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Hell Is a City
Punchy crime thriller with a realist streak as Stanley Baker pursues a fugitive through the streets of Manchester.
Police drama 1959 96 mins
Director: Val Guest
Stanley Baker stars as world weary DI Harry Martineau, taken to pounding the streets of Manchester in search of an escaped convict, while at the same time trying to avert his messy personal life from unravelling.
Produced by Hammer Films and directed by Val Guest, Hell is a City is an essential British crime film from the period, endowed with a fine cast of character actors from Donald Pleasance to Billie Whitelaw and Warren Mitchell. With its gritty characterisation of Martineau as a flawed and emotional man, and authentic location work that ranges from the mean streets of Manchester to the Yorkshire Moors, Hell is a City is a key work of British realism that also happens to be a gripping crime film.
Police drama 1959 113 mins Director: J. Lee Thompson
A young girl witnesses a murder, befriending the killer and shielding him from the police.
Medical drama 1947 87 mins Director: Sidney Gilliat
A series of murders at a wartime hospital are probed by an eccentric policeman.
Working Class Heroes
Crime 1997 101 mins Director: 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.
Drama 1975 121 mins Director: 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.
Drama 1947 88 mins Director: Robert Hamer
Austerity noir: Ealing's downbeat but compelling East End thriller.
Legal and Courtroom drama 1981 101 mins Director: Menelik Shabazz
Menelik Shabazz’s pioneering first feature traces the emotional and political growth of a young black couple in Thatcher’s London.
Drama 1978 72 mins Director: 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.
Drama 1973 55 mins Director: Bill Douglas
The second part of the revered Bill Douglas Trilogy follows Jamie as he ends up in a children’s home.
Featuring Stanley Baker
Drama 1953 21 mins Director: J.B. Williams
Stanley Baker enacts the classic Edgar Allan Poe story in this chilling short film, only recently rediscovered after being lost for 50 years.
Directed by Val Guest
Science Fiction 1961 100 mins Director: Val Guest
The BFI’s new HD remaster of the British sci-fi classic. A journalist discovers that the Earth has been knocked off its axis and is moving ever closer to the sun. Is the Earth doomed?
Period drama 1988 91 mins Director: Vincent Ward
A group of medieval English villagers find themselves transported to '80s New Zealand, in Vincent Ward's startling fusion of period fantasy and time-travel science fiction.
Documentary 2018 76 mins Director: Catherine Lurie
Riding on their steel steeds, eleven bikers expose their family pasts, as they power through eight countries from Tel Aviv to the infamous 1936 Berlin Olympic stadium, in this compelling and cathartic documentary.
Horror 1994 82 mins Director: Abel Ferrara
Lili Taylor and Christopher Walken star in Abel Ferrara's raw, intense and intelligent take on the vampire myth - selected for the Sight and Sound Greatest Films of All Time Poll by The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw.
Drama 2004 105 mins Director: Gregg Araki
Gregg Araki's provocative story of two boys haunted by disturbing events one summer when they were eight years old, adapted from Scott Heim's cult indie novel.
Romance 1976 98 mins Director: Brian De Palma
High melodrama, creeping insanity and barely contained delirium abound in this dizzying tribute to the high tension thrillers of Alfred Hitchcock from director Brian De Palma.
Drama 2016 99 mins Director: Icíar Bollaín
A spirited young woman embarks on a journey from the East coast of Spain to Germany in order to retrieve an ancient olive tree precious to her ailing grandfather.