The Love touring season celebrates a broad sweep of British love films from the British period drama to the romantic comedy and includes films which chart the sexual revolution.

Film’s most seductive illusion is to immerse us in the intensity and passion of other people’s lives and loves. Three key themes arise within our touring season: The Power of Love presents epic tales that show the struggle to hold on to tenderness, and each other; Fools for Love offers romantic comedies filled with warmth, wit, charm and poignancy; and Fatal Attractions expose the follies of desire, the violence of passion, and the intensity of obsession.

Touring programme features

  • BFI-curated Love programme
  • Love brand identity
  • a selection of representative stills
  • BFI Live recordings of in conversation sessions and interviews
  • specially-written film notes for distribution to your audiences
  • Love publication and merchandise
  • full details of how to acquire non-BFI owned international rights and materials

Booking and rights information

Contact us for international booking enquiries.

The BFI will provide all rights information to allow you to clear the rights for non-BFI owned rights and materials.

Films in the programme

Love is All

UK 2014. Dir Kim Longinotto. 74min 

Love is All takes us on an exquisite journey through the 20th century, exploring love and courtship in all of its shapes and sizes across decades of unprecedented social upheaval. From the first kisses caught on film, through the disruptions of war and the birth of youth culture, free love and gay liberation, we follow courting couples as they flirt at tea dances, kiss in the back row, shack up together and fight for their right to love whomever they choose. This celluloid love letter is directed by Kim Longinotto (Divorce Iranian Style) and edited by Ollie Huddleston (From the Sea to the Land Beyond) using a selection of spellbinding footage from the BFI National Archive and the Yorkshire Film Archive, all set to Richard Hawley’s stunning soundtrack.

Booking: Dogwoof


UK 1929. Dir E A Dupont. With Anna May Wong, Gilda Gray, Charles Laughton. 108min. PG

One of the pinnacles of British silent cinema, Piccadilly is a sumptuous showbiz melodrama seething with sexual and racial tension. The Chinese-American screen goddess Anna May Wong stars as Shosho, a scullery maid in a fashionable London nightclub whose sensuous tabletop dance catches the eye of suave club owner Valentine Wilmot. She rises to become the toast of London and the object of his erotic obsession – to the bitter jealousy of Mabel, his former lover and star dancer (played by Ziegfeld Follies star Gilda Gray). ‘Piccadilly, restored to its original glory, was a genuine revelation to me. It’s a bold, beautifully crafted, completely modern picture… One of the truly great films of the silent era.’ – Martin Scorsese

Booking: BFI

Brief Encounter

UK 1945. Dir David Lean. With Celia Johnson, Trevor Howard, Joyce Carey, Stanley Holloway. 86min. PG

The 70th anniversary of Noël Coward’s classic tale of a passionate affair that is all the more thrilling for being played out with British reserve of the tightest order. Laura (Johnson) encounters the handsome Dr Alec (Howard) in a train station tearoom after her weekly shopping trip. In a scene now infamous, he removes some grit from her eye but ignites a spark that burns deeper with every passing week that they meet. Both married, however, they know their romantic liaisons cannot continue. Boosted by fine supporting character actors, the film also contains comical moments one recognises as having influenced a young Victoria Wood, while the unrelenting use of Rachmaninov’s lyrical second piano concerto perfectly embodies all the fervent desire the fated pair have to contain.

Booking: Park Circus

Matter of Life and Death

UK 1946. Dir Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger. With David Niven, Kim Hunter, Roger Livesey, Raymond Massey. 104min. U

Squadron Leader Peter Carter leaps from his burning Lancaster bomber but is saved from certain death when Heaven’s retrieval clerk loses him in thick fog. On borrowed time, he falls for June, an American radio operator, but is summoned to a celestial court to defend his life. It’s a fantastical romance of breathtaking visual imagination and earnest passion.

Booking: Park Circus

Gypsy and the Gentlemen

UK 1958. Dir Joseph Losey. With Melina Mercouri, Keith Michell, Flora Robson. 107min. PG

Joseph Losey’s preferred subject of ‘the outsider’ is explored again here in a tale of class and desire in Regency England, as indebted aristocrat Sir Paul Deverill (Michell) falls for the charms of the beguiling Belle (Mercouri). This effervescent costume drama takes a dark turn as the ensuing power struggles are played out against the fading decadence of the British class system.

Booking: Park Circus

Doctor Zhivago

UK-USA 1965. Dir David Lean. With Omar Sharif, Julie Christie, Geraldine Chaplin Rod Steiger, Alec Guinness. 200min (+ interval). Digital 4K (in NFT1, 2K elsewhere). PG

Fifty years since it won 5 Oscars®, David Lean’s enthralling historical romance, set during one of the most turbulent periods of political change, still retains its personal intimacy and epic sweep. This great love story is adapted from Boris Pasternak’s Nobel Prize-winning novel set during the Russian Revolution. Yuri (Sharif) and Lara (Christie) are as beautiful as the snowy landscape they inhabit and as mysterious as the future their country faces. He is the doctor-poet who, despite being married, falls for Lara, a studious but fallen girl from a poor family. They’re destined to be together but forces beyond their control take hold of their lives. Freddie Young’s sumptuous ‘Scope cinematography (dazzling in this new restoration) combines with the famous Maurice Jarre score to make this an overwhelming cinematic experience.

Booking: Hollywood Classics

Far From the Madding Crowd

UK 1967. Dir John Schlesinger. With Julie Christie, Terence Stamp, Peter Finch, Alan Bates. 167min

1967 saw Julie Christie and Terence Stamp immortalised by The Kinks in ‘Waterloo Sunset’ and cast as lovers in Thomas Hardy’s epic love story. Headstrong and independent, farmer Bathsheba Everdene is among the most modern of 19th-century heroines and Christie’s performance beautifully underlines her as a woman at odds with the conventions of the time. The film contains a number of stand-out set-pieces, such as Stamp’s seductive, almost Freudian display of swordsmanship. But what resonates so deeply is the way in which Schlesinger and cinematographer Nicolas Roeg frame the passions and tragedy at the film’s heart with the patterns of rural life and the harsh, sodden beauty of the Dorset landscape. Almost 50 years on, this restoration reveals the film as an immersive piece of cinema with Hardy’s cruel ironies and bleak lyricism fully intact.

Booking: Hollywood Classics

Women in Love

UK 1969. Dir Ken Russell. With Alan Bates, Glenda Jackson, Oliver Reed, Jennie Linden. 131min. Digital. 15

Ken Russell’s first major feature is a lyrical take on love and death in a Britain reeling from the First World War, as two couples find themselves caught between the pressure to follow convention and the desire for a more bohemian lifestyle. Cinematographer Billy Williams’ gorgeous images and Shirley Russell’s vibrant period costumes combine to make Women in Love a visual delight throughout.

Booking: Park Circus

Sunday Bloody Sunday

UK 1971. Dir John Schlesinger. With Glenda Jackson, Peter Finch, Murray Head. 111min. Digital. 15

This sophisticated chamber piece portrays a north London love triangle, with middle-aged doctor Daniel (Finch) and divorcee Alex (Jackson) both in love with young bisexual artist Bob (Head). The sense that love is fleeting, and we must choose whether something is better than nothing, feels timeless. It’s considered ‘a masterpiece’ by critic Roger Ebert who noted, ‘This is not a movie about the loss of love, but about its absence.’

Booking: Park Circus

Gregory’s Girl

UK 1980. Dir Bill Forsyth. With John Gordon Sinclair, Dee Hepburn, Clare Grogan. 91min. Digital. 12A

Gregory and his friends are starting to notice girls – particularly Dorothy, not least because she’s on the football team and is a better player than him. With counselling from his younger sister, Gregory finally asks Dorothy out but turns up to the date only to discover that the girls at school have other plans for him. This much-loved romcom still feels fresh and relevant today.

Booking: Hollywood Classics

A Room with a View

UK 1985. Dir James Ivory. With Maggie Smith, Helena Bonham Carter, Denholm Elliott, Judi Dench. 117min. Digital. PG

When young English tourist Lucy Honeychurch (Bonham Carter) finds herself caught up in a moment of passion on a Tuscan hillside, her eyes widen to the possibilities of life and love. Merchant Ivory’s production captures the romance of Italy with exquisite Edwardian styling and the celebrated costumes of Jenny Beavan and John Bright.

Booking: Park Circus

My Beautiful Laundrette

UK 1985. Dir Stephen Frears. With Saeed Jaffrey, Roshan Seth, Daniel Day-Lewis, Gordon Warnecke. 97min. Digital. 15

Omar takes over his uncle’s dilapidated laundrette and employs his school friend Johnny, a hard-case with a neo-Nazi past. As ‘Powders’ gets close to launch, the chemistry between them, and the social tensions at play, start to boil over. Hanif Kureishi’s fearless screenplay broke new ground and stoked controversy around issues of sexuality, race, class and generational conflict, with the film becoming a box-office hit.

Booking: Park Circus

Four Weddings and a Funeral

UK 1994. Dir Mike Newell. With Hugh Grant, Andie MacDowell, Simon Callow, John Hannah, Kristin Scott Thomas. 117min. Digital. 15

Britain’s one unassailable contribution to the 1990s romcom revival made a star of foppish, David Cassidy-quoting Hugh Grant. But the enduring joy of Four Weddings also lies in its pitch-perfect ensemble cast and in Richard Curtis’s script which, with typically British reserve, sends up the whole wedding season carousel while sweetly insisting that we’ll all find our one true love in the end.

Booking: Park Circus

Dangerous Liaisons

USA-UK 1988. Dir Stephen Frears. With Glenn Close, John Malkovich, Michelle Pfeiffer, Uma Thurman, Keanu Reeves. 120min. Digital. 15

Romantic intrigues and competitive games are played out with fatal consequences in Christopher Hampton’s sumptuous adaptation of Choderlos de Laclos’s ‘amoral’ novel set in the French royal court in the 18th century. The Marquise de Merteuil (Close) tasks the Vicomte de Valmont (Malkovich) with ruining a young virgin and an upstanding married woman in return for a single night in her bed.

Booking: Park Circus

Love Is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon

UK 1998. Dir John Maybury. With Derek Jacobi, Daniel Craig, Tilda Swinton. 91min. Digital. 18

Maybury portrays Francis Bacon through his relationship with George Dyer, an East-End crook who became his lover and muse after being apprehended and seduced by the artist while burgling his house in 1964. As Bacon’s career ascends, his sadomasochistic lover’s mind disintegrates – refracted through Maybury’s warped lens in ways that mimic Bacon’s art. The film features music by Ryûichi Sakamoto and cameos from pretty much the entire British art scene of the 1990s.

Booking: various

Bridget Jones’ Diary

USA 2001. Dir Paul Knight. With Jim Broadbent, Hugh Grant, Colin Firth, Renée Zellweger. 93min. 15

With its reindeer jumpers and big knickers, Bridget Jones’s Diary still has the best gags on the romcom circuit and remains the ultimate expression of female dating ineptitude (with a happy ending, obviously). Renée Zellweger is the title character, a 30-something singleton desperate for Mr Right but always attracted to Master Wrong. In his role as the former of those choices, Colin Firth as Mark Darcy extends his persona from the 1995 TV adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, while Hugh Grant plays against type as the caddish publisher Daniel Cleaver.

Booking: Universal

Man Up

France 2014. Dir Ben Palmer. With Simon Pegg, Lake Bell. 88min. 15

Simon Pegg plays Jack, a recent divorcee whose blind date is hijacked by jaded singleton Nancy (Lake Bell). When Nancy makes no effort to correct him, a surprisingly successful date night ensues, until it’s time for her to fess up… With its focus on a mid-30s female lead, effective use of London locations, and dynamic one-night structure, Man Up is a true breath of fresh air for the modern romance.

Booking: various