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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 July 2005, 14:13 GMT 15:13 UK
Children get must-see movie list
Toy Story
Toy Story was seen as changing the face of animation
A list of 50 films that children should watch by the age of 14 includes a diverse mix of movies from Toy Story to Iran's Where is the Friend's House.

Compiled by the British Film Institute, the list contains only eight productions made in the UK.

The list, compiled with the help of the public, is intended to provoke debate about what children should watch.

Other suggested films include Italy's Bicycle Thieves, Japanese cartoon Spirited Away and Hollywood hit ET.

Cary Bazalgette, head of education at the British Film Institute, said: "It's quite a controversial list that's likely to provoke continuing debate, but that's the idea.

Bicycle Thieves (Italy - 1948)
ET (US - 1982)
Kes (UK - 1969)
Les Quatre Cents Coups (France - 1959)
The Night of the Hunter (KUS - 1955)
Show Me Love (Sweden/Denmark -1998)
Spirited Away (Japan - 2001)
Toy Story ( US - 1995)
Where is the Friend's House (Iran - 1987)
The Wizard of Oz (US - 1939)

"We want people to discuss what children should see, rather than what they shouldn't see."

The films selected span worldwide cinema, with choices from France, Sweden, Australia and Spain, ranging from blockbusters to subtitled art-house titles.

Evolving list

The 50 films were whittled down to a top 10, featuring Ken Loach's Kes, Victor Fleming's The Wizard of Oz and Francois Truffaut's Les Quatre Cents Coups.

The oldest film on the list is the French short film Le Voyage dans la Lune, directed by Georges Melies in 1902.

The most modern is Disney's Finding Nemo, which was released in 2003.

Among the British inclusions are The Railway Children, Oliver Twist and Billy Elliot.

"We're not imposing this selection. We intend the list to evolve, so we'll be inviting continued comment and nominations on the BFI website," added Ms Bazalgette.

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Which films would you recommend children should watch by the age of 14? Send your comments using the form below.

Without a doubt, every child should have seen "The Sound of Music" by the age of fourteen!Apart from being the best film ever made it also teaches that there are such things as happiness, hope and optimism in this increasingly negative and sad world.
Colette Brooks, Manchester, UK

Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, ET and The Wizard of Oz are classics. They have morals and comedy that young children need in this day and age. I grew up with these classics and I still watch and enjoy them immensely. I also reccomend they watch any Walt Disney film, even if it's the old time classics like Cinderella or my personal favorite -The Little Mermaid.
Claire Morris-Roberts, Caernarfon, North Wales

The Back to the Future trilogy are both intelligent and exciting, but also great fun to watch. As a kid they were some of my favourite films along with things like The Labyrinth, The Dark Crystal, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the Indiana Jones movies. These are the kinds of films children should be watching, things that are fun and engaging, but still challenge more than slapstick type films.
Tom Laird, Hockley, UK

Kes has to be one of the dullest films ever made which no child should have to sit through. All children should be encouraged to watch The Goonies instead!
Victoria, London

The classic 1970s Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (I haven't seen the new one yet, mind.) They should also see some more mature stuff too - perhaps Schindler's List? But none of this kitsch The Sound of Music nonsense - they're children, not imbeciles.
Keith Collantine, London, UK

My 8-year old daughter would recommend The Master of Disguise, Men in Black, Shrek, One of Our Dinosaurs is Missing, The Court Jester, Spaceballs, Madeline and the TV series Blott on the Landscape.
Megan, Cheshire UK

Nick Park's Oscar-winning The Wrong Trousers is an obvious candidate. But not just because it is a superb animation. It is also a political satire to rival Animal Farm.
Paul Richmond, Copenhagen, Denmark

Stand By Me is a really good film with some amazing acting by children in it. I don't know what certificate the film holds but it is certainly an eye opener for teenagers growing up.
Pete Noal, Norwich, UK

The Goonies. To show children you can have a life outdoors, instead of staying indoors playing computers. Also Stand by Me.
Tom, Harrow, London

As a child of the 80's I am really shocked that no one has mentioned The Neverending Story! One of my childhood favorites, I used to watch it pretty much daily until the tape broke in the video player.. DOH!
Kerry, Glasgow

Pretentious rubbish, as all "Best Films" polls are. Critics always select obscure arty movies to try and show everybody how cultured and clever they are. They never recommend films that people might actually want to watch. "Les Quatre Cents Coups"? It's a good film, but I can't think of any child under the age of 14 who wouldn't be bored to tears by it.
Paul Hunter, Manchester, UK

The Princess Bride - what's not to like? For kids and grown-ups alike the film is an absolute treat. Exciting, funny, full of thrills and spills it's a movie kids will come back to over and over again. It was the first DVD I bought for my nephews, and they love it (okay, so it gives me a good excuse to watch it too!). Throughly recommended.
Brian Monaghan, Dublin, Ireland

Labyrinth - Jim Henson at his best!
Jane, London

It would be better that we spend more time with our kids than to expect them to learn about things in life from movies...
David, Hertfordshire, UK

Stand By Me - I must have watched that movie a thousand times as a kid, and I'm still enchanted by it every time I see it.
Lisa Stanton, Plymouth, UK

Errm, I think some of you are missing the point. It's not which is your favourite film from childhood but which films will have a positive social effect on children. Whilst Ghostbusters may be a classic 80s film I'm not sure how high it is on moral fibre!
Louise, Manchester

Anything but the abysmal Sound of music.
Paul, Cardiff

I find this list completely out of touch with the reality of 14 year olds! How can you expect them to sit in front of the Wizard of Oz, end the like, at this age? I agree that most of the movie they watch are inappropriate but this is taking things too far. I think audiovisual education should be given more importance in the curriculum rather than adults telling them that they can watch this film and not that one.
Gerald G, London

What a spectacularly pointless bit of research, with predictably politically correct (and thus unrealistic results). To suggest that all 14 year-olds should, by such a young age, have seen this many foreign language films is ridiculous. I very much doubt if your average 80 year-old, with 66 more years of available time, will have bothered to ensure they have seen all of these films. Surely the main purpose of children's movies should be to keep them entertained for a couple of hours. With the exception of Toy Story and ET, I have trouble identifying what other films on this list achieve that purpose. If the purpose is to educate, then give them a book instead.
Tim, Abu Dhabi, UAE

The Breakfast Club - a perfect preparation for teen angst.
Simon Warren, London

I'm concerned about comments suggesting children should be made to watch Schindler's List. Of course, children must be educated about what happened in the holocaust, but I would question whether the best way to do this is through a movie, no matter how well acted, written or directed it might be. There exist many excellent documentaries (indeed, some of which are produced by the BBC!) that present history in such a way that allows people to assess these events with a clarity that can never be afforded one by a movie that has only a limited focus, necessitated by the medium of film. These documentaries present the viewer with people who were actually there at the time and who experienced these terrible events - somewhat more effective and true, for want of a better word, than any movie script!
A Ramsay, St Albans

What about Labyrinth! That film is amazing, it has it all. The only thing in that film that might not be suitable for children is David Bowi'es mullet. God forbid that any child would want that hair style when they are older.
Craig Newman, Cardiff

I never normally respond to these sort of things but this is a really interesting question especially for someone who previously was a child (and some may argue still is).Where to start. Firstly with the present list. I am pleased to see such a good international spread of choices but disapointed that I hhave not seen some many of them. If these films are so good should we not be ensuring that they are distributed across all countries. I dont understand why Toy Story is in there. Admittedly it is an entertaining film but unlike something like Kes, doesnt teach you anything and potentially shape the attitudes you will have as an adult. That is what matters to me looking back. The films I saw that taught me something or shaped me. The ones which had major impact were Mask and The Elephant Man although whether you can watch these pre 14 I am unsure. Where is the lion, the witch and the wardrobe and watership down or the railway children? What about dramatisations of books such as Swallows and Amazons? I only wish I could remember more the films I watched as a child so that I could mention them but I guess if I cannot remember they are not worth mentioning. One comfort is that this question is being asked and not 'what films shouldn't you watch by 14?' or 'what films have you seen that you shouldnt have by 14?'. The recently released War of the Worlds is a prime example of a film that should not be seen by children. However as long as we ask ourselves what we let our children watch and not how much they watch then they can still gather some value from this entertaining and educational medium.
Bryan Dobson, Pinner, Middlesex

Back to the Future - your parents really were teenagers once!
Laura, Oxford, UK

Yellow Submarine - the animation messes with your mind and the story is a triumph of good over evil....great music too.
Alex, Shrewsbury, England

I agree with Martin Doyle, it simply has to be Star Wars! It's wonderful when my son watches these films as it carries on the love that generations before him have had for these films, and it takes me back to my childhood. All the films have now captured the imaginations of people ten, twenty and even thirty or more years apart and that is a rarity in the film industry today.
Gemma Blain, UK

My 11 year-old daughter loves watching movies - she loves old musical and just watched Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and is singing "Bless you beautiful hide". The film is an example of a fun and harmless piece of entertainment that is a pleasure to watch. May I also add that all things should be in moderation and that I would never let her watch films all day anymore than allow her to play computer games more than an hour day (30 minutes only on a school day). Variety is the spice of life!
Miranda, Birmingham, UK

Every child should be forced to watch Bill & Teds Excellent Adventure & Bogus Journey, otherwise how do we expect our children to learn the appropriate way to present a history project or how to rock!?
Kevin G, Glasgow, UK

None of this matters, children should be out enjoying themselves, not being force-fed overrated nonsense.
Grahame Kelly, Warwick, UK

Clearly if you are going to watch any film by the age of 14 it must be Star Wars: A New Hope.
Stephen Mortimer, Reading, UK

Star Wars has got to be a must see film on any list. It was the most memorable film I ever saw as a child and even now nearly 30 years on the special effects hold up and the theme tune still stirs me. Darth Vader is still the ultimate bad guy as well
Paul, Buckinghamshire, England

Children should be watching relatively surreal films like Bedknobs and Broomsticks, or even just Mary Poppins. Something that stimulates the imagination and brings life to the ordinary.
Helen P, Norwich, UK

Every kid should watch the original Star Wars movies as they define what cinema excitement should be like for a youngster. Other classics I would include would be Jaws (get them whilst the shark is still believable!), Indiana Jones and The Goonies. Real entertainment. Kes would have sent me to sleep as a kid. Toy Story is better for us grown-up kids as youngsters don't appreciate half the stuff that Pixar put in.
Andrew Bloomfield, Warrington, UK

The Goonies! Spark some real imagination in kids, get them in the woods having adventures and away from the local shops trying to get fags and booze!
wavey, Southampton, UK

The Lion King is personally my favourite ever Disney film. The animation is absolutely superb, the soundtrack is awesome and my 4 year old daughter absolutely loves it.
Paul, Buckinghamshire, England

A great idea - but getting hold of some of the films is another matter. I had to go to Rome to find a copy of the Bicycle Thieves. It was definitely worth it; many of the scenes are unforgettable.
Eric, Southport, UK

Anything except Billy Elliot - one of THE most false, cloying, overrated works of "art" this country has ever produced, and I'm speaking as a lifelong film fan having viewed thousands of movies. Sorry to be negative, but people really should wake up to how bad this film is...
Michael Wesley

Flight Of The Navigator and Labyrinth should be in the list. If you've had the pleasure to see either of the films then I don't need to explain why.
David James, chesterfield, England

If i had a daughter, I'd make her watch Tomb Raider - Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft would be a great role model; an Indiana Jones for girls. I remember seeing Evil Dead 2 when I was very young. The nightmares were certainly character building.
Drew Jagger, Leicester, UK

The Goonies...forget all the others!
Paul Hart, Worcester,UK

Goonies - standing up for issues important to you and problem-solving. Home Alone - so when your mum goes to Ibiza you know how to protect the house! Big - to realise how important it is to have your childhood and not grow up too quickly.
Georgie, Herts

This is a very Euro / Anglo-centric list. There is not one film from the vast storehouse of Indian Cinema. Where is Satyajit Ray's Pather Panchali, or his amazing fantasy film Goopy Gayne Baghe Bayne ?
R. Srinivasan, New Delhi, India

I'd recommend that everyone, old or young, should watch The Goonies. I'm 25 and I still love that film.
Cara, Wales

Fantasia! It's fun, childish, adult, scary and musical.
Susan Cunningham, Oxford, UK

I am still terrified by the wicked witch in The Wizard of Oz at 40 so wouldn't recommend that one to a 14 year old! Too often today we forget children are children. There isn't a price upon a golden and happy childhood. Too much TV and too many movies can spoil childhood by introduced themes and elements inappropriate to a child's thinking. The film censors still need to sort out their ratings as even some rated-12(PG) movies seem to be worthy of a higher rating.
Jane Postlethwaite, London

I think all children should definitely watch The Goonies! I've watched it hundreds of times and never grow tired of it. Even at 22 years old I still enjoy it and think that it would be a crime for any child not to have seen it by the age of 14.
Wendy , Southampton, UK

It was recently suggested that Back to the Future is the ultimate family movie. It surely deserves a place on this list!
Joel French, Forest Row, East Sussex

Surely what really matters is that children really learn to appreciate the culture of films as a whole. As a child I grew up watching everything from the Marx brothers to The Wizard Of Oz and Disney films. I think that films are an important method of learning.
Helen, Hampshire UK

In this chaotic world of ours children should watch Pollyanna! A lesson to learn on how to get along with all characters to be met in life.
Jane, London

I'm a bit disappointed to see Spirited Away on the list and not Castle in the Sky (by the same director, Hayao Miyazaki). Castle in the Sky is much more suitable for children (being as it is, an action adventure) yet thought-provoking enough to make it, in my opinion, a much better movie than Spirited Away.
Ash, Southampton, England

I'm glad to see some international films in the top ten. I thought ET was a really boring film as a child and wouldn't inflict it on my kids. I'd include some classic Disney like Lady and the Tramp and Dumbo. I'd also have home grown classics like The Railway Children.
Amy, Dunstable, Bedfordshire

Seen as some of those films are rated 15, it seems a bit irresponsible to recommend them to 14 year olds!
Richard, Norwich

If children are actually being told to stay inside and watch all these films, we have no hope of tackling childhood obesity!
Andy T, Bath, UK

BMX Bandits - all under-14s should see this film. No child should be deprived of seeing the bandits going down those chutes in the waterpark with their bikes!
Terence, Watford, Herts

I would suggest a film version of Lord Of The Flies. I think it teaches us about human nature and warns children how things can turn bad, how the weak can be abused, and power corrupted. a bit heavy but an important lesson...
Mark Wilks, Reading

The Goonies.
Christopher Pigden,

How can they leave The Lion King out of the top 10?! Clearly that should be seen by all children and adults alike!
Ray, Birmingham

I think all children should see Mary Poppins and the Sound of Music by the age of 14.
Sarah Corker, Sheffield, England

There aren't really enough laughs in the Top 10. And nothing really dumb, which I think is important. Kids should see people just falling about for no reason other than it's funny. So probably one of the more destructive Laurel and hardy films. My 7 year old son loves old Will Hay movies - the more pratfalls the better.
Robert Pugsley, Birstall, UK

Shrek - an absolute must. Also Dumbo, Legend, Cats and Dogs, ET.
John Crook, London

Shrek and It's A Wonderful Life.
Mark Searle, Hurstpierpoint, West Sussex.

All of the Star Wars Films back to back.
Jeff Rochester, Hornchurch, Essex

It's got to be Ghostbusters!
Rick, Sheffield, UK

The sound of Music, West Side Story and Ice Age.
Emily, Sussex, England

The Jungle Book.
Stuart Brennan, Hoylake, Wirral

The Sound of Music - The best ever film made.
Kai, Leeds

I believe that every child should be made to watch Schindler's List during their formative years. Whilst it is a shocking film that might perhaps be considered to be unsuitable for young children, every teenager should be shown it as an example of what fear and hatred can make people do to one another and why the international community sometimes has a responsibility to protect people from their own state.
Richard W, Worcester, UK

Every child should be made to watch Labyrinth by George Lucas and Jim Henson. It's the best kids' movie ever made.
Mark Cokell, Winchester, Hampshire

Most of the films I would recommend are great books which I think the kids should read before watching the films. e.g. Tarka the Otter, Watership Down, The Iron Giant, Danny Champion of the World, Charlie & The Chocolate Factory, etc.
Ian Potter, London, UK

The Goonies. This movie should be part of the National Curriculum. A classic kids' movie if ever there was one.
Dannish Effendi, Leeds

My son is almost 14 and I encourage him to watch films with serious interest matter such as Schindler's List, The Pianist, Antwone Fisher and Hotel Rwanda. I do, however, ensure that there is nothing too explicit in terms of the language or sexual scenes.
Paul Whittaker, St Albans, UK

Star Wars! Not just for entertainment value, it has so much in it! Just look at the impact it has had on creativity in all levels of society and a whole generation of individuals. It's an inspirational film!!!
Martin Doyle, London

It's a Wonderful Life - it makes you think about the contribution you make to other people's lives in a positive way, despite being a bit cheesy
Chris Loveless, Guildford England

Bugsy Malone should be in the list somewhere. Fantastic movie full of action/singing/dancing, all the requirements for a good kids' movie.
Pete crosbie, Stoke on Trent Staffordshire

Some interesting British selections. Let me get this straight - the British Film Institute are recommending that Billy Elliot is a film that children should have seen by the time they are 14? It's a certificate 15!! How responsible of them. Keep them away from my children please.
Owen Lewis, Worthing, England

The Karate Kid. Truly inspiring.
Chris Forster, Bishop's Stortford

Watership Down, which still scares the heck out of me as an adult, but is supposed to be for children.
James, London, UK

One of my favourites would be Flight of the Navigator. Escapism, fun and thought-provoking for a youngster.
Simon, London, UK

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