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Films For Fives and Under

Watch with grown-ups: a fun selection of films for supervised viewing by 3-5 year olds and the young at heart.

Young kids tend to be very open-minded about film and are usually happy to watch unfamiliar material if there's something to hook them in. These short films have been selected to entertain, amuse, intrigue or spark the imagination, while broadening understanding of what film can be and do.

The selections stretch back as far as film's earliest days, pulling in such delights as Victorian 'trick' films, animation, wildlife films, quirky newsreel, experimental films, silent comedies, public information films and more. You won't find these films anywhere else, so watching along with your child - necessary since some films need a little explaining or have intertitles to read - will be a joy and an adventure for grown-ups too.

 

Warning: These films have been tested on real children - but not your children! We believe all the films are strictly U certificate, but what delights one child might confuse or upset another, so we recommend that an adult looks at the films first just in case.

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Alice in WonderlandAlice in Wonderland

Fantasy190310 minsSilent

The first-ever film version of Lewis Carroll's tale, made just 37 years after the novel’s publication and eight years after the birth of cinema.

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X RaysX Rays

Comedy18971 minsSilent

I've got you under my skin... early 'trick' film having fun with the new science of x-ray photography

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A Year and a DayA Year and a Day

Nature and Science programme195414 minsSilent Location: Headingley

The metamorphosis of the eating machine which is the caterpillar, into an Emperor Moth, revealed in all its detail and presented in 15 minutes.

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A Colour BoxA Colour Box

Advert19354 mins

Part experimental cinema, part advert for the parcel post service, always joyful.

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That NoiseThat Noise

Animation & Artists Moving Image19612 mins

Fall truly, madly, deeply in love with this animated proto-music video from Godfrey, Lacey and Newly

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The Clown and His DonkeyThe Clown and His Donkey

Animation & Artists Moving Image19103 minsSilent

A pioneering effort in bringing shadow puppetry to the cinema

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Bunty the Bouncing BassoonBunty the Bouncing Bassoon

Animation & Artists Moving Image19636 mins

Warning! If you step into the Merry Music Shop then this singalong cartoon is an animated earworm in waiting!

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Drat That Boy!Drat That Boy!

Comedy19042 minsSilent

A boy being supervised by his grandmother sees a chance for mischief

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Miracle of X-rays!Miracle of X-rays!

Non-Fiction19281 minsSilent

Advances in x-ray tubes offer the (skeleton) key to scientific breakthroughs – as well as being great fun to watch

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A Bedtime StoryA Bedtime Story

Amateur film19598 minsSilent Location: Skidby

In this captivating film shot in Skidby, a little girl reads her favourite dolls a bedtime story that miraculously comes to life.

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Deonzo BrothersDeonzo Brothers

Performance19011 minsSilent

The fabulous Deonzo Brothers in a spectacular barrel-jumping stage act

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Children Blowing BubblesChildren Blowing Bubbles

Home movie19020 minsSilent

Soapy fun for the Passmore children in this fascinating, very early home movie

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Herbert Campbell As Little BobbyHerbert Campbell As Little Bobby

Comedy18991 minsSilent

A not-so-little variety star shows off his appetite

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Echo: Some ReflectionsEcho: Some Reflections

Animation & Artists Moving Image19725 mins

It’s all done with mirrors! Glynn Williams explores the properties of reflection in this amusing animation featuring a toy train set.

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Beetle RacingBeetle Racing

Non-Fiction19593 mins

Six legged competitors take to the starting blocks as a Midlands pub brings the sport of beetle racing to the world.

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Nursery IslandNursery Island

Documentary193618 mins Location: Farne Islands

The birdlife of Northumberland's Farne Islands comes under the spotlight in this pioneering documentary from the Secrets of Life nature series.

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Dancer's DreamDancer's Dream

Fantasy19053 minsSilent

A ballerina enjoys a fantastical dance

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The Crab That Played with the SeaThe Crab That Played with the Sea

Children's198311 mins Location: South Shields

Poetic justice for a disobedient Crab in Sheila Graber’s delightful animation of Kipling’s fanciful origin story for children.

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Seaside EscapeSeaside Escape

News19831 minsSilent Location: Wembury

Children from inner city Brixton in London having fun at Wembury Beach.

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Vaulting Horse DisplayVaulting Horse Display

Sport19001 minsSilent

An astonishing display of synchronised gymnastics

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Donkey racing on Ramsgate's Viking BayDonkey racing on Ramsgate's Viking Bay

Amateur film19371 minsSilent Location: Ramsgate

This charming holiday film set on Ramsgate's Viking Bay shows a pair of children cantering on a pair of donkeys along the sandy beach

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Juno Helps OutJuno Helps Out

Children's195319 mins Location: London

Helpful and humongous Great Dane Juno helps out with housework, does some shopping and chomps cream cake in this cheerful kids' film

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Life in MiniatureLife in Miniature

Amateur film19697 mins Location: New Romney

Budding film director Anthony Armstrong, aged 10, presents a delightful film about things on a smaller scale like locomotives, trams and the tiny town of Bekonscot.

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How the Camel Got His HumpHow the Camel Got His Hump

Animation & Artists Moving Image198110 mins Location: South Shields

An engaging, hand painted animation of Rudyard Kipling’s origin tale about a work shy camel who gets the hump.

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Tilly and the Fire EnginesTilly and the Fire Engines

Comedy19112 minsSilent

Mischievous sisters Tilly and Sally borrow a fire engine and take it for a joy ride in this spirited film comedy.

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Farming ScenesFarming Scenes

Amateur film196216 minsSilent Location: Meopham

Enjoy a delightful year on a Kentish farm complete with Tractor Girls, Hereford cattle, ferrets, rabbit shooting and the Eastbourne Show

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Falling in the WaterFalling in the Water

Animation & Artists Moving Image19731 mins

Kids don't always listen to their parents. But in the 70s they certainly listened to a giant ginger tabby cat...

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Dancers at Trivandrum GopinathDancers at Trivandrum Gopinath

Amateur film19467 minsSilent

Kathakali performance featuring the great Indian dancer Guru Gopinath, filmed in remarkable colour by ‘envoy of the Raj’ Clarmont Skrine

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Miss Margaret Morris' Merry MermaidsMiss Margaret Morris' Merry Mermaids

Non-Fiction19230 minsSilent Location: Harlech

Budding dancers take to the beach at Harlech, north Wales, to show off their aquatic-themed moves

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Elsie and the Brown BunnyElsie and the Brown Bunny

Advert19218 mins Location: Bournville

This early Cadbury advert plays like a surreal outtake from 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory'.

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How the Whale Got his ThroatHow the Whale Got his Throat

Animation & Artists Moving Image198110 mins Location: South Shields

Travel into the belly of whale lore with Rudyard Kipling’s whimsical tale for little children.

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How It Feels to Be Run OverHow It Feels to Be Run Over

Trick film19001 minsSilent

A terrifying first-person brush with death at the hands of a dangerous driver

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The Kiddies' CakewalkThe Kiddies' Cakewalk

19031 minsSilent

Four-year-old girl and boy dance a mean cakewalk

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Upside Down; Or, The Human FliesUpside Down; Or, The Human Flies

Comedy18991 minsSilent

A memorable early film 'trick'

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Little Tom ThumbLittle Tom Thumb

Animation & Artists Moving Image19677 mins

Worst. Parents. Ever. But a lovely animated tale using cut-out animation designed by Sunniva Kellquist

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Tufty - Safe Places to CrossTufty - Safe Places to Cross

Public Information Filler19731 minsSilent

Road safety guidance for kids from Tufty the squirrel and friends

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Molar MischiefMolar Mischief

Advert19462 minsSilent

Look out, germs at work! These loveable molar mischief making puppets really dig tooth decay.

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Children in the NurseryChildren in the Nursery

Comedy18981 minsSilent

Seen but not heard? Three children get up to mischief after mother puts them to bed in this Victorian entertainment.

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The Miller and the SweepThe Miller and the Sweep

Comedy18971 minsSilent

A battle of soot versus flour

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Mister MoonMister Moon

Trick film19011 minsSilent

Musical comedian Percy Honri is a ukulele-playing man-in-the-moon in this early skit

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The Magic Sword A Mediaeval MysteryThe Magic Sword A Mediaeval Mystery

Fairy tale19013 minsSilent

This innovative 'trick' film is a fantastical children's pantomime in miniature

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Vote for FrogletVote for Froglet

Children's19747 mins

As the general election is held in the UK, it's polling day for the Clangers on a small blue planet far away.

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Pear-shaped HillPear-shaped Hill

Animation & Artists Moving Image19707 mins

Are you sitting comfortably? Then let this classic bedtime story begin, with added animation to bring the illustrations to life

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Maypole DanceMaypole Dance

Non-Fiction18981 mins

Early film technology has had a strange effect on the recording of this traditional May Day ritual

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The Big SwallowThe Big Swallow

Comedy19011 minsSilent

A classic early film gag - and a big leap forward for a fast-evolving new art

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Osibisa Musical GroupOsibisa Musical Group

News19803 mins Location: Plymouth

Ghanaian led Afro-Caribbean band spread infectious rhythms of world music at Plymouth’s Frankfort Gate.

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Countryman and the CinematographCountryman and the Cinematograph

Comedy19010 minsSilent

A country yokel gets a shock in an early example of a 'film within a film'.

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'Joys in Toys for Girls and Boys''Joys in Toys for Girls and Boys'

Non-Fiction19271 minsSilent

Treat your kiddies to the latest mechanical wonders, promoted in this festive newsreel item

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School Outing to Belfast ZooSchool Outing to Belfast Zoo

Home movie19810 minsSilent Location: Belfast

This delightful home movie from Sam Bell might inspire you to visit the zoo or set up your own garden obstacle course.

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A Trip to the MoonA Trip to the Moon

Science Fiction190211 minsSilent

A classic of early sci-fi providing an awe-inspiring and delightful account of man’s first mission to the Moon.

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Peter and the Moon ManPeter and the Moon Man

Children's192914 minsSilent

The man in the moon learns about hygiene in this 1929 public information short promoting the benefits of all-electric mod cons.

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Tufty - ShoppingTufty - Shopping

Public Information Filler19731 minsSilent

The lure of a toy shop proves almost too much for Tufty the squirrel

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Audley Range School, Blackburn (c.1905)Audley Range School, Blackburn (c.1905)

Non-Fiction19051 minsSilent Location: Blackburn

Lancashire children perform physical education exercises in (almost) perfect unison.

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Automatic MotoristAutomatic Motorist

Comedy19116 minsSilent

A leisurely drive turns into an out-of-this-world adventure for a newlywed couple and their robot chauffeur.

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The Magic ExtinguisherThe Magic Extinguisher

Trick film19012 minsSilent

You'll never guess quite what this chap can hide under his cone...

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Mummy Should KnowMummy Should Know

Animation & Artists Moving Image19731 mins

Killjoy, or conscience of a generation? Charley cat scuppers a playdate, but earns a fishy picnic through doing the right thing

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Honey Harvest in IndiaHoney Harvest in India

Non-Fiction19369 minsSilent

Death-defying antics on behalf of the sweet-toothed, in a home movie shot by hunter-turned-conservationist Jim Corbett

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Ten Little Dirty BoysTen Little Dirty Boys

Public Information Filler192912 minsSilent

Ten boys discover that a good wash is step one on the road to health in this silent cartoon

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Visit To The Zoo 1968Visit To The Zoo 1968

Amateur film196814 minsSilent Location: Westminster

Explore London Zoo in the 60s and see the now closed Mappin Terraces, once home to Polar bears, and a Chimpanzees' tea party.

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Children's GamesChildren's Games

Amateur film196012 mins Location: Larne

Delight in the mischievous imagination of Archie Reid with this trilogy of battles performed by and for his pupils in Larne.

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We Grew A FrogWe Grew A Frog

School programme and Educational film197012 mins Location: Whatfield

A charming tale of two schoolchildren who collect frog spawn, and returning to school, watch the spawn develop into a frog. Educational film.

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As Christmas Draws Near As Christmas Draws Near

Non-Fiction19281 minsSilent

An eccentric parade of mechanical toys to tantalise 1920s kids - and to remind us that Christmas consumerism is nothing new.