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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- Made by the director of The Nightmare Before Christmas, this has an enchanting, at times ghoulish, appeal. An adaptation of Roald Dahl's classic story, Selick's film may not have made any spectacular technical advance on his previous work (the ani...Read more
- An everyday story of Mafia folk, incorporating a severed horse's head in the bed and a number of heartwarming family occasions, as well as pointers on how not to behave in your local trattoria (i.e. blasting the brains of your co-diners out all ov...Read more
- All of Stanley Kubrick’s films – be it ‘The Killing’ or ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ – demand to be seen on a big screen. They’re about people trapped in huge, indifferent machines gone wrong, from a heist plot to a spaceship, and only the huge indifference o...Read more
- British filmmaking icon Ken Loach was still calling himself Kenneth when he shot this heartbreaking drama depicting the tough flipside of swinging ’60s London. Carol White is Joy, a battered wife and mother who gets a new lease of life when her hu...Read more
- A movie that simply wouldn’t work without the mystical, almost elemental presence of its leading man, Harry Dean Stanton (who recently died at age 91), ‘Lucky’ now feels like the last will and testament of a ghost. For decades, Stanton meandered o...Read more
- French villagers got a surprise when legendary director Agnès Varda, then 88, paid them a visit along with her new friend, the edgy 33-year-old artist known as ‘JR’. The pair took photos of local characters, blew them up and hung huge murals on lo...Read more
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Average User Rating
4.7 / 5
- 5 star:15
- 4 star:2
- 3 star:2
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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
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.