"The longest unsponsored advertisement ever to reach cinema screens", reckoned producer Monja Danischewski. Maybe so, but Alexander Mackendrick's debut feature is much more than that. This comic account of a real-life event pitches a priggish English army captain against the remorseless guile of an islandful of thirsty Scots defending a cache of shipwrecked whisky, and helped make ‘Ealing Comedy’ one of British cinema’s most enduring brands. It's a film of boundless mischief, and it marked Mackendrick from the start as the most complex and subtle of Ealing's directors.
The SS Politician, whose real-life shipwreck (while carrying nearly 30,000 cases of finest malt) inspired Compton Bennett's source novel, went down off the coast of Eriskay in the Hebrides. The film itself was shot on Barra - a short but sometimes treacherous boat journey away - with many islanders among the extras.
Drama 2019 106 mins Director: Philippa Lowthorpe
Keira Knightley and Gugu Mbatha-Raw star in this inspirational story about the infamous 1970 Miss World contest.
Fantasy 2017 133 mins Director: Terry Gilliam
Two decades in the making, Terry Gilliam’s wildly imaginative Cervantes adaptation is finally with us, and it’s everything we have come to expect from this visionary filmmaker.
Romance 2020 81 mins Director: Rachel Hirons
Alexandra Roach (Utopia) and George MacKay (1917) play a couple hopelessly navigating the world of millennial dating, in Rachel Hirons’ distinctly filthy and cringe-heavy comedy.
Comedy 1954 94 mins Director: John Huston
Humphrey Bogart stars in this classic adventure comedy directed by John Huston and written by Truman Capote.
Comedy 2019 115 mins Director: Nicolas Bedos
Daniel Auteuil’s illustrator is given the chance to visit a different era to re-evaluate his life in this resplendent slice of Westworld-style speculative fiction.
Comedy 2019 97 mins Director: Michael Schwartz
Effortlessly charming buddy movie about a young man with Down's syndrome (Zack Gottsagen) in pursuit of his dreams, with Shia LaBeouf.
Drama 1982 181 mins Director: Ingmar Bergman
Bergman’s magisterial and sumptuous portrait of a 20th-century Swedish family.
Comedy 2008 237 mins Director: Sion Sono
Japanese cinema's enfant terrible, Sion Sono, unleashes this demented, whirlwind tale of cults, love, violence and perversion.
Drama 2008 96 mins Director: Bernard Rose
Bernard Rose updates Tolstoy's tale about the corrupting power of sex and jealousy, with Danny Huston as the wealthy husband of a beautiful, famous pianist (Elisabeth Röhm).
Documentary 2018 73 mins Director: Sean McAllister
Acclaimed filmmaker Sean McAllister (A Syrian Love Story) returns to his hometown of Hull to profile local resident Steve Arnott, a struggling warehouse worker who harbours his own creative dream of breaking into hip-hop.
Drama 1961 122 mins Director: Michelangelo Antonioni
Michelangelo Antonioni's masterpiece stars Marcello Mastroianni and Jeanne Moreau as a couple re-examining their emotional bonds.
Comedy 1932 72 mins Director: James Whale
A group of weary travellers arrive at a spooky mansion with a madman on the loose, in this classic horror-comedy from James Whale (Bride of Frankenstein)
Featuring Finlay Currie
Thriller 1948 95 mins Director: John Paddy Carstairs
The Orient Express plays host to a plot involving adultery, espionage, robbery and murder in this fine British thriller.
Thriller 1933 91 mins Director: Walter Forde
A star-studded international cast boards the Paris-Rome express for this lavish comedy-thriller from Gainsborough Pictures.
War 1943 82 mins Director: Lawrence Huntington
Nazi agents are pitted against a gang of plucky Brits in this exciting comedy-thriller set in a country house where danger awaits a visiting VIP.
Drama 1937 75 mins Director: Michael Powell
Michael Powell's daring, windswept story of the inhabitants of a remote island who find their way of life threatened by a rapidly industrialising world.
Featuring Basil Radford
War 1943 103 mins Director: Frank Launder
The finest example of British wartime fictional propaganda follows a group of women who take on factory work to support the war effort.
War 1946 100 mins Director: Basil Dearden
A realistic recreation of life as a prisoner of war in Germany lends credence to this moving account of wartime survival against the odds.
Directed by Alexander Mackendrick
Drama 1952 93 mins Director: Alexander Mackendrick
Alexander Mackendrick's drama about a deaf girl and her unstable family life is remarkably unsentimental while still packing an emotional punch.
Comedy 1954 92 mins Director: Alexander Mackendrick
A wily old tugboat skipper outfoxes a wealthy American businessman in Alexander Mackendrick's underrated Ealing comedy
Anthology 2020 122 mins Director: Various
The first part of a new and urgent anthology of short films offering a unique snapshot of the UK in 2020.
Anthology 2020 113 mins
Ten more films from The Uncertain Kingdom, a collection of new short films offering a unique portrait of our nation today.
Drama 2019 132 mins Director: Bong Joon Ho
Bong Joon Ho's Oscar®-winning box-office sensation is a darkly comic, twisty rollercoaster ride.
Drama 2019 136 mins Director: Trey Edward Shults
Trey Edward Shults (It Comes at Night) continues to impress with one of the year's most dazzling cinematic achievements, a study of a family's dramatic unravelling and redemption.
Drama 2018 76 mins Director: Scott Graham
Mark Stanley plays the petrol-head who never left town, in this Bruce Springsteen-inspired tale of thwarted dreamers.
Drama 2019 105 mins Director: Jukka-Pekka Valkeapää
In this playful, dark comedy a dominatrix offers a widower an unexpected chance for sexual and psychological release.