BFI (British Film Institute ) Shop – Things to do in London

BFI - British Film Institute - Camera

Updated On: April 07, 2024 by   Asmaa AlhashimyAsmaa Alhashimy

In the vibrant tapestry of British culture, few institutions stand as proud and influential as the British Film Institute (BFI). Established in 1933, the BFI has been at the forefront of championing cinema in all its forms, from the golden age classics to avant-garde experiments pushing the boundaries of storytelling. At the heart of this cinematic empire lies the BFI Shop, a treasure trove for film enthusiasts and casual viewers alike, offering a curated selection of films, books, and memorabilia that celebrate the rich heritage of British and international cinema.

Curating the Finest Selection

Step into the BFI Shop, and rows greet you upon rows of DVDs, Blu-rays, books, and memorabilia dedicated to the world of film. Whether you’re a fan of timeless classics like “Brief Encounter” or contemporary masterpieces like “The King’s Speech,” there’s something for everyone here. The shop’s expertly curated collection ensures that film lovers of all tastes and preferences can find something to pique their interest.

The Objectives of the British Film Institute

The institute started as a private company back in 1933. A Royal Charter established it after National Life had recommended it in a report on the film. Its main objective was to stimulate the development of moving image creation and filmmaking around the United Kingdom.

They also aimed to increase people’s awareness of movies and promote education about the arts of film and television. Movies have always had an impact on society. They reflect an image of how a community yet still provides new perspectives to adopt. Firmly believing in this, the British Film Institute was created.

British Film Institute
British Film Institute

BFI Through the History

In 1948, the Radcliffe Report suggested that the institute should focus on raising the appreciation of film as art. They believed that appreciating the creation of art was far more critical than creating it.

As a result, the institute restricted its objectives according to the Radcliffe Report. Consequently, the National Committee for Visual Aids controlled educational film production. However, the British Film Institute started funding experimental filmmakers to encourage them. They did so from 1952 through the BFI Production Board until 2000.

On the South Bank, the British Film Institute opened the London Museum of the Moving Image (MOMI) in 1988. That museum was the beginning of setting new education standards, including entertainment.

Despite being internationally admired, it could not receive high levels of needed investments. Thus, it could not keep up with the audience’s expectations of technological developments.

In 1999, the museum shut down to be re-sited, according to the BFI statement. However, the closure took longer than expected, and no re-siting occurred. In 2002, redevelopment of the South Bank site took place.

British Film Institute
British Film Institute

Promoting Film Culture and Education

Beyond its role as a retail space, the BFI Shop plays a vital role in promoting film culture and education. As part of the British Film Institute, a charitable organization dedicated to preserving and promoting film and television in the UK, the shop supports the institute’s broader mission of enriching people’s lives through film.

Through its carefully curated selection of products, the BFI Shop seeks to foster a deeper appreciation for cinema as an art form and cultural phenomenon. Showcasing films from different countries, genres, and periods encourages visitors to explore diverse cinematic experiences and perspectives. Moreover, its emphasis on film literature and academic publications elevates discourse around cinema, nurturing critical thinking and scholarly inquiry.

In addition to its retail activities, the BFI Shop hosts regular events, screenings, and workshops aimed at engaging audiences of all ages and backgrounds. These events provide opportunities for film enthusiasts to connect, as well as with filmmakers, scholars, and industry professionals. Whether it’s a Q&A session with a director, a masterclass on film editing, or a themed film series, something exciting always happens at the BFI Shop.

Activities Carried out by the British Film Institute

Besides being one of the United Kingdom’s prominent filmmaking institutes, it carries out far more activities.

Film and Media Education

As previously mentioned, the British Film Institute (BFI) provides studies of film and television. They offer a wide array of education enterprises. They all happen to collide for the same purpose: to support film and media education. They even stimulate the teaching of the media industry in schools. The Department of Education funded BFI in 2012 to create the BFI Film Academy Network.

The Biggest Film Archive

Being immersed in the film industry, it’s easy to anticipate that BFI maintains the most extensive film archive worldwide. Previously, the archive was called the National Film Library. In 1955, it became the National Film Archive instead. It was only in 1992 the name changed to National Film and Television Archive in 1993 till 2006.

Nowadays, it is instead known as the BFI National Archive. At any rate, the archive possesses over 50K fictional films, over 625K TV Programs, and 100K non-fiction titles. A significant number of this collection holds international art from around the world. However, the majority belongs to the British culture.


The British Film Institute now runs two cinemas on the south bank of the River Thames in London. Those cinemas are the London IMAX cinema and the BFI Southbank cinema. It was formerly the National Film Theatre (NFT). Around the United Kingdom, the IMAX cinema screens are the largest.

It also features advanced technologies, including 3D screenings and 11.6K watts of digital surround sound. Besides, it displays the most recent and popular releases of movies and short films worldwide. They also give opportunities for movies that are less likely to get a cinema showing.


Runs Festivals

The British Film Institute is known for running several festivals annually around the United Kingdom. Those festivals include the youth-oriented Future Film Festival, BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival, and the annual London Film Festival.

Works as a Publisher for Books, Movies, and Magazines

The British Film Institute published films on Blu-ray and DVD and books every month. Besides, they publish the monthly magazine Sight & Sound, a British Film Magazine.

Moreover, it runs a reference library known as the BFI National Library. It also maintains the database of BFI Film and TV.

Co-Produces TV Series

In partnership with the BBC, the BFI co-produced numerous TV series. This includes The Lost World of Friese-Greene, The Lost World of Tibet, and The Lost World of Mitchell & Kenyon.

A Destination for Film Lovers

For cinephiles visiting London, a trip to the BFI Shop is a must-do experience. Situated on the South Bank of the River Thames, within walking distance of iconic landmarks such as the London Eye and the Tate Modern, it offers a convenient and accessible location for film lovers to indulge their passion.

Upon entering the shop, visitors are greeted by a warm and inviting atmosphere, with knowledgeable staff on hand to offer recommendations and assistance. Whether you’re a seasoned film buff or a casual moviegoer, you’ll find plenty to pique your interest as you peruse the shelves and displays.

Moreover, the BFI Shop’s proximity to the BFI Southbank, the institute’s flagship venue for film screenings, exhibitions, and events, makes it an integral part of the broader BFI experience. After browsing the shop’s offerings, visitors can catch a film at one of the venue’s state-of-the-art cinemas, explore its film history and culture exhibitions, or dine at its restaurant and bar overlooking the river.

BFI Shop

The British Film Institute has a long and fascinating history, which you can explore in the British Film Institute shop. Here, your film staff, who are film experts, provide you with any information related to the BFI and world cinema.

You will discover a fantastic range of DVDs, Books, Blu-rays and merchandise at the shop. Any film fan will love a trip to a British Film Institute shop and immerse themselves in the fantastic collections and history.


The British Film Institute Shop stands as a mecca for cinephiles, offering an unparalleled array of films, books, and merchandise celebrating cinema’s rich tapestry. Through its dedication to promoting film culture and education, it serves as a beacon for lovers of the silver screen in London and beyond. Whether you’re seeking to expand your film collection, deepen your understanding of cinema, or simply immerse yourself in the magic of the movies, visiting the BFI Shop will surely delight and inspire you.

Have you ever been to the British Film Institute Shop? Or would you love to visit? Let us know!

Also, don’t forget to check out some of our other blogs that you might like: National Theatre| Tate Modern| National Gallery| National History Museum| Harry Potter Shop| Shrek Adventure Shop|

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