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.
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.
Drama 1913 54 mins Silent
Johnston Forbes-Roberston gives his famous performance of Hamlet in this ambitious early Shakespeare feature
Animation & Artists Moving Image 1989 5 mins
Two virtuoso performances in one – Shakespeare's complete works presented in puppet form by a master of animation
Inside Film 1967 16 mins
Teenage actors discuss their work with Franco Zeffirelli on Romeo and Juliet.
Comedy 1910 11 mins Silent
Vitagraph’s charming 1910 interpretation features some notably lively performances.
Drama 1899 1 mins Silent
The first ever Shakespearean film - once thought to be lost - with Herbert Beerbohm Tree in the title role.
Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting Q&A for Shakespeare Lives Olivia Hussey and Leonard Whiting Q&A for Shakespeare Lives
Inside Film 2016 31 mins
The stars of Franco Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet are reunited on stage for the first time since 1968 as part of the BFI and British Council’s Shakespeare on Film.
Action and Adventure 1923 28 mins Silent Location: Tilbury
Plotting world domination, Devil Doctor Fu-Manchu steals plans for a new aero-torpedo in this earliest surviving thrill-a-minute serial instalment.
Inside Film 2024 16 mins
Filmmakers Jane Giles and Ali Catterall discuss their documentary Scala!!!, revisiting the legendary and inspirational cinema venue and some of the most notorious films that screened there.
Drama 2023 2 mins
A group of young Black boys run into a building. One of them is about to do the unimaginable.
Romance 2023 2 mins
A queercore romance - a visceral and immersive exploration of the power of the mosh pit and finding love in the most unlikely of places.
Charity appeal 1939 10 mins
Long thought lost, this Powell-directed promotional short for a veteran’s charity was only rediscovered in 2003.
Documentary 1941 6 mins
A poignant, stirring letter from a recently deceased pilot to his mother is read by John Gielgud.