Most Popular Free 2019
Our national fabric has many threads and deep colour. Each year, it gets more vivid and popular…
Queen Victoria's long reign famously saw extraordinary advances: in industry, transport, science, culture... But one vital innovation is too often missed: the moving image, the last great invention of the age. Yet film forever changed the way we see the world. And even before the French Lumière brothers presented their first demonstrations in London in 1895, British filmmakers were beginning to make their mark. Now, for the first time, we are making publically available all of the BFI's collections of British films made in the first six years of the medium - from 1895 to 1901.
Commercial Break: British Advertising on Screen
Few films capture our hopes, fears and desires in such a compact expressive form as the screen advertisement.
Public Information Films
Stop! Look! Listen! For decades public information films have been educating, persuading and above all warning us of hidden dangers.
Want to escape our troubled times? Immerse yourself in the emotional, life-enhancing pleasures of the musical.
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.
Animals on Film
"Never work with animals or children," runs the old film industry saw. But British filmmakers have proven adept at both - and especially animals.
An animated portrait of a nation, brought to life frame by painstaking frame
13 new short films from new and emerging animators, commissioned through a prestigious initiative by the BFI, BBC Four, and BBC Arts.
Capturing the beauty and brutality, the magic and madness of rural Britain.
Immerse yourself in the films featured in Paul Wright's captivating archive odyssey.
The Arts on Film
Behind the canvas with a movie camera: you can almost smell the turpentine in these fascinating portraits of artists at work.
Every generation finds its own beat, and every scene has been caught on camera. This toe-tapping tour guides us through pop's glorious past.
BFI Future Film Festival
Celebrating ten years of the BFI Future Film Festival with a selection of award-winning films and audience favourites.
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.
Born Digital: First Cuts
Eleven innovative short films about the digital experience, commissioned by the BFI, BBC Four and BBC Arts to mark the 30th anniversary of the World Wide Web in 2019.
Britain on Film: Out of the Rubble
Penny Woolcock’s Out of the Rubble is an archive documentary compiled from films digitised for our Britain on Film project. Here we present Woolcock’s work alongside the original films that inspired it.
Dreams, memories and reveries - the collected works of one of Britain's most distinctive filmmakers.
China on Film
Travel back in time to a lost China with this collection of extraordinary, rare and beautiful travelogues, newsreels and home movies from the first half of the 20th century.
Chinese Britain on Film
Chart the representation of Britain's Chinese communities in film, from exotic Other to more authentic self-portraits, in a collection of rare, strange, witty and touching films.
Coal on Film
Coalmining is visually unique, dramatic, elemental, iconic - and a huge filmmaking challenge. Small wonder that it's the industry with the richest and deepest screen history of all.
Celebrating side-splitting film and TV, from slapstick legends to today's anarchic voices.
Cricket on Film
When cricket is played, it seems as if summer will never end. And when cricket is filmed, summer can last for ever.
Cycling On Film
The bike is back! British cycling is enjoying a 21st-century renaissance, so what better time to celebrate a century of cycling on film?
Disabled Britain on Film
This diverse and fascinating collection looks at representations of disabled people on screen over the past ten decades. It offers a glimpse into the lives and experiences of people often hidden from screen history, and a chance to see how contemporary disabled artists and filmmakers are insisting that their own images and voices must be seen and heard.
Edwardian Britain on Film
Welcome to a lost world. These amazing films, lost for nearly a century, offer something close to time travel - a journey into the Britain of our great grandparents, courtesy of filmmakers Mitchell and Kenyon.
Films for kids have changed dramatically over the last 100 years, as seen in this family-friendly collection.
Film Academy Shorts
We present the very best shorts by young filmmakers, produced through the BFI Film Academy.
The First World War
From the home front to the front line: life during the “war to end all wars” as seen through the lens of newsreel, propaganda and drama.
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.
Mischievous mermaids, murderous minors and military mayhem are among the highlights of this collection of long hard-to-see titles.
Gothic: The Dark Heart of Film
Gothic horror and romance tales feed on our darkest fears and desires, and conjure the creatures of the night into being.
The Home Front
Sandbags and searchlights, firefighters battling blazing streets; trains packed with departing children or servicemen... film has given us some of our most enduring images of war.
Home Movies & Amateur Film
Celluloid scrapbooks: the most intimate and personal of films invite us into Britain's birthday parties, back gardens and beach holidays.
India on Film: 1899-1947
An extraordinary collection of films capturing India before independence.
Jewish Britain on Film
Jewish life on screen: a century of insights and hidden histories
This colourful and challenging collection explores screen representations of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender lives over the past century.
Listen to Britain 2017
Celebrating 75 years since Humphrey Jennings and Stewart McAllister’s original film, BBC Four and BFI NETWORK, in association with Wingspan Productions, have partnered to offer the next generation of UK filmmakers the opportunity to present their diverse and unique perspectives on modern Britain.
London Film-Makers' Co-op
Celebrating 50 years of the LFMC (now Lux), the ground-breaking production and distribution cooperative for artists’ moving image.
Films to fall in love with. Films to break your heart.
The March of Time
Time Marches On! Though perhaps most famous today for inspiring the opening of Citizen Kane, The March of Time was a truly trailblazing series.
Never Mind The Ballots
As election fever grips Britain (or doesn't), we get on our soapbox to present a fascinating collection of political and campaigning films.
An eccentric excursion to the furthest fringes of youth culture and alternative lifestyles, as captured in archive film and TV.
The Pleasure Principle
From Victorian voyeurism to Soho striptease: how a hidden film industry emerged to satisfy the sexual appetites of (male) viewers.
Punk’s mad parade burnt bright and quick, feeding on the public’s limitless love of disgust. Works from Julien Temple and Captain Zip immerse you in the movement, with music from The Undertones and more.
Railways on Film
Tracking shots: cinema and the railways have enjoyed a long journey together, starting in the Victorian era and yet to hit the buffers.
To mark this year's Refugee Week, BFI and Counterpoints Arts have compiled a collection of films that explore refugee experiences in the past and present and across different parts of the world.
Robert Paul: Giant of Early Film
The most prolific filmmaker of the pioneer period of British film
Royal Geographical Society
Ascend the Himalayan peaks, sail through mighty oceans and traverse thickets of African jungle – all in one extraordinary collection of films.
Sci-Fi - Days of Fear and Wonder
Take a trip around the blazing worlds of sci-fi as we undock a blockbuster celebration of this most spectacular of movie genres.
Shakespeare on Film
All the world's a cinema! How a century and more of filmmakers have raided, remade and refashioned the bard.
Shipbuilding on Film
Every ship launch is an epic. The majestic glide of the colossus into the waiting waters is a spectacle made for filming.
South Asian Britain on Film
Discover a rich history reaching back over a century as we celebrate South Asian communities and culture across Britain.
Steel on Film
With its glowing rivers of liquid metal and dazzling showers of sparks, steelmaking is the most colourfully cinematic of industries.
Suffragettes on Film
"You have to make more noise than anybody else!," cried Suffragette pioneer Emmeline Pankhurst. But how to make more noise in silent film?
Textiles on Film
From cotton reels to reels of film: with its restless looms, vibrant colours and rich textures, Britain's textiles industry offers cinematic pleasures by the yard.
Who Can You Trust?
From the collections of the BFI and its partner archives, a host of rarely seen British thrillers highlighting Britain's often idiosyncratic take on the genre.
Unavailable on DVD
This collection showcases a selection of hard-to-see features that are unavailable to watch anywhere else (legally) in the UK.
It's the big day and you're invited: a multitude of marriages, caught on film since the 1910s.
Woman with a Movie Camera
Great films incite, others vex, a few elate. From pre-war to the present day, these remarkable works by international women directors do all that and more.
WTF - A Box of Odd
What’s that Film?! If you’ve a taste for the curious or the kitsch, the bewildering or the bizarre, then look no further. Our selection of rare archive treats will satisfy the most adventurous palate.