When George Lucas began work on a mysterious project named Star Wars in North London back in 1976, no one could have predicted how it would go on to shape cinema as we know it, least of all the legions of on-screen extras. In this affectionate documentary, we meet ten of those bit performers who appeared, however fleetingly, in Lucas’ box office behemoth.
Rather than the standard ‘making of’ – the likes of which have been seen countless times before – Elstree 1976 paints an intimate portrait of these performers, examining how their brushes with Lucas shaped the paths of their lives. With a cast ranging from Darth Vader himself (or David Prowse as he’s better known to his friends), to a performer whose character was cut entirely from the finished film, this is not so much a film about Star Wars as the story of a group of people united by one life-changing experience.
Documentary 2019 93 mins Director: Alexandre O. Philippe
The untold origin story behind Ridley Scott’s Alien, one of Hollywood’s most beloved and iconic shockers.
Documentary 2019 89 mins Director: Alan Elliott
Aretha Franklin, at the height of her powers, returns to the music which nurtured her prodigious talent.
Documentary 2019 95 mins Director: Penny Lane
An unexpectedly funny, charming and thought-provoking documentary about a group who celebrate difference, and challenge the link between religion and state in the US.
Documentary 2018 95 mins Director: Julien Faraut
Mastery, showmanship and the art of filming tennis are laid bare in an entertaining, innovative archive documentary that’s like no sports film you’ve seen.
Documentary 2017 98 mins Director: Steve Keeble
Telling the untold stories from the early days of the UK AIDS pandemic; by the people who were there and the people who supported them.
Documentary 2018 94 mins Director: Tim Travers Hawkins
Telling the historic story of whistleblower Chelsea Manning; the journey of her fight for survival and dignity, and her transition from prisoner to a free woman.
Documentary 2016 98 mins Director: Ross Adam
Discover one of cinema’s strangest stories: a film director and his star are kidnapped by Kim Jong-il to make movies in the world’s weirdest state.
The Story of Film part 11: Innovation in Popular Culture Around the World The Story of Film part 11: Innovation in Popular Culture Around the World
Documentary 2011 61 mins Director: Mark Cousins
The blockbuster arrives, driving a new revolution with Jaws and Jedis. Meanwhile, Bollywoood and Hong Kong are adapting too.
Documentary 2016 92 mins Director: Roger Ross Williams
A fascinating and moving documentary about how an autistic boy learned to communicate through Disney films.
Biopic 2012 94 mins Director: Matthew Mishory
A sensuous and sexy snapshot from the life of James Dean, capturing moments from the years before his career took off.
Drama 1943 79 mins Director: Rodney Ackland
Sally Ann Howes plays the 12-year-old spotted by a casting director, setting her on the way to stardom.
Documentary 1996 71 mins Director: Andrea Weiss
Mapping how British film and TV depicts the gay and lesbian lifestyle, Andrea Weiss raids the archives for her funny and persuasive documentary.
Comedy 2018 90 mins Director: Jim Cummings
Following the death of his mother, an emotionally unstable cop sees his life slowly unravel in this extraordinary tragicomedy.
Drama 2018 101 mins Director: Tom Harper
This delightful and infectiously joyous film finds a young woman balancing her dreams of being a country music star with the responsibilities of motherhood.
Drama 2018 124 mins Director: Christiaan Olwagen
A Boy George-obsessed smalltown boy joins the South African Defence Force army choir, in this quirky Apartheid-era musical drama.
Comedy 1967 21 mins Director: Ian Fordyce
This incomplete episode features only the show’s opening and first sketch, plus a brief fragment of the lengthy ‘Judge Not’ sketch, with the remainder presented as audio-only or script.
Children's 1968 27 mins Director: Daphne Shadwell
This extended episode is an intriguing mixture of new material and newly shot reprises of sketches from the series.
Children's 1968 25 mins Director: Daphne Shadwell
Highlights in this episode include the terrific ‘Art Gallery’ sketch, with a Gumby-esque Terry Jones exhibited as a living art work.