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Shorts

Skill and vision fuel the best short films, as these early experiments from revered directors illustrate.

Short films are at the heart of new British Cinema. It's in short filmmaking that countless emerging talents find their voice, and where a new generation of storytellers challenge and entertain in original ways. Among today's shorts filmmakers are the feature giants of tomorrow.

The BFI has proudly backed many great shorts over the years and here you can find some of the most beautiful, fun and daring. From Stephen Frears' 1967 film debut to Terence Davies' remarkable trilogy and on to the 1990s 'New Directors', 21st century digital pioneers and beyond, the Shorts collection shows filmmakers at their experimental and innovative best.

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Shorts

RECOMMENDED

View Baby
Baby
Watch from £0.85 11 mins

Baby 2000 15

A teenager (Ben Whishaw) pays a sexually charged visit to the swimming pool.

11 mins United Kingdom Director. Wiz

View A Gun for George
A Gun for George

A Gun for George 2011 15

Pulp author Terry Finch is determined to wreak vengeance on those who killed his brother. And to complain to Kent library services.

17 mins United Kingdom

View SLR
SLR
Watch for free 22 mins

SLR 2012

A twisted short film from Stephen Fingleton, director of The Survivalist. A man obsessed with ‘voyeur pornography’ meets his match in the form of a photographer known only by his online username ANORAK.

22 mins United Kingdom Director. Stephen Fingleton

View A Family Portrait
A Family Portrait
Watch from £0.85 5 mins

A Family Portrait 2009

A family struggle to mask underlying resentments in this darkly funny animation from Joseph Pierce.

5 mins United Kingdom Director. Joseph Pierce

View Anthony
Anthony
Watch from £0.85 15 mins

Anthony 2013

Tim Key stars stars as a surly and self-centred Santa in this pitch-black Christmas comedy.

15 mins United Kingdom Director. J. van Tulleken

View The Christmas Play
The Christmas Play
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The Christmas Play 1959

Taking the lid off the creative process - of a group of theatrically-minded 11-year-olds as they stage the nativity.

23 mins United Kingdom

View Man in Fear
Man in Fear

Man in Fear 2011 15

Luke Treadaway stars as a paranoid man convinced he is destined to be the victim of a conceptual art 'accident'.

10 mins United Kingdom Director. Will Jewell

View The Burning
The Burning

The Burning 1967 PG

A white woman and her young grandson come face to face with a black uprising in Apartheid South Africa, in a tough short film by Stephen Frears.

30 mins United Kingdom

View Kill the Day
Kill the Day

Kill the Day 1996 15

An ex-drug addict reflects on life in and out of prison in this short by BAFTA-winner Lynne Ramsay, based on real accounts.

18 mins United Kingdom Director. Lynne Ramsay

View Baby
Baby
Watch from £0.85

Baby 2010

A young woman attracts the attention of a street criminal after she prevents his gang from pick-pocketing.

25 mins United Kingdom Director. Daniel Mulloy

View Alfalfa
Alfalfa
Watch for free 8 mins

Alfalfa 1987

The queer alphabet - from AC/DC to Zipper.

8 mins United Kingdom Director. Richard Kwietniowski

View All Consuming Love
All Consuming Love
Watch from £0.85 8 mins

All Consuming Love 2011

Kevin Eldon voices this oddball, award-winning animated short about a tiny middle-aged man who lives inside a stray cat.

8 mins United Kingdom

View Amelia and the Angel
Amelia and the Angel
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Amelia and the Angel 1958 U

A young angel scours London for her wings in this tender short by the young Ken Russell.

25 mins United Kingdom

View Caught Looking
Caught Looking

Caught Looking 1991 18

Years before Grindr, a gay man turns to virtual reality to satisfy his sexual fantasies in this strangely prophetic short film.

35 mins United Kingdom Director. Constantine Giannaris

View Death and Transfiguration
Death and Transfiguration

Death and Transfiguration 1983 15

The Terence Davies Trilogy reaches its astonishing climax as tortured Liverpool clerk Robert Tucker prepares to meet his maker.

26 mins United Kingdom Director. Terence Davies

View Dead Hungry
Dead Hungry
Watch for free 9 mins

Dead Hungry 2009

A hungry zombie finds love while terrorising teenage campers in this gruesome but fun twist on the zombie movie.

9 mins United Kingdom

View A Friend of Dorothy
A Friend of Dorothy

A Friend of Dorothy 1995 18

A gay man studying in New York develops a crush on his male roommate in this cute and breezy short.

32 mins USA

View The Lay of the Land
The Lay of the Land

The Lay of the Land 1998 15

A man with a history of gay-bashing enters a smoky bar and strikes up a conversation with a drag queen in this dark short.

13 mins United Kingdom Director. Fraser Macdonald

View ... Long Distance Information
... Long Distance Information
Watch from £0.85 7 mins

... Long Distance Information 2011 15

Our parents always told us 'never talk to strangers'. But, surely, we all have to phone home sometimes? Award-winning short film starring Peter Mullan.

7 mins Great Britain Director. Douglas Hart

View The London Story
The London Story
Watch for free 15 mins

The London Story 1986 U

Sally Potter's lively dance film about spies and government intrigue.

15 mins United Kingdom Director. Sally Potter

View Madonna and Child
Madonna and Child

Madonna and Child 1980

Autobiography as art: the centrepiece of Terence Davies' devastating Liverpool-set Trilogy focuses on his fictional alter-ego in middle age.

30 mins United Kingdom Director. Terence Davies

View Relax
Relax

Relax 1991 15

A gay man awaits the results of an HIV test, drifting into moments of fantasy as he copes with his fears and memories.

22 mins United Kingdom Director. Christopher Newby

View Rosebud
Rosebud

Rosebud 1991 15

A lesbian couple arouse the interest of their new neighbour in this erotic tale of voyeurism, power dressing and fantasy.

13 mins United Kingdom Director. Cheryl Farthing

View Smart Alek
Smart Alek

Smart Alek 1993

Sean Lock is a criminal 'Smart Alek' in this apparently true story of a family holiday turned bloody nightmare.

18 mins United Kingdom Director. Andrew Kötting

View Things We Leave Behind
Things We Leave Behind
Watch for free 16 mins

Things We Leave Behind 2009

For whom does the bell toll? A man discovers a dreadful secret among his late father's belongings.

16 mins United Kingdom Director. Andrew Brand

View To Have and to Hold
To Have and to Hold

To Have and to Hold 2000

A woman finds that death will not part her from her deceased lover.

13 mins United Kingdom Director. John Hardwick

View The Watchers
The Watchers
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The Watchers 1969

A Yorkshire teenager begins to see and hear strange things in this unsettling slice of 60s sci-fi.

28 mins United Kingdom Director. Richard Foster

View What Can I Do with a Male Nude?
What Can I Do with a Male Nude?

What Can I Do with a Male Nude? 1985 15

Ron Peck tests the thin line between pornography and art with his amusing rumination on the difficulties of showing the naked male form.

United Kingdom Director. Ron Peck

View You're Human Like the Rest of Them
You're Human Like the Rest of Them

You're Human Like the Rest of Them 1967 PG

William Hoyland stars in this legendary, multi award-winning short film directed by the modernist writer and film-maker BS Johnson.

18 mins United Kingdom Director. B.S. Johnson

View This Town
This Town
Watch for free 20 mins

This Town 1969

An impressionistic portrait of Halifax from 1969, focusing on the demolition of factories and the continuing deprivation in the town.

20 mins United Kingdom Director. Hugh Evans

View Arcade
Arcade
Watch for free 10 mins

Arcade 1970

A kaleidoscopic experimentation in colour, in which familiar Brighton locations are distorted and interspersed with imagery from adverts and film clips.

10 mins United Kingdom Director. Tony Sinden

View Never Come Morning
Never Come Morning
Watch for free 12 mins

Never Come Morning 1989 U

Johnny, a poetic loner, crosses paths with a young runaway woman and together they embark on an all-night, pulp fiction journey through London’s sleepy metropolis.

12 mins United Kingdom Director. Tim Burke

View Anton & Minty
Anton & Minty
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Anton & Minty 1995

Minty’s hobbies include drinking tea, smoking roll-ups and falling into a coma, while Anton dreams of clinically depressed sheep breaking into the house.

18 mins United Kingdom Director. Alnoor Dewshi

View Ten Bob in Winter
Ten Bob in Winter
Watch for free 12 mins

Ten Bob in Winter 1963 PG

An early classic of Black British cinema about the intriguing social dynamics that arise as a ten shilling note is passed around the black community.

12 mins United Kingdom Director. Lloyd Reckord

View Dead London
Dead London
Watch for free 19 mins

Dead London 1996

Ewan Bremner and Dexter Fletcher star as a pair of morbid fortune tellers in this modern tale of dark arts.

19 mins United Kingdom Director. Thomas Q. Napper

View The Chalk Mark
The Chalk Mark
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The Chalk Mark 1988 15

Set in and around the tenement blocks and rubbish tips of the Glasgow slums, this short film depicts a young boy’s perspective of his family, his friends and the local ‘bad man’.

24 mins United Kingdom Director. Bernard Rudden

View Future Lasts a Long Time
Future Lasts a Long Time
Watch for free 14 mins

Future Lasts a Long Time 1996 12

Dream-like short film starring Samantha Morton, in one of her earliest screen credits, as one of a couple on the run who hide out in the Fens.

14 mins United Kingdom Director. David Jackson

View Nine, Dalmuir West
Nine, Dalmuir West
Watch for free 12 mins

Nine, Dalmuir West 1962

Kevin Brownlow's atmospheric homage to Glasgow's tram system follows the last tram to run in September 1962.

12 mins United Kingdom Director. Kevin Brownlow

View Momma Don't Allow
Momma Don't Allow
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Momma Don't Allow 1956 U

This lively profile of a night out at the Wood Green Jazz Club is one of the key works of Free Cinema, from directors Karel Reisz and Tony Richardson.

22 mins United Kingdom Director. Karel Reisz, Tony Richardson

View Nice Time
Nice Time
Watch for free 16 mins

Nice Time 1957 U

The swirling neon frenzy of Piccadilly Circus is perfectly captured in this innovative short; a bewildering collage of image and sound.

16 mins United Kingdom Director. Claude Goretta, Alain Tanner

View Boy and Bicycle
Boy and Bicycle
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Boy and Bicycle 1965 PG

Ridley Scott's first film features his younger brother, the late Tony Scott, as a schoolboy playing truant for the day to meander around Hartlepool on his bicycle, lost in his own thoughts.

United Kingdom Director. Ridley Scott

View Refuge England
Refuge England
Watch for free

Refuge England 1959

A Hungarian refugee attempts to navigate 1950s London with no English, little money and only an address on a postcard for guidance.

27 mins United Kingdom Director. Robert Vas

View David
David
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David 1951 U

This drama-documentary about the everyday life of a Welsh caretaker and ex-miner was the first film produced by the BFI, in 1951.

38 mins United Kingdom Director. Paul Dickson

View Floating
Floating
Watch for free

Floating 1991

Deliciously dark psychodrama about a Docklands bus driver who turns his family home into a second Noah's ark.

41 mins United Kingdom Director. Richard Heslop

View The Chocolate Acrobat
The Chocolate Acrobat
Watch from £0.85

The Chocolate Acrobat 1995

An elderly woman in a care home strikes up a sensual, nostalgic relationship with a young nurse.

37 mins United Kingdom Director. Tessa Sheridan

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