Working Class Heroes
A collection of films lit up by the charisma of working-class stars; a celebration of fine actors and remarkable leading roles.
In Britain (for a time at least) film stars came from comprehensives and council houses. The story begins in the socially mobile 1960s as young working-class talent exploded through music, fashion and film. Through the 80s and 90s a new mood saw a series of inventive British films built around working-class faces, while 21st-century British cinema spotlit the junction of race and class. This season brings together the bold, powerful and provocative films that can be made when working-class stars have the chance to shine.
Comedy196398 minsSilentDirector: John Schlesinger
Tom Courtenay is the clerk whose overactive fantasies compensate for a dull provincial life, in this classic film from the British New Wave.
Drama201496 minsDirector: Bryn Higgins
Agyness Deyn stars in a powerful story seen through the eyes of a young woman whose epilepsy brings extraordinary hallucinations.
Drama2014105 minsDirector: Debbie Tucker Green
What if an immaculate conception took place in a South London household? Idris Elba stars in a subtle, thought-provoking and original family drama.
Thriller2006110 minsDirector: Andrea Arnold
Andrea Arnold’s highly acclaimed film, winner of top prizes at Cannes and the BFI London Film Festival, is a haunting drama about a woman confronting past demons.
Biopic201090 minsDirector: Clio Barnard
Clio Barnard's film about Bradford playwright Andrea Dunbar mixes reconstruction, interviews (performed by actors) and scenes from the plays.
Legal and Courtroom drama1981101 minsDirector: Menelik Shabazz
Menelik Shabazz’s pioneering first feature traces the emotional and political growth of a young black couple in Thatcher’s London.
Police drama195996 minsDirector: Val Guest
Punchy crime thriller with a realist streak as Stanley Baker pursues a fugitive through the streets of Manchester.
Drama200790 minsDirector: Duane Hopkins
Duane Hopkins’ stunning debut tells a sombre story with startling beauty, as it follows the stories of various addicts in a West Midlands town.
Drama201290 minsDirector: Kieran Evans
In modern Liverpool, a couple meet and begin a transgressive, sexually charged affair set against a background of crime and encroaching danger.
Documentary2015105 minsDirector: Ondi Timoner
Russell Brand ponders his political awakening and messianic tendencies in Ondi Timoner’s perceptive and very funny documentary.
Drama2012107 minsDirector: Sally El Hosaini
Sally El Hosaini's feature debut tells of the love and disenchantment of two British-Egyptian brothers. Gangs, drugs and sexuality come between them
Drama1975121 minsDirector: Horace Ové
Hailed as Britain's first black feature film, Pressure is a hard-hitting, honest document of the plight of disenchanted black youths in 1970s London.
Musical1977108 minsDirector: Joseph Despins
The Moon Over the Alley is a bizarre and compelling musical exploring the problems of multicultural Notting Hill residents in the early 1970s.
Drama196987 minsDirector: Barney Platts-Mills
A fascinating record of 1960s suedehead youth culture which is largely improvised by a non-professional cast of teenagers from east London
Drama196898 minsDirector: Pier Paolo Pasolini
Pasolini’s classic about a handsome, enigmatic stranger (Terence Stamp) who arrives at a bourgeois household and seduces an entire family.
Biopic198884 minsDirector: Terence Davies
Terence Davies' debut feature is a remarkable evocation of working-class family life in the 40s and 50s and a visionary exploration of memory.
Drama197646 minsDirector: Terence Davies
The first part of Terence Davies' formidable Trilogy explores the effects of violence on a Liverpool schoolboy, told in a series of flashbacks.
Drama198028 minsDirector: Terence Davies
Autobiography as art: the centrepiece of Terence Davies' devastating Liverpool-set Trilogy focuses on his fictional alter-ego in middle age.
Drama198326 minsDirector: Terence Davies
The Terence Davies Trilogy reaches its astonishing climax as tortured Liverpool clerk Robert Tucker prepares to meet his maker.
Drama197246 minsDirector: Bill Douglas
The first part of Bill Douglas’ poetic and profoundly stirring autobiographical trilogy, about an eight-year-old boy growing up in a Scottish mining village in 1945.
Drama197872 minsDirector: Bill Douglas
Concluding his acclaimed Trilogy, Bill Douglas’ autobiographical film follows young Jamie as he’s conscripted in the RAF and finally feels at home.
Crime1997101 minsDirector: Antonia Bird
Robert Carlyle and Ray Winstone are members of a criminal gang that tears itself apart after a heist goes wrong, in Antonia Bird’s stylish thriller.