Films to Watch on TV and New Titles to Stream This Week

03 Jul 2020

7 mins
Life of Pi
Life of Pi

Due to the ongoing coronavirus/COVID-19 situation around the world, our weekly recommendations of the best new films released in cinemas and on DVD is not possible, as cinemas are closed for safety reasons, and release dates are being pushed back across the board. Instead, we'll be bringing you our picks for the best films showing on free-to-air television each week, as well as any especially appropriate titles added to subscription streaming services.

This page will be updated each week, so please bookmark it and keep checking back to stay up to date with the most educationally valuable - and entertaining - films that young people can watch while at home. 

Where possible, for each film we recommend, we'll also be providing any resources, behind-the-scenes videos, or other content relevant to the title to help you discuss the film afterwards, provide links to the curriculum, and ensure young people get the most out of their viewing experience. You will need to sign up for a free account to download our resources.

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Films on Free-to-Air TV: 3 - 10 July

The below films are airing on free-to-air channels that the majority of people will have access to. These films have been selected for their educational value as well as their power to captivate and entertain.

Pete's Dragon (2016)

Saturday 4 July @ 14:15 on BBC2

This live-action remake of the popular 1970s children's film is an adventure that deals with themes of loss, independence and friendship. After a terrible accident, a young boy find himself in the middle of a forest, befriending a big green dragon that he names Elliot, and together the two evade capture by a vicious hunter. 

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb

Saturday 4 July @ 19:00 on E4

The third instalment of the series, with many of the popular characters from the first film returning in a fun and imaginative family film. When The Tablet of Akmenrah, which allows the museum artefacts to come alive, starts decaying, Larry and his friends head off to visit the British Museum to investigate and meet Akmenrah's parents.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Sunday 5 July @ 21:00 on Film4

The second instalment in the sci-fi series that shows how the world came to be ruled by apes, with the majority of the human population having been wiped out by a virus. This time, ape leader Caesar and his community are living peacefully in the forest until they are threatened by a small group of human survivors, with their clash soon turning into a war for power over the planet.

Life of Pi

Monday 6 July @ 18:35 on Film4

This epic adaptation of the award-winning novel spans the incredible life of a young boy. When his family's relocation goes wrong, Pi finds himself stranded in the middle of the ocean, with only a small lifeboat and the giant tiger his family kept in a zoo. If he is to survive, Pi must search deep inside to discover his strength and us any and all resources at his disposal.

Films to Stream for Free

The following films are available to watch for free on various streaming platforms, in order of which will expire first. These films are all accessible to watch online at no cost, provided you have a TV licence.


Available to stream on All4 until Friday 10 July

Amy Winehouse, one of the most talented musicians of her generation, sadly became a tragic figure when she passed away in 2011. This brilliantly edited and intimate documentary explores the effects that the media had on Amy's life and how the music industry both embraced her and destroyed her, as well as celebrating the incredible bluesy, jazzy pop music she managed to create during her all-too-short life. Exploring the darker side of music, Amy is nevertheless essential viewing for anyone wanting to understand this complicated artist.


Available to stream on BBC iPlayer until Monday 13 July

A former BBC reporter meets an elderly Irish lady named Philomena and discovers that she was separated from her son almost half a century ago, when the nuns that looked after him decided to sell him to a family in the United States. Deciding that he must help reunite mother and son, he uses all the tools at his disposal to do so. This important and timely expose of some of the Catholic Church's abhorrent practices is still a sometimes funny and often sweet tale of the importance of both family and the truth.


Available to stream on All4 until Saturday 25 July

Kena and Ziki, two college students awaiting their exam results, cannot wait to explore the world and pursue their chosen careers. Although both their fathers are competing against one another in Nairobi's local elections, the two are drawn to each other and quickly fall in love. However, with homosexuality being illegal in Kenya and the two young women fearing rejection from the families, they face the struggle of choosing between safety and their relationship. 

Set against a wonderful backdrop of colourful settings and costumes, with a complex and empathetic script, this is a vital story that deals with a wide variety of themes such as growing up, community and LGBTQ+ representation.

12 Years a Slave

Available to stream on All4 until Tuesday 28 July.

When American violinist Solomon Northup is ripped from his life as a professional musician just because of the colour of his skin and sold as a slave, he begins a lifelong quest to find a way back to his family and his previous existence. Steve McQueen's harrowing yet hopeful period piece exposes the ruthless ways in which black people were treated within the American slave trade and highlights some haunting parallels to modern society. An absolute classic that has never been more important in terms of history, citizenship and empathy.

New on Subscription Streaming

The following films are educationally noteworthy new additions to subscription streaming services. While some streaming platforms require a paid subscription, or one-off rental fee, many offer a free trial that you can make use of.

Note: The information about films on streaming services is aimed at people at home only, and not for any film clubs still running in schools. Licencing conditions do not permit the access of streaming platforms from a school setting.


Space Jam

Available to stream on Netflix

To compliment Netflix's new sports documentary, The Last Dance, this live-action/animation hybrid stars the legendary basketball player Michael Jordan as he teams up with the Looney Tunes in order to defeat a group of aliens who have stolen the powers of other star players. Appropriately zany and inspiring, Space Jam is an enduring family favourite.



Available to stream on NOW TV

Engaging for ages 11+

A struggling musician wakes up after an accident to discover that The Beatles and their music have been wiped from history, and so sets about recreating their songs, becoming a star in the process. A feel-good musical comedy from Danny Boyle that touches upon themes of intellectual property, authorship and cultural history.

Spiderman: Far From Home

Available to stream on NOW TV

Engaging for ages 11+

A young Spider-Man must take on new responsibilities during a class trip through Europe after some dangerous villains begin to show up. Action-packed whilst also taking a look at high-school life and romance, Spider-Man continues to be one of the most likeable superheroes on the big screen.

Pokemon: Detective Pikachu

Available to stream on NOW TV

Engaging for ages 7 - 14

The long-awaited live-action Pokemon film follows a young man on the search for his lost father, aided by an adorable talking Pikachu who longs to be a detective. Full of creativity, this film is also a sweet take on the importance of family and the legacy you leave behind.

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