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


This film is certified

Please confirm that you accept our terms of use.


Arrival 2016 12

116 mins USA Director. Denis Villeneuve

Canadian director Denis Villeneuve’s (Sicario, Prisoners, Incendies) versatile and prolific creative streak continues with Arrival, an emotionally arresting, visually inventive science fiction based on the award-winning Story of Your Life by Ted Chiang. Professor of linguistics Dr Louise Banks (Amy Adams) is enlisted by the US government to decipher the language of extra-terrestrials who initiated first contact. She is accompanied by scientist Ian Donelly (Jeremy Renner) on a mission to determine the purpose of their mysterious visitation. As the military manoeuvres around the operation become increasingly fraught, the two outsiders are drawn together in their search for understanding in this tense and emotional sci-fi drama.

The story is underpinned by an extremely resonant interest in the importance of translation, not only the direct challenge of decoding this new language, but also in the forging of international cooperation between countries to prevent conflict. A universe away from traditional alien invasion films, Arrival is ultimately a cinematic paean to human life – its intimacy, complexity and grandeur, and to what keeps us connected to each other – communication, memory, and the experience of love and loss.

Start watching in: 30 days

Finish watching in: 48 hours

Directed by

Denis Villeneuve


Forest Whitaker

Jeremy Renner

Amy Adams


Science Fiction


Oscars - Technical Awards Sci-Fi - Days of Fear and Wonder Contact! Oscars - Best Adapted Screenplay BFI London Film Festival Presents Oscars - Best Director Oscars Oscars - Best Picture Festival Favourites Oscars - Best Cinematography Closed Captions


12 infrequent strong language





Read lessRead more

Explore further

View Monsters
Watch from £2.98

Monsters 2010 15

Gareth Edwards reimagined the monster movie with his highly impressive DIY sci-fi, in which an indie romance blossoms amid the trailing tentacles of an alien invasion.

United Kingdom Director. Gareth Edwards

View Sicario
Watch from £3.83

Sicario 2015 15

Emily Blunt plays the FBI agent enlisted for a special operation against Mexican cartels, in this pulsatingly tense thriller from Denis Villeneuve (Arrival, Prisoners).

121 mins USA Director. Denis Villeneuve


View All

Welcome to a new subscription service like no other.

>100s of hand-picked classics and critically-acclaimed films

>Critic Mark Kermode picks a must-see film every week

>No contract, cancel anytime

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