Homestay Films

We usually have at least one film night during a homestay course. It can really take the pressure off having to entertain for the evening, especially good with children and teens. But it can be difficult finding films that will suit family and students.

Obviously, if you’re streaming any of these films and have students who share an L1, it’s usually possible to put the subtitles on in their language. If not, using English subtitles can be helpful.

Young Learners


Mr Bean (U) 1997 – 2007 (also TV episodes 1990) Family/Comedy

I was on a long coach trip once between Naples and Foggia in the late 1990s when they played a half hour Mr Bean episode. Everyone laughed and laughed. Then, when it finished, they played it again. Everyone laughed. Then they played it again. And again. I haven’t watched a Mr Bean since, but it undeniably has international appeal, is enjoyed by adults and children alike, and is probably less well-known than it was. It’s a safe choice for all ages & levels.


Pre-Intermediate+ (or lower levels who already know the film)

The Lion King (U) 1994 Family/Musical

A classic Disney animation with memorable songs and characters.

Sensitive Issues: Themes such as loss and family relationships may be emotionally intense for some viewers. Probably best if children already know the story.


The Jungle Book (U) 1967 Fantasy/Adventure/Family/Musical

A Disney classic based on Kipling’s story of a young boy raised by jungle animals.

Cultural Sensitivity: The film uses racial stereotypes of the time that may not be picked up on by the viewer.



Wallace & Gromit (U) 1989 – 2010 Family/Comedy

This is beautiful stop-animation featuring an eccentric inventor and his dog. Wallace’s accent may cause some issues. A very British duo, everyone loves Wallace and Gromit.


Paddington (PG) 2014 – 2024 Family/Comedy.

Very British films which everyone should see. The Paddington films and books promote intercultural understanding, issues of migration and mutual respect in a gentle apolitical way.





James Bond (PG-13 to 15) 1962 – 2021 Action

It’s a clique but younger teenage boys tend to love James Bond. The newer, Daniel Craig, ones seem to be most popular due to the special effects. You might be a bit wary with Russian or German students about the nationalities of the baddies, but apparently, statistically speaking, the most evil nationality in the Bond franchise is British! The sexism, however, cannot be so easily explained.


The Impossible (12A) 2012 Thriller/Adventure

This is based on a true story of a Spanish family who were caught in the 2004 tsunami. It is harrowing but ends well for that family. This worked really well with two teenage girls of low-intermediate level a few years ago. The story is an easy one to follow without necessarily understanding a lot of the dialogue. It does pack a huge emotional punch though. Perhaps avoid with south east Asian students and anyone who may have been directly affected by a tsunami or similar events. 


Gravity (12) 2013 Thriller/Sci-fi

A catastrophic accident breaks up a space station and leaves Sandra Bullock drifting and alone.

Personally, I find this film terrifying, a bit gruesome and quite sad, but the action and special effects mean it can be understood without a great understanding of the speech. It does start off with some with some high proficiency level chat, but once you’re passed that, it’s mainly action.

Sensitivity: Avoid if anyone suffers from anxiety or claustrophobia.


Jaws (12) 1975 Thriller/Adventure

An iconic film about a man-eating shark terrorizing a small town in the USA, with some proper jump scares.

My daughter claims this film scarred her for life so proceed with caution.



Cool Runnings (PG) 1993 Family/Comedy

Not historically accurate but a happy, feel-good film. It is based on Jamaica’s first bobsled team and their journey to the Winter Olympics.

Cultural Sensitivity: Some stereotypical representations of Jamaicans but apparently beloved in Jamaica.



Eddie the Eagle (PG) 2016 Family/Sport/Comedy

Based on the true story of a British ski jumper who aimed to compete in the 1988 Winter Olympics.

If you grew up in the 80s, you’ll remember with fondness Eddie ‘The Eagle’ Edwards. There seemed to be something quintessentially English about him and his celebrated Olympic attempts.



Castaway (12) 1996 Adventure/Action

Tom Hanks marooned on a desert island.

This film starts a million conversations.




Aeronauts (PG) 2019 Adventure/Action/Historical

Set in 1862 it is a daring balloon expedition to explore the upper atmosphere.

This is another film whose action and special effects allow you to follow the story without necessarily understanding much of the speech. It’s (very) loosely based on truths.




Harry Potter (PG to PG-13) 2001 – 2011 Fantasy/Drama

Needs no description.

Although this includes a lot of speech, a lot of students know the films well in their L1.



Late Teens+


The films chosen are all interesting from an English language POV.

The King’s Speech (12) 2010 Drama/Historical

Speech therapy and confidence building for a stuttering king who needs to speak in public. Based on King George VI.




The Professor and the Madman (15) 2019 Thriller/Mystery/Historical

About the lunatic asylum inmate who contributed to the Oxford English Dictionary.

Sensitivity: Historical attitudes towards mental illness were pretty awful.



My Fair Lady (U) 1964 Musical/Romance/Historical

English pronunciation, the English class system and songs!




Arrival (12) 2016 Sci-Fi/Mystery

Finding a way to communicate with aliens who don’t speak English.




The King and I (U) 1956 Musical/Romance

An English teacher in Siam during the 19th century. The story was also made into a film (Anna and the King) in 1999 starring Jodie Foster and Chow Yun-fat, without songs.

Cultural Sensitivity: Colonial-era perspectives.