UK Student Life homepage
Study, work or travel in the UK. British culture and life.
A-Z index
Message Board
Contact us
AllPosters movie posters
< Up
Life / Entertainment / Films
Cinemas and watching films (movies) in the UK
  Film festivals
  Film classifications


Guide to watching films in cinemas or at home in the UK.

Subject: Film magazine
Total Film
Subject: Film magazine
Sight & Sound
Subject: Film magazine
Time Out
Subject: London entertainment guide

Back to top


Odeon in Leicester Square
To find your nearest cinema or the a place where you can see a film you want to see, use the search tool on one of these sites:

Some of the largest commercial cinema chains in the UK are listed below:
Vue Cinemas (formerly Warner Village):
CineWorld Cinemas (formerly UGC Cinemas):
Odeon Cinemas (acquired UCI Cinemas):
Empire Cinemas:

UK film premieres are often held in Leicester Square, London.
Fans gather in the square hoping to see the stars when they arrive.
The cinemas which are used most commonly are the Odeon and the Empire.
For details of upcoming premieres, see: or

Opera or ballet from the Royal Opera House are sometimes shown live in cinemas:
Some cinemas show major sports events, for example during major football tournaments.

* Repertory/Arts Cinemas in London

If you want to see films other than the latest major releases, including subtitled international films, you may need to look for an arts cinema or repertory cinema. For example, in central London:
BFI Southbank:
Curzon Cinemas (Renoir Cinema, Curzon Mayfair, Curzon Soho):
ICA Cinemas (Institute of Contemporary Arts):
Ciné Lumière:
Picturehouses (Clapham, Gate, Greenwich, Ritzy, Stratford East):
Prince Charles Cinema:
Electric Cinema:
Rich Mix:

* IMAX Cinemas

bfi London IMAX Cinema
Waterloo, London
IMAX is a special format of film which allows you to see films on a large screen (including some 3-dimensional films).
Some of the places where you can see these films are:

Bournemouth: Sheridan IMAX Centre:
London: bfi London IMAX Cinema:
London: Science Museum IMAX:
Birmingham: Thinktank IMAX:
Manchester: IMAX Cinema @ thefilmworks:
Bradford: NMPFT IMAX:
Glasgow: Glasgow Science Centre:
Belfast: Sheridan IMAX Centre:

* Discounts

- Students discounts are available at many cinemas, but often only at off-peak times (for example: mornings, early afternoons or Monday evenings).

- 2-for-1 discounts are available to Orange mobile phone subscribers at some cinemas on Wednesdays:
(see Orange Wednesdays:

- Cinema passes may help you to see films more cheaply if you go regularly to a particular cinema.
For example, CineWorld has an Unlimited Pass which, for a monthly charge, allows you to watch as many films as you like.

* Free films

- BFI Mediatheque is a place where you can enjoy free personal viewings of a collection of film and television from the British Film Institute's National Archive. This is available at the BFI Southbank in London ( and at the Quad in Derby ( Viewing sessions should be booked in advance.

- Portobello Film Festival has 3 weeks of free screenings at various venues in West London. This is a forum for the works of new film-makers. See:

- The Scoop at More London shows some free films in its outdoor amphitheatre in summer months. See:

- Free films for students are shown at ISH (London) on Sunday evenings:

- Films which have been shown recently on television may be watched online within the UK on the BBC iPlayer: or ITV Player:

- Free film previews are sometimes available to registered members of clubs such as See Film First: and Momentum Pictures Preview Screening Club:

Back to top


London Film Festival
The following are some of the major UK film festivals:

The Times BFI London Film Festival
London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival (March/April):

Bradford International Film Festival (March):

Edinburgh International Film Festival (June):

For a list of other film festivals in the UK, see the directory of international film and video festivals:

Back to top


Films and videos are given the following ratings by the British Board of Film Classification:

Uc - a video which is suitable for pre-school children
U - a film or video which is suitable for anyone aged 4 years and over
PG - children of any age may watch, but parental guidance is advised (some children may be upset by a few scenes)

12 - you must be 12 years or over to rent or buy this video
12A - if you are younger than 12 you can only watch this film in a cinema if you are accompanied by an adult
15 - you must be 15 years or over to see this film in a cinema, or to rent or buy this video

18 - you must be 18 or over to see this film in a cinema, or to rent or buy this video
R18 - you must be at least 18 to view this film in a licensed sex cinema or to buy this video in a licensed sex shop

Back to top


Monthly guide to events: Ideas/Events
British films: Britain/Films
Theatre: Life/Entertainment/Theatre

Home page: Home

Back to top

© UK Student Life 2002-2011

* Search this website ( or the web: