Storytelling around the world

Song of the Sea
Song of the Sea

This collection of films focuses on international adaptations of classic folk tales, fairy stories, poems and other storytelling devices, to celebrate film's power to enchant young audiences with these unforgettable adventures. Beginning when cinema was in its infancy and running through to the present day, filmmakers have always looked to some of cultures' oldest stories for inspiration, producing films that are sometimes faithful adaptations of their source material, but may take their ideas in wildly different directions. Celebrating the traditional techniques of storyelling, whilst also giving them a fresh, contemporary twist, these films will ignite the imagination of their audience, perhaps inspiring them to put their own spin on classic stories. 

The Adventures of Prince Achmed

CertPG

Age groupAll ages

Duration66 mins

The Adventures of Prince Achmed(1926)

This magical fantasy is the oldest surviving animation film in the world, telling an Arabian Nights-style story using a stunning silhouette style.

The oldest surviving animated film in the world, this enchanting piece of cinema uses cut-outs to tell its story of a nobel Prince enlisting the help of Aladdin to battle an evil sorcerer.

Read more
Alice

CertPG

Age group11+

Duration82 mins

Alice(1988)

Czech master of surreal animation Jan Svankmajer brings his dark talents to a magically creepy, loose adaptation of Lewis Carroll's loopy fantasy.

Legendary Czech filmmaker Jan Svankmajer uses stop-motion animation to bring Lewis Carroll's iconic creation to life like never before. The results are darker and stranger than other film version, but perhaps also more in keeping with the original material. s

Read more
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.

German animator Lotte Reiniger created some of the most enchanting animated versions of fairytales ever told on film. Her pioneering work was mostly in short-film, this collection brings together some of the most magical examples of her work, giving fresh life to stories we all know.

Read more
La Belle Et La Bete

CertPG

Age group7+

Duration99 mins

La Belle Et La Bete(1946)

Inventive and magical French version of the Beauty and The Beast fairy tale, with effects that must be seen to be believed.

This French version of the Beauty and the Beast fairytale is heralded for its remarkable subtlety, arresting imagery, and evocation of a magical, passionate and dangerous world. The film is rightly regarded as one of the true greats of world cinema.

Read more
Tales of the Night

CertPG

Age group7–11

Duration81 mins

Tales of the Night(2011)

Complete with werewolves, magical instruments, sorcerers and mythical beasts, this French animation captures the enchantment of storytelling.

This modern collection of animated fairytales from France uses different storytelling techniques for each short film and locations around the world to tell a rich variety of stories packed with magic, mythology and adventure.

Read more
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.

The enchanting Peter and the Wolf continues to enthral young children, partly due to Prokofiev's memorable music. It contains all the ingredients of the timeless folk tale, along with a few memorable additions. Watch out for an unexpected ending as well...

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The Ugly Duckling and Me

CertU

Age group5–11

Duration90 mins

The Ugly Duckling and Me(2006)

A 2006 animated version of Hans Christian Andersen's story that comes from the author's home country of Denmark.

Playfully reworking Andersen's original story, this film finds room adds a few twists to the heart warming tale, including a fast-talking, untrustworthy rat who decides to exploit the unusual looking duckling in a freak-show circus act. Bright and cheerful, this is a fun take on a much-loved classic.

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The Singing Ringing Tree

CertU

Age group7–14

Duration72 mins

The Singing Ringing Tree(1957)

German children's film based on a Brothers Grimm style fairy tale, which has attracted a cult following.

This 1960s German adaptation of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales contains wild messages, and some truly scary elements, but also captures how the messages of traditional stories can resonate in the real world to a remarkable degree.

Read more
The Princess Bride

CertPG

Age group7+

Duration94 mins

The Princess Bride(1987)

The Princess Bride takes apart the traditional damsel-in-distress story and puts it back together again. A classic for children of all ages.

Adapted from William Goldman's classic fantasy novel, this fantastic adventure film takes apart the traditional damsel-in-distress story and puts it back together again, resulting in a story that continues to enchant and delight audiences of all ages.

Read more
Song of the Sea

CertPG

Age group5–11

Duration92 mins

Song of the Sea(2014)

A beautiful and touching animation based on an Irish folktale about a little girl who turns into a Selkie.

Introduce your group to Celtic folk tales with this gorgeous animation that takes our two adventurers, brother Ben and his mute little sister Saoirse, on a journey that sees them and their faithful dog Cú encounter magical spirits and troublesome faeries.

Read more
Arrietty

CertU

Age group5–14

Duration90 mins

Arrietty(2011)

Exquisite animation and lively score creates a fantastical backdrop for this classic story about the little people who 'borrow' everyday objects.

Mary Norton's classic story The Borrowers is brought to life by legendary Japanese animators Studio Ghibli. The film combines a characteristically strong heroine with exquisite animation and a lively animated score, creating an exciting, fantastical version of a much-loved story.

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The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

CertU

Age group11+

Duration131 mins

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya(2013)

A beautifully animated Japanese fantasy from the makers of Spirited Away, about a Princess sent to Earth from the Moon.

The 10th century Japanese folk-tale The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter was beautifully adapted by Studio Ghibli demonstrating how even the oldest pieces of storytelling continue to have the power to delight audiences, spark their imaginations and teach valuable lessons.

Read more
When Marnie Was There

CertU

Age group7–14

Duration103 mins

When Marnie Was There(2014)

A shy girl sent to the country to recover from asthma discovers an abandoned mansion and begins to explore its mysteries with her new friend Marnie.

Studio Ghibli have delighted audiences around the world with their animations, opening up Japanese culture to young audiences in remarkable ways. Based on the classic English children’s novel, this film (seemingly their last) is a beautiful, heartbreaking demonstration of how two seemingly disparate cultures can merge to produce something magical.

Read more
Kirikou et les hommes et les femmes (Kirikou and the Men and the Women)

CertU

Age group5–11

Duration88 mins

Kirikou et les hommes et les femmes (Kirikou and the Men and the Women)(2012)

Gorgeous, striking animated feature that follows the resourceful and heroic Kirikou; a small child living in a village in Africa.

Life for young people in an African village can seem very distant to many of us. Based on a series of folk-tales, this enchanting animation opens up a new culture to us in accessible fashion. The myths and legends seen in the film are both culturally specific and also ripe for fascinating comparison with our own.

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The Mask

CertPG

Age group7–14

Duration97 mins

The Mask(1994)

Hugely entertaining comedy in which a run-of-the-mill banker is transformed into everything he wants to be through the discovery of an ancient mask.

This zany comedy, which turned Jim Carrey into a global megastar, may seem an unlikely choice for this list, but its story of a lonely bank-clerk who discovers superpowers when he tries on a mysterious mask has its roots (loosely!) in Nordic mythology and the mask of Loki.

Read more
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The Adventures of Prince Achmed

CertPG

Age groupAll ages

Duration66 mins

The Adventures of Prince Achmed(1926)

This magical fantasy is the oldest surviving animation film in the world, telling an Arabian Nights-style story using a stunning silhouette style.

The oldest surviving animated film in the world, this enchanting piece of cinema uses cut-outs to tell its story of a nobel Prince enlisting the help of Aladdin to battle an evil sorcerer.

Read more
Alice

CertPG

Age group11+

Duration82 mins

Alice(1988)

Czech master of surreal animation Jan Svankmajer brings his dark talents to a magically creepy, loose adaptation of Lewis Carroll's loopy fantasy.

Legendary Czech filmmaker Jan Svankmajer uses stop-motion animation to bring Lewis Carroll's iconic creation to life like never before. The results are darker and stranger than other film version, but perhaps also more in keeping with the original material. s

Read more
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.

German animator Lotte Reiniger created some of the most enchanting animated versions of fairytales ever told on film. Her pioneering work was mostly in short-film, this collection brings together some of the most magical examples of her work, giving fresh life to stories we all know.

Read more
La Belle Et La Bete

CertPG

Age group7+

Duration99 mins

La Belle Et La Bete(1946)

Inventive and magical French version of the Beauty and The Beast fairy tale, with effects that must be seen to be believed.

This French version of the Beauty and the Beast fairytale is heralded for its remarkable subtlety, arresting imagery, and evocation of a magical, passionate and dangerous world. The film is rightly regarded as one of the true greats of world cinema.

Read more
Tales of the Night

CertPG

Age group7–11

Duration81 mins

Tales of the Night(2011)

Complete with werewolves, magical instruments, sorcerers and mythical beasts, this French animation captures the enchantment of storytelling.

This modern collection of animated fairytales from France uses different storytelling techniques for each short film and locations around the world to tell a rich variety of stories packed with magic, mythology and adventure.

Read more
The Singing Ringing Tree

CertU

Age group7–14

Duration72 mins

The Singing Ringing Tree(1957)

German children's film based on a Brothers Grimm style fairy tale, which has attracted a cult following.

This 1960s German adaptation of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales contains wild messages, and some truly scary elements, but also captures how the messages of traditional stories can resonate in the real world to a remarkable degree.

Read more
The Princess Bride

CertPG

Age group7+

Duration94 mins

The Princess Bride(1987)

The Princess Bride takes apart the traditional damsel-in-distress story and puts it back together again. A classic for children of all ages.

Adapted from William Goldman's classic fantasy novel, this fantastic adventure film takes apart the traditional damsel-in-distress story and puts it back together again, resulting in a story that continues to enchant and delight audiences of all ages.

Read more
Blancanieves

Cert12

Age group11–16

Duration100 mins

Blancanieves(2013)

A artful adaptation of the classic Snow White tale, relocating the story to 1920s Spain where young Carmen has to reinvent herself as a matador.

The Snow White fairy tale is relocated to 1920s Spain in this remarkable, critically acclaimed black-and-white silent film from 2012. The film not only opens the original story up in provocative, original fashion but will ignite a fascination into how film itself functions as a storytelling device.

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Song of the Sea

CertPG

Age group5–11

Duration92 mins

Song of the Sea(2014)

A beautiful and touching animation based on an Irish folktale about a little girl who turns into a Selkie.

Introduce your group to Celtic folk tales with this gorgeous animation that takes our two adventurers, brother Ben and his mute little sister Saoirse, on a journey that sees them and their faithful dog Cú encounter magical spirits and troublesome faeries.

Read more
Y Mabinogi

Cert12

Age group11+

Duration108 mins

Y Mabinogi(2003)

This fantasy feature tells the story of the Welsh legends of the Mabinogion. Mae'r ffilm hon yn cyflwyno chwedlau bywiog y Mabinogi.

This feature blends live-action and animation to tell the story of the Welsh legends of the Mabinogion, as three modern-day teenagers swim through a magical gateway in the sea to a 6th century Celtic Otherworld.

Read more
The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

CertU

Age group11+

Duration131 mins

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya(2013)

A beautifully animated Japanese fantasy from the makers of Spirited Away, about a Princess sent to Earth from the Moon.

The 10th century Japanese folk-tale The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter was beautifully adapted by Studio Ghibli demonstrating how even the oldest pieces of storytelling continue to have the power to delight audiences, spark their imaginations and teach valuable lessons.

Read more
When Marnie Was There

CertU

Age group7–14

Duration103 mins

When Marnie Was There(2014)

A shy girl sent to the country to recover from asthma discovers an abandoned mansion and begins to explore its mysteries with her new friend Marnie.

Studio Ghibli have delighted audiences around the world with their animations, opening up Japanese culture to young audiences in remarkable ways. Based on the classic English children’s novel, this film (seemingly their last) is a beautiful, heartbreaking demonstration of how two seemingly disparate cultures can merge to produce something magical.

Read more
The Mask

CertPG

Age group7–14

Duration97 mins

The Mask(1994)

Hugely entertaining comedy in which a run-of-the-mill banker is transformed into everything he wants to be through the discovery of an ancient mask.

This zany comedy, which turned Jim Carrey into a global megastar, may seem an unlikely choice for this list, but its story of a lonely bank-clerk who discovers superpowers when he tries on a mysterious mask has its roots (loosely!) in Nordic mythology and the mask of Loki.

Read more
Thor

Cert12

Age group11–16

Duration110 mins

Thor(2011)

Based on the Marvel comic book, this funny, visually spectacular superhero epic focuses on the powerful warrior Thor and his enforced visit to Earth.

Loki is of course also a key presence in this adaptation of the Marvel comic, appearing here as the evil adopted brother of Thor, a Nordic mythological deity. This is a spectacular, very witty film that helped establish the cinematic language of the comic-book movie, perhaps the dominant storytelling device of our age.

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