We recently decided to show a movie to our 6th, 7th and 8th grade students on the last day of school. But when we started brainstorming ideas we had some difficulty coming up with movie titles that (a) the students would like and (b) we thought would be worth showing.
Listed below are the movies we came up with after consulting a variety of experts including: current middle school students, former middle school students, middle school teachers from across the country, lots of family movie websites, and random people on twitter and facebook.
Do Your Homework
Don’t Take My Word For It. Always preview any movie before you show it. Just because a movie appears on this (or any other) list doesn’t mean that it works in your situation. For instance, I included Stand by Me in this list and it is rated R. If I were actually going to show it, I would look for an edited for television version. If a movie is rated PG or PG-13, offer some guidance to the students before you watch it. Explain to them what good things they can take away from the movie even though there might be some language that isn’t appropriate at school.
Incorporate it into the curriculum. We’ve shown The Karate Kid when we’re talking about bullying as a school. One teacher shows Newsies in social studies classes when she’s talking about immigration and industrialization. I’ve shown Searching for Bobby Fischer before I teach students how to play chess.
You may be required to obtain a Public Performance License to show your movie. Movie License USA offers these guidelines for schools to use when determining if they need to purchase a license. Generally, you do not need a license if:
- A teacher or instructor is present
- The showing takes place in a classroom setting with only the enrolled students attending
- The movie is used as an essential part of the core, current curriculum being taught. (The instructor should be able to show how the use of the motion picture contributes to the overall required course study and syllabus.)
- The movie being used is a legitimate copy, not taped from a legitimate copy or taped from TV
Movie License USA also serves a clearing house for many movie studios, so it is a good spot to look to obtain a license if you need one. They offer single license for $75.00 which is good for one showing of a single movie on a specific date.They also offer site licenses that are good for all of the studios that they represent for one year (as many showings as you’d like). Site license prices are based on the number of students in your school.
About the List
The list is sortable. Click on the heading to sort it by run time, rating and so forth. The title link goes to the Internet Movie Database listing for the movie and the rating link goes to the IMDb Parents Guide for the movie. Additions to the list are welcome. There aren’t actually 50 movies listed yet, so feel free to suggest some in the comments below. If you think a movie on the list is especially good or bad choice to show at school, lets hear that as well.
Click on the heading to sort the table by Release Date, Run Time or Rating.
What do you think?
- Suggest another movie? (what did we miss)
- Any poor choices on the list? (you can’t show that in school)
- What are your top 3? (two thumbs up)