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Brit archive film

English Criminal Justice is a dramatised documentary, directed by Ken Annakin (Battle of the Bulge) that depicts the various workings of the English legal system – including a striking scene of a murderer being sentenced to death. The film takes us on a journey through the principles and procedures of the various courts of law in Britain. For the 20-minute film, visit the British Council website. 


It’s one of 120 films, snapshots of the UK’s cultural, sporting, industrial and political heritage launched online, thanks to funding from Google and the British Council.

The films are from the British Council’s own film archive which dates back to late 1939 – and give an insight not only into a bygone age, but also serve to capture how cultural relations have changed. For several decades, the Council was a commissioner and distributor of documentaries, designed to showcase Britain to the outside world and promote democratic values at a time when fascism was spreading across Europe. The films were largely shown at embassies, consulates and to students and schoolchildren around the world. 

Many of the films are the work of talented filmmakers who went on to carve out hugely successful careers in the film industry.  For the last 30 years this collection of films has been preserved in the BFI National Archive yet rarely shown. The films are now available to the public to stream and download for the first time at 


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