Friendship

The Iron Giant
The Iron Giant

There are few things more important in our lives than friendship. Our friends are there for us in times of great joy, tremendous sorrow, and everything in between. Growing up, we perhaps spend more time with our close friends than anybody else - laughing, playing, and confiding in each other, either as individuals or as part of a larger social group. Sometimes these friendships carry over into the rest of our lives, sometimes people gradaully drift apart and go their own separate ways. Either way, the friendships we have as young people form a crucial part of our development.

When arguments happen, and our friendships feel threatened, it can feel as if nothing else matters in the world. Sometimes we find friendships in the most unlikely of places, with people very different to ourselves, and perhaps of an entirely different generation.

Friendships have of course formed the key theme of some of the beloved films of all time. Indeed, the subject can arguably be found in just about any film you watch. We've picked out some of our favourites though that capture the joys (and occasional challenges) of friendship in all their diversity.  

The Wizard of Oz

CertU

Age group7+

Duration98 mins

The Wizard of Oz(1939)

This timeless family musical, one of cinema's much loved productions, sees young Dorothy escape Kansas for the Technicolor land of Oz.

Every bit as enchanting now as it was in 1939, this timeless film needs no introduction. A joyful, often frightening adventure for Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tinman and The Lion, all very different individuals, who develop a close friendship as they set out on the yellow brick road to help one another.

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Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

CertU

Age group5–11

Duration83 mins

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937)

Disney's funny, beautifully drawn animated version of the classic fairytale about a lovey princess on the run from her wicked stepmother.

Disney's version of the fairytale is one of the finest animated movies ever made. Fleeing the wicked queen, a lonely princess finds refuge in a cottage deep in the woods, only to find it populated by a group of 7 dwarfs with very different personalities who love nothing more than to dance and sing!

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E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial

CertU

Age groupAll ages

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.

One of the most beloved films of all time, Spielberg’s timeless tale of a stranded alien on earth who forms a deep bond with a lonely boy remains as enchanting now as it was in 1982 and continues to be seen as one of cinema’s defining depictions of friendship.

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The Iron Giant

CertU

Age group7–14

Duration86 mins

The Iron Giant(1999)

Superbly animated adaptation following young Hogarth's discovery of a colossal, friendly robot, and his plight to protect him from government agents.

Based on Ted Hughes’ classic story The Iron Man, this animation has long been one of the most popular titles at Into Film and is now regarded as a genuine classic of children’s cinema. With its roots in the space race of the 1960s, the film is full of heart and is guaranteed to ignite the imagination of young people.

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The LEGO® Batman Movie

CertU

Age groupAll ages

Duration104 mins

The LEGO® Batman Movie(2017)

Animated adventure in which Batman must once again do battle with the Joker who is intent on taking over Gotham City.

Batman may be an unstoppable crime-fighting hero, but he’s also a bit lonely. Here, he discovers the importance of teamwork, friendship and unconventional family units when he teams up with Robin, Batgirl and of course his loyal butler Alfred to stop The Joker.

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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 sweet story about helping friends out is a charming short film that should leave you plenty of time to hold your own talks about what makes a good friend after the screening.

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Ernest and Celestine

CertU

Age group5–11

Duration77 mins

Ernest and Celestine(2012)

A beautiful animation about an unlikely friendship between a big clown bear and a clever orphan mouse, from the makers of A Town Called Panic!

Sometimes our best friends can be people who initially seem totally different to ourselves! Ernest is a big grumpy bear, and Celestine a shy, cheeky mouse who develop an unlikely friendship in this delightful French animation about the importance of judging people on their own merits and not by initial appearances.

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Zipi y Zape y el club de la canica (Zip & Zap and the Marble Gang)

CertPG

Age group7–14

Duration92 mins

Zipi y Zape y el club de la canica (Zip & Zap and the Marble Gang)(2013)

Spanish adventure in which unruly twins Zip and Zap are sent to a strict summer school, where they form a gang of rebels to defy the cruel director.

This adventure is perhaps best described as a Spanish version of Harry Potter, and is about the adventures of a group of children sent to a strict boarding school over the summer as punishment for their unruly behaviour. Once there, the children band together to take on the school regime and soon find themselves on an unlikely treasure hunt!

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Belle et Sébastien (Belle & Sebastian)

CertPG

Age group11–16

Duration96 mins

Belle et Sébastien (Belle & Sebastian)(2013)

An epic tale of the friendship between a boy and a dog.

Adventure story about a boy who befriends ‘the beast’, a dog that his townsfolk are afraid of– who then gang together to protect one another as the German army invades in this French World War Two-set drama.

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Kaaka Muttai (The Crow's Egg)

CertPG

Age group7–14

Duration91 mins

Kaaka Muttai (The Crow's Egg)(2014)

Tamil children’s film about two boys desperate to earn enough money to get a slice of pizza from the new pizza shop.

Told in Tamil, this film depicts the encroaching influence of the Western World on the slums of India, as two boys strive for what seems like a simple thing to many of us - to taste a slice of pizza. This is an engaging children’s film that doesn’t shy away from highlighting the poverty experienced by children in Indian slums.

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Akeelah and The Bee

CertPG

Age group7–14

Duration108 mins

Akeelah and The Bee(2006)

Inspiring and uplifting movie about an impoverished child who discovers an exceptional spelling talent.

Struggling to believe in herself, 11 year-old Los Angeles based Akeelah finds her life transformed when she enters a national spelling bee competition. With the help of a mentor, Akeelah learns to overcome any embarrassment and increase her confidence, beginning to fit in whilst remaining true to herself.

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Lilo & Stitch

CertU

Age group5–11

Duration82 mins

Lilo & Stitch(2002)

Animation about a weird little being who escapes from the prison of his evil creator and goes to planet Earth, where he pretends to be a dog.

This charming Disney animation is about a lonely Hawaiian girl adopting an unusual pet who turns out to be a notorious extra-terrestrial fugitive! Over time the pair get to know one another, as naughty alien Stitch comes to learn the importance of family and friendships, with some great Elvis tunes thrown in along the way!

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Toy Story

CertPG

Age group7–11

Duration79 mins

Toy Story(1995)

Old-fashioned cowboy toy Woody is threatened by the arrival of flashy, hi-tech Buzz Lightyear in this character-driven animation from Pixar.

No list of film friendships is complete without Woody and Buzz! They have had their ups and downs over the years but the rooting-tooting cowboy and super-vain spaceman are best friends who would do anything for one another, as well as providing support and kindness for the other members of their gang. Their bond established themes seen in just about every Pixar film sinc

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Finding Nemo

CertU

Age groupAll ages

Duration96 mins

Finding Nemo(2003)

The colourful world of the tropical sea is captured in all its glory in this moving and funny story of a lost fish.

Where else can you find a more diverse group of creatures working together than the ocean? You could wish for few better friends than Dory. She's a tad forgetful, but she is unwaveringly loyal and always ready to brighten your day, putting a smile on your face. She’s great to have around in a crisis and reminds us that life is always brighter when we’re with our friends.

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Snoopy and Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie

CertU

Age group5–11

Duration74 mins

Snoopy and Charlie Brown: The Peanuts Movie(2015)

Much-loved Charlie Brown attempts to navigate school life and falls in love with the new girl as Snoopy embarks upon an adventure of his own.

With this classic and charmingly animated film focusing on our shy hero, the experience of school life and its ups and downs, being a new starter, as well as the importance of good friends are great for inclusive discussion.

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Stand By Me

Cert15

Age group14+

Duration85 mins

Stand By Me(1986)

A dark and touching coming-of-age tale about a group of four boys who are forced to face harsh reality when they find the body of a missing boy.

Adapted from a Stephen King short story, this is one of the most moving and poignant depictions of adolescent friendship ever put on screen. A writer looks back on an adventure with three of his closest pals in the pivotal summer leading up to starting a new school, a time of joyful possibility, aching closeness but also immense sadness.

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My Life as a Courgette

CertPG

Age group11+

Duration66 mins

My Life as a Courgette(2016)

Touching and funny French animation about a little boy called Courgette who is taken into care.

This wonderful French animation is a wonderful way to introduce often difficult, sensitive subjects to young audiences. Courgette is a young boy sent to live in care home, where he meets a number of other children all going through various troubles of their own. Together they help and support one another, communicating in ways that feel remarkably sensitively and achingly real.

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Clueless

Cert12A

Age group11+

Duration93 mins

Clueless(1995)

Jane Austen's comedy of manners Emma gets a valley girl update as Alicia Silverstone's so-not-an-airhead struggles with love and life.

This version of Jane Austen’s Emma helped define an entire generation of high-school movies and provided one of the most oft-quoted scripts of all time. As Cher struggles to navigate the pressures and expectations that come with being the most popular girl in class, she gradually learns – through a series of unexpected friendships – to look for something deeper.

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The Craft

Cert15

Age group14+

Duration101 mins

The Craft(1996)

Supernatural flick following a girl gang of witches at high school in 1990s Los Angeles.

A perennial theme in films about friendship is the pressure that comes with starting a new school. In this cult teen horror, Sarah has just moved to LA with her father and stepmother, forming a friendship with a group of girls rumoured to be witches. All seems to be going well, until they take things one spell too far. A staple of countless sleepover parties, with

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Ghost World

Cert15

Age group14+

Duration107 mins

Ghost World(2001)

Terrific and unusual comedy about two wisecracking high school graduates who realise it's time to grow up.

This cult high-school comedy about two smart, funny, but slightly sneering teenage friends preparing to graduate, who are finding that life as a young adult is not quite so straightforward. A very funny film that also deals intelligently with the impact transitioning into adulthood can have on long established friendships.

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Bande De Filles (Girlhood)

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.

French director Céline Schiamma has made her reputation on telling provocative, but tender stories about youth and gender. This coming-of-age story set in suburban Paris retains these characteristics, a compelling portrait of an African-French teenager’s developing identity, told in raw and vibrant fashion.

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Vi är bäst! (We are the Best!)

Cert15

Age group14+

Duration97 mins

Vi är bäst! (We are the Best!)(2013)

Joyous, energetic Swedish coming-of-age comedy in which three teenagers decide to form a punk band in 1980s Stockholm.

This vibrant Swedish film tells the story of three 13 year-old rebels who form their own punk band, despite having no musical training or instruments. A joyous celebration of youth, friendship, and growing up different.

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Bend It Like Beckham

Cert12A

Age group11+

Duration112 mins

Bend It Like Beckham(2002)

Feel good British comedy following Jessminder and Jules whose shared passion for football brings them together in a local girls' team.

Another wonderful story centred around female friendship. Also exploring family, community and sexuality, this charming British comedy has deservedly become a modern classic for young audiences.

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A Room for Romeo Brass

Cert15

Age group14+

Duration90 mins

A Room for Romeo Brass(1999)

Marvellous British drama that tells the tale of two schoolchildren, Romeo and 'Knocks', and their fractious friendship.

British director Shane Meadows has crafted many brilliant films about friendship, and this is one of his finest. Telling the story of an often fractious friendship between two boys on a Nottingham estate, nothing in this film comes sugar-coated, but it is all the more powerful because of it.

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GBF (G.B.F.)

Cert15

Age group16+

Duration93 mins

GBF (G.B.F.) (2013)

Tanner is outed as gay by his classmates and becomes the focus of three popular clique leaders anxious to mould him into their very own G.B.F.

Things get complicated for Tanner when he is outed at high-school and co-opted by a group of girls desperate to have their very own gay best friend to show off. Initially embracing his new found attention, Tanner finds it comes at the cost of his true friendships, all the students learning important lessons about what friendship truly means.

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Dope

Cert15

Age group16+

Duration99 mins

Dope(2015)

Self-professed high school geek Malcolm is put in a compromising position when he finds himself in accidental possession of a large quantity of drugs.

This fresh take on the high school comedy-drama focusing on a tightknit group of teenagers who are proud to be thought of as outsiders, but refuse to be underdogs. A brilliant film about perseverance and developing the confidence to be yourself.

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Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Cert12

Age group11+

Duration98 mins

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl(2015)

Outsider-by-choice and keen amateur filmmaker Greg is mortified when his mother forces him to befriend a seriously ill classmate.

This poignant, very funny coming-of-age is about the friendship that develops between aspiring filmmaker Greg, and Rachel, a girl in his class diagnosed with terminal cancer. Rather than establishing a romantic relationship, the film concentrates on a deeper, arguably more important bond that develops, and celebrates the power of creativity to help us through challenging times.

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Moonlight

Cert15

Age group16+

Duration111 mins

Moonlight(2016)

Coming-of-age drama focusing on a young black man growing up in a poverty-stricken Miami neighbourhood where he struggles to fit in.

This achingly moving film captures in frank, tender detail the often complicated friendship of Tyrone and Kevin over three periods of their lives. An extraordinary story of identity, acceptance, and learning to honestly communicate with other people.

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50/50

Cert15

Age group16+

Duration99 mins

50/50(2011)

Comedy-drama about a young athletic man diagnosed with cancer and facing up to his sobering survival chances, with the help of a vulgar best friend.

Similar themes are dealt with in this comedy drama. When Adam is diagnosed with cancer, it seems best mate Kyle – smoke-addled and prone to saying the wrong thing – is the last person he'll want around as support. But even though Kyle’s methods are unconventional, he provides unwavering support for his friend in this moving film that encapsulates the term ‘bro-mance’.

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Thelma & Louise

Cert15

Age group14+

Duration124 mins

Thelma & Louise(1991)

Two female friends take a road-trip from their dreary lives for the weekend and plunge into wild adventure, in a film prompting much ethical debate.

One of the most iconic films about female solidarity ever made, Thelma & Louise has a permanent place in popular culture for its empowering messages of friendship, freedom, and its celebration of the American road, bravely dealing with some tough, hard-hitting issues along the way.

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Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid

CertPG

Age group11+

Duration110 mins

Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid(1969)

Classic comedy western following gang leaders Butch and Sundance as they evade the law on their escape to Bolivia.

One of the most popular genre in Hollywood cinema is the buddy movie, in which two people (usually, but not always men) are put together, often very different in personality and worldview, but with a unique, often comedic dynamic onscreen. This classic western is one of its defining examples.

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The Shawshank Redemption

Cert15

Age group14+

Duration136 mins

The Shawshank Redemption(1994)

A thoughtful, measured prison film about a wrongly convicted man and the survival of hope in hopeless situations.

Often voted as one of audience’s favourite films of all time, this hugely inspirational drama is at its heart the story of a decades long friendship between two men, who look out for each other and help one another to survive in desperate circumstances.

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