Storytelling around the world Film List

11th January, 2017

A series of films from around the world that draw on and celebrate some of our richest, most traditional forms of storytelling.

This collection of films focuses on international adaptations of classic folk tales, fairy stories, poems and other storytelling devices, to celebrate film's power to enchant young audiences with these unforgettable adventures. Beginning when cinema was in its infancy and running through to the present day, filmmakers have always looked to some of cultures' oldest stories for inspiration, producing films that are sometimes faithful adaptations of their source material, but may take their ideas in wildly different directions.

Celebrating the traditional techniques of storyelling, whilst also giving them a fresh, contemporary twist, these films will ignite the imagination of their audience, perhaps inspiring them to put their own spin on classic stories.


The Adventures of Prince AchmedThe Adventures of Prince Achmed PG (5+)

Duration: 66mins
Year: 1926
Director(s): Lotte Reiniger

This magical fantasy is the oldest surviving animation film in the world, telling an Arabian Nights-style story using a stunning silhouette style.

The oldest surviving animated film in the world, this enchanting piece of cinema uses cut-outs to tell its story of a nobel Prince enlisting the help of Aladdin to battle an evil sorcerer.

AliceAlice PG (11+)

Duration: 82mins
Year: 1988
Director(s): Jan Svankmajer
Cast: Kristyna Kohoutova   

Czech master of surreal animation Jan Svankmajer brings his dark talents to a magically creepy, loose adaptation of Lewis Carroll's loopy fantasy.

Legendary Czech filmmaker Jan Svankmajer uses stop-motion animation to bring Lewis Carroll's iconic creation to life like never before. The results are darker and stranger than other film version, but perhaps also more in keeping with the original material.

Peter and the WolfPeter and the Wolf U (5+)

Duration: 32mins
Year: 2006
Director(s): Suzie Templeton

Oscar-winning animated version of the timeless folk tale, set to Sergei Prokofiev's classic orchestral composition.

The enchanting Peter and the Wolf continues to enthral young children, partly due to Prokofiev's memorable music. It contains all the ingredients of the timeless folk tale, along with a few memorable additions. Watch out for an unexpected ending as well...

Song of the SeaSong of the Sea PG (5+)

Duration: 92mins
Year: 2014
Director(s): Tomm Moore
Cast: Fionnula Flanagan, Brendan Gleeson, Pat Shortt, David Rawle, Lisa Hannigan, Jon Kenny

A beautiful and touching animation based on an Irish folktale about a little girl who turns into a Selkie.

Introduce your group to Celtic folk tales with this gorgeous animation that takes our two adventurers, brother Ben and his mute little sister Saoirse, on a journey that sees them and their faithful dog C encounter magical spirits and troublesome faeries.

See the full list of Primary titles here


Lotte Reiniger: The Fairy Tale Films - Disc 1Lotte Reiniger: The Fairy Tale Films - Disc 1 PG (7+)

Duration: 192mins
Year: 1961
Director(s): Lotte Reiniger

Collection of Lotte Reiniger's stunning depictions of popular fairy tales using her unique silhouette animation style.

German animator Lotte Reiniger created some of the most enchanting animated versions of fairytales ever told on film. Her pioneering work was mostly in short-film, this collection brings together some of the most magical examples of her work, giving fresh life to stories we all know.

The Princess BrideThe Princess Bride  PG (7+)

Duration: 94mins
Year: 1987
Director(s): Rob Reiner
CastCary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin, Chris Sarandon, Billy Crystal, Peter Falk, Wallace Shawn, Peter Cook, Mel Smith

The Princess Bride takes apart the traditional damsel-in-distress story and puts it back together again. A classic for children of all ages.

Adapted from William Goldman's classic fantasy novel, this fantastic adventure film takes apart the traditional damsel-in-distress story and puts it back together again, resulting in a story that continues to enchant and delight audiences of all ages.

Tales of the NightTales of the Night PG (7+)

Duration: 81mins
Year: 2011
Director(s): Michel Ocelot
Cast: Julien Beramis, Marine Griset, Michel Elias

Complete with werewolves, magical instruments, sorcerers and mythical beasts, this French animation captures the enchantment of storytelling.

This modern collection of animated fairytales from France uses different storytelling techniques for each short film and locations around the world to tell a rich variety of stories packed with magic, mythology and adventure.

The Singing Ringing TreeThe Singing Ringing Tree U (7+)

Duration: 72mins
Year: 1957
Director(s): Francesco Stefani
Cast: Christel Bodenstein, Eckart Dux, Richard Kruger, Charles-Hans Vogt, Guenther Polensen

German children's film based on a Brothers Grimm style fairy tale, which has attracted a cult following.

This 1960s German adaptation of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales contains wild messages, and some truly scary elements, but also captures how the messages of traditional stories can resonate in the real world to a remarkable degree.

See the full list of Secondary titles here

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