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

From Acorn to Oak

This film is certified

Please confirm that you accept our terms of use.


From Acorn to Oak 1938

5 mins United Kingdom Director. Montgomery Tully

For the 50th anniversary of JB Dunlop's invention of the pneumatic tyre, the company he founded patted its own back by commissioning this very pleasant commemorative film. The chaps at Merton Park Studios turned in a briskly efficient promo in which gentle, good-humoured reminders of 'boneshakers' of cycling yesteryear give way to an exposition of the range and reach of a modern global business.

The company survey, often marking an anniversary, makes up a not-so-small film genre of its own. It was usually made, as here, with a view to several potential audiences: consumers, employees and, last but definitely not least, shareholders. Merton Park enjoyed a significant presence in pre-war publicity and documentary films making technically and stylistically confident productions free of the ideological motives of the better known 'documentary movement' active in the same period. Director Montgomery Tully later enjoyed a long feature film career. A Dubliner by birth, he sets early sequences of this film in Ulster, where the Dunlop tyre originated - in one scene strangely deploying a southern 'stage Oirish' narration complete with 'begorrahs'.

Start watching in: 30 days

Finish watching in: 48 hours

Directed by

Montgomery Tully




Bicycles History Factories Cotton (textile) Tyres Dunlop Penny farthings


Cycling On Film




United Kingdom



Production company

Merton Park

Read lessRead more
Part of

1,000s of beautifully preserved films, capturing 120 years of Britain on Film

The map

Explore further

View Rudge-Whitworth - Britain's Best Bicycle
Rudge-Whitworth - Britain's Best Bicycle
Watch for free 1 mins

Rudge-Whitworth - Britain's Best Bicycle 1902

A gentleman cyclist learns the error of his ways in one of the earliest surviving British film advertisements.

1 mins United Kingdom

View The Bespoke Bike
The Bespoke Bike
Watch for free 5 mins

The Bespoke Bike 1974

Where two-wheeled dreams come true: a visit to the legendary Witcomb bike shop in Deptford.

5 mins United Kingdom

View Riding on Air
Riding on Air
Watch for free 16 mins

Riding on Air 1959

A beautiful and evocative survey of cycling's golden years.

16 mins United Kingdom

View Small Town Story
Small Town Story
Watch from £2.98

Small Town Story 1953 U

Can Bob Regan thwart a devious businessman and a manipulative ex-girlfriend to save Oldchester United? Maybe, with the help of friend Denis Compton!

69 mins United Kingdom Director. Montgomery Tully

View Behind the Guns
Behind the Guns
Watch for free 20 mins

Behind the Guns 1940

A Second World War propaganda film, looking at the industrial might behind Great Britain’s armed forces.

20 mins United Kingdom Director. Cecil Musk, Montgomery Tully

View Salute to Farmers
Salute to Farmers
Watch for free 17 mins

Salute to Farmers 1941

With feeding the nation a wartime priority, agricultural workers are heralded as soldiers of the plough.

17 mins United Kingdom Director. Montgomery Tully


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