Easter Films: Our Guide To Which Films You Should Watch On TV Over The Loooong Weekend

Daniel Welsh
·11-min read

Usually around this time of year, we’re looking forward to really making the most of the Easter weekend.

This year, though, with none of us actually able to leave the house, we’re feeling rather differently about the whole thing. In fact, we’ve found ourselves pondering how we’re realistically going to fill in all those hours.

Fortunately, there’s a lot to keep us entertained. Not only is there the return of Britain’s Got Talent to look forward to, as well as the debut of new drama Quiz (based on the Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? “coughing” scandal) and the third series of Killing Eve, there are also a number of films to suit every taste being shown across all of the main channels.

So if you’re stuck for things to do at the weekend, these are our 21 top film recommendations being shown on TV in the next few days...

GOOD FRIDAY

Babe

(Photo: Carolyn Jones/Universal/Kobal/Shutterstock)
(Photo: Carolyn Jones/Universal/Kobal/Shutterstock)

When’s it on? 3.45pm on Sky One

Tell me more: Start your Easter weekend off with a family classic that’s packed with loads of nostalgia, a heartwarming story and one very cute pig.

Not only is Babe – which tells the story of a pig who wants to do the work of a sheepdog – really lovely, but it also won huge critical acclaim, including an actual Best Picture nomination at the 1996 Oscars. It lost out to Braveheart, but we’d take “that’ll do, pig” over “they’ll never take our FREEDOM” any day.

Recommended for: Anyone who wants to get their four-day weekend off to a gentle start.

Raiders Of The Lost Ark

(Photo: Lucasfilm Ltd/Paramount/Kobal/Shutterstock)
(Photo: Lucasfilm Ltd/Paramount/Kobal/Shutterstock)

When’s it on? 6.40pm on BBC One

Tell me more: The first in the Indiana Jones series, Raiders Of The Lost Ark introduces Harrison Ford as the titular hero in a film that starts with an archaelogical dig and somehow ends up in a fight against the Nazis, all sprinkled with a double-helping of Lucas and Spielberg magic.

And if you enjoy it, BBC One is also showing the subsequent instalments over the next three nights.

Recommended for: Families in need of a bit of adventure.

Mad Max: Fury Road

(Photo: Moviestore/Shutterstock)
(Photo: Moviestore/Shutterstock)

When’s it on? 9pm on ITV2

Tell me more: A somewhat less PG adventure, this reboot of the classic Mad Max films is set in a post-apocalyptic world, with Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron taking the reins.

Mad Max: Fury Road was decades in the making, but it all paid off in the end, with viewers and critics both adoring this action-packed film.

Recommended for: People who’ve already decided one way or the other about their lockdown head-shave, because Charlize Theron will have you reaching for the clippers if you’re still on the fence.

Love Wedding Repeat

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(Photo: Riccardo Ghilardi/Netflix)
(Photo: Riccardo Ghilardi/Netflix)

When’s it on? Any time you fancy, on Netflix.

Tell me more: A brand new original romantic comedy for the streaming service, Love Wedding Repeat – which debuts on the platform on Friday – is a little bit Four Weddings And A Funeral and a little bit Russian Doll, with multiple versions of the same wedding all playing out on screen.

Netflix’s rom-coms have been... mixed, to say the least, but we have high hopes for this one.

Recommended for: Those looking for a bit of romance in their film choice.

The Theory Of Everything

(Photo: Liam Daniel/Working Title/Universal/Kobal/Shutterstock)
(Photo: Liam Daniel/Working Title/Universal/Kobal/Shutterstock)

When’s it on? 10.15pm on ITV

Tell me more: Eddie Redmayne won his first Academy Award for his portrayal of Professor Stephen Hawking in this biopic, which hit cinemas in 2014.

Although it was approved by the man himself, The Theory Of Everything doesn’t shy away from painting a realistic portrayal of the late physician, flaws and all. And while it was the leading man who won the Oscar, we have to say it’s Felicity Jones’ nuanced performance as Jane Hawking that really steals the show.

Recommended for: When you’re in the mood for something a little more serious.

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie

(Photo: Moviestore/Shutterstock)
(Photo: Moviestore/Shutterstock)

When’s it on? 10.40pm on BBC One

Tell me more: And then, at the complete other end of the scale is the Absolutely Fabulous movie. Less a film and more a 90-minute exercise in celeb-spotting, it might not be the most high-brow offering being shown over Easter, but it’s still a whole lot of fun.

If you’re an Ab Fab fan curious about how Eddie and Patsy would navigate the world of Insta-celebs, then pop a bottle of bolly, sweetie, darling, and get watching.

Recommended for: One word – escapism.

The Bling Ring

(Photo: Moviestore/Shutterstock)
(Photo: Moviestore/Shutterstock)

When’s it on? 11.05pm on BBC Two

Tell me more: Unapologetically trashy, The Bling Ring is set in those go-go days of the mid-2000s, when celebrities like Paris Hilton, Mischa Barton and Lindsay Lohan ruled the roost.

Based on a true story, the film centres around a group of young students who begin breaking into and stealing from the homes of A-list celebrities in California.

Recommended for: Anyone who wants to hear Emma Watson say “I wanna rob” in an OK-ish American accent.

SATURDAY

Planes

(Photo: Shutterstock)
(Photo: Shutterstock)

When’s it on? 9.35am on BBC One

Tell me more: We’re going to be honest, this is not one of Disney’s best. While the studio has become known for making family films with enough content to keep adults hooked to the end too (who hasn’t had a little cry at Frozen, let’s be honest?), Planes is definitely one aimed squarely at children.

Still, if you do find yourself up early on Saturday morning, and need something to plonk the kids in front of for an hour or so, you could do a lot worse than switching BBC One on.

Recommended for: Children, particularly those with a penchant for the Cars films.

The Greatest Story Ever Told

(Photo: United Artists/Kobal/Shutterstock)
(Photo: United Artists/Kobal/Shutterstock)

When’s it on? 12pm on BBC Two

Tell me more: Come on, it’s a tradition, isn’t it? If you’re looking for a biblical epic this Easter, they don’t come much more biblical or epic than 1965′s The Greatest Story Ever Told.

At 260 minutes, it’s a commitment, and don’t forget that the BBC don’t have ad breaks, so make sure you’ve got sufficient snacks to get yourself through it, if you do feel like taking on the challenge of making it to the end.

Recommended for: If you have a spare four hours and 20 minutes to fill on a Saturday afternoon.

Matilda

(Photo: Moviestore/Shutterstock)
(Photo: Moviestore/Shutterstock)

When’s it on? 2.35pm on Channel 5

Tell me more: Oh come on, what can we say about Matilda?

Well, just in case you’ve gone all this time without seeing it, this big screen version does take a far more American approach than the original Roald Dahl story (with the exception of the addition of Pam Ferris, for whom we’re sad to say this film wasn’t a springboard to go the full Olivia Colman), but it’s still just brilliant, with countless iconic moments.

Recommended for: Literally everyone. For kids, it’s a definite must-watch, while adults can use it for a much-needed hit of cheery nostalgia.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

(Photo: Warfield/United Artists/Kobal/Shutterstock)
(Photo: Warfield/United Artists/Kobal/Shutterstock)

When’s it on? 4.40pm on Channel 5

Tell me more: We have to hand it to Channel 5, this double-punch of Matilda and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is some seriously impressive scheduling.

If musical theatre isn’t your thing, the saccharine feel of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang probably won’t be hitting your sweet spot, but for those who spent their childhoods singing Truly Scrumptious and muttering “chitty chitty, chitty chitty” to themselves on long car journeys, then it’s definitely worth revisiting.

Recommended for: Anyone who’s just finished Matilda and wants to keep the nostlagia trip going. Or, y’know, actual kids.

Star Trek

(Photo: Paramount/Bad Robot/Kobal/Shutterstock)
(Photo: Paramount/Bad Robot/Kobal/Shutterstock)

When’s it on? 9pm on Channel 4

Tell me more: Before he took over at the helm of Star Wars, JJ Abrams cut his sci-fi teeth with Armageddon, the TV series Lost and this big-screen version of the classic Star Trek series, which he directed.

This film is packed with nuggets to put a smile on fans of the original, but there’s definitely enough here to entertain those with even the smallest prior knowledge of the original.

Recommended for: Anyone who loves a bit of sci-fi, or action adventure in general.

Skyfall

(Photo: Moviestore/Shutterstock)
(Photo: Moviestore/Shutterstock)

When’s it on? 9.20pm on ITV2

Tell me more: Not to rub it in, but there’s supposed to be a new James Bond film out in cinemas right now. Not just any Bond film, in fact, but Daniel Craig’s fifth and final as 007.

*sigh*

Well, the flip-side is that we get to revel in his time as Bond for a little while longer, and what better way to do so than by revisiting arguably his finest turn in the role.

Recommended for: James Bond fans who are a little bit gutted about the whole No Time To Die situation.

EASTER SUNDAY

Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory

(Photo: Wolper/Warner Bros/Kobal/Shutterstock)
(Photo: Wolper/Warner Bros/Kobal/Shutterstock)

When’s it on? 2.35pm on ITV

Tell me more: It’s a classic story, really. Boy visits chocolate factory. Several children become seriously injured or impaired. Boy inherits chocolate factory from eccentric owner.

No but seriously, this family musical is a classic, and what better day to enjoy it than Easter?

Recommended for: Anyone who isn’t already sick of the sight of chocolate by midday.

Shrek

(Photo: Moviestore/Shutterstock)
(Photo: Moviestore/Shutterstock)

When’s it on? 4pm on ITV2

Tell me more: Long before the 500 sequels, various spin-offs and whatever that Shrek’s Adventure place on the South Bank is, there was Shrek.

While Disney dominated animation in the 1990s, they began to lose their way a bit in the 2000s. Enter: Shrek.

The CGI film turned every fairytale trope on its head, and did it in hilarious and – by animated family films’ standards – quite edgy fashion, and it definitely still stands up almost 20 years later.

Recommended for: Again, just absolutely everybody.

Spectre, 8pm, ITV2

(Photo: Jonathan Olley/Columbia/Eon/Danjaq/Mgm/Kobal/Shutterstock)
(Photo: Jonathan Olley/Columbia/Eon/Danjaq/Mgm/Kobal/Shutterstock)

When’s it on? 8pm on ITV2

Tell me more: And if Skyfall piques your interest, then you’ll be pleased to hear the follow-up Spectre is airing the following night.

Expect more action, more gadgets and a timely reminder there’s a lot more to Fleabag favourite Andrew Scott than just his cassock...

Recommended for: Anyone who caught Skyfall the night before and fancies a few more explosions and car chases. Or, indeed, just a bit more Daniel Craig.

Pretty Woman

(Photo: Touchstone/Kobal/Shutterstock)
(Photo: Touchstone/Kobal/Shutterstock)

When’s it on? 10pm on Channel 5

Tell me more: The film that pretty much set the tone for the entire romantic comedy genre in the 1990s – not to mention really launching Julia Roberts’ career – Pretty Woman tells the story of a sex worker hired to escort a high-flying businessman to a number of events.

Of course, the chemistry between the two lead actors is what made it a classic, but it’s really all about that department store confrontation.

Recommended for: Like a number of films on this list, anyone who needs some true escapism.

EASTER MONDAY

The Robe

(Photo: 20th Century Fox/Kobal/Shutterstock)
(Photo: 20th Century Fox/Kobal/Shutterstock)

When’s it on? 3pm on BBC Two

Tell me more: Another biblical offering from the BBC, The Robe stars Hollywood legend Richard Burton as a Roman guard who wins the robe of Jesus Christ in a game of dice.

Unlike The Greatest Story Ever Told, this film steps away from the traditional Easter story and instead focusses on surrounding characters. It’s also half the length, meaning it’s even more digestible.

Recommended for: Anyone in the mood for something traditional, that was put off by The Greatest Story Ever Told.

Jurassic World

(Photo: Chuck Zlotnick/Amblin/Legendary/Universal/Kobal/Shutterstock)
(Photo: Chuck Zlotnick/Amblin/Legendary/Universal/Kobal/Shutterstock)

When’s it on? 6.35pm on ITV2

Tell me more: A reboot of the Jurassic Park films, Jurassic World introduces new characters, new stories and, of course, new dinosaurs.

It was a critical and commerical success, but did manage to piss off a few paleontologists with its decision to stick to the design of the original Jurassic Park dinosaurs, despite new discoveries about how dinosaurs would actually have looked.

Recommended for: Anyone in the mood for something epic.

Kingsman: The Secret Service

(Photo: Moviestore/Shutterstock)
(Photo: Moviestore/Shutterstock)

When’s it on? 9pm on Channel 4

Tell me more: The last film being shown across the main channels, Kingsman: The Secret Service boasts an all-star cast including Colin Firth, Samuel L Jackson, Michael Caine and Taron Egerton.

The spy comedy certainly takes itself less seriously than the likes of James Bond, and won over critics upon its release.

Recommended for: Anyone who’s not quite ready to admit the long weekend is over.

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This article originally appeared on HuffPost.