This film is part of Free

Never Go with Strangers

Is this the scariest public information film ever? This hard-hitting warning against 'stranger danger' was considered too distressing to be broadcast on television.

Documentary 1971 18 mins


Is this the scariest public information film ever? Never Go With Strangers was intended for children aged between seven and ten and its purpose was ‘to warn them of the dangers of accepting lifts or presents from strangers’. Due to potential distress government officials instructed that the film only be shown under ‘responsible adult supervision’, thus denying it a TV airing for many years.

But ask any adult who watched the film during the 1970s in their school hall and they will attest to the indelible impression that it made on their young mind. From the opening animation sequences to the unsettling conclusion, the film draws upon the stories of classic children's fairytales such as Hansel and Gretel and Little Red Riding Hood to impress upon young innocents that there are wicked people in the world, like the witch and the wolf and the bad uncle, who will use trickery, lures and deception to catch you and hurt you. With clever but simple techniques such as an off-screen commentator who talks directly to the film's characters, a looming shadow over a whimpering girl, a pulsating red screen to indicate danger and the morphing of a playground loiterer's face into a police identikit face of evil, the filmmakers ensure the young audience's rapt attention. This government film is a public record, preserved and presented by the BFI National Archive on behalf of The National Archives, home to more than 1,000 years of British history.