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The British Film Catalogue

2020-01-14 22:37:03
The British Film Catalogue
Vol.2 (Non-Fiction, 1888-1994) of the Catalogue's 2000 edition
AuthorDenis Gifford
CountryUnited Kingdom
SubjectBritish film history
Publication date
1973 (1st ed.), 1986 (2nd ed.), 2000 (3rd ed.)
Media typeprint
Dewey Decimal
LC Class2002282765

The British Film Catalogue is a reference book compiled by Denis Gifford (1927–2000) listing every film made in Britain, including feature films, shorts, information films and student films. For each of more than 14,000 consecutively numbered chronological title entries, information listed includes major credits (director, producer, writer, original author), production company, distributor, actors and actresses, role names, running time, censors’ certificate, genre and a brief plot. It has an alphabetical index cross-referencing each title to its chronological number.

There existed no central register or other complete archive of films made in the UK, and Gifford sought to address this with the Catalogue.[1]

The 2000 edition of the work, written by Gifford but published shortly after his death, was a two-volume reference work, separating fiction (1895-1994) and non-fiction (1888-1994). The 1973 and 1986 editions were published as single volumes.

In order to compile the first edition of the work, Gifford spent twenty years meticulously searching through back copies of trade newspapers and tracking down directors who had retired years before.

The Catalogue was selected by the British Library's Curator of Moving Image as his choice in a Sight & Sound magazine shortlist of the best ever film books: "The nearest we have to a British national filmography was created not by any institute or university but by one man."[2]

Along with the work of other early film archivists and chroniclers, Gifford's work in relation to the Film Catalogue was praised by Leslie Halliwell in the 1976 introduction to the first edition of Halliwell's Film Guide: "I salute especially the work of Leonard Maltin, James Robert Parish, Denis Gifford, Douglas Eames and the unsung anonymous heroes who compiled the reviews of the BFI's Monthly Film Bulletin during the fifties and sixties."[3]

The work is a highly respected reference source in film history, recommended by the British Library[4] and Yale University Library.[5]


  • 1 Earlier editions
  • 2 Reviews
  • 3 See also
  • 4 External links
  • 5 References

Earlier editions

  • The British Film Catalogue, 1895-1970 (1973), London: David & Charles. ISBN 0-7153-5572-4, LCCN 72007861, OCLC 447306.
  • The British Film Catalogue, 1985-1985 (1986), London: David & Charles. ISBN 0-7153-8835-5, LCCN 86006281 //r88, OCLC 13360824.


  • "The most comprehensive catalog available for British films. Recommended for all film collections." - Choice.
  • "The latest edition of this comprehensive and definitive catalog of British motion pictures continues the tradition of excellence established by its predecessors.... This edition is a monumental, essential compilation that should reside in every serious cinema collection." - American Reference Books Annual.
  • "Recommended for large academic libraries." - Library Journal.
  • "This edition updates coverage with more than a thousand new entries. In addition to those for the period 1985-1994, there are many new entries for the prior years.' - Book List.

See also

  • Denis Gifford
  • Published work on cinema by Denis Gifford

External links

  • The British Film Catalogue, editorial reviews
  • The Guardian Film Blog, The Importance of Dating a Film
  • The British Film Catalogue review,


  1. ^ "The British Film Catalogue by Denis Gifford". Retrieved 28 July 2012.
  2. ^ McKernan, Luke. "The best film books, by 51 critics". Retrieved 4 February 2016.
  3. ^ Halliwell, Leslie (1977). Halliwell's Film Guide. ISBN 0-00-714412-1.
  4. ^ "British Library: Help for Researchers". Film: Reference sources: British Cinema. British Library. Retrieved 31 January 2012.
  5. ^ "Yale University Library". Film Studies Research Guide: Selected Reference and Web Resources. Yale University. Retrieved 31 January 2012.