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Terminus U rating

The daily rhythms and dramas of Waterloo station are captured in John Schlesinger’s influential early film.

Documentary 1961 35 mins



In his first cinema film, made at British Transport Films, John Schlesinger presents a day in the life of Waterloo rail station. Now a staple television format, this observational look at the workings of one of London’s key railway hubs was considered innovative in 1961, winning it awards at Venice and the Baftas.

Terminus is made in a style quite different from most of British Transport Films’ much-loved output. With music by Ron Grainer and songs by Julian Cooper, Schlesinger develops a series of seemingly routine proceedings into an emotive journey, focusing on the human dramas such as a missing child. His accomplishment with narrative would not go on unnoticed and within a year he was directing feature films such as A Kind of Loving. Terminus is also available on BFI's DVD collection British Transport Films vol. 3: Running a Railway.