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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- Tony Scott obviously buys into the old Orson Welles adage about cinema being ‘the biggest electric train set a boy ever had’. He follows his ‘Taking of Pelham 1 2 3’ remake with this much better action flick showcasing an even bigger hunk of rolli...Read more
- In the beginning... actually, we have here two beginnings. Back in the mists, out of the blue, according to Maori tradition, the tribal founder Paikea rode to shore on the back of a whale. For a thousand years, his male heirs have succeeded him as...Read more
- A sex scandal is about to break around the President, threatening to derail his re-election bandwagon less than two weeks before polling day. Veteran Conrad Brean (De Niro) quickly formulates a rescue policy: to deflect public attention, the US wi...Read more
- In the opening credits of this 1948 old-Hollywood classic, the legendary German director’s name is Americanised as ‘Max Opuls’. Somehow it’s appropriate, because from its painstakingly designed interiors to its sweeping, fluid camerawork, from its...Read more
- Jean-Paul Belmondo mooches up to Samuel Fuller at a cocktail party and, naturally, asks him his thoughts on cinema. Fuller replies: ‘Film is like a battleground. Love. Hate. Action. Violence. Death. In one word: Emotions.’ His succinct and, let’s ...Read more
- If the point-blank treatment of old age and mortality in this year’s French arthouse hit ‘Amour’ makes you nervous, here’s the cuddly British version – with songs. ‘Quartet’ has been adapted by screenwriter Ronald Harwood (‘The Pianist’) from his ...Read more
- A supremely intelligent and convincing adaptation of Ira Levin's Satanist thriller. About a woman who believes herself impregnated by the Devil (in the guise of her husband), its main strength comes from Polanski's refusal to simplify matters: amb...Read more
- Fortunately the story of an alternative future is realised with such visual imagination and sparky humour that it's only half way through that the plot's weaknesses become apparent. Like 1984, it looks forward from the '40s to a vast urban society...Read more
- It’s quite fitting that the central character of ‘Rebecca’ (Joan Fontaine) goes unnamed. When we first meet her, in Monte Carlo, she’s under the thumb of the grotesque Mrs Van Hopper (Florence Bates), a domineering pheasant of a woman who spends h...Read more
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Average User Rating
4.8 / 5
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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.