The best short films of all time

Short films
Photo: IMDb

There are times when all we want is short and sweet entertainment. Something that doesn’t ask for much of our time but still gives us the taste of good stories.

Whether it is horror, thriller, drama, comedy, suspense, or fantasy, the short filmmakers have worked their way out and captured concepts that we cannot even believe could have happened within a timeframe of 10 to 12 minutes, sometimes even one minute or 45 minutes.

These films have been excellent in terms of their direction and ratings and have won awards because the audiences loved them for their crisp nature.

Some of them do not even have dialogues, but the way they have been shot is where the entire power lies. So, if you are also short on time but in need of good entertainment, here is a list of the best short films of all time.

A Simple Robbery

AWARD WINNING Thriller Short Film - A Simple Robbery (2020)

Cast: Kim Spearman (Becky), Nigel Barber (Narrator), Sarah Alexandra (Stacey), Louis James (Jon) and Louis Cardona

Director: Blake Ridder

Awards: Best Director- Male, Outstanding Achievement Award (Dark Comedy Short), Outstanding Achievement Award (Thriller Short)

Ratings: 5.8/10 (IMDb)

Streaming On: YouTube (Ridder Films)

This 2020 short film sees Becky and Stacey, two coy friends who love minting money from rich men. But one robbery does not go as planned, and a tragedy unfolds. A short film under 14 minutes.

The Cook

THE COOK | Award-Winning Short Film

Cast: Guillaume Soubeyran

Director: Vincent Bossel

Awards: As per official records, the film has been a part of the following nominations and won a few, “Encounters Film Festival Bristol, Zuger Film Festival, Stockholm Film Festival, Lulea Movie Festival, Short Com International Comedy Film Festival, Images En Vue. Mention spécial Bordeaux Shorts Biennale. Semi-Finalist Sunday Shorts Film Festival.”

Ratings: 5.6/10 (IMDb), 3/5 (Letterboxd)

Streaming On: YouTube (Vincent Bossel Official Channel)

A simple story done with the right characters, mood, music, and shot placement, it sees one’s love and power for one’s own profession. This story is under 4 minutes, and it sees a cook making a mysterious dish for an equally mysterious client.

Lift

LIFT | By Ida Ali | Nominated for JioFilmfareShortFilmAwards | Click on link in description to vote

Cast: Pavali Gulati (Arjun) and Ananya Sharma (Tanya)

Director: Ida Ali

Awards: Nominated for Jio Filmfare Short Film Awards

Ratings: NA

Streaming On: YouTube (Humara Movie)

Lifts are often small spaces where big, lasting conversations can unfold, especially if you live in a Skyscraper of a metropolitan city. Directed by Imtiaz Ali’s daughter, this short film follows Arjun and Tanya, who always clash in the lift and slowly feel attracted to each other but shy away amidst the other people entering the lift. One fine day, they have the chance. Would any one of them make a move?

Jumper

Jumper by Justin Anderson

Cast: Pol Hermoso

Director: Justin Anderson

Awards: Nomination-Australian International Fashion Film Festival 2015 under Best Creative Direction

Ratings: 6.5/10 (IMDb)

Streaming On: YouTube (Australian Int Fashion Film Festival)

The following short film completes itself within 5 minutes. It seems the idea of normalizing nakedness and how a society perceives it. In Spain, it is normal. But a European family gets one such visitor, and they seem quite modern, but that visitor makes them feel uncomfortable.

Tunnel

Tunnel (Award-Winning Short Film)

Cast: Spencer Fappiano and Sean Louis Kelly

Director: Sean Louis Kelly

Awards: Roadsmary’s Baby Horror Short Film Festival

Ratings: 5.1/10 (IMDb)

Streaming On: YouTube (Quixotable)

Shot in Steep Rock Preserve, Washington, Connecticut, the following 8-minute short film is a thriller. It follows a nature photographer who finds an old railway tunnel that is intriguing and holds a strange mystery.

The English Teacher

The English Teacher (2020) - AWARD WINNING Short Film | Drama

Cast: Louis James (Robert), Blake Ridder (Jin)

Director: Blake Ridder

Awards: 2020 Best Short Film (June Award), Screenwriter of the Month, Louis James as Actor of the Month, 2020 nominee for Director of the Month at TMFF

Ratings: 5.8/10 (IMDb), 4/6 (Studienet.dk)

Streaming On: YouTube (Ridder Films)

A teacher-student relationship is very interesting to watch. Here, Robert Brammel is a private English teacher who builds a unique bond with his new student, Jin. A drama short film that was completed within 13 minutes.

The Dinner After

Horror Short Film "The Dinner After" | ALTER

Cast: Fern Deacon (Lauren), John Ramm (David), Joanna Brookes, Lucy Doyle (Angela)

Director: Matty Crawford

Awards: None

Ratings: 6.6/10 (IMDb), 3.3/5 (Letterboxd)

Streaming On: YouTube (ALTER)

A Horror short film of 12 minutes and released in 2021, it sees Angela, who is full of guilt, visiting her parents for a regular family bonding dinner when an unforeseen truth comes up and turns the entire evening into a living nightmare. Has Angela done something very bad?

Let’s Eat

Let's Eat - Award Winning Animated Short Film

Cast: Gina Su, Anna Xie, Amy Kuo, Nora Quinn

Director: Dixon Wong

Awards: Winner-Asian Film Festival-Los Angeles, Semi-Finalist at Hong Kong Indie Film Festival, Magnolia Independent Film Festival 2021 and Animayo 2022 Oscar Awards Official Selection, San Diego International Film Festival and over seven more nominations and official selections overall

Ratings: 6.8/10 (IMDb)

Streaming On: YouTube (Anamon Studios)

An animated short film under 9 minutes, it follows the story of an immigrant mother and her daughter, their struggles, and a sense of embracing life in small ways. They know it is them against the world and love each other selflessly and unconditionally.

Carl’s Date

Carl’s Date | Official Trailer

Cast: Voiceovers- Bob Peterson (Dug), Ed Asner (Carl Fredricksen), Jordan Nagai (Russell), Neketia Henry as Neighbour

Director: Bob Peterson

Awards: None

Ratings: 6.4/10 (IMDb), 76% (Rotten Tomatoes), 75% Google User score, 5.6/10 (Filmaffinity)

Streaming On: Disney+Hotstar

A short film under 8 minutes, it follows Dug and his attempts to move on. The official synopsis of the short film reads, “Carl Fredricksen reluctantly agrees to go on a date with a lady friend but admittedly has no idea how dating works these days. Ever the helpful friend, Dug steps in to calm Carl’s pre-date jitters and offer some tried-and-true tips for making friends-if you’re a dog.”

Devi

Devi | Kajol | Royal Stag Barrel Select Large Short Films

Cast: Shivani Raghuvanshi, Yahaswini Dayama (Behri), Kajol (Jyoti)

Director: Priyanka Banerjee

Awards: Filmfare Award for People’s Choice Award for Best Short Film 2021

Ratings: 8.3/10 (IMDb)

Streaming On: YouTube (Large Short Films)

A room is cluttered and full of bantering women. The reason? They all are victims of s*xual abuse and r*pe, sitting together and discussing their experiences. A powerful narrative that dares to challenge the notions of society, can these women be kind when the knock at the door suggests the arrival of a new member?

Piper

Disney Pixar Piper

Cast: Produced by Henry Happeny, John Lasseter, Marc Sondheimer

Director: Alan Barillaro

Awards: Oscar

Ratings: 8.3/10 (IMDb)

Streaming On: Disney+Hotstar

A six-minute short film about an adorable little bird baby who is a sandpiper and gets out of her nest to dig and find food as per her nature. However, the food she wants can only be found where there is sand to dig, and that is by the shore with huge waves!

If Anything Happens I Love You

If anything happens i love you Official trailer (HD) Movie (2020)

Cast:  Peter Ettinger and Muneer Lyati

Director: Michael Gocier and Will McCormack

Awards: Academy Award for Best Short Film (Animated) 2021

Ratings: 7.8/10

Streaming On: Netflix

How sad it is to lose one’s daughter. A couple is just facing that and more when all they have to turn to is each other. Watch their heartfelt journey of picking each other’s broken pieces up, where they embrace reality and get through the emotional emptiness together. Can they find a new meaning to life? Watch this story unfold in 12 minutes.

The Hand

The Hand (1966) Jiri Trnka

Cast: Ladislav Fialka

Director: Jiri Trnka

Awards: As per official records, the film won “Best Animated Film Award at the Oberhausen International Short Film Festival (West Germany, 1966)”

Ratings: 7.9/10 (IMDb), 93% (Rotten Tomatoes)

Streaming On: YouTube (Tandis S)

The official synopsis of the 1965 short film reads, “A delicate and secluded ceramist sees his orderly life turn upside down when a gigantic hand in a white glove invades his space, demanding that a sculpture of itself is made. When will the hand’s obstinate demands stop?”

The Red Balloon

The Red Balloon | Oscar Winning Short Film | Drama | Classic Movie

Cast: Pascal Lamorisse (Pascal), Sabine Lamorisse, Michel Pezin

Director: Albert Lamorisse

Awards: BAFTA Special Award film and three others

Ratings: 8.1/10 (IMDb), 96% (Rotten Tomatoes)

Streaming On: YouTube (Artflix)

A red Balloon might remind us of the movie IT, but here, this balloon has a mind of its own and is found by a little boy who then sees this balloon chasing him everywhere. A 34 minutes fantasy-comedy short film.

Session Man

Session Man - Showtime - 1991

Cast: James Remar (McQueen), Tito Larriva (Mouse), Chad Smith (Spider Moore)

Director: Seth Wilson

Awards: Academy Award for Best Short Film (Live Action) 1992

Ratings: 6.4/10 (IMDb)

Streaming On: YouTube (Gimmeanindiecanuse)

This 31-minute indie drama film shows a struggling guitarist working in his studio and dreaming of working with a famous band of the times.

The Phone Call

The Phone Call | Sally Hawkins and Jim Broadbent star in this Oscar® winning short film

Cast: Sally Hawkins (Heather), Jim Broadbent (Stan), Edward Hogg (Daniel)

Director: Mat Kirkby

Awards: Academy Award for Best Short Film (Live Action) 2015

Ratings: 7.4/10 (IMDb), 86% (Rotten Tomatoes)

Streaming On: YouTube (NITV Shorts)

Have you ever wondered how difficult it is to work in an emergency or crisis helpline? Well, you would know after watching this masterpiece that captures it within 21 minutes for you. Heather operates one such hotline and receives a call from a man who breaks down about his past and says he wants to die. Can she find a way to stop him and give him help before he takes the undoable step?

Hotel Chevalier

Hotel Chevalier (Sub. Español) - Wes Anderson

Cast: Jason Schwartzman (Jack Whitman), Natalie Portman (Jack’s ex-wife)

Director: Wes Anderson

Awards: None

Ratings: 7.2/10 (IMDb), 75% (Rotten Tomatoes)

Streaming On: Apple TV and YouTube (Marcos Frassetto)

It is about a conversation between a man and a woman sharing a hotel room. This short film has a next part by the name of The Darjeeling Limited, where brothers get on a train journey after their father’s death to not just get back together but introspect all that has happened with life till then.

Small Deaths

Small Deaths by Lynne Ramsey

Cast: Anne McLean (Ma), James Ramsay (Da) and more

Director: Lynne Ramsay

Awards: Cannes Film Festival-Best Short Film Winner 1996

Ratings: 6.7/10 (IMDb)

Streaming On: YouTube (Cannes films)

The following short film follows the journey of a girl who sees three incidents in her life that leave her with a heavy, grieving heart. What can damage a girl’s heart so badly?

Glory at Sea

Glory At Sea | Topic

Cast: Geremy Jasper (Jake), Levy Easterly (Bill) and more

Director: Benh Zeitlin

Awards: As per official records the short film is, “winner of Sundance’s Grand Jury Prize, Cannes’ Golden Camera, and nominated for 4 Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director”

Ratings: 7/10 (IMDb)

Streaming On: YouTube (Topic)

How difficult is it to see your loved ones trapped under the sea? Well, this can be metaphorical as well as literal, but one can only find that once they watch this 2008 film where mourners and a man from hell come together and build a boat from pieces to save their loved ones trapped under the sea.

Eight

" 8 " - (a short film)

Cast: Gina McKee (Mum), Mark E’von (Terry) and more

Director: Stephen Daldry

Awards: BAFTA Nominee for Best Short Film and many others

Ratings: 6.6/10 (IMDb)

Streaming On: YouTube

Living in a strange new town all by yourself after losing your father cannot be easy, especially if you are an eight-year-old. But can this young boy’s love for football give him a new chance at life?

Lick the Star

Lick the Star - Sofia Coppola (subt)

Cast: Christina Turley (Kate), Audrey Heaven (Chloe) and more

Director: Sofia Coppola

Awards: None

Ratings: 6/10 (IMDb)

Streaming On: YouTube (Bosque Audiovisual)

A Black and white 14-minute long 16 mm film that sees a group of school girls make a secret plan that they have code named as “lick the star.”

Carne

Carne (1991) | Gaspar Noé

Cast: Blandine Lenoir (Boucher), Philippe Nahon (Butcher) and more

Director: Gasper Noe

Awards: Avignon Film Festival, Cannes Film Festival Best Short Winner and more

Ratings: 7.1/10 (IMDb)

Streaming On: YouTube (FilmZ)

Can using sign language go completely wrong? Watch this 40-minute short film where a butcher and a single father to a girl use sign language, and in the process, a small misunderstanding leads him to commit a heinous crime; now is there any going back?

Crossroads

Crossroads - Thriller Short Film

Cast: James Anthony, Ashley Rios and Etienne Maurice

Director: Marvin Nuecklaus

Awards: Best Shorts Competition Winner of Short Film and nominations at North Hollywood Cinefest and more

Ratings: 7/10 (IMDb)

Streaming On: YouTube

It is an interesting psychological thriller captured under 12 minutes. A woman who is found almost dead in an abandoned desert should relive the trauma of a heinous crime to find out who has done the crime. She is found by someone, but who and why?

Frankenweenie

Frankenweenie Official Trailer #2 (2012) Tim Burton Movie HD

Cast: Martin Short (Robert), Winona Ryder (Elsa Van Helsing) and more

Director: Tim Burton

Awards: New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Animated Film

Ratings: 6.9/10 (IMDb), 88% (Rotten Tomatoes)

Streaming On: Disney+Hotstar,  Apple TV, Amazon Prime

In a horror animated short film, Victor is a small boy who is sad about his pet dog Sparky’s demise. But he commits the mistake of bringing Sparky back to life after being hit by a car, and now his dog returns in a different form as a monster, putting Victor in trouble.

The Smiling Man

Horror Short Film “The Smiling Man” | ALTER

Cast: Strange Dave (The Smiling Man), Abbi Chally (Little Girl) and more

Director: AJ Briones

Awards: Best Makeup Award at Los Angeles Short Film Festival

Ratings: 6.3/10 (IMDb)

Streaming On: YouTube (ALTER)

A little girl was having a good time by herself when a smiling man came in the face of pure evil.

Alexia

Alexia - Scary horror short film

Cast: Sergio Beron (Franco), Paula Carruega (Melina) and more

Director: Andres Borghi

Awards: Won various awards at a lot of film festivals

Ratings: 6.2/10 (IMDb)

Streaming On: YouTube (Andres Borghi)

In less than 10 minutes, one can get the chills in this short horror film, so ensure you do not watch it alone at night. Alexia is Franco’s ex-girlfriend, and it has been a while since her demise. However, she is still a contact on his social media. One night, when he wants to unfriend her and go on, the computer starts acting up, and strange events unfold.

I’m Here

"I'm Here" 2010 a short film by Spike Jonze FULL

Cast: Andrew Garfield (Sheldon), Sienna Guillory (Francesca) and more

Director: Spike Jonze

Awards: Nominee for Best Film at La Cabina Valencia International Medium Length Film Festival

Ratings: 7.7/10 (IMDb)

Streaming On: YouTube (Varvi London)

A 2010 American short sci-fi film about a blooming romance between two robots in Los Angeles who help each other exist. While one is a library assistant and thinks he does not have enough, her love changes him forever.

Kriti

Kriti - Manoj Bajpayee, Radhika Apte & Neha Sharma featured short film by Shirish Kunder |

Cast: Manoj Bajpayee (Sapan), Radhika Apte (Dr. Kalpana), Neha Sharma (Kriti) and more

Director: Shirish Kunder

Awards: None

Ratings: 7.2/10 (IMDb)

Streaming On: YouTube (Golden Ratio Films)

A 19-minute psychological thriller set to blow your mind, watch how Sapan, who has love interests, gets influenced by his Psychiatrist and takes very wrong steps, but with a twist.

NAPO

NAPO | *Award-Winning* Animated Short Film

Cast: Not given

Director: Gustavo Ribeiro

Awards: Won 11 awards and has 8 nominations, with the latest one being the 2021 Winner of the Copper Wing Award for Best Animated Short at the Phoenix Film Festival.

Ratings: 6.9/10 (IMDb)

Streaming On: YouTube (Miralumo Films)

The official synopsis of this 16-minute animated drama short is, “John, unable to understand the illness that drives his grandfather between past and present states, stumbles into an old album full of photographs. The images guide his imagination, transforming his grandfather’s memories into drawings that shape their relationship into a history of memory-building and remembrance.”

UMBRELLA

UMBRELLA | Oscar® Qualified and Multi-Award Winning Animated Short Film

Cast: Nao Possui

Director: Mario Pece, Helena Hilario

Awards: 2019 Winner Platinum Award for Best Animation Short and Best Children Short

Ratings: 6.8/10 (IMDb)

Streaming On: YouTube (Stratostorm)

Joseph is a little boy who has a yellow-colored umbrella and loves it dearly as it holds memories of his past. Looking for some familiarity and sense of belongingness, he one day finds a girl with a similar umbrella and opens his heart to her about the sad past attached to that yellow umbrella.

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