Explore archive films
See shorts and features, showing the best from the BFI, national and regional archives - including 120 years of Britain on film
What we're watching
Drama196312 mins Location: Westminster
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.
Home movie19874 minsSilent Location: Hughenden Valley
With the candles all blown, it's down to the river and homespun rafts at the ready for the celebrating Steel twins
Animation & Artists Moving Image19511 minsSilent
Santa's on strike! This charming animation for the GPO advises early posting to keep Father Christmas onside.
Advert19592 mins Location: Brighton
This handsome Technicolor ad makes a good case for a trip to Butlin's, despite the blustery rooftop activities
News19726 mins Location: Oldbury
New Midlands television station takes to the air but the BBC and ITV remain unconcerned about the competition.
Animation & Artists Moving Image195710 mins
Ye Gods! It’s the future of telecommunications – as seen through a cartoon modern lens from the 1950s
War194442 mins Location: Denham
Entertaining and evocative Fleet Air Arm drama-doc propaganda piece, written and directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger.
Documentary197824 mins Location: Shetland Islands
Michael Powell makes a moving return trip to the remote island of Foula, forty years after he shot his first major feature there.
A poignant, stirring letter from a recently deceased pilot to his mother is read by John Gielgud.
NHS on Film
Celebrating the National Health Service
Documentary198629 mins Location: Bolton
Local authorities trial the Thatcher government’s new ‘care in the community’ initiative.
Doctors undertake forensic-style detective work to identify the origins of outbreaks, in the fascinating film from the early days of the NHS.
Training film/TV programme200218 mins
Imelda Staunton and Hugh Laurie as you've not quite seen them before: in a comedy training video for Britain’s National Blood Service.
Documentary197327 mins Location: London
A portrayal of the NHS which shows off the “marvellous” system to audiences around the world.
An urgently filmed appeal for organ donation.
The Community Health Council of Wales blows its own trumpet in myriad ways, including animation, to draw attention to their NHS advisory service.
1950s song and dance revue set in a colourful world of boarding houses and coffee bars
Musical193851 mins Location: Bangor
Will new open-air microphone technology give Richard Hayward the chance to silence his critics? Watch as Cushendun and Bangor steal the show.
See silly slapstick, music, mayhem and a daffy dance-off between a carrot and an onion in this lively colour film advertising Co-op stores.
Fun-filled singalong savings ad with a dangerously catchy theme tune.
Feast your eyes on a bewildering barrage of forgotten British variety turns in this strange low-budget novelty short from 1945.
Set during rehearsals for a cabaret show, this short film features singer Rosalind Melville.
Black Britain on Film
Striking, illuminating and sometimes surprising images of black culture, community and characters, spanning over a century of British film and TV.
Football on Film
Football and film: two giants of 20th century spectacle. Born just a few years apart, film and the professional game have grown up together, as this fascinating collection shows.
NHS on Film
Film has the power to change lives – and even save them. No surprise, then, that moving images have played an important role in one of the world’s greatest public health services.