Formerly the National Film Theatre, this much-loved four-screen venue on the South Bank in Waterloo became the BFI Southbank in 2007. For film lovers who know their Kubrick from their Kurosawa, this is London's best cinema. Certainly, it's the city’s foremost cinema for director retrospectives and seasons programmed to showcase international work or films of specific genres or themes. It’s the flagship venue of the British Film Institute and plays home each year to the BFI’s London Film Festival and to the BFI’s seasons, such as 2014’s celebration of sci-fi. BFI Southbank also regularly hosts Q&As with some of the world’s leading filmmakers. The venue itself is a hot spot, with two bar-restaurants (one overlooking the river, nestled under Waterloo Bridge), a bookshop (good for DVDs too) and a library.
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- Kitsch is most enjoyable when it doesn’t know it’s kitsch. Everyone involved in ‘Shutter Island’ – most obviously director Martin Scorsese and star Leonardo DiCaprio – seem to be taking this berserk, meandering story absolutely seriously, which on...Read more
- Jean Gabin emerges from the fog like a ghost, 20 kilometres from Le Havre, for this moody, 1938 poetic realist fable from Marcel Carné with a ruminating, existential script by Jacques Prévert. Gabin is Jean, an army deserter, full of mystery and k...Read more
- Postwar east London is a place of doomed dreams, cheeky chancers and youthful attitude in 1947’s punchy and poignant ‘It Always Rains on Sunday’, which is being re-released at BFI Southbank as part of a two-month season to celebrate Ealing Studios...Read more
- ‘This is the story of my first love, growing up on the banks of a river’, young English writer Harriet (Patricia Walters) narrates as she starts her recollection of a childhood on the Ganges delta during the last gasp of the Raj. It could have hap...Read more
- Look into Ivor Novello’s haunted, kohl-rimmed eyes in Hitch’s most overtly Hitchcockian silent film – his first of many ‘wrong man’ mysteries – and you can see generations of matinee idols coming full circle. Willowy and wounded-looking, Novello ...Read more
- The director. The subject matter. The epic running time. All the signs pointed to real-life stock-market story ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ being classic, old-school Martin Scorsese: drugs, swearing, big speeches, bigger performances, a spot of socia...Read more
Average User Rating
4.7 / 5
- 5 star:12
- 4 star:2
- 3 star:1
- 2 star:0
- 1 star:0
Absolute love the BFI - events, movies, the place is always buzzing, has a convenient scooter parking and a great program as well as a great location
Wonderful place, I found the seats extremely comfortable but verything is expensive (food, drink, merchandise) except the cinema ticket price but what a great atmosphere and comfortable seating area. Worth considering membership at £40 pa for priority booking, discounts on tickets, food, drink & merchandise.
There's simply no rival in London if you're looking for a cinema that specialises in retrospectives and special seasons on directors or themed work or work from a particular country. Their special events (Q&As etc) are strong, and the venue has massively improved in recent years in terms of being a place to eat and drink before or after a film. Many people now simply use it as a place to hang out without even seeing a film.
The home of London cinema. It is a place where you can feel part of a community of film lovers, young and old, rich and poor, of every background. There is no bigger thrill than seeing your cinematic icons where they belong: on the big screen in front of a packed house. Seeing 'It's a Wonderful Life' at the BFI should be a London rite-of-passage.