Brighton In The Movies

With Brighton Festival just around the corner, let’s take a look at the festival’s film programme and see what two prominent residents, musician Nick Cave and director Grant Gee, have to say about Brighton’s cinematic history. 

If Brighton were an actor, it would have an impressive film CV. Most often remembered for the mods against rockers of Quadrophenia or the dark and moody original Brighton Rock, Brighton has certainly played its part in the history of cinema.

Brighton has regularly provided the scenery for Hollywood’s stars over the years, be it the Royal Pavillion popping up briefly as Octopussy’s palace in 1983, or Eastern Terrace supplying the backdrop for Ralph Fiennes and Julianne Moore in The End of The Affair. Brighton even changed its name for Carry On Girls, to something more appropriate for a Carry On film – Fircombe on Sea.

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Celebrating Brighton’s cultural heritage, and featuring a small but growing film programme, is Brighton Festival, which runs from 4-26 May. The festival features an eclectic bill which has something for all art lovers and culture vultures, and this year there is a theme of Weimar Germany of the 1920s and 30s.

The Weimar theme was chosen by author Michael Rosen, the festival’s guest artistic director this year, and it is a theme most apparent in the film programme. Emil and The Detectives is a British comedy from 1935, based on the German children’s book Emil und die Detektive; cited as by Rosen as one of his favourite books. And a 1930 documentary People On Sunday follows four German friends on a day-trip in the countryside surrounding Weimar-era Berlin.

Tim Brown, 47, is co-director of Brighton’s annual Cine-City, and runs Brighton Festival’s film programme. Mr Brown said: ″The film schedule is very much part of a jigsaw puzzle and we’re just doing this one little bit that hopefully fits in with all the other pieces. What we’ve programmed was very much in response to what Michael Rosen identified as a key theme for Brighton Festival.″

One of the more ambitious screenings of the festival is all fifteen and a half hours of the cult-favourite 1983 German TV mini-series Berlin Alexanderplatz, split into four four-hour screenings. Mr Brown said it would not have been possible to show all of it without the new cinema at Komedia, in the North Laine, because previously there was only the Duke of York’s cinema available as a dedicated film venue. Despite the length of Berlin Alexanderplatz Mr Brown is optimistic: ″It’s a bit of a leap into the unknown, but tickets have been selling well so far.″

Film Times

Emil and the Detectives (1935, U) Duke of York’s ¦ Sunday 12 May, 11am & 12.30pm

People On Sunday (1930, PG) Duke of York’s ¦ Sunday 26 May, 6pm

Berlin Alexanderplatz (1983, 15) Dukes @ Komedia ¦ Sunday 5 May, 11am – Parts 1–4 ¦ Sunday 12 May, 11am – Parts 5–8 ¦ Sunday 19 May, 11am – Parts 9–12 ¦ Sunday 26 May, 11am – Part 13 + Epilogue

For more information about what’s on at Brighton Festival, and to book tickets see


Two of Brighton’s best-known residents answer a few questions about the city’s relationship with cinema.

Nick Cave Nick_Cave_2009_New_York_City_2

Nick Cave is an Australian musician, author, screenwriter and composer. Perhaps best known for his music with the Bad Seeds, he wrote the screenplay for the 2012 film Lawless.

What is your favourite film shot in Brighton?

The original Brighton Rock. I loved the grimness of the vision.

Have you filmed much in Brighton yourself, or do you plan to in the future?

I am hoping to get The Death of Bunny Munro, which was set in Brighton, underway at some point

 Is there anything in particular about Brighton that makes you want to film here?

I think Brighton offers a wholly different filmic point of view than the ones that we are used to. To me Brighton has, over the last ten years or so, become one of the loveliest cities in the world. I still think there is a film to be made here that shows this aspect of this wonderful city

Do you think Brighton is well served by cinemas, and opportunities to see and engage in films?

Brighton has the Duke of York and of course the new cinema in the North Laines. Hopefully these cinemas will be able to continue with their wonderfully eclectic programs.

Grant Gee20081029-grant-gee

Grant Gee is a film-maker and cinematographer who has directed music videos for some of the best known bands of the past 15 years including Blur, as well as critically acclaimed documentaries about Joy Division and Radiohead.

What is your favourite film shot in Brighton?

Quadrophenia. Or Carry On at Your Convenience.

Have you filmed much in Brighton yourself, or do you plan to in the future?

Filmed a little music video at the Concorde and on the beach in front once but that’s all.

Do you think Brighton is well served by cinemas, and opportunities to see and engage in films?

For a place this size it’s pretty well served. I do miss the Cinematheque though. Would be nice to have somewhere that shows real art film.


And last but not least, check out the interactive Google map of films shot in Brighton:

Click on the camera icons for to discover a film that has been shot on location in Brighton and see a trailer or clip from the film.

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