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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.
Green for Danger
Medical drama 1947 87 mins Director: Sidney Gilliat
A series of murders at a wartime hospital are probed by an eccentric policeman.
Comedy 1917 26 mins Silent Director: Charles Chaplin
The Little Tramp decides to start anew and train as a police officer; what could possibly go wrong when he’s posted on the beat in ‘Easy Street’.
High and Low
Crime 1963 143 mins Director: Akira Kurosawa
Akira Kurosawa’s procedural crime masterpiece, from Ed McBain’s gritty novel, follows an industrialist who faces an agonising choice as a result of a botched kidnapping by ruthless criminals.
Crime 1949 122 mins Director: Akira Kurosawa
Akira Kurosawa’s masterful mix of film noir and police thriller set on the sweltering mean streets of occupied Tokyo.
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.
It Always Rains on Sunday
Drama 1947 88 mins Director: Robert Hamer
Austerity noir: Ealing's downbeat but compelling East End thriller.
Burning an Illusion
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.
My Way Home
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.
My Ain Folk
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
The Tell-Tale Heart
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
The Day the Earth Caught Fire
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?
Drama 1969 112 mins Director: Vittorio De Sica
Sophia Loren searches for the husband she lost at the Russian Front (Marcello Mastroianni) in this sweeping romance epic with echoes of Doctor Zhivago.
Period drama 1976 130 mins Director: Luchino Visconti
Luchino Visconti's final film is a brilliant and disturbing drama set against the opulent backdrop of decadent, late 19th-century aristocracy.
War 1960 100 mins Director: Vittorio De Sica
Sophia Loren won an Oscar® for her performance as a mother trying to protect her daughter in wartime Italy, in Vittorio De Sica's neorealist classic.
Drama 1960 137 mins Director: Michelangelo Antonioni
Antonioni’s masterpiece of modern alienation, with Monica Vitti as the young woman searching for her friend who's inexplicably disappeared.
La Dolce Vita
Drama 1960 175 mins Director: Federico Fellini
Federico Fellini’s masterpiece depicting seven hedonistic days in the life of a tabloid journalist (Marcello Mastroianni) as he searches for the sweet life.
The Battle of Algiers
Drama 1966 121 mins Director: Gillo Pontecorvo
Gillo Pontecorvo’s masterpiece about the last years of French colonial rule in Algeria, seen from the perspective of both the revolutionaries and the French authorities.