The British Film Institute presents the best global cinema on-demand:
From classic and contemporary films to the best of the BFI National Archive.

Choose another collection

The Story of Film

When filmmakers turn the camera on themselves, or on each other, the results are insightful and often profoundly personal.

The agony and the ecstasy of making films also makes for great storytelling. Discover explorations of the medium, through Mark Cousins’ The Story of Film - a fifteen part odyssey.

triangle triangle
The Story of Film
View Part 1: The World Discovers a New Art Form
Part 1: The World Discovers a New Art Form
Watch from £0.85

Part 1: The World Discovers a New Art Form 2011

Lyrical tribute to the moving image begins with an establishing shot: the birth of the movies - spanning 1895 to 1918.

70 mins United Kingdom Director. Mark Cousins

View Part 2: The Triumph of American Film
Part 2: The Triumph of American Film
Watch from £0.85

Part 2: The Triumph of American Film 2011

The 1920s. Moving between Hollywood, Denmark and Moscow, Mark Cousins shows how glamour and gravitas battled to define film.

70 mins United Kingdom Director. Mark Cousins

View Part 3: The Great Rebel Filmmakers Around the World
Part 3: The Great Rebel Filmmakers Around the World
Watch from £0.85

Part 3: The Great Rebel Filmmakers Around the World 2011

Testing the limits of cinema, German Expressionism, Soviet montage and other international movements are launched.

70 mins United Kingdom Director. Mark Cousins

View Part 5: The Devastation of War and a New Movie Language
Part 5: The Devastation of War and a New Movie Language
Watch from £0.85

Part 5: The Devastation of War and a New Movie Language 2011

Between 1939-1952, cinema got darker - reflecting the tumult and carnage of war – and more daring. Mark Cousins investigates.

82 mins United Kingdom Director. Mark Cousins

View Part 8: New Waves Sweep Around the World
Part 8: New Waves Sweep Around the World
Watch from £0.85

Part 8: New Waves Sweep Around the World 2011

Easy Rider and 2001: A Space Odyssey signal a new phase in cinema. It's part of a movement bringing Polanski, Tarkovsky and others to prominence.

62 mins United Kingdom Director. Mark Cousins

View Part 9: New American Cinema
Part 9: New American Cinema
Watch from £0.85

Part 9: New American Cinema 2011

American movies grow up, courtesy of Schrader, Scorsese and Nicholson, Buck Henry, Coppola and Charles Burnett.

70 mins United Kingdom Director. Mark Cousins

View Part 11: Innovation in Popular Culture Around the World
Part 11: Innovation in Popular Culture Around the World
Watch from £0.85

Part 11: Innovation in Popular Culture Around the World 2011

The blockbuster arrives, driving a new revolution with Jaws and Jedis. Meanwhile, Bollywoood and Hong Kong are adapting too.

70 mins United Kingdom Director. Mark Cousins

View Part 12: Moviemaking and Protest Around the World
Part 12: Moviemaking and Protest Around the World
Watch from £0.85

Part 12: Moviemaking and Protest Around the World 2011

Political reality stirs a wider dissent among filmmakers in the 1980s from London to Beijing, the Soviet Union and Poland.

70 mins United Kingdom Director. Mark Cousins

View Part 15: Film Moves Full Circle and the Future of the Movies
Part 15: Film Moves Full Circle and the Future of the Movies
Watch from £0.85

Part 15: Film Moves Full Circle and the Future of the Movies 2011

This stunning series closes with an appraisal of post-9/11 cinema, analysis of its best directors and a speculative look at film in the future.

70 mins United Kingdom Director. Mark Cousins

Cookies Policy

This website uses cookies, as explained in our Cookies Policy.

To accept the terms and hide this message please click 'I accept'.

I accept

Passionate about film? So are we…

Don't miss the email made for the in-the-know film fan:

New releases — on the same day as in cinemas Special collections & unheralded classics Exclusive news on discounts


Never ask | Ask me later