This film is part of Free
Introduction to Silent Shakespeare
Discover why filmmakers in the silent era turned to the works of William Shakespeare for inspiration.
Short documentary 2016 9 mins
Why did the first filmmakers turn to Shakespeare for inspiration? How can his plays exist ‘without words’ in a silent medium? What could early cinema offer that theatre couldn’t?
With the help of Professor Judith Buchanan from the University of York and Bryony Dixon, the BFI’s silent film curator, this short film explores the unique world of Silent Shakespeare: its genesis, its innovations and its fascinating relationship with the Bard’s work.
Shakespeare on Film
Drama 1913 54 mins Silent
Johnston Forbes-Roberston gives his famous performance of Hamlet in this ambitious early Shakespeare feature
Travelogue 1925 12 mins Silent Location: Stratford-upon-Avon
A picturesque portrait of Stratford-on-Avon in the 1920s, evocatively photographed by British cinema pioneer Cecil Hepworth.
Non-Fiction 1957 5 mins Silent Location: Hampton Lucy
Shakespeare's Warwickshire - home of the half timbered heritage trail and the place that will be forever linked to its most famous son.
Travelogue 1940 10 mins Silent Location: Stratford-upon-Avon
A tour of Stratford-upon-Avon's houses and hamlets, stomping ground of a young William Shakespeare.
Shakespeare Memorial Theatre
Non-Fiction 1926 1 mins Silent Location: Stratford-upon-Avon
"O for a muse of fire" - or not, as Shakespeare's Memorial Theatre in Stratford is gutted by flames.
St George's Day at Stratford-on-Avon
Non-Fiction 1915 1 mins Silent Location: Stratford-upon-Avon
Proud locals hold a double celebration in Shakespeare's home town.
ABC in Sound
Animation & Artists Moving Image 1933 2 mins
Hand-drawn sound experiment by Bauhaus professor László Moholy-Nagy.
Hovis: Boy on the Bike
Advert 1974 1 mins Location: Shaftesbury
A classic slice of British advertising history, though that hill's not as Northern as it looks...
Workforce of Parkgate Iron and Steel Co., Rotherham (1901)
Non-Fiction 1901 3 mins Silent Location: Rotherham
Edwardian workers react to the camera at one of Rotherham's major employers.
Workforce of Ormerod's Mill, Great Moor Street, Bolton (1900)
Non-Fiction 1900 1 mins Silent Location: Great Moor St, Bolton
Eager youngsters burst out of the gates of a Victorian cotton mill.
The Henley Regatta
Sport 1901 1 mins Silent Location: Henley-on-Thames
It's the first weekend of July 1901, and high society are on the Thames
Advert 1898 1 mins Silent Location: St Pancras
An unusual farewell in this charming early film