Every BFI London Film Festival opening night film

Travel back through the years with our complete list of the opening night films during all 57 years of the BFI London Film Festival.

Updated:

Throne of Blood (1957)

Throne of Blood (1957)

The 1950s

1st (1957)
Throne of Blood (Akira Kurosawa)

2nd (1958)
H8 (Nikola Tanhofer)

3rd (1959)
A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Sen noci svatojanské) (Jiri Trnka)

The 1960s

Les Jeux de l'amour (1960)

Les Jeux de l'amour (1960)

4th (1960)
Les Jeux de l’amour (Phillipe De Broca)

5th (1961)
Lola (Jacques Demy)

6th (1962)
Le caporal épinglé (The Vanishing Corporal) (Jean Renoir)

7th (1963)
Harold Lloyd’s Funny Side of Life

A Blonde in Love (1965)

A Blonde in Love (1965)

8th (1964)
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Les Parapluies de Cherbourg) (Jacques Demy)

9th (1965)
A Blonde in Love (Milos Forman)

10th (1966)
The Shameless Old Lady (La Vielle Dame indigne) (Rene Allio)

11th (1967)
La Marseillaise (Jean Renoir, 1938)
Closing: Daisies (Vera Chytilova)

12th (1968)
The Firemen’s Ball (Hori, ma panenko) (Milos Forman)
Closing: If…. (Lindsay Anderson)

13th (1969)
My Night with Maud (Ma nuit chez Maud) (Eric Rohmer)
Closing: Boy (Nagisa Oshima) and Sweet Hunters (Ruy Guerra)

The 1970s

L'Enfant sauvage (1970)

L'Enfant sauvage (1970)

14th (1970)
L’Enfant sauvage (François Truffaut)
Closing: Quiet Days in Clichy (Jens Jørgen Thorsen)

15th (1971)
Traffic (Jacques Tati)

16th (1972)
Company Limited (Seemabaddha) (Satyajit Ray)

17th (1973)
Payday (Daryl Duke)
Closing: Requiem for a Virgin King (Hans-Jürgen Syberberg)

Winstanley (1975)

Winstanley (1975)

18th (1974)
Akenfield (Peter Hall)
Closing: The Ferocious One (Tolomush Okayev)

19th (1975)
Winstanley (Kevin Brownlow) 
and
Requiem for a Village (David Gladwell)
Closing: The Middle Man (Jana Aranya) (Satyajit Ray)

20th (1976)
The Devil’s Playground (Fred Schepisi)
Closing: The Killing of a Chinese Bookie (John Cassavetes)

21st (1977)
Novecento (1900) (Bernardo Bertolucci)
Closing: A Woman of Paris (Charles Chaplin, 1923)

22nd (1978)
Newsfront (Phillip Noyce)
Closing: The Sailor’s Return (Jack Gold)

23rd (1979)
Those Wonderful Movie Cranks (Jiři Menzel)
Closing: My Brilliant Career (Gillian Armstrong) and Breaking Away (Peter Yates)

The 1980s

Kagemusha (1980)

Kagemusha (1980)

24th (1980)
Kagemusha (Akira Kurosawa)
Closing: Raging Bull (Martin Scorsese)

25th (1981)
Gallipoli (Peter Weir)
Closing: Priest of Love (Christopher Miles)

26th (1982)
Scrubbers (Mai Zetterling)
The Draughtsman’s Contract (Peter Greenaway)
Hero (Barney Platts-Mills)
The Captain’s Doll (Claude Whatham)

…this year we thought we would mark the coming of age of the new British Cinema by spotlighting four separate strands of independent production on our gala opening night. Four outstanding new British films will open this 26th LFF… – LFF programme 1982

Closing: The Missionary (Richard Lorraine) and Privates on Parade (Michael Blakemore)

Gremlins (1984)

Gremlins (1984)

27th (1983)
Finally, Sunday! (François Truffaut)
Closing: Loose Connections (Richard Eyre)

28th (1984)
Gremlins (Joe Dante)
Closing: Constance (Bruce Morrison)

29th (1985)
Ran (Akira Kurosawa)
Closing: Adieu Bonaparte (Youssef Chahine)

30th (1986)
Castaway (Nicolas Roeg)
Closing: Labyrinth (Jim Henson)

31st (1987)
A Prayer for the Dying (Mike Hodges)
Closing: Sammie & Rosie Get Laid (Stephen Frears)

32nd (1988)
Things Change (David Mamet)
Closing: For Queen and Country (Martin Stellman)

33rd (1989)
Parenthood (Ron Howard)
Closing: What Time Is It? (Ettore Scola)

The 1990s

Texasville (1990)

Texasville (1990)

34th (1990)
Texasville (Peter Bogdanovich)
Closing: The Sheltering Sky (Bernardo Bertolucci)

35th (1991)
Enchanted April (Mike Newell)
Closing: Afraid of the Dark (Mark Peploe)

36th (1992)
Peter’s Friends (Kenneth Branagh)
Closing: Blade Runner – The Director’s Cut (Ridley Scott)

Strange Days (1995)

Strange Days (1995)

37th (1993)
The Remains of the Day (James Ivory)
Closing: Farewell My Concubine (Chen Kaige)

38th (1994)
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (Kenneth Branagh)
Closing: Leon (Luc Besson)

39th (1995)
Strange Days (Kathryn Bigelow)
Closing: Casino (Martin Scorsese)

40th (1996)
The First Wives Club (Hugh Wilson)
Closing: Blood and Wine (Bob Rafelson)

41st (1997)
Keep the Aspidistra Flying (Bob Bierman)
Closing: One Night Stand (Mike Figgis)

42nd (1998)
Little Voice (Mark Herman)
Closing: Bulworth (Warren Beatty)

43rd (1999)
Ride with the Devil (Ang Lee)
Closing: American Beauty (Sam Mendes)

The 2000s

Almost Famous (2000)

Almost Famous (2000)

44th (2000)
Almost Famous (Cameron Crowe)
Closing: Born Romantic (David Kane)

45th (2001)
Gosford Park (Robert Altman)
Closing: K-PAX (Iain Softley)

46th (2002) 
Dirty Pretty Things (Stephen Frears)
Closing: The Heart of Me (Thaddeus O’Sullivan)

The Constant Gardener (2005)

The Constant Gardener (2005)

47th (2003)
In the Cut (Jane Campion)
Closing: Sylvia (Christine Jeffs)

48th (2004)

Vera Drake (Mike Leigh)
Closing: I Heart Huckabees (David O. Russell)

49th (2005)
The Constant Gardener (Fernando Meirelles)
Closing: Good Night, and Good Luck (George Clooney)

50th (2006)
The Last King of Scotland (Kevin Macdonald)
Closing: Babel (Alejandro González Iñárritu)

51st (2007)
Eastern Promises (David Cronenberg)
Closing: The Darjeeling Limited (Wes Anderson)

52nd (2008)
Frost/Nixon (Ron Howard)
Closing: Slumdog Millionaire (Danny Boyle)

53rd (2009)
Fantastic Mr Fox (Wes Anderson)
Closing: Nowhere Boy (Sam Taylor-Wood)

The 2010s

Never Let Me Go (2010)

Never Let Me Go (2010)

54th (2010)
Never Let Me Go (Mark Romanek)
Closing: 127 Hours (Danny Boyle)

55th (2011)
360 (Peter Morgan)
Closing: The Deep Blue Sea (Terence Davies)

56th (2012)
Frankenweenie 3D (Tim Burton)
Closing: Great Expectations (Mike Newell)

57th (2013)
Captain Phillips (Paul Greengrass)
Closing: Saving Mr. Banks (John Lee Hancock)

Note
During its 57 years the BFI London Film Festival has not had a consistent policy on identifying an ‘opening night gala’ and programmers were often at great pains not to focus on one film above the rest of the programme. In some cases films are identified as ‘opening night’ but in subsequent years the film listed may just be the first film in the programme. Similarly there are a range of closing nights, which may be the last film in the festival screened at 11.15pm or an official closing night. From the 1986 festival onwards there is a clearly defined opening and closing film.

Compiled by Brian Robinson

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