Skip to main content

Volunteering at Scouts is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing to help us reach more young people

Volunteering is changing at Scouts. Read more

Discover what this means

Night at the movies

Set up your screen and learn about black history and culture by sharing a cinematic experience.

Back to Activities

You’ll need

  • Device with access to the internet
  • Device to show photos, videos, or slides
  • Chairs
  • Projector
  • Screen
  • Speakers
  • Popcorn or other snacks (optional)

Before you begin

  • Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Additional help to carry out your risk assessment, including examples can be found here. Don’t forget to make sure all young people and adults involved in the activity know how to take part safely.
  • Choose a theme for your movie night – you could watch a film that’s about an aspect of black history or choose one that’s a good example of black representation on screen. We’ve included some suggestions below.
  • Make a shortlist of three or four films and send the shortlist to everyone’s parents and carers so they have a chance to chat to you if they have any concerns.
  • Decide how you’ll show the film and make sure you have everything you need. Set up the equipment before everyone arrives so you’re ready to go.
  • If you want some extra support or information on discussing Black History Month with young people, take a look at Scouts’ Black History Month information or this article on discussing race and racism with young people.


Set up your cinema

It’s up to you to decide how you’ll set the scene and make your cinema experience feel like the real deal.

  • Will you host your cinema indoors or have an open-air cinema for a screening under the stars?
  • Make sure you’ve got enough chairs (or cushions or beanbags) for everyone. 
  • Think about how to make it comfortable. Why not see if people could bring their own pillow (or even a sleeping bag) from home to avoid sharing?
  • How will you show the film? You could use a projector (ask another group or a local school if they have one you can borrow) and project onto a screen, wall, or old white sheet.
  • No film is complete without snacks! You could ask everyone to bring their own, or buy a big bag of popcorn and put it in individual containers for everyone to enjoy.
  • You could also run this as an online activity and watch together from wherever you live. Use a digital platform like Zoom to discuss your thoughts after you’ve seen the film.

Choose your film

  1. The person leading the game should introduce the theme they’ve chosen and the shortlist of films.
  1. Everyone should have a chance to ask any questions they have about the films and chat about their choices.
  2. Everyone should vote on the film they’d like to watch. If it’s a tie, people could explain their choices to help everyone decide.

Time to talk

  1. Everyone should split into small groups and sit in a circle.
  2. Everyone should chat about the film. The person leading the activity could give people some discussion prompts if they’re not sure where to start:
    • Who was your favourite character? Why were they your favourite?
    • What do you think the most important part of the film was?
    • How did the film make you feel?
    • Can you describe the film in three words?
    • Why do you think it’s important to have black main characters on screen?
    • If your film was about a particular aspect of black history, what was the most interesting thing you learned?
    • Did anything surprising happen in the film?
    • Would you recommend this film to a friend? Why or why not?
  • Princess and the Frog (2009). A waitress who dreams of being a restaurant owner tries to help a frog prince who wants to be a human again. Things don’t go to plan when she kisses him, so she has to race against time to fix things before it’s too late.
  • The Wiz (1978). An adaptation of The Wizard of Oz that tries to capture the essence of the African-American experience.
  • Home (2014). An alien on the run from his own people makes friends with a girl. He tries to help her on her quest, but sometimes he just gets in the way.
  • Kevin Hart’s Guide to Black History (2019). Kevin Hart highlights the fascinating contributions of black history’s unsung heroes in this entertaining and educational comedy special.
  • Hidden Figures (2016). The story of a team of female African-American mathematicians who played a vital role in NASA during the early years of the US space program.
  • Hairspray (2007). Teenager Tracy Turnblad teaches 1962 Baltimore a thing or two about integration after landing a spot on a local TV dance show.
  • The Karate Kid (2010). A single mother moves to China with her young son, Dre, because of her work. Dre meets a maintenance man, a kung fu master who teaches him the secrets of self-defence.
  • Black Panther (2018). T’Challa, heir to the hidden but advanced kingdom of Wakanda, must step forward to lead his people into a new future and confront a challenger from his country’s past.
  • Gone Too Far! (2013). British teenager Yemi, who lives in London, meets his brother Ikudayisi, who’s just arrived from Nigeria, for the first time. They struggle to accept each other for who they are.
  • Belle (2013). This film is inspired by a true story. Dido, the mixed-race daughter of a Royal Navy Captain Sir John Lindsay, is raised by her aristocratic great-uncle Lord William in eighteenth-century England.
  • Malcolm X (1992). This biographical epic follows the controversial and influential black nationalist leader from his early life and career as a small-time gangster to his ministry.
  • 12 Years a Slave (2013). Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery.
  • Pressure (1976). A British-born son of an immigrant family from Trinidad finds himself adrift between two cultures.
  • Yardie (2018). A crime drama film directed by Idris Elba, following a young Jamaican man who’s never fully recover from the murder of his brother. Yardie is based on the novel of the same name by Jamaican-born writer Victor Headley.
  • Moonlight (2016). A young African-American man grapples with his identity and sexuality while experiencing the everyday struggles of childhood, adolescence, and early adult life.

If you’re doing this activity as part of Black History Month, make sure everyone understands that black history is a part of history that people can (and should) learn about all year round. 

This activity has been chosen as it celebrates Black representation in cinema and the arts, as well as Black culture, history, music and people. 

Black History Month encourages people to think about the contributions, achievements and history of black people, originating in the United States. In the UK, we celebrate Black History Month in October.

It’s a time to highlight the achievements and people of the Black community, and celebrate their contributions to the UK.


Ask everyone to think about the books, films, and TV shows that they watch. Think about the different roles that black people play: are they often leading roles or supporting characters? Are they authority figures, heroes, or villains? Who do people think is represented most in films? Why is it important that black people are represented in films? People could think about how underrepresentation is linked to injustice and inequity. Do people think they could find other examples of films that challenge people’s preconceptions or teach them something new?

This activity was about respecting other people. Has anyone heard of unconscious bias? Unconscious biases are underlying beliefs and feelings that affect how people understand and engage with other people – because they’re unconscious, they affect how we see and respond to other people without us realising it. Lots of things contribute to unconscious biases. Can anyone think of some examples? What role could films play in helping people to challenge their unconscious biases? People could think about how they can tell stories that challenge stereotypes (for example, by showing black heroes), teach people about race and racism, and give people the opportunity to step into someone else’s shoes and see their side.


All activities must be safely managed. You must complete a thorough risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Always get approval for the activity, and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.

Online safety

Supervise young people when they’re online and give them advice about staying safe. Take a look at our online safety or bullying guidance. The NSPCC offers more advice and guidance, too. If you want to know more about specific social networks and games, Childnet has information and safety tips for apps. You can also report anything that’s worried you online to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection CommandAs always, if you’ve got concerns about a young person’s welfare, including their online experiences, follow the Yellow Card to make a report.

Choose your theme and film based on your group – some will give more food for thought and ideas for discussion than others.

You could schedule an online meeting to spend some more time chatting about some of the ideas or thoughts that people have after watching the film, or stick to a quick reflection at the end of your face-to-face session.

Check whether anyone uses subtitles or audio description in advance, then make sure that all of the films on your shortlist are suitable.

You can usually find more information about films online.

The BBFC classifies films and there’s usually some detail about why they get the classification.

If you wanted to avoid certain content or topics (for example, bad language, drug use or gun violence), you could search whether the films are suitable.

All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.

Want to find out more about black British history? Check out Black history who’s who or Timeline for a change.