London on Film

Since the beginnings of cinema London has proved irresistible to filmmakers. This collection is an eclectic celebration of Britain’s capital on film, highlighting that while London is, and always has been in a state of constant change, it also has a great sense of continuity. Presenting the capital city you know and love - perhaps as you’ve never seen it before.

  • Pool of London

    A naive Jamaican sailor on shore leave in London's East End is dragged into a botched diamond robbery when trying to help a friend. Featuring the debut performance of Bermudian actor Earl Cameron - one of the leading black British movie actors working in the 1950s and 1960s - Pool of London is on...

  • It Always Rains on Sunday

    The British New Wave came a decade earlier than advertised with Robert Hamer's downbeat postwar thriller. In a dank East End of ration-book misery, dosshouses and black marketeering, a world-weary housewife is shaken by the sudden reappearance of an old lover, now an escaped convict on the run. R...

  • Passport to Pimlico

    In post-war Britain following the detonation of an unexploded bomb the inhabitants of a London street discover riches and artefacts. These documents state that they are citizens of the medieval kingdom of Burgundy. When the government attempts to claim the fortune, the citizens of Burgundy declar...

  • The London Nobody Knows

    James Mason takes us through the unfashionable areas of London. From the gentlemen's lavatory at Holborn station to Bedford Theatre, to Chapel Market this psychedelic documentary does well to retrace the steps of Geoffrey Fletcher, the author of the film's source.

  • The Lavender Hill Mob

    Affable bank worker Henry Holland plots to steal £1million from the Bank of England. He enlists the help of his friend, a small businessman, as the two scheme to smuggle the money out of the country. This light-hearted Ealing comedy sees Alec Guinness and Stan Holloway star as the charming pair o...

  • 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.

  • London

    The first in Patrick Keiller’s highly imaginative trilogy of psycho-geographic journeys charts a trip through (and history of) London, as undertaken by our unseen narrator (Paul Scofield) and his companion, Robinson.

  • 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 Monster of Highgate Ponds

    Young David promises to guard a mysterious egg which his uncle brings back from Malaysia. But, when a baby monster hatches, mayhem ensues as David struggles to keep the unruly, but friendly, creature from falling into the clutches of two ruthless crooks.

  • Herostratus

    When a young poet (Michael Gothard, the brilliant character actor who excelled in films such as The Devils and The Valley Obscured by Clouds) hires a marketing company to turn his suicide into a mass-media spectacle, he finds that his subversive intentions are quickly diluted into a reactionary g...

  • Creep

    The tube will never look the same again. Franka Potente plays the young Londoner who falls asleep on the way home, waking up trapped in a deserted London Underground. As she tries to make her way to the surface she discovers she’s sharing her subterranean sojourn with a terrifying, malign presence.

  • 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...

  • The Day the Earth Caught Fire

    When the USA and Russia simultaneously test atomic bombs, the Earth is knocked off its axis and set on a collision course with the Sun. Peter Stenning (Edward Judd), a washed-up Daily Express reporter, breaks the story and sets about investigating the government cover-up.

  • Personal Services

    When Christine (Julie Walters) is unable to pay her landlord rent, she has to get creative. Based on the real-life experiences of Cynthia Payne, Personal Services is the raunchy comedy that isn't afraid to say sex! As Christine becomes the madame of a suburban brothel, with older men as her clien...

  • Sparrows Can't Sing

    Theatre director Joan Littlewood's only feature paints a vivid picture of London's East End and its larger than life characters – so vivid, that it had to be subtitled for American audiences. When Charlie returns from two years at sea he finds his wife (a terrific performance by Barbara Windsor) ...

  • The Servant

    Despite Harold Pinter's fear that Joseph Losey would turn his play into 'a completely homosexual picture', The Servant stands as one of the great critiques of British social and sexual mores. As power relationships between the classes fuel a sexual subtext about dominance and submission which goe...

  • The Sense of an Ending

    An elderly divorcé receives a sum of money in the will of his university girlfriend's mother. Confused, he tries to discover the reason for her gift. The Sense of an Ending is Ritesh Batra's (The Lunchbox) charming and intelligent adaptation of Julian Barnes' Booker Prize-winning novel of the sam...

  • The Blue Lamp

    Basil Dearden directs this classic cop thriller which gave rise to long-running TV drama Dixon of Dock Green and influenced a swathe of British crime dramas. Jack Warner is PS George Dixon, the steadfast bobby approaching retirement, who has to contend with a new breed of criminal in the form of ...

  • Love Is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon

    Daniel Craig plays George Dyer, petty crook turned artist's muse, in this unconventional biopic of painter Francis Bacon (an uncanny portrayal by Derek Jacobi). The 1960s Soho demi-monde, centred on the infamous Colony Room, is artfully realised by director John Maybury, both seedy and seductive ...

  • The Moon over the Alley

    The Moon Over the Alley reunited Duffer writer/directors Joseph Despins and William Dumaresq, with this strange London-set musical, again scored by Galt MacDermont (Hair). The film explores the problems facing the multicultural residents in a Notting Hill boarding house of the early 1970s, desti...

  • Nighthawks

    The first major British gay film, this study of a closeted schoolteacher who spends his nights cruising London's gay clubs in search of Mr Right defies categorisation. Both a fascinating glimpse into the 1970s scene and a portrait of an ordinary gay man living in a homophobic society, Nighthawks ...

  • Elstree Story

    Charismatic Dam Busters star Richard Todd hosts a whistle-stop tour of the enduring film studio, from the silent era to the first British feature talkie - Hitchcock's Blackmail - and on to Technicolor musicals. Unusual for the time, this 1952 documentary has behind the scenes footage and rare cli...

  • Hue and Cry

    The bomb-torn streets of postwar London are the stage for a ripping boys'-own adventure in this buoyant classic, the first of the great 'Ealing comedies'. When schoolboy dreamer Joe discovers that robbers are planning their crimes using secret codes in a children's comic, the police are unconvinc...

  • The Young Ones

    Nicky (Cliff Richard) and his friends find their youth club threatened by a property tycoon - who happens to be Nicky's father - intending to buy it and tear it down. Determined not to be beaten, they sing and dance to raise money to save the club.