Period & History

Breathing new life into history, this collection contains all of the drama, passion, and delightful costumes that one would come to expect with premium British period cinema.

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  • Ran

    Akira Kurosawa’s visually spectacular epic transplants Shakespeare’s King Lear from Celtic Britain to feudal Japan. In its epic scope and expert execution, Ran can be seen as a culmination of the great Japanese director’s filmmaking career; a late triumph which he planned and refined over several...

  • Murder in the Cathedral

    George Hoellering's powerful adaptation of TS Eliot's classic verse drama is a stark and highly atypical example of British historical cinema. Little-seen despite winning a top prize at the Venice Film Festival, the film recounts - entirely in verse - the clash between King Henry II and Archbisho...

  • Madame Bovary

    Claude Chabrol's elegant adaptation of Flaubert's classic, with Isabelle Huppert in superb form as his tragic heroine, Emma.

  • Justine

    The directorial debut of illustrator and producer Stewart Mackinnon, Justine is a near-lost example of British avant-garde cinema of the 1970s. Produced by the BFI Production Board in 1976, it has been out of circulation for the entire 40 years since.

  • Ascendancy

    Set in Ireland in 1920, Ascendancy is a powerful meditation on English guilt over the tormented history of Northern Ireland. Connie (Julie Covington) is an English aristocrat driven to despair over the horrors of war, including both the residual effects of the Great War and a new wave of violence...

  • Anchoress

    Chris Newby’s poetic debut feature addresses the gulf between patriarchal power and female ritual and rebellion against the backdrop of a remote Medieval village.

  • The Winslow Boy

    Exemplary adaptation of the Terence Rattigan play, ostensibly about a naval cadet accused of stealing a postal order but predominantly concerned with the liberty of the individual. Savouring every word of Rattigan's immaculate dialogue, Robert Donat excels as defense counsel Sir Robert Morton, ou...

  • Colditz Story

    After escaping from other camps, allied prisoners from all nations were taken to the medieval castle of Colditz, where the guards outnumbered the prisoners. However, when the allied troops decide to pool their ideas together, numerous inventive escape plans are hatched. Starring John Mills and Er...

  • Elenya

    In Wales during World War Two, a German airman crash-lands in a wood and is found by 12-year-old Elenya. She decides to keep him a secret and does so for as long as she can until finally the village learns the truth, with tragic consequences.

  • The Song of the Shirt

    The plight of women in the 1840s London rag trade is explored and deconstructed. Informed by experimental film practice and evoking a serialised Victorian novel, this unusual film investigates the effects of protectionist ‘philanthropy' in the sweatshop-style London clothes trade using contempor...

  • The Sound Barrier

    Asked by director David Lean to write a script about the development of new high speed jet aircraft, esteemed playwright Terence Rattigan (The Browning Version) was reluctant. But a visit to Farnborough Air Display and meeting test pilots fired his imagination. The result, about the troubled rela...

  • A Hitch in Time

    Patrick Troughton (riffing wonderfully on his prior incarnation as Doctor Who) plays a time-hopping inventor who’s disturbed by a couple of curious kids. He decides to send them back through the ages for themselves, but when his machinery begins to malfunction his charges wonder if they’ll ever m...

  • One of the Missing

    A soldier, out on reconnaissance in the American Civil War, finds himself trapped - buried alive and alone under the rubble of a fallen wall - deep in enemy territory. Unable to move, he is overcome by a mad terror as he hallucinates and awaits his almost certain death. This potent short, based o...

  • 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 ...

  • 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...

  • The Silent Village

    The villagers of Cwmgiedd, southwest Wales, are the stars of Humphrey Jennings' unforgettably inventive drama-doc. At Lidice, Czechoslovakia, a mining community's entire male population was executed by the Nazis in 1942. Jennings (often said to be Britain's greatest documentary filmmaker) ingenio...

  • Spare Time

    Humphrey Jennings epitomises the artist-filmmaker and this poetic evocation of ordinary people enjoying well-earned time away from the mill, mine, or foundry is a forerunner to Jennings' later wartime greats such as Listen to Britain. Joyous shots of people either pigeon fancying, ballroom danci...

  • Scott of the Antarctic

    This tale of adventure and daring was one of Ealing Studio’s most ambitious features, with the crew hauling a huge Technicolor camera on location to Norway and Switzerland. The choice to shoot in colour was interesting given the bleak, white landscape and cinematographer Jack Cardiff based shots ...

  • Zulu

    A gutsy tale of grace under pressure, Zulu celebrates true British grit in the hour of need. Stanley Baker and Michael Caine lead a depleted contingent of Welsh infantrymen in defending Rorke's Drift missionary station from the attack of 4,000 Zulu warriors. Released in the final months of the Br...

  • Downfall

    Oliver Hirschbiegel's acclaimed drama charts the final, bunker-bound days of Adolf Hitler, as Berlin and the Third Reich crumbles around him. While the film courted some controversy upon release, facing charges of humanising a monster, the film was nevetheless a huge box office success and still ...