International Friendship Day 2020 Reading and Film Guide

July 28, 2020 | margaux s

Comments (0)


“... a friend criticizes you to your face and  praises you behind your back. 

And as experience says, a real friend is a friend in all seasons. The others are just summertime friends.”

– Eduardo Galeano, Children of the Days


In 2011, July 30 was declared the International Day of Friendship by the General Assembly of the United Nations. Living through a pandemic has brought the value of our closest relations into even greater focus. As librarians, we take this celebration as a moment to reflect upon the many narratives of friendship in film and literature. The following post is a selection of these stories.

Some friendship stories are about how a group moves on or doesn’t move on from the death of a common friend, like John Cassavettes’ Husbands, and Tessa Hadley’s Late in the Day. There are stories of the friendships between outlaws, swindlers and outsiders including the iconic Thelma and Louise, Jean Luc Godard’s Band of Outsiders and John Schlesinger’s Midnight Cowboy


Friendship stories also often explore character growth or change, as in coming of age narratives like Alfonso Cuarón’s Y Tu Mamá También about the friendship of two teen boys or Peter Jackson’s Heavenly Creatures, a film about intense friendship and love between two teen girls.

There are stories of friendship through adversity, such as The Color Purple, by Alice Walker or the Dardenne brothers’ films Rosetta and Kid with a Bike. There are stories that centre around the reunion of friends, like Bernhard Schlink’s The Weekend, or the film, The Big Chill. And then there are friendships that have become part of our cultural background, like The Three Musketeers and Don Quixote.

This post was compiled by three librarians who are also close friends: Naomi Davies, Sina Lack and Margaux Smith. Here are some of our favourite stories of friendship old and new!




Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (1937).


visions of cody book cover

Visions of Cody by Jack Kerouac (1972). Currently only available in regular print.


Alice munro book cover

Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage by Alice Munro (2001).


the three musketeers book cover

The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas (1844).


my brilliant friend book cover

My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante (2011. Series).


NW bookcover

NW and Swing Time by Zadie Smith (2012 and 2016).


lives other than my own book cover

Lives Other Than My Own by Emmanuel Carrère (2009).


dance dance dance book cover

Dance Dance Dance by Haruki Murakami (1994).


the waves book cover

The Waves by Virginia Woolf (1931).


late in the day book cover

Late in the Day by Tessa Hadley  (2019).



4 months 3 weeks and 2 days

4 months, 3 weeks, and 2 days (2007).


Y ty mama tambien movie cover

Y Tu Mamá También  (2001).


midnight cowboy movie cover

Midnight Cowboy (1969).


kid with a bike movie cover

Kid with a Bike (2011).


Thelma and Louise movie cover

Thelma and Louise (1991).


Cinema paradiso movie cover

Cinema Paradiso (1980).


Shoplifters movie cover

Shoplifters (2018).


Boyz n the hood movie cover

Boyz n the hood (1991) .


All screwed up movie cover

All Screwed Up (1974) 


one flew over the cuckoo's nest movie cover

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) 


For Kids and Families


Swimmy book cover

Swimmy by Leo Leoni (1963).


I just ate my friend book cover

I Just Ate my Friend by Heidi McKinnon (2017).


Frog and toad are friends book cover

Frog and Toad are Friends by Arnold Lobel-illustrator (1970).


George and martha book cover

George and Martha: The Complete Stories of Two best Friends by James Marshall (1972). Currently only available in regular print.


Moominland in midwinter

Moominland Midwinter by Tove Jansson (1957).


Bridge to terabithia

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson (1977).


Holes book cover

Holes by Louis Sachar (1998).



My life as a zucchini movie cover

My Life as a Zucchini (2017).


Ernest and celestine movie cover

Ernest and Celestine (2012). 


E.T. movie cover

E.T. (1982).


Little rascale movie cover

Little Rascals (1994).


My neighbour totoro movie cover

My Neighbour Totoro (1988).


BFG movie cover

The BFG (2016).


The land before time movie cover

The Land Before Time (1989)


the outsiders movie cover

The Outsiders (1983)



What are your favourite books and movies on friendship? Please share them with us in the comments below!