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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- ‘Well, they asked me about it, and damn it, I didn’t know either…’ In the words of author Raymond Chandler, this is as close as we’ll ever get to figuring out just one of the many mysteries surrounding ‘The Big Sleep’, Howard Hawks’s iconic thrill...Read more
- Tough times and a changing world put pressure on a lower-middle-class family in mid-1950s Calcutta in Satyajit Ray’s 1963 film ‘The Big City’ – screening at BFI Southbank as part of a two-month Ray season. When bank clerk Subrata (Anil Chatterjee)...Read more
- Nick Ray understood character and psychological pressures better than almost any of his contemporaries, and The Lusty Men was one of his happiest breaks: sympathetic producers, a great cameraman (Lee Garmes, who shot Sternberg's Dietrich movies), ...Read more
- See ‘It Happened One Night’, and one half of you will want to give Frank Capra’s effervescent 1934 screwball road movie a big old hug. The other half will want to slap it around the chops, tell it to stand in the corner and think about what it has...Read more
- Despite being transplanted from the sado-masochistic gloom of the German '30s to the Swinging London of the '60s, this adaptation of Nabokov's teasingly perverse variation on the eternal triangle is not as bad as one might expect. It's shot as a s...Read more
- It’s more than 40 years since Ken Loach shot ‘Kes’ in South Yorkshire, taking in school and home life in an area where nature meets the mining industry on the skyline – and now the BFI is giving his most enduring film an extended run as part of ...Read more
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Average User Rating
4.7 / 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.