BFI Thriller is a celebration of the writers and filmmakers whose craft keeps us gripped, luring us over and over again into the cinema.

A BFI Thriller compendium explores season themes with leading writers and curators.

Touring programme features

  • Thriller brand identity
  • BFI commissioned web content, including in conversation sessions and interviews
  • programme notes
  • BFI Thriller publication
  • details of how to acquire non-BFI owned international rights and materials

Booking and rights information

Details of rights holders for each film are listed below. You can contact rights holders directly or to be put in touch with the relevant rights holder contact international booking enquiries.

Fees may vary depending on format and size of venue and audience, but may be in the region of £400 per screening.

Films in the programme

The Lodger

UK 1927. Dir Alfred Hitchcock. With June Tripp, Ivor Novello, Marie Ault. 68min. Silent with score. Digital
BFI restoration with a score by Nitin Sawhney.

A landlady suspects her mysterious new lodger (British matinee idol Ivor Novello) is the madman killing women in London. Considered to be Hitchcock’s first ‘real’ film, this was an adaptation of a popular novel by Marie Belloc Lowndes based on the Jack the Ripper murders in Victorian London.

Bookings: Park Circus

The Man Who Knew Too Much

UK 1934. Dir Alfred Hitchcock. With Leslie Banks, Edna Best, Peter Lorre. 95min. Digital

One of the most successful and critically acclaimed films of Hitchcock’s British period (and not to be confused with his later film starring James Stewart). A man and his wife receive a clue to an imminent assassination attempt, only to learn that their daughter has been kidnapped to keep them quiet.

Bookings: Park Circus

It Always Rains on Sunday

UK 1947. Dir Robert Hamer. With Googie Withers, Jack Warner, John McCallum. 92min. Blu-ray

‘British noir’ from Ealing Studios, based on a novel by Arthur La Bern and set in London’s working-class East End. The action unfolds over the course of one dismal, rainy Sunday. Tommy has escaped from prison and turns up at the home of his former love Rose (Googie Withers), who is now married with 3 children. Rose has to decide whether she should help Tommy, or put her marriage first?

Bookings: StudioCanal

Gaslight

UK 1940. Dir Thorold Dickinson. With Anton Walbrook, Diana Wynyard, Frank Pettingell. 81min. Digital / Blu-ray

Based on British dramatist Patrick Hamilton’s stage play, Thorold Dickinson’s Gaslight (not to be confused with the remake by George Cukor) is a harrowing and claustrophobic study of murder, abuse and lust in Victorian London. By turns charming and cruel, Anton Walbrook excels as the sadistic husband who attempts to drive his wife (Diana Wynyard) mad to prevent her from disclosing his dark past. One of the great British psychological thrillers.

Bookings: Park Circus

Brighton Rock

UK 1947. Dir John Boulting. With Richard Attenborough, Hermione Baddeley, William Hartnell. 92min. Digital
Based on Graham Greene’s novel.

Pinkie Brown is a small-town hoodlum whose gang runs a protection racket based at Brighton race course. When Pinkie orders the murder of a rival, the police believe it to be suicide. A BFI Top 100 British film.

Bookings: StudioCanal

The 39 Steps

UK 1935. Dir Alfred Hitchcock. With Robert Donat, Madeleine Carroll, Lucie Mannheim. 86min. Digital

The original version of the classic thriller, starring British heart-throb Robert Donat, was a highlight of Hitchcock’s career. Loosely based on the novel by John Buchan, everyman Richard Hannay is unwittingly caught up in a murder and a case of mistaken identity. He must avoid capture long enough to find the real killer and clear his name. A BFI Top 100 British film.

Bookings: Park Circus

The Third Man

UK 1949. Dir Carol Reed. With Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten, Alida Valli. 104min. Digital

Pulp novelist Holly Martins travels to shadowy postwar Vienna, only to find himself investigating the mysterious death of an old friend, Harry Lime. Based on the novel by British writer Graham Greene, and starring Orson Welles, Joseph Cotten and Alida Valli. A BFI Top 100 British film.

Bookings: StudioCanal

The Man Between

UK 1953. Directed by Carol Reed. With James Mason, Claire Bloom, Hildegard Knef. 100 min. Digital

Often considered a companion piece to The Third Man thanks to its atmospheric portrayal of a city in a postwar reality of poverty and mistrust. The action here takes place in a divided Berlin at the beginning of the Cold War. Unlike the devilish Harry Lime, James Mason’s world-weary dealer Ivo Kern is ultimately still a decent man, compelled by his love for a schoolteacher to make one last misguided trip through the Brandenberg Gate, with potentially tragic consequences.

Bookings: StudioCanal

The Ipcress File

UK 1965. Dir Sidney Furie. With Michael Caine, Nigel Green, Guy Doleman. 109min. Digital

Starring Michael Caine as super-spy Harry Palmer and based on Len Deighton’s novels. In London, a counter espionage agent deals with his own bureaucracy while investigating the kidnapping and brainwashing of British scientists. A BFI Top 100 British film.

Bookings: Park Circus

The Long Good Friday

UK 1980. Dir John Mackenzie. With Bob Hoskins, Helen Mirren, Paul Freeman. 114min. Digital

An up-and-coming gangster is tested by the insurgence of an unknown, very powerful threat. Starring Bob Hoskins and Helen Mirren, The Long Good Friday is a BFI Top 100 British film.

Bookings: Handmade

Mona Lisa

UK 1986. Dir Neil Jordan. With Bob Hoskins, Cathy Tyson, Michael Caine. 106min. Digital

Five years after The Long Good Friday, Bob Hoskins returned to the gangster genre as George, a chauffeur hired by a slimy gangland kingpin (Michael Caine) to transport a high-class prostitute from client to client. When she enlists his help in tracking down an old friend, he finds himself exploring a hellish underworld that he never knew existed.

Bookings: Handmade

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

UK-France-Germany 2011. Directed by Tomas Alfredson. With Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, Kathy Bates. 122min. Digital

Spy thriller based on the John le Carré novel. Set in the bleak days of the Cold War in the 1970s, espionage veteran George Smiley is forced from semi-retirement to uncover a Soviet agent within MI6.

Bookings: StudioCanal

You Were Never Really Here

UK 2017. Dir Lynne Ramsay. With Joaquin Phoenix, Judith Roberts, Ekaterina Samsonov. 85min. Digital

One of the UK’s most successful female directors, Lynne Ramsay brings the thriller bang up to date with this Cannes award winner (Best Screenplay). A war veteran’s attempt to save a young girl from a sex trafficking ring goes horribly wrong. Starring Joaquin Phoenix.

Bookings: by various international distributors