British Universities Film & Video Council

moving image and sound, knowledge and access

Videos and DVDs

Below is a list of newsreel and cinemagazine videotapes and DVDs currently available, with links to online video stores where applicable.


Historical Time Travel – Wartime Newsreels

Features newsreel clips which offer an insight into the turbulent post-war era. DVD (region 2), two discs, 148 mins. Available from Sendit.

Land of Promise: The British Documentary Movement 1930-1950

This major retrospective of documentary film-making from the BFI, features 40 films over four DVDs and includes two cinemagazines: Britain Can Make It and Mining Review.

DVD (region 2), 720 mins. Available from the bfi

Look At Life: British Cold War Jets

A compilation of nine editions of the Rank cinemagazine Look at Life featuring military aviation footage from Lightnings, Vulcans and Victors, Scimitars, Sea Vixens, Gannets and Buccaneers.

DVD (region 2), 84 mins.

Look At Life: Swinging London


DVD (region 2), 124 mins. Available from Amazon

Roundabout Volume 1

Examples from the Central Office of Information’s 1960s cinemagazine Roundabout, designed for exhibition overseas to promote the British way of life.

DVD (region 2), 56 mins. Available from MovieMail.

International Historic Films is an American firm with a wide range of newsreel-related videos available through its website, on VHS PAL and NTSC. They include compilations of British, America and German (Deutsche Wochenschau) newsreels for the two world wars, as well as the World War II documentary on British newsreel cameramen, CAMERAMEN AT WAR.

These titles are now deleted but may be found second-hand through some online sellers:

British Movietone News – Vol. 1 – Major Disasters

British Movietone News – Vol. 2 – Great Events

British Movietone News – Vol. 3 – Triumph Of Flight

British Movietone News – Vol. 4 – Early Cup Finals 1932 – 1950

British Movietone News – Vol. 5 – Animal Classics

British Movietone News – Vol. 6 – Challenge Of The Sea

British Movietone News – Vol. 7 – Motoring And Racing 1929 – 1979

British Movietone News – Vol. 8 – Fashion And Beauty

British Movietone News – Vol. 9 – Horse Race Greats

British Movietone News – Vol. 10 – Cup Finals 1951-1963

British Movietone News – World War II – The Complete History [five discs]

A Year to Remember [Pathe series of annual compilations, 1924-1995]

Titles available for hire or sale from the BUFVC

Archive series

Produced by the InterUniversity History Film Consortium, the programmes of this series are compilations of complete newsreel stories on an individual subject without added voice-over commentary. The booklet accompanying each programme describes the newsreel stories and their historical significance. Restricted use; for use only in purchasing educational institution.

1: Neville Chamberlain

Eight newsreel stories featuring Neville Chamberlain, from the 1930s, with identifying titles. Chamberlain comments on the Labour Budget, 1931; explains Tariff Bill, 1932; expounds 1936 budget; on national health and the aspirations of the people; special newsreel issue after Munich, 1938; on appeasement, 1938; on dangers of war, June 1939; as war leader, Mansion House speech, January 1940.

b/w. 27 mins

2: The Origins of the Cold War

A selection of unedited British newsreel stories on the theme of the cold war.

b/w. 28 mins

3: Stanley Baldwin

A selection of the major newsreel and Conservative Party Film Unit productions in which Stanley Baldwin appeared between 1925 and 1935.

b/w. 45 mins

4: Our Great Ally France 1938-1940

Takes as its theme the question of how France was treated in the newsreels as an ally of Great Britain; during the last year of peace and the first year of World War II, as a potential, then an actual, and finally a failed ally.

b/w. 35 mins

5: The Korean War 1950-1953

Uses contemporary newsreel footage with original commentary and soundtrack, but without any additional commentary, to show the British newsreels’ coverage of the Korean war, illustrating its political complexity.

b/w. 55 mins

6: Images of America 1937-1939

Illustrates the various ways in which British newsreels on the eve of World War 2 presented propaganda concerning the USA’s international role.

b/w. 29 mins

7: The Labour Party 1918-1945

Illustrates key moments in the Labour Party’s history between 1918 and 1945 and explores the impact of a visual medium on the presentation of politics to a mass audience.

b/w. 33 mins

British Universities Historical Studies in Film series

A series of films produced by the InterUniversity History Film Consortium. Each programme is compiled with voice-over commentaries written by historians and is accompanied by a booklet of teaching notes. Restricted use; for use only in purchasing educational institution.

1: The Munich Crisis

The events leading up to and resulting from the Munich Agreement, from the Versailles peace treaty and the rise of Hitler to the Munich crisis itself. b/w. 60 mins

2: The end of illusions: from Munich to Dunkirk

Deals with developments after Munich which led to a change of British policy relating to Germany, and resulting in the outbreak of war.

b/w. 50 mins

3: The Spanish Civil War

The course and major events of the Spanish civil war including the Generals’ Revolt in July 1936, relief of the Alcazar in Toledo, defence of Madrid, collapse of the Republic in the north, Franco’s Aragon offensive, the fall of Catalonia and the end of the war.

b/w. 50 mins

4: The Winter War in its European context

Deals with the character of Soviet-Finnish relations after the Second World War in comparison with other European neighbours of the Soviet Union, and examines the Winter War of 1939-40.

b/w. 55 mins

5: The Great Depression

Examines the slump of the 1930s and its social consequences, within the context of general political and cultural change.

b/w. 50 mins

6: Fascism

Describes the intellectual, political and economic origins of fascism and the courses of fascism in power in Europe between 1918 and 1945.

b/w. 50 mins

7: A Call to Arms: Propaganda and Rearmament in the 1930s

Examines the selling of rearmament in Britain prior to the advent of World War 2.

b/w. 55 mins

8: Images of the Soviet Union at War 1941-1945

Explores the role played by the British newsreels in creating and reflecting the growth of pro-Russian feeling in Britain during the Second World War.

b/w. 55 mins

Films for hire

Before Hindsight

An examination of the attitudes expressed by the non-fiction British cinema of the 1930s towards the events that led to World War 2, based on research into all the available material for the years 1931-1939 from the newsreel archives.

16mm. sd. b/w/col. 81 mins. Available from BFI Film Bookings

35mm and 16mm prints of newsreels and cinemagazines relating to the First and Second World Wars are available for hire from the Imperial War Museum. For further details, see their catalogue.