This film is part of Free

Olympiad 1948

The first post-war Olympic Games feature in John Bell's film from 1948 - with both the opening and closing ceremonies and an equestrian event

Amateur film 1948 9 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for Screen Archive South East


John Bell's film of the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1948 Olympics takes place in the old Wembley Stadium. The band of the Grenadier Guards plays while teams march into the stadium with the British hosts at the rear. Then doves are released. John Mark, bearing the Olympic Torch lights the flame and the games begin. Next we see an equestrian final after which flags from all the countries are borne into the stadium. The Olympic flag is lowered and the flame extinguished.

John William Bell, who made this film, lived with his family in North Cheam, Surrey. The thirty-one films in his collection span the years from 1941 to 1966 and were made on 9.5mm stock. Together they form an intimate portrait of a family living through wartime and post-war Britain, with a focus on the Bell's children and various family events. There are also films in the collection which record events of a regional, national and international interest like the film of the 1948 Olympics presented here. John Bell came from a working class background and bettered himself through education. He was also an active member of the Methodist Church.