The Great Victorian Moving Picture Show

Dir: Various

United Kingdom (UK)




“The quality and clarity of these new restorations is extraordinary. They offer an immediacy and connection with the Victorian period that I have never felt before. You almost feel as if you can reach out and touch the past.”

120 years in the making… we’re delighted to bring you an exclusive first look at some of Britain’s earliest films at our Archive Screening Day! Selected for the BFI London Film Festival 2018’s prestigious Archive Gala, these 700+ Victorian films have been beautifully restored and newly digitised from the 68mm original nitrate prints by the BFI National Archive. You won’t believe your eyes at the sheer clarity, scale and spectacle of these rare surviving fragments of our history, presented for the first time in over 120 years.

Each film only a minute or so long, these stories of London at the end of Victoria’s long reign were filmed in 1897-1901 and originally screened in the capital’s great West End Theatres. With an eclectic and fantastic array of subjects – from gorgeous panoramic vistas to dizzying ‘phantom rides’ and the pomp of royal pageantry; from the bustle of the Victorian street to genuine dispatches from the Boer War – they demonstrate the incredible scope of their filmmakers’ technical ambitions and their avid curiosity in the world opening up around them. Casting the Victorians in a whole new light, they transport you into the past.

The restoration of the films in this programme was supported by the Eric Anker-Petersen Charity, with additional support from the Michael Marks Charitable Trust and the John S Cohen Foundation. 

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