British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access

Books and Articles

This is a collection of some of key books and articles on British newsreels and cinemagazines.  The BUFVC publications can be ordered here.
A fuller bibliography that includes essays, newspaper articles, theses etc., is included under Abstracts.


Aldgate, Anthony, Cinema and History: British Newsreels and the Spanish Civil War (London: Scolar Press, 1979)
Detailed account of the workings of the British newsreels in the 1930s, in particular covering the Spanish Civil War, asking questions about objectivity, bias and the forming of public opinion.

Ballantyne, James (ed.), Researcher’s Guide to British Newsreels (London: British Universities Film & Video Council, 1983)
A guide to resources on British newsreels, with abstracts of articles and books, and lists of newsreel staff, libraries and organisations.

Ballantyne, James (ed.), Researcher’s Guide to British Newsreels Volume II (London: British Universities Film & Video Council, 1988)
A further guide to British newsreel sources, with updated information from the first volume, comments on newsreel staff records, more abstracts, and further information on newsreel information sources.

Ballantyne, James (ed.), Researcher’s Guide to British Newsreels Volume III (London: British Universities Film & Video Council, 1993)
Third volume in series, with more abstracts, articles by Ray Densham, Nicholas Hiley, Luke McKernan and John Turner, further comments on newsreel staff and other supplementary information.

British Newsreel Issue Sheets 1913-1970: the complete collection held by the Slade Film History Register reproduced on microfiche (London: Graphic Data Publishing/British Universities Film & Video Council, 1984)
An edition of 275 fiche reproducing all of the issue sheets for newsreels and cinemagazines in the Slade Film History Register.

Chambers, Ciara, Ireland in the Newsreels (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 2012)
The first comprehensive account of newsreel coverage of Ireland arguing that the newsreels reflected the development a ‘partitionist’ mentality for audiences in the north and south of the country

Crosby, Emily and Linda Kaye (eds.), Projecting Britain: The Guide to British Cinemagazines (London: British Universities Film & Video Council, 2008)
The first comprehensive guide to the cinemagazine including a directory of 130 series, six articles, original texts and a resources section.

Fielding, Raymond, The American Newsreel 1911-1971 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1972)
The standard history of the American newsreel, with some useful points about newsreels in general, including a general account of British newsreel production.

Fielding, Raymond, The March of Time, 1935-1951 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1978)
A history of the American news cinemagazine The March of Time, which ran a British edition. Includes details of general newsreel production as well.

Hammerton, Jenny, For Ladies Only? Eve’s Film Review: Pathe Cinemagazine 1921-1933 (Hastings: The Projection Box, 2001)
A lively history and analysis of the cinemagazine for women, Eve’s Film Review, produced by Pathe 1921-1933.

Jeavons, Clyde, Jane Mercer and Daniela Kirchner (eds.), The Story of the Century!: An International Newsfilm Conference (London: British Universities Film & Video Council, 1998)
The proceedings of a wide-ranging conference on newsreels and newsfilm, their history, significance, present use and archiving, held at the National Film Theatre in London in 1996.

Low, Rachael, Films of Comment and Persuasion of the 1930s (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1979)
Contains a detailed and informative (if somewhat negative) chapter on newsreel ownership, production and style during the 1930s.

McGlade, Fred, A History of the British Army Film & Photographic Unit in the Second World War (Helion & Company, 2011)
A history of the AFPU based on memoirs, personal letters and interviews with AFPU cameramen

McKernan, Luke, Topical Budget: The Great British News Film (London: British Film Institute, 1992)
A history of the 1911-1931 British newsreel Topical Budget, which was controlled by the War Office during the First World War.

McKernan, Luke (ed.), Yesterday’s News: The British Cinema Newsreel Reader (London: BUFVC, 2002)
A collection of over forty essays past and present on the British newsreels. Authors include Anthony Aldgate, Graham Greene, C.A. Lejeune, Philip Norman, J.B. Priestley and Nicholas Pronay.

Mitchell, Leslie, Leslie Mitchell Reporting… (London: Hutchinson, 1981)
Autobiography of the BBC television and radio announcer and commentator for British Movietone News.

Noble, Ronnie, Shoot First! Assignments of a Newsreel Cameraman (London: George G. Harrap, 1955)
Thoughtful autobiography from Universal News and Television Newsreel cameraman Ronnie Noble, including his filming of World War II and the Korean War.

Pronay, Nicholas and D.W. Spring (eds.), Propaganda, Politics and Film, 1918-1945 (London: Macmillan, 1982)
Collection of essays predominantly on British political and propagandist films 1918-1945, with numerous references to the newsreels.

Reeves, Nicholas, Official British Film Propaganda During the First World War (London: Croom Helm, 1986)
Includes an account of the War Office Official Topical Budget, the British propaganda newsreel operated by the War Office and the Ministry of Information 1917-1918.

Richards, Jeffrey and Dorothy Sheridan (eds). Mass-Observation at the Movies (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1987)
Includes a section on the Mass-Observation reports on newsreels and their reception in Britain during the Second World War, with a selection of texts from the original documents and an interview with cameraman Ken Gordon.

Russell, Patrick and James Piers Taylor (eds). Mass-Observation at the Movies (London: Palgrave Macmilla, 2010)

Collection of essays on the British documentary movement

Short, K.R.M. and Stephan Dolezel (eds.), Hitler’s Fall: The Newsreel Witness (London: Croom Helm, 1988)
Comparative study of the newsreel record of the final days of the Third Reich, from British, German, Soviet, American, Polish and Swiss perspectives.

Smales, Nigel, When You’re A Smiler (Words by Design, 2012)
An engaging biography of the cameraman Eddie ‘Smiler’ Smales by his son. He was one of the earliest recruits to the British Army Film and Photographic Unit, covering the conflict at Alamein and later in Europe.

Smith, Paul (ed.), The Historian and Film (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1976)
A collection of essays considering different aspects of the use of film as historical evidence, with numerous references to newsreels, including Nicholas Pronay’s essay, ‘The newsreels: the illusion of actuality’.

Smither, Roger and Wolfgang Klaue (eds.), Newsreels in Film Archives: A Survey Based on the FIAF Newsreel Symposium (Trowbridge: Flicks Books, 1996)
Proceedings of a symposium on the history and preservation of newsreels held by the International Federation of Film Archives.

Turner, John, Filming History: The Memoirs of John Turner, Newsreel Cameraman
(London: British Universities Film & Video Council, 2001)
Detailed memoirs of John Turner, who was a Gaumont-British News cameraman in the 1930s-1950s, including serving as the royal rota cameraman, and news editor for Pathe News in the 1960s.

Wyand, Paul, Useless if Delayed (London: George G. Harrap, 1959)
Very entertaining and informative autobiography by British Movietone News cameraman Paul Wyand.


Borsay, Anne. 2012. ‘“Fit to Work”: The Talygarn Rehabilitation Centre’. Llafur 11 (2): 154–56.

Informative discussion of this story which formed part of issue 14 of the wartime cinemagazine Worker and Warfront.

Soffer, Oren, and Tamar Liebes. ‘Good News: The Carmel Newsreels and Their Place in the Emerging Israeli Language Media’. Israel Affairs 21, no. 1 (2015): 98–111.