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Woodfall: A Revolution in British Cinema

April 2018

We pay tribute to the films that revolutionised British cinema.

Introduction by co-programmer Danny Leigh

Woodfall: A Revolution in British Cinema


“[Tony Richardson] was the first to show England as it was, from top to bottom”
Vanessa Redgrave

As the 1960s beckoned, a new mood swept through Britain. With anger mounting at an out-of-touch establishment, the era was reflected on screen by the rise of Woodfall Films. Founded in 1958 by director Tony Richardson, writer John Osborne and producer Harry Saltzman, the company pioneered the British New Wave, defining an incendiary brand of social realism. In films like Look Back in Anger and Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, working-class life was spotlit with unheard-of honesty. The same risk-taking spirit led the company to find a new generation of brilliant young actors to star in their films, including Albert Finney, Tom Courtenay and Rita Tushingham. Films like Tom Jones then expanded the Woodfall slate in an irreverent, colourful direction that helped define swinging London – further securing their extraordinary chapter in the history of British film.


See our screenings of Look Back in Anger, our Working Class Heroes events, Future Film recommends, and a free collections focus in the BFI Reuben Library.

The Woodfall Films Collection, an eight-disc box set available on Blu-ray and DVD, is released by the BFI on Monday 28 May.


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