The best movies to watch on TV - for free - over Easter

Sam Ashurst
Hop, Doctor Strange, and more!

As much as we love Neftlix, Amazon Prime, NOW TV and all the other streaming services, there’s something special about sitting down to watch the telly in your family living room over Easter, knowing that everyone else in the country is probably watching the same thing.

Here’s our pick of the best telly you can watch for the cost of a licence fee during chocolate egg season.

Good Friday

Hop (5.10pm, ITV2)

An appropriate Easter watch (credit: Universal Pictures)

Look, it might not be the best movie ever made, but is there anything more seasonally appropriate than a movie about a potential Easter bunny who’d rather be a drummer in a rock band?

This animated movie stars Russell Brand as E.B, the bunny with a dream – but will he learn to take responsibility for his future?

Liar Liar (7.155pm, ITV2)

Jim Carrey cannot tell a lie (credit:

Now you’re talking. Liar Liar is peak Jim Carrey, with one of the greatest high concepts of all time – a kid magically wishes his dad would tell the truth, which makes his dad’s job as a dodgy lawyer slightly difficult.

Read more: What to watch on NOW TV while you’re waiting for ‘Game of Thrones’

Doctor Strange (8.30pm, ITV)

Benedict Cumberbatch’s Marvel debut transcended its fairly bog-standard origin tale trappings thanks to its stunning, mind-bending visuals and improbably amazing supporting cast that included Chiwitel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Tilda Swinton, and Michael Stuhlbarg (credit: Marvel Studios)

One of the more visually stunning MCU entries, Doctor Strange also flipped the script in terms of how these movies usually play out in the third act. Let’s just say that, if your favourite part of Easter is the whole ‘resurrection’ element, there’s plenty to enjoy here.

Easter Saturday

Kubo and the Two Strings (12.30pm, Channel 4)

The brilliant Kubo and the Two Strings is on telly this Easter (credit: LAIKA Animation)

Kubo wasn’t exactly a Pixar style smash when it was originally released, so there’s a good chance you haven’t seen it. If that’s the case, welcome to your new favourite stop-motion movie. A superb cast – Charlize Theron, Ralph Fiennes and Matthew McConaughey – combines to tell a beautiful tale about a young man’s quest to destroy an evil spirit (that he accidentally conjured).

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (2.30pm, Channel 5)

Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory will make you feel bad about Easter eggs (credit: Warner Brothers)

If you’re sat on the sofa on Saturday, surrounded by empty eggs, maybe this is one to miss – you’ll probably get a guilt trip. But if eggs aren’t your thing, feel free to enjoy this morality tale about the perils of eating too much chocolate, as Charlie Bucket visits Willy Wonka’s factory, and watches as children are murdered one-by-one for being greedy or whatever.

Lord of the Rings: the Return of the King (5.25pm, ITV2)

Viggo Mortensen as Middle-earth’s newly returned king, Aragorn (Photo: New Line/courtesy Everett Collection)

The conclusion to the original Game Of Thrones (sorry Samwell Tarly, but Samwise Gamgee got here first), Lord of the Rings, Return of the King is basically the best possible way to pass the time while you wait for season 8, episode 2 to land on NOW TV.

The Fast and The Furious (10.35pm, ITV)

The Fast and the Furious is speeding towards your TV (credit: Universal)

The Hobbs & Shaw trailer just landed, and if you can’t wait until August for some car-based action, you don’t need to bother hunting out your DVD box set, ITV’s got you covered with a screening of the first (and best?) fast flick. There’s not Rock, and everyone does look just a little bit baby-faced, but it’s still impossibly entertaining.

Read more: Idris Elba is ‘the black Superman’ in Hobbs & Shaw’ trailer

Easter Sunday

Puss in Boots (1pm, Channel 4)

The 2011 blockbuster was Oscar-nominated, and grossed more than $550 million worldwide (credit: DreamWorks).

Get your fairytale fix this Easter with Shrek spin-off Puss In Boots, which stars Antonio Banderas as the titular Puss, finding love with Kitty Softpaws (Salma Hayek) as they track down a golden goose for her legendary golden eggs. So, yeah – as eggs are part of the plot, it does have a tenuous seasonal connection, so we’ll allow it.

Saving Mr Banks (3.40pm, BBC1)

Disney Begins (credit: Walt Disney Pictures)

This heart-warming true story about Walt Disney’s determined mission to acquire the rights to Mary Poppins features on-form turns from Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks. Basically, it’s Disney: Origins, with the true beginnings of the all-conquering corporation (Marvel, Lucasfilm, Fox) starting here.

Jurassic Park (7.20pm, ITV2)

Jurassic Park is definitely worth watching (credit: Universal)

If you fancy watching the greatest film ever made, you need to be in front of your telly and tuned to ITV2 at 7.20pm on Sunday. With effects that haven’t aged a day since 1993, and a streamlined plot that still hasn’t been bested by any of the sequels, Jurassic Park is perfect entertainment.

Easter Monday

Paddington (4.35pm, Film 4)

Paddington’s arriving just in time for Easter (Warner Bros. Pictures via AP)

Speaking of the greatest films ever made, if you’ve got Film 4 on Free View, your Easter Monday is covered. Simply plonk the little ones in front of this modern masterpiece then… join them, Paddington’s journey from Peru to London is charming enough to captivate every single member of the family.

Notting Hill (10.20pm, ITV)

Poster for the movie ‘Notting Hill (directed by Roger Michell), 1999. (Photo by Buyenlarge/Getty Images)

While we wait for Richard Curtis next movie, Yesterday (directed by Danny Boyle!), we can pass the time by watching the impossibly charismatic Julia Roberts fall in love with the impossibly charming Hugh Grant.

The story of a lowly book shop owner who somehow manages to convince a Hollywood actress to settle down with him may be less believable than a bunny leaving sweets in the garden, but it’s so well made you’ll barely notice.