether it is a war movie or indeed an ‘anti-war’ film, and how it uses verité style filming.

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Slumdog Millionaire
Available to stream on Into Film+ Premium

Cert15

Age group14+

Duration117 mins

Slumdog Millionaire(2008)

This dazzling adventure set in Mumbai is the story of a slum-dwelling teen accused of cheating on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.

This title appears on the syllabus as part of the English language films of section A of component 2: Global Film: Narrative, Representation and Film Style. The film presents an interesting case study for non-linear narratives, as it is composed of a series flashbacks that mark chapters of the protagonist's life, each leading back to the game show in his present.

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District 9
Available to stream on Into Film+ Premium

Cert15

Age group14+

Duration108 mins

District 9(2009)

An extraterrestrial race has been living on earth for 20 years, segregated from humans and living in slum-like conditions in South Africa.

Also listed in section A of component 2 of the GCSE Film Studies syllabus, this film draws on science fiction conventions, centring around fear and distrust of the unknown ‘other’, bringing into sharp focus the history of racial segregation in South Africa. Learners may discuss the effect of the filming and editing styles shifting between narrative drama and mockumentary.

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The Breadwinner
Available to stream on Into Film+

Cert12

Age group11+

Duration93 mins

The Breadwinner(2017)

Afghanistan-set animation in which a young girl disguises herself as a boy to provide for her family after her father is unjustly arrested.

From the studio behind the success of 'The Secret of Kells' and 'Song of the Sea', this animation highlights the dramatic power of the format. The fraught gender dynamics at the heart of the narrative are also interpreted through cinematography, the use of colour and editing, inviting learners to develop their understanding of visual language.

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Jojo Rabbit
Available to stream on Into Film+

Cert12

Age group14+

Duration108 mins

Jojo Rabbit(2019)

Comedy about a young boy in the Hitler Youth who questions his beliefs after developing a friendship with a Jewish girl he finds hidden in his house.

Another title listed in the global English language film section of component 2 is this New-Zealand produced satire set in wartime Germany. Bold, absurd and poignant, the film owes its distinctiveness to the detail that has gone into the set, costume and filming techniques, as well as the highly accessible tone of the adapted screenplay and performances.

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Wadjda
Available to stream on Into Film+

CertPG

Age group7–16

Duration96 mins

Wadjda(2012)

A sweet and uplifting story about ten-year-old girl Wadjda who refuses to let the fact she's a girl stop her from doing the things she wants to do.

Section B of component 2 of this GCSE Film Studies syllabus looks at global non-English language films, with a particular focus on representation of people and ideas. Shot in Saudi Arabia where women’s rights are very restricted, this film is groundbreaking for its female representation both in front of and behind the camera, tackling adversity with hope and positivity.

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Bande De Filles (Girlhood)
Available to stream on Into Film+

Cert15

Age group14+

Duration110 mins

Bande De Filles (Girlhood)(2014)

Energetic and honest coming-of-age drama about a teenager’s new friendship with a group of girls in the suburbs of Paris.

In the same section as 'Wadjda', this French-language film is also a female-led story of emancipation. With stunning, raw sequences and natural quick-quitted dialogue, it portrays the challenges of young Black women growing up in an environment that seems hostile and unsupportive, yet who find huge strength, beauty and fierce solidarity by banding together.

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Submarine
Available to stream on Into Film+

Cert15

Age group14+

Duration93 mins

Submarine(2010)

Coming-of-age comedy following Welsh schoolboy Oliver, who has two objectives; to lose his virginity and to stop his mother from leaving his father.

The final section of the global film component of study of this syllabus is on contemporary UK cinema, with a focus on the aesthetic qualities of film. Colour and lighting are highly symbolic this film, which pays homage to the rom com genre and the French New Wave. Melodramatic teenage angst is captured here with gentle humour and insight.

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Attack the Block
Available to stream on Into Film+

Cert15

Age group14+

Duration84 mins

Attack the Block(2011)

A bunch of South London teenagers find their tower block under attack from deadly aliens, in this fast and funny sci-fi horror film.

Much like in 'District 9', an alien invasion draws attention to societal issues in this British feature, which appears among the set films for section C of component 2. The mise-en-scène, especially the setting, offers much material for analysis, with indoor and outdoor spaces being shot in very contrasting manners, resulting in the urban landscape feeling ‘other-worldly’.

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