This film is part of Free
The District Nurse
An indefatigable district nurse crisscrosses her rural patch to tend to the sick at home and on the farm.
Idyllic rural vistas and soothing classical music provide the backdrop to scenes of injury, illness and imminent childbirth in this attractive and inspiring film. Structured as the diary of a typical working day, it shows the non-stop work of a wartime district nurse. Our indefatigable heroine takes all in her stride, with a home visit before breakfast, then whisked off to a farming accident and a queue of patients from then on, with just the occasional cup of tea to keep her going.
Director John Page made several films about women on the home front, notably The Countrywomen (1941), about the Women's Institute. Scriptwriter Arthur Calder-Marshall was a well-known novelist (and a card-carrying communist). District nurses, at this time, were usually unmarried women whose accommodation was often provided by local nursing associations. In rural areas this would often be houses or cottages such as the one seen in this film, where several nurses lived together. This government film is a public record, preserved and presented by the BFI National Archive on behalf of The National Archives, home to more than 1,000 years of British history.
Animation & Artists Moving Image 1948 9 mins
Long before the ‘Charley Says’ campaign of the 1970s and ‘80s, another cartoon Charley was used to demystify the newly created NHS.
Instructional film/TV programme 1951 55 mins
Kathleen Byron - of Black Narcissus fame - stars in one of the most ambitious recruitment films ever made.
Training film/TV programme 2002 18 mins
Imelda Staunton and Hugh Laurie as you've not quite seen them before: in a comedy training video for Britain’s National Blood Service.
Public Information Filler 1985 1 mins
A sense of 1980s stylistic sheen filters through this sci-fi-tinged anti-smoking advert.
Short documentary 2023 4 mins
Former Bristol Poet Laureate, Miles Chambers reads a poem specially commissioned for the 75th anniversary of the NHS at Glastonbury Festival.
Short documentary 2023 3 mins
Former Bristol Poet Laureate, Miles Chambers reads a poem specially commissioned for the 75th anniversary of the NHS.
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.