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10 Short Films based on Short Stories

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One of the things I love to incorporate into my lesson planning process, is searching for Youtube clips that I can use to help reinforce the material I am teaching. The key to incorporating effective videos into your lessons is that they must be accurate, engaging, and relatively short to retain the attention span of teenagers. 

When teaching short stories, I find that if I can include a few that have film versions, it really spices up my unit. Videos are memorable, but they also serve as another mode of storytelling to clarify understanding for visual learners. 

Searching the Youtube Jungle

Since I have spent countless hours searching Youtube for the best content (believe me, there are a LOT of laughable, amateur videos out there), I’d like to share my list of ten short stories that have film versions that you can easily access on Youtube. 

The reason these ten made the list is because: 

  • they are all appropriate for school
  • They are all credible (most are made by actual film companies, and the amateur ones I’ve chosen don’t seem “amateur”
  • they are all based on short stories commonly used in middle and high school classrooms. 
  • All of these films follow the original stories completely, although there may be a few details that are changed here and there.
  • They are all around ten minutes or under in length

Don’t worry about spending one more minute searching the Youtube jungle for that one elusive, useable clip, I’ve got you!

My 10 Favourite Youtube Short Films Based on Short Stories

The Interlopers 

  • A short film by Ben Hurst 
  • Length: 10:33
  • https://bit.ly/2SG4j76
  • Based on the short story by Saki, this is the tale of two enemies who become trapped beneath a fallen beech tree and decide to reconcile. These two hunters have had a longstanding feud over claims of poaching on each other’s land, but in an ironic twist at the end, the hunters become the hunted and just as they decide to end their feud, they realize they are quickly being approached by wolves.
  • Elements of Fiction: Irony, Conflict 

The Lottery 

  • A short film by Aura Pictures 
  • Length: 9:56 
  • https://bit.ly/2TKoEVZ
  • Based upon the short story by Shirley Jackson, this is a classic story about a small town ritual of “the lottery”  where a townsperson is chosen to be sacrificed for a good harvest. This is filmed in black and white, but has good picture quality. 
  • Elements of Fiction: Characterization, Theme, Conflict, Symbolism

2BRO2B

  • A short film by Tommy Tranfaglia 
  • Length: 11:50 
  • https://bit.ly/2E5SEX8 
  • Based upon the short story by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. this is a dystopian future tale where population control has created a system where all new babies born require a volunteer to die. Note: as this story mentions suicide, it could be triggering for anyone affected by this.  
  • Elements of Fiction: Characterization, Conflict, Theme

Thank You, Ma’am 

  • A short film by Underscore Productions 
  • Length: 8:37 
  • https://bit.ly/2q8Mtcn
  • Based on the short story by Langston Hughes, this story starts with a young man trying to steal a woman’s purse. When he trips, she kicks him and confronts him. Instead of taking him to the police, she invites him into her home to wash up and eat a meal. He tells her he wanted money to buy new shoes, and she ends up giving him the money before sending him on his way. 
  • Elements of Fiction: Theme, Irony, Characterization

The Tell Tale Heart 

  • A short film by Anette Jung 
  • Length: 8:01 
  • https://bit.ly/1thFc29
  • Based upon the short story by Edgar Allan Poe, this is a fun, animated version of this classic tale. In this story, the narrator tries to convince us that he is not insane, as he describes how he murdered an old man because he couldn’t stand one of his eyes. 
  • Elements of Fiction: Characterization, Suspense, Conflict  

The Monkey’s Paw 

  • A short film by Ana Mateo 
  • Length: 9:19 
  • https://bit.ly/2SJXQbf 
  • Based upon the short story by W. W. Jacobs, this supernatural tale is about three wishes being granted to the owner of the monkey’s paw, but the wishes come at the price of interfering with fate. It’s safe to say, be careful what you wish for! 
  • Elements of Fiction: Foreshadowing, Suspense, Irony

There Will Come Soft Rains 

  • A short film by Mark Speranza
  • Length: 2:52 
  • https://bit.ly/2W6tkId
  • Based upon the short story by Ray Bradbury, this animated take on this cautionary, futuristic tale, centers around an empty “smart” house and raises questions about the role of technology and war in our society. 
  • Elements of Fiction: Setting, Foreshadowing, Theme

To Build a Fire 

  • A short film by Nexus Studios 
  • Length: 13:00 
  • https://bit.ly/2E6jEWi 
  • Based upon the short story by Jack London, this is an animated version of the classic adventure story about a man’s futile attempt to travel across the Yukon wilderness in freezing temperatures. 
  • Elements of Fiction: Conflict, Setting, Foreshadowing

The Story of an Hour 

  • A short film by Toby Nies and Danica Uskert
  • Length: 6:01 
  • https://bit.ly/2ZIhNhU
  • Based upon the short story by Kate Chopin, this is the story of Louise Mallard who learns of her husband’s death from her sister Josephine, who breaks it to her gently out of fear of her reaction due to her heart condition. The story chronicles Louise’s changing emotions over the course of an hour, while she goes through shock, sadness, and eventually joy at realizing she is now free from her husband. Just as she is revelling in her newfound freedom, her husband returns home, it having been a miscommunication about his death, and it is Louise herself that succumbs to a heart attack and dies. 
  • Elements of Fiction: Characterization, Irony 

Lamb to the Slaughter 

  • A short film by Montgomery Films 
  • Length: 10:47 
  • https://bit.ly/2MQ9Ghs
  • Based upon the short story by Roald Dahl, this is the tale of policeman Patrick Muloney, who comes home to his pregnant wife Mary, and tells her he is leaving her. An angry Mary kills John by hitting him over the head with a frozen leg of lamb, and then covers up the murder by putting the lamb in the oven and going to the grocery store for vegetables. She returns home and feigns shock over her husband’s death, calling the police, whom she invites to stay for dinner. The police discuss how the murder weapon must be right under their nose, and Mary chuckles to herself, as they are more right than they know… eating a meal of lamb stew. 
  • Elements of Fiction: Characterization, Suspense, Foreshadowing, Irony

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