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Great Directors

British cinema has produced some of the most acclaimed directors in film history, from those such aas Alfred Hitchcock who found great success at home and in Hollywood, to those who forged distinctive bodies of work in Britain along, such as Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. The filmmakers collected her are renowned for producing ground-breaking and influential cinema with a distinctive style and artistic voice of their own. Explore our tribute to their resounding talents through a collection of their legendary works.

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  • Blackmail

    A grocer's daughter kills a man who tries to sexually assault her. Her boyfriend, a policeman, attempts to cover up the murder. However, a small-time crook witnessed the act and threatens to blackmail the couple. Only Hitchcock's second crime film, Blackmail would sow the seeds for many of his ma...

  • Britannia Hospital

    A hospital is sent into disarray by striking workers on the eve of a royal visit, all whilst a doctor uses National Health funds for his own horrifying means. Britannia Hospital is the comical, and also controversial final film in Lindsay Anderson's 'Mick Travis' Trilogy, following If... (1968) a...

  • The Tales of Hoffmann

    Based on Jacques Offenbach's opera, The Tales of Hoffmann takes viewers through three fantastical stories, regaled to us by narrator E.T.A. Hoffman who revisits the tales of his three loves; Olympia, an animated doll, Giuletta the Venetian courtesan, and Antonia, a singer's daughter hidden away f...

  • The Man Who Fell to Earth

    David Bowie cemented his unearthly persona in Nicolas Roeg’s startling cult film; playing an alien stranded on Earth while on a mission to find water for his own world, he initiates a plan to amass a fortune to help save his home planet.

  • The Gold Diggers

    The ground-breaking first feature from the director of Orlando and The Tango Lesson, The Gold Diggers is a key film of early '80s feminist cinema. Made with an all-woman crew, featuring stunning photography by Babette Magolte and a score by Lindsay Cooper it embraces a radical and experimental na...

  • Boy and Bicycle

    Ridley Scott’s first film – featuring his younger brother, the late Tony Scott, as a schoolboy playing truant for the day to meander around Hartlepool on his bicycle – is a far cry from the director’s Hollywood blockbusters, a lyrical and highly personal evocation of the early sixties North East.

  • Loving Memory

    The debut feature by future Hollywood star director Tony Scott is a dark, surreal piece about a couple who accidentally kill a young man while out driving their car. Taking him home, the woman treats the boy as if he were her own - and as if he were still alive. She finds happiness by talking to ...

  • Darling

    When she meets a hip television director, a young woman is swept into the world of London's lavish sixties nightlife. However, her lust to belong to the scene doesn't even begin to quench her thirst for fun, as she drifts from clique to clique looking for an unattainable sense of belonging.

  • Madonna and Child

    The second instalment of Terence Davies' masterful Trilogy finds Robert Tucker in middle age, with the clash of religion and sexuality taking its toll. A depressed loner who takes the ferry across the Mersey to work as an office clerk, Robert is haunted by nightmares of his own death and tormente...

  • Listen to Britain

    Documentary, public information film, morale booster; propaganda film. All descriptions that apply to Humphrey Jennings and Stewart McAllister's extraordinary war-time film. Using his customary combination of poetry and propaganda, Jennings constructs a collage of the various people and classes ...

  • Pressure

    Hailed as Britain's first black feature film, Pressure is a hard-hitting, honest document of the plight of disenchanted British-born black youths. Set in 1970s London, it tells the story of Tony, a bright school-leaver, son of West Indian immigrants, who finds himself torn between his parents' ch...

  • The Man Between

    Carol Reed, fresh off the success of Odd Man Out (1947) and The Third Man (1949), directs this crime thriller with James Mason and Claire Bloom in the lead roles. In post-war Berlin, Ivo Kern (Mason) is a man with a criminal past who participates in the accidental kidnapping of British citizen Su...

  • Room at the Top

    Jack Clayton’s 1959 romantic drama tells the story of Joe (Laurence Harvey), a young and ambitious man who has just moved to Yorkshire to work for the Borough Treasurer’s Department. He instead becomes romantically involved with Alice (Simone Signoret in an Oscar-winning performance), and what en...

  • Momma Don't Allow

    This lively Free Cinema short captures a night out at the Wood Green Jazz Club, where teenagers jive to trad jazz. Funded by the BFI Experimental Film Fund, it was filmed over the course of nine Saturdays by Karel Reisz, then programmer of the National Film Theatre, and a young BBC television dir...

  • Together

    Italian director Lorenza Mazzetti borrowed techniques from the neorealist school to conjure this striking study of East End life, one of the original Free Cinema shorts. Following the ambling existence of two deaf-mute dock workers, Mazzetti crafts a poetic depiction of post-war London populated ...

  • We Are the Lambeth Boys

    Karel Reisz’s honest and sympathetic depiction of South London teens aimed to challenge the media perception of ‘Teddy Boys’, and would be one of the last films to appear under the Free Cinema banner. One of the key elements of the Free Cinema films was the sympathetic representation of working-c...

  • O Dreamland

    Lindsay Anderson’s 12–minute tour of Margate’s Dreamland funfair is immediately notable for its deliberately bleak and unattractive photography and a spare and impressionistic soundtrack. Despite the absence of a commentary, the film distinctly conveys Anderson’s obvious disdain for the modest, i...

  • London Can Take It!

    Humphrey Jennings and Harry Watt's famous film, produced at the GPO film unit, is an enduring example of British self-mythology and rousing evidence of the artistic potential of supposed propaganda. A hymn to our capital city's resilience during the Blitz, structured as a day-in-the-life of stiff...