British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access

British Council films online

Who We Were
The British Council Film Collection Unveiled

This evening at BFI Southbank a new collection of British Council films is being launched with an evening of reminiscence, debate and entertainment hosted by BBC Radio 4’s Francine Stock. To book, visit the BFI website:

During the 1940s, the British Council was an enthusiastic commissioner of documentary films designed to promote an idea of Britain and ‘Britishness’. Over 125 films were produced as ‘cultural propaganda’ to counteract anything the Nazis might throw out and to refute the idea that ours was a country stuck in the past. The films were seen by millions of viewers in far-flung locations until the late 60s when they largely fell out of sight.

Some 80 of the films are now available to view, for streaming and download, from the new British Council Film website. They can be searched by title, year, theme (including Sport, Leisure, Industry, Science, Education) and by series. They include films on Shakespeare and TechniColor spectacles devoted to Kew Gardens, Snowdonia and the Outer Hebrides as well as shorts made by such acclaimed British folmmakers as Ken Annakin, Mary Field, Philip Leacock and Jack Cardiff.

To access the collection as well as essays and case studies devoted to individual films and the series, click here.

For information about this and other simialr resources, visit the BUFVC’s Moving Image Gateway and the BUFVC Shakespeare database at:

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