Celebrate Friendship with these Films to Stream at Home

27 Jul 2020 BY Steven Ryder

5 mins
Ernest and Celestine
Ernest and Celestine

In recent months we've brought you lists of films that are available to stream from home on the themes of Pridemusicadaptations, feel-good filmsthe natural worldsport and family films. For our latest edition, we're celebrating the annual International Friendship Day (30 July).

So many young people around the world are currently separated from their friends or unable to participate in the usual activities that make friendship so important to our daily lives. As well as our circle of friends being immeasurably impactful on our personal wellbeing, there are also a number of further challenges currently facing our planet and society, making the core values of friendship even more necessary to help us overcome and persevere in the hope of a better future.

On the 30th July, the United Nation's annual International Day of Friendship aims to celebrate and explore the solidarity, camaraderie and trust that unites us as human beings and brings us closer together. We've put together this list of six primary titles and five secondary titles that you can stream at home that highlight the multitude of ways in which friendship can manifest, evolve and have a positive impact on the world at large.

Note: While most streaming platforms require a paid subscription or one-off rental fee, many offer a free trial that you can make use of. In addition, our recommendations will always include at least one title which is available on a free-to-watch platform.

Note:The information about films on streaming services is aimed at people at home only, and not for any film clubs running in schools. Licensing conditions do not permit the access of streaming platforms from a school setting. Into Film Club leaders should use our DVD service to order the films.

If you wish to find out the complete details of where any given title is available to watch or purchase, please visit FindAnyFilm.com.

Films for Primary

The Wizard of Oz

An all-time classic and a fantastic gateway to introduce younger viewers to older film, The Wizard of Oz is the story of Dorothy, a young farm girl from Kansas who is swept away by a tornado and wakes up in Oz, where she must enlist the help of her newfound friends (a lion, a scarecrow and a tin-man) in order to get back home. 

Ernest & Celestine

This sweet and sincere animation introduces us to Ernest, a down-on-his luck bear, and Celestine, an orphaned mouse, who embark on an unlikely adventure where they are chased by authorities from both the bear and mouse world whilst growing closer and developing an unusual yet strong bond of friendship. 

Lilo & Stitch

Cute, fierce and chaotic, but not necessarily in that order, Stitch is a small blue alien that escapes an alien prison and heads straight to Earth where he "disguises" himself as a dog and gets adopted by Lilo, an exuberant Hawaiian girl. What follows is the story one of Disney's most profound and everlasting friendships.

Pete's Dragon

Another story of an unlikely bond, proving that you can never guess who your next friend might be, finds a young boy named Pete who must evade capture from ruthless mercenaries alongside his best friend Elliot, a giant green dragon, to make sure they are not separated forever.

The Fox and the Hound

A red fox and a hunting dog meet each other in their youth, discovering their affinity for play and learning many lessons from each other. However, as they grow older, they struggle to balance their friendship with society's expectations of them. One of the Disney's finest animations about the differences between friends and how to reconcile them. 

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial 

A massive box-office hit on release in 1982, E.T. has survived the test of time and is now a well-established family classic. Never has it been more relevant than today as the story of a young boy and a lost alien, brought together by unusual circumstances, showcases that a strong bond will never lose its power even if two friends are unable to interact in person. 

Films for Secondary

X+Y

Not everybody makes friends easily and this has always been the case with teenage maths prodigy Nathan, who has been sent to represent the British team at the International Mathematics Olympiad in Taiwan. However, when he meets Chinese student Zhang Mei, who helps him acclimatise to his new environment, everything begins to change. 

Bend It Like Beckham

Meeting at the intersection of sports, family and culture, Bend It Like Beckham is a funny and touching tale of Jess, a British-Indian girl from a traditional family who discovers a talent and passion for football. However, after joining the local women's team and finding a kindred spirit in Jules, Jess finds that her family may not be so keen on her newfound pursuit in life. 

Girlhood

  • Available to stream on BFI Player and MUBI (Subscription required - free trials available)

Described as "a journey of self-discovery through the power of female friendship", Girlhood is a French drama that introduces us to Marieme, a teen girl who hopes to escape her oppressive life by aligning herself with a group of free-spirited girls who she hopes will be her gateway to a newfound freedom.

The Selfish Giant

A film which showcases the value of friendship for those on the fringes of society, The Selfish Giant follows two boys as they are excluded from school, shunned from their community and must work together, despite their very different personalities, in order to survive. Based on an Oscar Wilde short, this gritty tale is a tough but rewarding watch. 

The History Boys

Featuring a host of young actors that will now be very familiar to British audiences, The History Boys is a witty British comedy in which an ambitious headmaster goes to great lengths in the hope of getting a group of unruly friends into Cambridge or Oxford to boost his own profile. 

For further suggestions and ideas, why not check out our Friendship film list?

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Steven Ryder, Curation Officer

Steven has an MA in Film Studies, Programming and Curation from the National Film and Television School. He has previously worked for various exhibitors around England and currently freelances as a film critic/podcaster.

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