Forgotten Features

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!

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Rent for £3.50

Mr. TopazeMr. Topaze

Comedy196197 minsDirector: Peter Sellers

Charming character comedy, unseen for decades, starring Peter Sellers as a school teacher corrupted by big business.

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Wild WestWild West

Comedy199384 minsDirector: David Attwood

Defying opposition from his conservative Pakistani family, Zaf Ayub dreams of becoming Southall's greatest gift to country & western.

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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.

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Long ShotLong Shot

Comedy197882 minsDirector: Maurice Hatton

Deadpan satire about a Scottish film producer trying to make his debut feature.

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Documentary197181 minsDirector: Anthony Klinger and Michael Lytton

In-your-face 70s documentary exploring the lives of Hell's Angels, hippies, skinheads, rudeboys, mods and drug addicts.

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They Came to a CityThey Came to a City

Fantasy194578 minsDirector: Basil Dearden

Long-unavailable Utopian fantasy (or 'socialist propaganda'?) - a true oddity from the wartime Ealing Studios.

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Drama1985110 minsDirector: Colin Gregg

In one of Liam Neeson’s earliest starring roles, he plays an errant priest who kidnaps a vulnerable boy from an abusive Catholic school

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Dream DemonDream Demon

Fantasy198889 minsDirector: Harley Cokliss

A young woman becomes haunted by terrifying dreams, which soon begin to pull people around her into a nightmarish netherworld.

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Fantasy198989 minsDirector: Bernard Rose

Bernard Rose’s cult adult fantasy follows a young girl who discovers an increasingly dark and dangerous dream world.

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Giro CityGiro City

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.

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The Optimists of Nine ElmsThe Optimists of Nine Elms

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.

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Ping PongPing Pong

Comedy1987100 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.

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The Orchard End MurderThe Orchard End Murder

Crime198250 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.

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A Window in LondonA Window in London

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.

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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.

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The God KingThe God King

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.

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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.

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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.

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Law and DisorderLaw and Disorder

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.

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Death in High HeelsDeath in High Heels

Crime194747 minsDirector: Lionel Tomlinson

When one of the ladies at a posh couturier is poisoned, all the staff come under suspicion.

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The Golden MadonnaThe Golden Madonna

Drama194988 minsDirector: Ladislao Vajda

When she inherits an Italian palazzo, a young woman takes on more than she bargained for

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Midnight BreaksMidnight Breaks

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.

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The Silent PlaygroundThe Silent Playground

Crime196472 minsDirector: Stanley Goulder

A warning tale about the dangers of taking sweets from strangers.

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Blanche FuryBlanche Fury

Melodrama194894 minsDirector: Marc Allégret

Valerie Hobson stars as the scheming governess with designs on taking over the Fury estate, in this atmospheric Gothic melodrama

Currently unavailable

This Week of GraceThis Week of Grace

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.

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Men Are Not GodsMen Are Not Gods

Comedy193683 minsDirector: Walter Reisch

A theatre critic's secretary is caught up in a love triangle involving the stars of a production of Othello.

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The Boy and the BridgeThe Boy and the Bridge

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.

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A Private EnterpriseA Private Enterprise

Drama197572 minsDirector: Peter K. Smith

The trials and tribulations of Shiv, a South Asian entrepreneur trying to set up a business in industrial Birmingham

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The Triple EchoThe Triple Echo

War197393 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.

Rent for £1.00

Happiness of Three WomenHappiness of Three Women

Comedy195479 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.

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Drama195379 minsDirector: Terence Fisher

Hammer thriller in which a wrongly imprisoned man escapes to find the real murderer.

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A Man about the HouseA Man about the House

Drama194794 minsDirector: Leslie Arliss

An atmospheric thriller about two sisters who fall for the charms of a mysterious and charismatic caretaker, after they inherit a Neapolitan villa.

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Solomon and GaenorSolomon and Gaenor

Romance1999104 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.

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Conflict of WingsConflict of Wings

Drama195485 minsDirector: John Eldridge

When the RAF tries to take over an island for target practice, the locals rally to prevent them.

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The BrothersThe Brothers

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.

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The Song of the ShirtThe Song of the Shirt

Animation & Artists Moving Image1979129 minsDirector: Sue Clayton and Jonathan Curling

The plight of women in the 1840s London rag trade is explored and deconstructed in this multifaceted documentary

Currently unavailable

Secret FriendsSecret Friends

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.

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Now Barabbas Was a Robber...Now Barabbas Was a Robber...

Drama194987 minsDirector: Gordon Parry

Prison drama focusing on the seamy side of life in post-war Britain.

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Drama194690 minsDirector: Lance Comfort

Britain’s top star Margaret Lockwood plays a devoted wife who is not quite what she seems.

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Cleo and JohnCleo and John

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.

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Comedy195671 minsDirector: Anthony Squire

Exciting British B-movie about a Cornish poacher who clashes with dangerous international spies.

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The BlockhouseThe Blockhouse

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.

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Thriller198976 minsDirector: Colin Finbow

A truant schoolboy sabotages the secretive power station he believes killed his friend. With Glenda Jackson.

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What Every Woman WantsWhat Every Woman Wants

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.

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Captain StirrickCaptain Stirrick

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.

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Drama1989111 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.

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Black Bird Descending: Tense AlignmentBlack Bird Descending: Tense Alignment

Animation & Artists Moving Image1977109 minsDirector: Malcolm Le Grice

A brilliantly constructed, melancholic ode to the passing of time by Malcolm Le Grice

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Twice BrandedTwice Branded

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.

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Another Time, Another PlaceAnother Time, Another Place

Drama1983101 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.

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Blue ScarBlue Scar

Drama194997 minsDirector: Jill Craigie

A stirring tale of love, music, and coalmining in Abergwynfi, South Wales.

Currently unavailable

A Boy, a Girl and a BikeA Boy, a Girl and a Bike

Romance194991 minsDirector: Ralph Smart

Honor Blackman and Diana Dors star in a tale of love, theft and deception in a Yorkshire cycling club.

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This Was a WomanThis Was a Woman

Drama1948100 minsDirector: Tim Whelan

Frustration seethes beyond the trimmed lawns of suburbia in this post-war melodrama

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The Tell-Tale HeartThe Tell-Tale Heart

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

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The Long Dark HallThe Long Dark Hall

Crime195188 minsDirector: Anthony Bushell and Reginald Beck

This British noir delivers a disquieting story of obsession and manipulation, with Rex Harrison as a man accused of murdering his mistress.

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Another SkyAnother Sky

Romance195586 minsDirector: Gavin Lambert

Two cultures collide in a beautifully photographed love story - an ode to Morocco, its music, its people and way of life.

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On ApprovalOn Approval

Comedy194479 minsDirector: Clive Brook

Splendid lead performances and a well-crafted, witty script make this adaptation of the Frederick Lonsdale play a delight.

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The Nine Lives of Tomas KatzThe Nine Lives of Tomas Katz

Comedy200188 minsDirector: Ben Hopkins

An unusual comedy about a stranger who arrives on the eve of the millennium to erase London, mankind and existence.

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Makin' ItMakin' It

Drama1970104 minsDirector: Simon Hartog

Young women audition for a movie they know nothing about, and are tested and interrogated.

Currently unavailable


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.

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Poppies of FlandersPoppies of Flanders

War1928122 minsSilentDirector: Arthur Maude

Powerful wartime drama that sees rivals in love becoming comrades-in-arms in the trenches of the Western Front.

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Documentary1926110 minsSilentDirector: Walter Summers

Arrival of the British Army in France

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Documentary192579 minsSilentDirector: Walter Summers

Battle film made as a memorial to the dead of WWI, documenting events at Ypres using reconstructed and genuine footage.

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Pink String and Sealing WaxPink String and Sealing Wax

Crime194690 minsDirector: Robert Hamer

Gordon Jackson stars in a seething tale of family conflict, murder and blackmail in Victorian Brighton.

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Privates on ParadePrivates on Parade

Comedy1983113 minsDirector: Michael Blakemore

Musical comedy with John Cleese. In Singapore, 1948, the Song and Dance Unit tour their 'Jungle Jamboree' review.

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Mine Own ExecutionerMine Own Executioner

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.

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The Green CockatooThe Green Cockatoo

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).

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Remembrance of Things FastRemembrance of Things Fast

Animation & Artists Moving Image199362 minsDirector: John Maybury

John Maybury’s dark, queer state of the nation film starring Tilda Swinton and Rupert Everett

Rent for £1.00

Sons of the SeaSons of the Sea

Crime192676 minsSilentDirector: H. Bruce Woolfe

Two boys answer the call of the sea as Royal Navy recruits in this adventure of the seven seas.

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The Sea Shall Not Have ThemThe Sea Shall Not Have Them

War195592 minsDirector: Lewis Gilbert

After their aircraft is shot down, four military men cast adrift must struggle to survive in this gripping WWII drama.

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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.

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Lady from the SeaLady from the Sea

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.

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Mr. Drake's DuckMr. Drake's Duck

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

More Forgotten Features in our Free collection.