East London in Film (1955-2012)

This is a list I am compiling of films and filmmakers making works relating to, featuring or set in East London, made from 1955-2012.  The list is very much a work in progress, so do get in touch if you have other films which should be added to this. It would be very much appreciated. 

**Searching for amateur and independent film footage of East London in this period. If you have such footage, I’d like to hear from you. If it’s still on film I can help digitalise it and make it available**


AMATEUR FOOTAGE, Bethnal Green Market (1950s), [KinoLibrary Archive]

Walter Lassally, Bow Bells (1954)

Sir Carol Reed, A Kid for Two Farthings (1955)

Mark Robson, A Prize of Gold (1955) [Section filmed in Mill Yard, Cable Street, by Wilton’s Music Hall and Shadwell]

Lorenza Mazzetti, Together (1956)

BBC Archive Footage, Keeling House Topping Out (1956)

Amateur Footage, Spring in Hackney. London’s Screen Archives (1956)

Amateur documentary film, Oxford House (1956)

Stephen Hearst, BBC, The More We Are Together (1958)

Tony Richardson, Don’t Look Back in Anger (1959) [Set in Derby, but shot predominantly in Deptford and Dalston]

Robert Vas, Refuge England (1959)

—————–, The Vanishing Street (1962)

—————–, Belonging (1967) [BBC documentary]

Robert S. Baker and Monty Berman, Jack the Ripper (1959)

———————————————, The Siege of Sidney Street (1960)

Pathe Newsreel, Poplar Boys Club (1960)

Joan Littlewood, Sparrers Can’t Sing (1962)

Ken Hughes, The Small World of Sammy Lee (1963)

Clive Donner, The Guest (1963)

The Caretaker, by Harold Pinter in film. Made in Downs Road, Hackney, and Upper Clapton. (1963)

Basil Dearden, A Place to Go (1963)

Pathe Newsreel, Pearly King Crowned (1963) – at the Kings Head, Hoxton

Michael Orrom, Portrait of Queenie (1964) [Produced by Harold Orton, Photography  by Peter Hennessy, Music by Mike McKenzie, Beverley Mills, Ivan Pattison and Queenie Watts]

Robert Stevenson, Mary Poppins (1964)

James Hill, A Study in Terror (1965)

Don Sharp, The Face of Fu Manchu (1965)

—————, The Brides of Fu Manchu (1966)

Lewis Gilbert, Alfie (1966) [section around Tower Hill, and Tower Bridge]

Robert Hartford-Davis, The Sandwich Man (1966)

James Clavell, To Sir, With Love (1967)

Norman Cohen and Douglas Hickox, The London Nobody Knows (1967)

GLC Documentary, Somewhere Decent to Live (1967) – available through the London Met Archives

BBC Documentary, Anti-University in London (1968)

BBC, ‘One Pair of Eyes: Georgia Brown. Who are the Cockneys Now? (1968)

Barney Platts-Mills, Bronco Bullfrog (1969)

AMATEUR FOOTAGE, Early 1970s London (1970s) [Kino Library Archive],

Smithfield Meat Market Eric Till, The Walking Stick (1970) [apartment in Poplar]

Peter Sasdy, Hands of the Ripper (1971)

Roy Ward Baker, Dr Jekyll and Sister Hyde (1971)

Ivor Dunkerton, Man Alive: Vince, Paul, Lawrence and Richard (1971) [BBC Documentary, part of the Man Alive series]

Jenny Barraclough, Alright we’ll do it ourselves (1972) [BBC Documentary, part of the Man Alive series] [With thanks to Simon Rose]

—————————-, Our School (1975) [BBC Documentary, part of the Man Alive series] [With thanks to Simon Rose]

Sir Carol Reed, Follow Me! (1972) [released in US as ‘The Public Eye’]

SPACE Studios, The Space Story (1972)

BBC News Archive, Whitechapel Letterbomb (1972)

Geoffrey Sun, Oxford House (1972) [Footage of Oxford House and Bethnal Green]

Lindsay Anderson, O Lucky Man! (1973)

Tunde Ikoli and Maggie Pinhorn, Tunde’s Film (1973), BBC Documentary

Hackney Food Co-op (1973) [with thanks to Chris Dorley-Brown]

BBC News Archive, Tibbs Family Imprisoned (1973) [with thanks to Chris Dorley-Brown]

William Raban, Angles of Incidence (1973)

——————–, Time Stepping (1974)

——————–, Sunset Strips (1975)

——————–, Moonshine (1975)

——————–, Autumn Scenes (1978)

——————–, Thames Film (1986)

——————–, Sundial (1992)

——————–, A13 (1994)

——————–, Island Race (1994)

——————–, Firestation (2000)

——————–,MM (2002)

——————–, About Now MMX (2010)

——————–. Time and the Wave (2013)

——————–, 72-82 (2014)

Roger Buck. Fly a Flag for Poplar (1974)

State of Wapping, BBC 2 Community Unit ‘Open Door Programme’ (1974)

David Furnham, Noted Pie and Eel Houses (1975), made for TV

John Goldsmidt, Just a Kid, ATV (broadcast 11.6.1976)

Jésus Franco, Jack the Ripper (1976)

Four Corners, with Joanna Davis, Mary Pat Leece, Ron L.Peck and Wildried Thust, On Allotments, (1976) [Newham Allotments]

James Cheeseman, Around the Brick Lane OK (1976) [8mm film documentary]

BBC Documentary, Hackney Vandal Patrol (1976) [filmed on the Kingsmead Estate]

Liberation Films, Fly the Flag For Poplar (1976)

John Smith, The Girl Chewing Gum (1976)

————-, Hackney Marshes (1977)

————–, Home Suite (1993-4)

—————, Blight (1996)

BBC Documentary, Hackney Hospital (1977) [with thanks to Chris Dorley-Brown]

Newsreel Film Collective, Divide and Rule Never (1978)

Ron Peck, Nighthawk (1978) [made with funding by Four Corners Film] 

Derek Jarman, Jubilee (1978)

——————–, Will You Dance With Me? (1984)

——————–, The Last of England (1987)

John MacKenzie, The Long Good Friday (1979)

Dennis Marks, ‘Lively Arts: Whitechapel’, BBC Bristol Arts Unit (1979) 

——————, The Promised Land, BBC (1980)

Bob Clark, Murder By Decree (1979)

Sue Clayton and Johnathan Curling, Song of the Shirt, Film and History Project (1979)

Amateur Footage, Tower Hamlets Carnival. London’s Screen Archives (1979)

AMATEUR FOOTAGE, Ridley Road Market Dalston (1980s) [Huntley Film Archives]

John Matthews, Clissold Park Festival (1979) [amateur footage]

Thames Television (Schools Dept), My Comprehensive Education, (1980)

David Lynch, The Elephant Man (1980)

Matthew Chapman, The Hussy (1980)

Peter Sellers, Piers Haggard, Richard Quine, The Fiendish Plot of Dr. Fu Manchu (1980) [produced by Hugh Hefner]

When We Was Young, Thames Television (schools dept) (1980) [Three East End Writers recall their very different childhoods. With Betty Ferry, Roger Mills and Frederick Williams].

Simon Heaven, Home From Home (1981)

Interference, T.H.A.P Workshop, (1981) [super 8]

Richard Loncraine, The Missionary (1982)

Land of Arguments, T.H.A.P Workshop (1982)

Ruhul Amin, Purbo London, Four Corners (1982)

Riders race The Bomb, T.H.A.P Workshop (1982)

Joanna Davis and Mary Pat Leece, Bred and Born, Four Corners Cinema Workshop (1983)

Yard Scene, T.H.A.P and Saxon Youth Club (1983)

Ruhul Amin, Flame in My Heart, made by Compass Films and the Federation of Bangladeshi Youth Organisations for Channel four (1983)

David Furnham, Hopping, Channel Four (1983)

Mike Leigh, Meantime (1983)

—————-, Secrets & Lies (1996)

—————-, Vera Drake (2004)

—————-, Another Year (2010)

Michael Radford, Nineteen-Eighty Four (1984)

Raid on George Green, Island Art Centre and boys from George Green Youth Club (1984)

Somali History Tape, East London Somali Women’s Group with Island Art Centre (1984) [oral history]

Our Friends, Our Families, Our Lives, Four Corners Unwaged Workshop, (1984) [Lives of three young women living in Tower Hamlets]

The Bard of Stepney, Thames Television Documentary (1984)

Island Art Centre Workshop, Flatmates (1984)

Is That It?, Four corners & Tower Hamlets Music studios (1984)

Co-Habitation Blues, Four Corners Unwaged Workshop (1984)

A Bit of Class, Channel 4 Documentary/Scope Films (1984) [residents talk about how their health is affected by housing, work and environment. The threat of asbestos]

Nicholas McInerny, Alice Mitchell is One Hundred (1984) [Alice’s birthday celebrations, and her childhood in the Isle of Dogs, and her life in the Parkview old people’s home in Newham]

Jeff Perks, Breaking Through, Channel 4 (1984) [about writers workshops in the East End]

Julia Holland and Margaret O’Brien, Waltham Forest Video History Workshop, Fighting Fascism (1984)

BBC News Archive, Juvenile Crime Hackney (1985) [The standoff between the Police force and the Hackney Teachers Association]

Island Art Centre, Dogs Life (1985)

Mike Newell, Dance with a Stranger (1985)

——————, Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994) [final church is St Bartholemew in Smithfield]

Terry Gilliam, Brazil (1985) [filmed in the CWS Flour Mill at the Royal Victoria Docks]

Barry Levinson, Young Sherlock Holmes (1985)

Ruhul Amin,  A Kind of English, (Channel 4, 1986) [Funded by Four Corners Film, the first Bangladeshi feature film made in Britain]

Stephen Frears, Sammy and Rosie Get Laid (1987) [based on Hanif Kureishi novel]

———————–, Dirty Pretty Things (2002)

Stanley Kubrick, Full Metal Jacket (1987)

Ron Peek, Empire States (1987)

Mike Hodges, A Prayer for the Dying (1987)

David Green, Buster (1988)

Charles Crichton, A Fish Called Wanda (1988)

Martin Stellman, For Queen and Country (1989)

Alan Clarke, The Firm (1989)

Peter Medak, The Krays (1990)

AMATEUR FOOTAGE, Shoreditch Electric Light Station and Hoxton (1990) [footage of the semi-derelict Electric Light Station, which became the Circus Space]

London Weekend Television (part of what is now ITV), Summer on the Estate (1990) [documentary about the residents of the Kingshold Estate, which was eventually demolished in 1996]

—————————————————————————-, produced by Julie Faulkner, Summer on the Estate, Follow Up (1995)

BBC, Heading Home (1991) – script by David Hare, filmed in Albion Square

Andrew Birkin, The Cement Garden (1992)

Chris Petit, The Cardinal and the Corpse (1992), wr. by Iain Sinclair (part of a trilogy)

Neil Jordan, The Crying Game (1992)

Richard Attenborough, Chaplin (1992)

Mayyasa Al-Malazi, Life in the Fast Lane (1995) – about the M11 link road protests

Richard Spence, Different for Girls (1996)

Chris Petit, The Falconer (1998), wr. by Iain Sinclair, broadcast on Channel 4

The Battle for the Docklands: The Story of London Docklands, One of the World’s Greatest Regeneration Projects. London’s Screen Archives (1998)

Guy Ritchie, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)

—————–, Snatch (2000)

Clare Kilner, Janice Beard (1999)

Sam Milner, Elephant Juice (1999)

Aki Kaurismäki, I Hired a Contract Killer (2000)

Ben Hopkins, The Nine Lives of Tomas Katz (2000)

Paul McGuigan, Gangster No.1 (2000)

Dominic Anciano and Ray Burdis, Love, Honour and Obey (2000)

David Kane, Born Romantic (2000)

Chris Petit, Asylum (2000), wr. by Iain Sinclair

Lisa Goldman, My Sky Is Big (2000) [in collaboration with the Red Room]

Albert and Allen Hughes, In Hell (2001)

David Panos and Benedict Seymour, The Occupation (2001)

Marc Issacs, Lift (2001) – with thanks to Professor Laura Vaughan.

Patsy Palmer’s Real East End, BBC Choice (2001)

Lift, ALT-TV, Channel 4 – footage of Denning Point, Commercial Street (2001)

To Kill and Kill Again. Executive producer, Brian Lapping – ITV, 23rd January (2002)

—————————————————–, The London Particular (2004)

Iain Sinclair and Chris Petit, London Orbital (2002)

Chris and Paul Weitz, About A Boy (2002)

Emily Richardson, Nocturne (2002)

————————–, Transit (2006)

————————-, Memento Mori (2009)

Oliver Parker, The Importance of Being Ernest (2002) [Wilton’s Music Hall]

Ray Brady, Day of the Sirens (2002)

David Cronenberg, Spider (2002)

————————–, Eastern Promises (2007)

Hilary Powell, Fleeting (2003)

——————-, The Games (2011)

Kieran Evans & Paul Kelly, Finisterre (2003)

Michael Croft and Jonathan Hatt, Tower Block Demolition Hackney London (2003) [filmed on old Russian 1960s Super 8mm film]

AMATEUR FOOTAGE, Hackney Demolition (2003)

Puneet Sira, I Proud to be an Indian (2004) [in Hindi]

Mike Nichols, Closer (2004)

Marc Evans, Trauma (2004)

Colin Teague, Spivs (2004)

Lisa Goldman, Hoxton Story (2005)

Paul Kelly, What Have you Done Today Mervyn Day? (2005)

—————, This is Tomorrow (2007)

Lexi Alexander, Green Street (2005)

Emily James, The Battle for Broadway Market (2005)

Alfonso Cuaron, Children of Men (2006)

Anthony Mingella, Breaking and Entering (2006)

AMATEUR FOOTAGE, Shoreditch Station East London (2006)

Transport for London Promotional Video, East London Line (2007)

Chris Dorley-Brown, Man Alive: Vince, Paul, Lawrence and Richard (2007) [a retelling of the original Man Alive documentary from 1971, using the BBC Creative Archives]

David Schwimmer,Run Fatboy Run (2007)

Sarah Gavron, Brick Lane (2007)

Danny Boyle, Twenty-Eight Weeks Later (2007)

AMATEUR FOOTAGE, Persons Unknown, Squatting in Bethnal Green (2008)

Herve Constant, The Inquisition (2009) [30mins]

———————-, Demeures 1-59 (2011) [1:04mins]

Andrea Arnold, Fish Tank (2009)

Sally Mumby-Croft, Edgelands (2009) [15mins] [Featuring Iain Sinclair]

Nigel Cole, Made in Dagenham (2010)

Emma-Louise Williams, Under the Cranes (2011)

Abbie Brandon, Eine Film: Street Artist Ben Eine Documentary (2011)

Ben Drew, Ill Manors (2012)


2 thoughts on “East London in Film (1955-2012)”

  1. BBC Man Alive – “Alright we’ll do it ourselves” (1972?). Claims that despite the war and the development of high -rise flats community spirit is returning to E1. Rough copy available on Utube.
    Produced by Jenny Barraclough and edited by Simon Rose (me).
    Series Producer; Desmond Wilcox.

    Man Alive – “Our School” (1975) a special school set up for drop-outs.
    Producer Jenny Barraclough. No narration. Film Editor; Simon Rose. Series Editor; Adam Clapham.

    PS I edited Man Alive “Vince, Paul, Luarence & Richard”

  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brannigan_(film)
    The promotional film for “Penny Lane” was, together with the clip for “Strawberry Fields Forever”, one of the first examples of what became known as a music video.[65][66] The films were directed by Peter Goldmann, a Swedish television director, and produced by Tony Bramwell for Epstein’s company Subafilms.[67][68] The clip for “Penny Lane” includes footage of Liverpool[69] – such as the number 86 bus to Penny Lane, the shelter on the roundabout, and a fireman riding a white horse[70] – but street scenes featuring the Beatles were instead filmed in and around Angel Lane in Stratford, in the east of London.[71] This filming includes the band members riding horses and took place on 5 February.[62][72] Another street scene features only Lennon, walking among a crowd in a manner that author Robert Rodriguez terms “as if in a nostalgic reverie”.[73]

    I believe Madona’s film shanghai surprise was filmed in Poplar baths.
    hope this helps johnny.

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