British Cinema History

British New Wave 1959- 63

British New Wave or Free Cinema, describes a group of films made between 1959 and 1963 which portray a more gritty realism. They were influenced by the Angry Young Men of the mid-50s along with the documentary films of everyday life commissioned by the Post Office during and after the Second World War, and are often associated with kitchen sink drama. The group was established around the film magazine Sequence that was founded by Tony Richardson, Karel Riesz and Lindsay Anderson who together with future James Bond producer Harry Saltzman established the company Woodfall Films which made their early films. These included adaptations of Richardson's own stage productions of Look Back in Anger and The Entertainer. Other significant films in this movement include Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960), A Kind of Loving (1962), and This Sporting Life (1963). The Free Cinema films also made stars out of their leading actors Albert Finney, Alan Bates, Richard Burton, Rita Tushingham, Richard Harris and Tom Courtenay.




Albert Finney

The 60’s Boom???
The boundaries were pushed further by Alfie; Up The Junction and Women in Love. New, young actors were needed; Richard Harris, Julie Christy, Peter Sellers, Terrence Stamp, David Hemmings, Donald Pleasance and Paul Scofield. Brian Forbes and Richard Attenborough began to make names for themselves as up and coming directors. Not all movies were of this genre David Lean made Bridge over the River Kwai and Lawrence of Arabia amongst others there was Oliver!; and the beginnings of the James Bond series of movies.
Overseas film makers began to come to London too, including Roman Polanski and Michelangelo Antonioni. Blacklisted in America Joseph Losey had a significant influence on UK Cinema in the 60s as did Stanley Kubrick, especially in the decade to follow.
The sixties were perhaps the ‘holding era’ for British cinema with an expansive 50’s directors like Lean really held the reins and the industry charged on. Commercially the bond movies were highly successful and quality films were also directed by Basil Dearden. Actors and actresses were aplenty and in much demand. Four of the decade's Academy Award winners for best picture were British productions.



Stanley Kubrick