Mischievous mermaids, murderous minors and military mayhem are among the highlights of this collection of long hard-to-see titles.
We can thank the DVD revolution of the last 15-20 years for rescuing hundreds of British films from unwarranted obscurity. Factor in the growth of online distribution too, and you might be forgiven for imagining that the whole of British cinema is now available to view from the comfort of your living room. But the truth is that we're still just scratching the surface, and untold riches - from the silent era to the relatively recent past - still lie hidden from view. This collection of Forgotten British Features is doing its bit to remedy that, with a fascinating and varied selection of unjustly neglected films, hand picked from the vaults by the BFI's expert curators and returned to the screen where they belong, to be discovered by a new generation - starting with you!
Comedy199284 minsDirector: David Attwood
Defying opposition from his conservative Pakistani family, Zaf Ayub dreams of becoming Southall's greatest gift to country & western.
Crime198650 minsDirector: Christian Marnham
An old house near a remote, rural railway station provides the setting for this grisly tale of terror set in 1960s England.
Drama197598 minsDirector: Peter Hall
Peter Hall’s extraordinary, long-unseen work of sublime poetic realism traces three generations of one Suffolk family and their lives in the farming industry.
Fantasy194578 minsDirector: Basil Dearden
Long-unavailable Utopian fantasy (or 'socialist propaganda'?) - a true oddity from the wartime Ealing Studios.
Fantasy198889 minsDirector: Harley Cokliss
A young woman becomes haunted by terrifying dreams, which soon begin to pull people around her into a nightmarish netherworld.
Drama1982102 minsDirector: Karl Francis
Glenda Jackson and Jon Finch play Welsh investigative journalists covering the Troubles in Northern Ireland only to unearth censorship and corruption back home.
Drama1973106 minsDirector: Anthony Simmons
Peter Sellers is superb in a warm, wistful family drama, in which two Battersea kids forge an unlikely alliance with a faded music hall star.
Comedy1986100 minsDirector: Leong Po-Chih
A young lawyer has to execute the will of a Chinese man found dead in a phone box in a witty comic thriller - the first British-Chinese feature film.
Melodrama194076 minsDirector: Herbert Mason
Michael Redgrave's construction worker is embroiled in murder and intrigue in this lively British thriller, packed with pre-war London locations.
Drama198181 minsDirector: Joe Comerford
Reluctant newlywed travellers Angela and Michael try to smuggle goods across the border in this lyrical Irish road movie written by Neil Jordan.
Historical drama197499 minsDirector: Lester James Peries
Epic tale set in 5th century Sri Lanka, following the battle for the throne between Kassapa and his father King Dhatusena.
Fantasy198291 minsDirector: Barney Platts-Mills
In a medieval Scotland where sorcery still reigns, a young knight joins a band of warriors but becomes enmeshed in a power struggle with their leader.
Drama198888 minsDirector: Beeban Kidron
Beeban Kidron’s first feature film follows Clive Owen, David Thewlis and Diana Quick as they take to the road in a bubblegum-pink Chevrolet.
Legal and Courtroom drama194074 minsDirector: David MacDonald
Alastair Sim is in splendid form as a staid, slightly seedy solicitor in this cheerfully patriotic war-time espionage comedy.
Drama198796 minsDirector: Pat O'Connor
A young Colin Firth and Kenneth Branagh star as two tormented WWI veterans who strike up a friendship when they meet in a rural Yorkshire village.
1988113 minsDirector: Laurens C. Postma
Big Audio Dynamite’s Don Letts made his acting debut in this gripping, gritty 1990 drama of dreads, drugs, and music business corruption.
Period drama194794 minsDirector: Marc Allégret
Valerie Hobson stars as the scheming governess with designs on taking over the Fury estate, in this atmospheric Gothic melodrama
Comedy193391 minsDirector: Maurice Elvey
This merry jape set in an olde worlde castle is an exuberant star vehicle for Gracie Fields, with a mix of songs and comedy.
Children's195987 minsDirector: Kevin McClory
A child's-eye-view of one of the capital's most iconic landmarks, with stunning views of the Thames and its traffic.
Drama197472 minsDirector: Peter K. Smith
The trials and tribulations of Shiv, a South Asian entrepreneur trying to set up a business in industrial Birmingham
War197293 minsDirector: Michael Apted
Oliver Reed and Glenda Jackson star in the rarely seen drama about an AWOL soldier who disguises as a woman to avoid capture.
Drama195479 minsDirector: Maurice Elvey
The Wishing Well Inn in rural Wales is the bustling centre of love and intrigue in this charming romance starring Petula Clarke.
Drama194794 minsDirector: Leslie Arliss
An atmospheric thriller about two sisters who fall for charms of a mysterious and charismatic caretaker, after they inherit a Neapolitan villa.
Romance1998104 minsDirector: Paul Morrison
The moving and passionate story of illicit love between a Welsh girl and a Jewish boy, set against a backdrop of industrial unrest in the Welsh Valleys of 1911.
Melodrama194791 minsDirector: David MacDonald
A swirling Skye-set melodrama about the murderous grudge between two Scottish clans, aroused by the arrival of a newcomer to the isle.
Drama-documentary1979129 minsDirector: Sue Clayton
The plight of women in the 1840s London rag trade is explored and deconstructed in this multifaceted documentary
Drama199297 minsDirector: Dennis Potter
Alan Bates stars as an illustrator whose life begins to unravel as fantasy and reality collide in Dennis Potter’s psychosexual drama.
198255 minsDirector: Vernon Lawrence
Cleo Laine and Johnny Dankworth cook up red hot jazz together live on stage, chat about married life together, and recall lengthy musical careers.
Drama197392 minsDirector: Clive Rees
A rare serious performance by Peter Sellers drives this tale of eight men buried in a bunker for three years at the end of WWII.
Drama195488 minsDirector: Maurice Elvey
The trials and tribulations of 1950s working class family life are engagingly evoked in this warm-hearted drama of urban England.
Children's198295 minsDirector: Colin Finbow
Pickpockets, mad puppets, and murder – all from the 1840 press accounts of a real case that lead to the gallows – conceived as a musical by the Children’s Film Unit.
Drama193669 minsDirector: Maclean Rogers
The great James Mason has a juicy early role in this dynamic vintage drama of false imprisonment, disgrace, deception and family intrigue.
Animation & Artists Moving Image1977109 minsDirector: Malcolm Le Grice
A brilliantly constructed, melancholic ode to the passing of time by Malcolm Le Grice
Drama1988111 minsDirector: Mike Newell
Hong Kong newlyweds seek a fresh start in 60s Britain, but fall foul of the Triad underworld in this adaptation of Timothy Mo's blackly comic novel.
Drama1983102 minsDirector: Michael Radford
Michael Radford (Il Postino) directs this war-time drama set in Scotland. The passions of a young housewife are aroused by the arrival of an Italian POW.
Romance194991 minsDirector: Ralph Smart
Honor Blackman and Diana Dors star in a tale of love, theft and deception in a Yorkshire cycling club.
Horror193450 minsDirector: Brian Desmond Hurst
A madman harbours murderous thoughts about an old relative with an evil eye in this chilling Edgar Allan Poe adaptation
Crime195188 minsDirector: Anthony Bushell
This British noir delivers a disquieting story of obsession and manipulation, with Rex Harrison as a man accused of murdering his mistress.
Comedy199988 minsDirector: Ben Hopkins
An unusual comedy about a stranger who arrives on the eve of the millennium to erase London, mankind and existence.
Drama194967 minsDirector: Herbert Marshall
A strikingly-filmed tale of a young tinker boy who finds his true calling on a mining apprenticeship scheme in Easington, County Durham.
War1928122 minsSilentDirector: Arthur Maude
Powerful wartime drama that sees rivals in love becoming comrades-in-arms in the trenches of the Western Front.
Crime194590 minsDirector: Robert Hamer
Gordon Jackson stars in a seething tale of family conflict, murder and blackmail in Victorian Brighton.
Action and Adventure194064 minsDirector: William Cameron Menzies
From an original scenario by Graham Greene, this is a neat crime thriller about a girl (René Ray) who witnesses a murder, becomes a suspect herself, and gets mixed up with a sleazy Soho gangster (John Mills).
Drama1948109 minsDirector: Anthony Kimmins
Burgess Meredith stars in this powerful psychological drama, as a psychiatrist struggling with his own inner demons who's enlisted to treat a traumatised WWII veteran.
Comedy1983113 minsDirector: Michael Blakemore
Musical comedy with John Cleese. In Singapore, 1948, the Song and Dance Unit tour their 'Jungle Jamboree' review.
War195592 minsDirector: Lewis Gilbert
After their aircraft is shot down, four military men cast adrift must struggle to survive in this gripping WWII drama.
Animation & Artists Moving Image199362 minsDirector: John Maybury
John Maybury’s dark, queer state of the nation film starring Tilda Swinton and Rupert Everett
Comedy195181 minsDirector: Val Guest
The Drakes' dream of making an old Sussex farm successful comes to a halt after one of their ducks lays a radioactive egg
Romance193059 minsDirector: Castleton Knight
Racy sea tale of unbridled passions with Ray Milland's Walmer lifeboatman caught in the vice-like grip of a sultry French vamp.
Drama197690 minsDirector: Stewart Mackinnon
Stewart Mackinnon’s avant-garde adaptation of Marquis de Sade’s infamous erotic novel has been near impossible to see since 1976.