Films and resources for discussion

Like a lot of parents across the country, you’ve probably found yourself transitioning to homeschooling over the past couple of weeks.

Film is a great medium to start getting your children thinking critically, as well as giving them an understanding of how what we watch affects us and the people around us. So even if your little one isn’t studying to be the next Speilberg, Hitchcock or Bigelow, it can be a useful teaching tool. 

We have rounded up a selection of films for children and teens of all ages, some which feature on the film studies curriculum, along with relevant case studies, resources and discussion points. 

An absolute classic, Casablanca features on the film studies curriculum. Did you know that it’s always been rated a U? 

The Shop Around the Corner is another classic that features on the film studies curriculum. It is a 1940 romantic drama in which a man and woman unknowingly exchange letters with each other whilst working in the same shop.

Ever wondered how we classify cartoon violence? The Lego Movie is a great example of this, and rated U so it’s suitable for the whole family. The ratings info includes mild fantasy violence, very mild bad language. 

My Life as a Courgette is an animated drama about a boy who moves to a care home after losing his mother. Taking some sensitive issues, it can be a good springboard for discussions. We’ve rated it PG for mild sex references, references to traumatic childhood experiences. 

In Sunshine on Leith, Davy and Ally have to re-learn how to live life in Edinburgh after coming home from serving in Afghanistan. Both struggle to learn to live a life outside the army and to deal with the everyday struggles of family, jobs and relationships. This film can be a good starting point for talking about separation, long distance relationships and family life. 

Vertigo is on the film studies curriculum. Rated PG, it is a thriller in which a retired San Francisco detective who agrees to follow a friend's wife who is apparently depressed.

Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles (1991) has a long classification history, which will ignite the interest of any budding film fan. 

Warm Bodies is a fantasy horror romantic comedy based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, a good film to watch if your child is studying the play. Set in a post-apocalyptic world where zombies prey on humans. A young zombie falls in love with the girlfriend of one of his victims and their relationship starts to transform him. We rated it 12A for violence and horror and one use of strong language. 

La Dolce Vita features on the film studies curriculum, and has a rich classification history. Originally rated X, it is now rated 12A, for moderate sex references, language, violence, suicide scenes. 

Love, Simon is a US comedy drama in which a closeted gay teenager falls for his anonymous email pen pal. Offering great opportunities to talk to your children about identity, sexuality and acceptance. We are often asked if we classify depictions of LGBTQ+ relationships different - the answer is a firm no. We apply our guidelines regardless of sexual identity.

If you want your child to learn about the classification process, Pitch Perfect is a good example. Originally seen for advice, it is rated 12A for moderate language and frequent moderate sex references. 

Based on a novel, If Beale Street Could Talk is a drama in which a pregnant woman tries to clear her fiancé's name when he is wrongly accused of a crime. Our discussion points focus on racism in 1970s America, the justice system and faith. 

My Beautiful Laundrette is directed by Stephen Frears (The Queen, Florence Foster Jenkins) from a script by Pakistani-English writer Hanif Kureishi. Set during the Thatcher years, the film explores many social issues of the time, including race, class and poverty. It was acclaimed for its groundbreaking representation of gay and Asian characters, and was nominated for an Oscar for its screenplay.

12 Years a Slave is rated 15 for strong violence, injury detail, sex, nudity and racist terms. Our case study explains more about the classification process, and how we take context and educational value into account when we classify content.

Straight Outta Compton is on the film studies curriculum, and the plot of the film follows NWA's emergence from the streets of Compton, California and the group's rise to local, national and international fame. It also has a fantastic soundtrack, which will throw parents back to the 90s. 

Originally rated X in 1979, Apocalypse Now is now rated 15. It is on the film studies curriculum, and the ratings info includes strong bloody violence, gore, language. There’s been a few different director’s cuts over the years - which one will you watch?

Featuring Ed Norton and Brad Pitt, Fight Club features on the film studies curriculum. It’s classification spanned a change to our guidelines, which resulted in two different ratings. 

Trainspotting is another 18 rated film that is on the film studies curriculum. The film’s main classification issue is drug use and there are several detailed scenes of heroin abuse throughout. We sought professional advice during it’s classic process, which you can read more about in our case study.


If your little one is interested in history, then you can read more about film censorship in World War 2, as well as read more about the classification process for some iconic war films. You can also read our full history of the BBFC on our education pages.