Short Films for Primary

Luxo Jr
Luxo Jr

There is no set definition for what counts as a short film, but anywhere up to around 40 minutes is typically classified as such. Shorts can be a great taster before a feature, a quick treat on their own, or can be played as part of a collection. They introduce characters, tell stories and make us feel a range of emotions in a matter of moments, and can be an ideal way to bring Literacy learning to life.

This list brings together some of our strongest and most-loved short films – both individual titles and packages – ranging from a couple of minutes to half an hour, from countries all over the world, in different styles and genres, and tackling a variety of subjects. From archive to silent film stars to modern animation, there are short films for every occasion.

Lost and Found

CertU

Age group5–11

Duration24 mins

Lost and Found(2008)

Charming animated tale about a young boy who finds a lost penguin on his doorstep and decides to row him home to the South Pole.

This 24-minute animation remains a hugely popular title on the Into Film catalogue. With narration from Jim Broadbent, this gentle story is about the lovely friendship between a boy and a penguin.

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The Gruffalo

CertU

Age group5–11

Duration27 mins

The Gruffalo(2009)

Animated tale of a clever little mouse who uses his wits to stop being eaten by the scary Gruffalo as he takes a walk through the woods.

Adaptations of Julia Donaldson’s much-loved children’s books have also long been popular with our members, whether it’s this, ‘The Gruffalo’s Child’, ‘Room on the Broom’ or ‘Stick Man’. Each contains memorable characters who go on exciting adventures, encountering warm, funny and kind creatures on the way.

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Pixar Shorts Volume 1: Luxo Jr.

CertU

Age group7–14

Duration2 mins

Pixar Shorts Volume 1: Luxo Jr.(1986)

Pixar’s hopping desk lamp logo appears for the first time in this humorous short about a baby lamp and his parent.

Featured on Volume 1 of the Pixar Short Films Collection, this was the second short film the company ever produced. It helped set the trend which would become the norm for all Pixar features by appearing before ‘Toy Story 2’, and features the studio’s lamp mascot.

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Pixar Shorts Volume 2: Burn-E

CertU

Age group5–14

Duration8 mins

Pixar Shorts Volume 2: Burn-E(2008)

A repair robot tries to fix his spaceship whilst chaos unfolds around them.

Not all Pixar shorts precede features in cinemas, however. All of the Pixar shorts which contain spin-off stories from features, such as ‘BURN-E’ – which is set in the ‘WALL-E’ universe – from Pixar Short Films Collection Volume 2, can be found on DVDs or Disney+.

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Pixar Shorts Volume 3: Piper

CertU

Age groupAll ages

Duration6 mins

Pixar Shorts Volume 3: Piper(2016)

A small, young bird must navigate the world of the beach and find food for itself.

One of the more recent Pixar shorts is ‘Piper’, found on Pixar Short Films Collection Volume 3, which shows how far the studio has come in terms of computer animation. Premiering alongside ‘Finding Dory’, this photorealistic short film about nature is one of their many Academy Award winners.

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Lotte Reiniger: The Fairy Tale Films - Disc 1

CertPG

Age groupAll ages

Duration192 mins

Lotte Reiniger: The Fairy Tale Films - Disc 1(1961)

Collection of Lotte Reiniger's stunning depictions of popular fairy tales using her unique silhouette animation style.

Lotte Reiniger was an early pioneer of animated filmmaking, working in Germany at the start of the 20th century. Celebrated for her innovative silhouette animation technique, here she brings a collection of fairy tales to life like you’ve never seen them before.

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Peter and the Wolf

CertU

Age group5–16

Duration32 mins

Peter and the Wolf(2006)

Oscar-winning animated version of the timeless folk tale, set to Sergei Prokofiev's classic orchestral composition.

This film also provides an innovative twist on a well-known tale, and has been a popular choice to demonstrate how sound and image interact on film due to the skill in which it blends a classical soundtrack with dazzling stop-motion animation.

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The Red Balloon (Le Ballon Rouge)

CertU

Age group5–14

Duration34 mins

The Red Balloon (Le Ballon Rouge)(1956)

One of the greatest children's films of all time, this much-loved (mostly dialogue-free) French movie is about a young boy and his toy balloon.

A much-loved classic from France in which a boy and his red balloon journey through the alleyways of Paris, a story which can be enjoyed by audiences of all ages.

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Laurel And Hardy - Pardon Us And Related Shorts

CertU

Age group5–11

Duration56 mins

Laurel And Hardy - Pardon Us And Related Shorts(1931)

Slapstick caper from the famed comedy duo, who here are arrested for breaking Prohibition and wind up in jail.

Short black-and-white slapstick comedies can be a great way to introduce young people to early Hollywood cinema. These shorts, featuring one of the most cherished double-acts of the big screen, contain the duo’s trademark silliness and physical comedy.

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Jemima + Johnny

CertUnclassified

Age group7+

Duration30 mins

Jemima + Johnny(1966)

A short British film exploring race relations in post-riots Notting Hill in the 1960s through the friendship of a little girl and boy.

This simple and affecting story about young children making friends also provides an important historical snapshot of racial tensions in London during the 1960s, while remaining accessible and easy-to-follow for young viewers.

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Le Voyage Dans La Lune (A Trip To The Moon)

CertU

Age group7+

Duration15 mins

Le Voyage Dans La Lune (A Trip To The Moon)(1902)

Fascinating early slice of science fiction and a founding stone of modern cinema.

One of the earliest fiction films ever made, this 14-minute story can be a useful way of introducing young audiences to silent cinema as well as showcasing its pioneering use of special effects and other formative techniques.

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The Complete Buster Keaton Short Films: Disc A

CertU

Age group7+

Duration180 mins

The Complete Buster Keaton Short Films: Disc A(1917)

Essential introduction to silent comedy giant Buster Keaton, full of unbelievable stunts and endless slapstick, featuring eight of his short films.

One of the great silent comedians alongside Charlie Chaplin and Harold Lloyd, this Keaton collection consists of 32 shorts across four discs, all made between 1917 and 1923.

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Shakespeare: The Animated Tales - Disc 1

CertPG

Age group7–14

Duration100 mins

Shakespeare: The Animated Tales - Disc 1(1992)

Short animated versions of Shakespeare's plays, the perfect way to get to know the work of one of Britain's greatest writers.

These short, animated versions of some of Shakespeare’s most celebrated plays are a great way to engage members with his language, themes and ideas. The three discs are split into Tragedies, Comedies and Histories, with each short animated in a different style.

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The Little Bang

CertUnclassified

Age group5–11

Duration7 mins

The Little Bang(2020)

A newly-formed bright yellow star, who feels lonely out in the vastness of space, seeks a friend of his own.

One of many titles we have acquired and which are available to watch on Into Film+, ‘The Little Bang’ is a gentle, non-dialogue story about friendship between two stars in space for the youngest film club members.

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The Present

CertUnclassified

Age group7–14

Duration5 mins

The Present(2014)

A teenage boy is gifted a puppy by his mother, but it isn’t to his liking.

Also available on Into Film+, and for slightly older audiences, ‘The Present’ is an animation about disability whose story may surprise viewers. When a young boy learns that he’s been gifted a three-legged dog by his mother he’s unimpressed, but why?

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