Using Collection Films

Non-Commercial and Commercial use

While BC Film Collection films are all freely available to use under a Creative Commons licence, it is also possible to buy footage for commercial use.

Lowland Village - enjoyed by the people of Lavenham recently


As you can see, the British Council Film Collection is available right here, not simply as a fully catalogued resource available to watch, but to download too under a Creative Commons licence, which means you are actively encouraged to play with the films.

There are 110 films online here, and almost all of them are available under the 'Attribution-Non-Commercial' Creative Commons licence.

(NB. do note that there a couple of exceptions in the ‘Newsreel’ series where the rights issue is a bit complex – but largely the films are CC-available).

This simply means that you can do what you like with them – PROVIDED that you attribute them to us and that you use them non-commercially (put simply, that you credit British Council and that no-one pays you for a ticket to see them).

Our preference to see on end film credits and on any printed/web material is the following:

Xx Film Title xx is part of the British Council Film Collection, 120 short documentaries made by the British Council during the 1940s designed to show the world how Britain lived, worked and played.
View, download and play with the Collection at

If you're not sure if your planned use falls within these conditions or you want to ask about accessing higher res versions of the films then do please ask - simply mail us at

And read our Blog about how the residents of Lavenham recently enjoyed one of the Collection films.


It is also possible to negotiate commercial use of the films for broadcast or other purposes. If you'd like to explore this option, please contact our colleagues at BFI National Archive directly: