Books on Film
British and Irish Drama

Books on Film

British Fiction

British Drama

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American Drama


Cinema books

Scroll down to see authors in chronological order, or click a name to go straight to that author. For details of a movie click the cover image.

Ayckbourn, Sir Alan
Beckett, Samuel
Behan, Brendan
Bennett, Alan
Bleasdale, Alan
Bolt, Robert
Brighouse, Harold
Cartwright, Jim
Coward, Noel
Delaney, Shelagh
Frayn, Michael
Friel, Brian
Goldsmith, Oliver
Gray, Simon
Hampton, Christopher
Harvey, Jonathan
Jellicoe, Ann
Leigh, Mike
Marber, Patrick
Marlowe, Christopher
Naughton, Bill
O'Casey, Sean
Orton, Joe
Osborne, John
Pinter, Harold
Potter, Dennis
Priestley, J B
Rattigan, Terence
Russell, Willy
Shaffer, Anthony
Shaffer, Peter
Shakespeare, William
Shaw, George Bernard
Sheridan, Richard Brinsley
Stoppard, Sir Tom
Storey, David
Wilde, Oscar

William Shakespeare

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The BBC TV Shakespeare Collection

The BBC TV Shakespeare Collection. Thirty seven features from the BBC television Shakespeare series from 1978 to 1985.

BBC Shakespeare Tragedies.

BBC Shakespeare Tragedies. 1980

The Comedies of William Shakespeare

The Comedies of William Shakespeare


Christopher Marlowe

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Doctor Faustus

Doctor Faustus. 1968. Records a performance given by Richard Burton at Oxford University in 1966.

Edward II.

Edward II. 1992. Derek Jarman's variation on Christopher Marlowe's 16th-century play.


Oliver Goldsmith

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She Stoops to Conquer.

She Stoops to Conquer. 2003. Oliver Goldsmith's timeless 18th century social drama is brought to vivid life in this stage production by the National Theater Company.


Richard Brinsley Sheridan

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The Rivals

The Rivals. Adaptation of Sheridan's popular 'comedy of manners', recorded at the Bristol Old Vic. The Rivals, Sheridan's first play, is a portrait made of material from his own life, his scandalous marriage to a popular singer of the age and the characters he had come to know in the town of Bath.

The School for Scandal.

The School for Scandal. 2003. First performed in 1777, Richard Brinsley Sheridan's sophisticated comedy of manners satirizes the extravagance and corruption of London society.


Oscar Wilde

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The Picture of Dorian Gray

The Picture of Dorian Gray. 1974. Adaptation of Oscar Wilde's nove.l A lush, cautionary tale of a life of vileness and deception or a loving portrait of the aesthetic impulse run rampant? Why not both? After Basil Hallward paints a beautiful, young man's portrait, his subject's frivolous wish that the picture change and he remain the same comes true. Dorian Gray's picture grows aged and corrupt while he continues to appear fresh and innocent..

The Oscar Wilde Collection.
The Oscar Wilde Collection. Includes 4 works: The Importance of Being Earnest. The Picture of Dorian Gray. An Ideal Husband. Lady Windermere's Fan

The Importance of Being Earnest.

The Importance of Being Earnest. 2002. Comedy masterpiece set during the Victorian era


The Importance of Being Earnest.

The Importance of Being Earnest. 1952. If you're looking for the definitive example of dry wit, look no further than this version of The Importance of Being Earnest


See also:
Wilde 1997
An Ideal Husband 1999
An Ideal Husband 2002

George Bernard Shaw

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My Fair Lady

My Fair Lady. 1965. A musical version of the movie Pygmalion (1938), based on a play by George Bernard Shaw.


Pygmalion. 1938. Screen adaptation of the George Bernard Shaw play based on Greek mythology.


Sean O'Casey

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Juno and the Paycock.

Juno and the Paycock. 1929. Set during the Irish Revolution, a family discover that a significant amount of money will be coming their way. As they start living the rich life, however, their world comes crushing down when they realise that they will not in fact receive the inheritance.


Harold Brighouse

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Hobson's Choice,

Hobson's Choice, 1952, based on Harold Brighouse's eternally popular 1916 comedy, with Charles Laughton--at his brilliant, physical best--as the boot-shop owner with three troublesome daughters. Also, The Sound Barrier, 1952, both are black-and-white films.


J B Priestley

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An Inspector Calls

An Inspector Calls. 1954. A young girl is murdered, and an Inspector calls on a prosperous household investigating the sad circumstances behind her death. Each one of the family has a secret - and each one is partly responsible for the girl's fate. The determined Inspector must prove their collective guilt and the shattering denouncement reveals why. An adaptation of J B Priestley's classic play.

Lost Empires.

Lost Empires. 1987. This seven-part British mini-series was based on Priestley's autobiographical novel, originally published in 1965.


Noel Coward

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Brief Encounter.

Brief Encounter. 1945. Expanded from a one-act stage play by Noel Coward, Brief Encounter is without doubt one of the true masterpieces of British film history.

Blithe Spirit.

Blithe Spirit. 1945. Noel Coward's favourite play was certainly a departure for David Lean, best known at the time for adapting Dickens. While it's the director's only comedy, the result is a delightful gem.

Relative Values.

Relative Values. 2000. Adapted from a play by Noel Coward. The Earl of Marshwood becomes engaged to Miranda Frayle, a Hollywood actress. On the other side of the Atlantic her ex has other ideas.

This Happy Breed.

This Happy Breed. 1944. Based on the play by Noel Coward. Shot in Clapham, London during WWII this film will delight you with its charm and warmth of a lost era.


Samuel Beckett

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Beckett On Film.

Beckett On Film. A compilation of all nineteen of Samuel Beckett's films, bringing together some of the world's most talented actors and directors. Includes: 'Waiting For Godot', 'What Where', 'End Game', Rockaby', 'Come and Go', 'Footfalls', 'Play' and 'Piece of a Monologue'.

Happy Days.

Happy Days. 1980. Suffused with tenderness, lucidity, and humor, Samuel Beckett's Happy Days is a comedy in pure, music-hall style. Irene Worth stars as Winnie, an optimist who - deep down - senses she has little to feel 'happy' about.


Bill Naughton

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Alfie. 1965. Starring Michael Caine as an amoral young man comically seducing a succession of beautiful women in swinging-sixties London.


Alfie. 2004. Remake ofstarring Jude Law as the unrepentant womanizer.


Alfie. 1966 & 2004. Boxed set containing the 1965 original and 2004 remake.

Alfie Darling.

Alfie Darling. 1975. Sequel to the 1965 original with Alan Price as Alfie.

The Family Way,

The Family Way, 1967. From a play by Bill Naughton. With Accident, based on a novel by Nicholas Mosley with screenplay by Harold Pinter.

Terence Rattigan

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The Browning Version.

The Browning Version. In this updated version of Terence Rattigan's play, Finney gives a commendable performance as a teacher leaving his post due to stress.

Separate Tables.

Separate Tables. 1958. Adapted from Rattigan's play about a number of characters and their adventures at a British seaside hotel.

The Winslow Boy

The Winslow Boy. 1999. The story of the very public fight to clear the name of the Winslow family's son. Based on the play by Terrence Rattigan.


Brendan Behan

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Borstal Boy

Borstal Boy. 2000. Adaptation of Brendan Behan's memoir



Robert Bolt

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A Man for All Seasons.

A Man for All Seasons. 1966. Adaptation of Robert Bolt's successful play. At the play's heart is the standoff between King Henry VIII and Sir Thomas More.

Ryan's Daughter.

Ryan's Daughter. 1970. Based on a play by Robert Bolt.

Lawrence of Arabia.

Lawrence of Arabia. 1962. Screenplay by Robert Bolt, adapted from the writings of T E Lawrence.

Doctor Zhivago.

Doctor Zhivago. 1965. Screenplay by Robert Bolt, adapted from a novel by Boris Pasternak.


Gandhi. 1982. Screenplay by Robert Bolt and John Briley.

Anthony Shaffer

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Sleuth. 1972. Adapted by Anthony Shaffer from his own hit stage play, Sleuth is a reflexively self-aware send-up of the murder-mystery genre.

The Wicker Man.

The Wicker Man. 1975. Edward Woodward plays Sergeant Howie, a virginal, Christian policeman sent from the Scottish mainland to investigate the disappearance of a young girl on the remote island of Summerisle. The intelligent script by Anthony Schaffer derives its horror from the increasing isolation, confusion and humiliation experienced by the nave Howie as he encounters the island community's hostility and pagan rituals.


Absolution. 1979. Screenwriter: Anthony Shaffer. Starring Richard Burton.


Peter Shaffer 1926-2016

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Equus. 1977. A film adaptation of the play by Peter Shaffer, Equus stars Richard Burton as Martin Dysart, a psychiatrist who takes on an unusual case: a young stable boy who has blinded six horses. Their sessions reveal that the boy has a quasi-religious fetish for horses and he rides them in the dead of night, experiencing an ecstasy unlike anything Dysart has ever known. Dysart begins to question: Is the pursuit of normalcy worth the loss of individual passions?


Amadeus. 1984. The satirical sensibilities of writer Peter Shaffer and director Milos Forman (One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest) were ideally matched in this Oscar-winning movie adaptation of Shaffer's hit play about the rivalry between two composers in the court of Austrian Emperor Joseph II - official royal composer Antonio Salieri and the younger but superior prodigy Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart


Ann Jellicoe 1927-2017

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The Knack, And How to Get It.

The Knack, And How to Get It. 1965. Adaptation of the play by Ann Jellicoe. Colin feels he has missed out on the sexual revolution so gets his pal, Tolen, to teach him 'the knack' - how to score with women.


Brian Friel 1929-2015

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Philadelphia, Here I Come.

Philadelphia, Here I Come. 1975. Part of the 'American Film Theatre' this is an adaptation of Brian Friel's masterpiece.

Dancing at Lughnasa.

Dancing at Lughnasa. 1998. This affecting tale, adapted from Brian Friel's semi-autobiographical Tony Award-winning play examines the emotional lives of the five unmarried Mundy sisters in 1936 rural Ireland.



John Osborne

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Look Back in Anger.

Look Back in Anger. 1958. Directed by Tony Richardson starring Richard Burton.

Look Back in Anger.

Look Back in Anger. 1989. Directed by Judi Dench and starring Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson. As a child, Jimmy Porter watched his father die alone and in poverty. He is now an "angry young man" who despises the establishment and its smug callousness. Bitter and frustrated, he turns his ferocious aggression on his wife Alison and her upper class background.

The Entertainer.

The Entertainer. 1960. On stage John Osborne's play proved to be a signature part for Laurence Olivier, and director Tony Richardson, who filmed Osborne's Look Back In Anger handles the material with unvarnished realism.


Harold Pinter 1930-2008

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The Birthday Party.

The Birthday Party. 1968. Harold Pinter's first full-length stage play. Friedkin's direction, with the tormented Stan as its focus, has taken us through a master study in understated horror.

The Caretaker.

The Caretaker. 1963. A tramp moves in with two brothers. A drama based on the Harold Pinter play.

The Homecoming.

The Homecoming. 1973. A professor returns to his family home with his wife for the first time in nine years. The American Film Theatre production of Harold Pinter's play.

Films for which Harold Pinter wrote the screenplay:

The Servant 1963

The Quiller Memorandum 1966

Accident 1967
The Last Tycoon 1976

Langrishe, Go Down 1978

The French Lieutanant's Woman 1981
The Handmaid's Tale 1990
The Comfort Of Strangers 1990

Joe Orton

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Loot. 1970. Two men are planning to make a lot of money quickly and easily by committing a robbery. But the problem is hiding the money. As an undertaker burying the money seems to be a good idea but an inquisitive nurse and a dedicated Police Inspector seem to have other ideas.

Entertaining Mr Sloane.

Entertaining Mr Sloane. 1970. The weird story of a brother and sister who take in a lodger and by blackmail persuade him to make up a strange 'menage a trois' in which he becomes a prisoner of desire, proving love is a many gendered thing.

Prick Up Your Ears.

Prick Up Your Ears. 1987. Based on John Lahr's biography and co-written by Alan Bennett, Prick Up Your Ears charts the 16-year relationship between playwright Joe Orton and his lover and collaborator Kenneth Halliwell.


David Storey 1933-2017

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In Celebration

In Celebration. 1975. Adapted from the play by David Storey. The story of an English family and their gathering together for the parents' wedding anniversary.


Home. 1972. Made-for-TV adaptation of David Storey's award-winning comedy-drama.

This Sporting Life.

This Sporting Life. 1963. Lindsay Anderson weaves this small, evocative tale of young life at the crossroads in early 1960s Northern England. Based on the novel by David Storey.


Michael Frayn

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Noises Off!

Noises Off! 1992. Comedy based on Michael Frayne's play which follows the staging of a Broadway production, in which everything that could go wrong, does go wrong.


Copenhagen. 2002. Adaptation of the play by Michael Frayn.


Clockwise. 1985. Screenplay by Michael Frayn, starring John Cleese.


Alan Bennett

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A Private Function.

A Private Function. 1984. Classic portrayal of English manners in a small town in the post-war period, a lot of sly wit behind the wonderfully-written script by Alan Bennett, the master of social observation.

Prick Up Your Ears.

Prick Up Your Ears. 1987. Based on John Lahr's biography and co-written by Alan Bennett, Prick Up Your Ears charts the 16-year relationship between playwright Joe Orton and his lover and collaborator Kenneth Halliwell



Dennis Potter

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The Singing Detective

The Singing Detective. 1986. Dennis Potter was a master at mining the popular songs of the 1930s and '40s for dramatic effect, but he never did it better than in The Singing Detective.

Pennies from Heaven.

Pennies from Heaven. 1978. Dennis Potter's astonishing six-part mini-series remains one of the edgiest, most audacious things ever conceived for television.

Blue Remembered Hills.

Blue Remembered Hills. 1979. Dennis Potter's play is set in the Forest of Dean, on a summer day in 1943. Seven children go out to play. The seven children are all played by adult actors.

Stand Up Nigel Barton

Two features: In Stand Up Nigel Barton we meet Nigel who is a very bright lad who is determined to succeed and so decides on a future in politics. In Vote, Vote, Vote For Nigel Barton, Nigel has graduated from Oxford and is now a successful journalist. Problems are caused when he gets front page publicity at the same time as an important election comes up and with it an opportunity of a Cabinet post.

See also:
The Essential Dennis Potter
The Dennis Potter Collection
Brimstone and Treacle 1987
Casanova 1971
Dennis Potter At London Weekend Television

Simon Gray 1936-2008

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Butley. 1974. Adaptation of Simon Gray's Butley as part of the American Film Theatre series. Alan Bates stars as Ben Butley, a bitter and repressed English literature professor.


Sir Tom Stoppard

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Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead.

Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead. 1991. Tom Stoppard's modern stage classic finds a pair of film actors worthy of its verbal japery and existential bewilderment.

Shakespeare in Love.

Shakespeare in Love. Oscar-winning screenwriters Tom Stoppard and Marc Norman enfold their story within the parameters of Romeo and Juliet and even Twelfth Night. Shakespeare in Love is filled with good will, sunny romance, snappy one-liners and devilish cleverness.


Shelagh Delaney 1939-2011

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A Taste of Honey.

A Taste of Honey. 1961. A lively tale of a pregnant Salford teenager, her mother, and her unlikely friendship with a homosexual. Based on a play by Shelagh Delaney.

Sir Alan Ayckbourn. 1939- Back to top
Sweet Revenge.

Sweet Revenge. 1998. Made for TV, adaptation of Alan Ayckbourne's group of plays The Revengers' Comedies.


Mike Leigh

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Abigail's Party

Abigail's Party. 1977. Originally screened as part of BBC's Play for Today series in 1977, Abigail's Party is among Mike Leigh's most celebrated pieces.

Life is Sweet.

Life is Sweet. 1991. Mike Leigh's 1990 snapshot of the suburban family condition at the tail end of the Thatcher era, is often depressing and occasionally harrowing. It is also ultimately joyous.

Secrets and Lies.

Secrets and Lies. 1996. Leigh works with actors on ideas and language. There is no script at the start (and sometimes not at the end). There is a great exuberance of life in Secrets and Lies, winner of the Palme D'Or and best actress (Blethyn) at the 1996 Cannes Film Festival.

All or Nothing

All or Nothing. 2002. This Mike Leigh drama, All or Nothing is at times almost unbearably bleak and poignant, yet funny, truthful and richly rewarding.

See also:
Nuts in May 1976
Career Girls 1997
Hard Labour
Grown-Ups 1980
Vera Drake 2004

Christopher Hampton

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Dangerous Liaisons.

Dangerous Liaisons. Screenplay by Christopher Hampton, adapted from his play, based on the novel by Francois Choderlos de Laclos. A sumptuously mounted and photographed celebration of artful wickedness, betrayal and intrigue among 18th-century French aristocrats.


Carrington. 1995. Film about Lytton Strachey - a member of Virginia Woolf's 'Bloomsbury Group' - and his relationship with the painter Dora Carrington. Direction and screenplay by Christopher Hampton. Based on the book Lytton Strachey by Michael Holroyd.


Alan Bleasdale

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Boys from the Blackstuff.

Boys from the Blackstuff. 1982. Alan Bleasdale's drama gripped television audiences in 1982 with its bleak, fiercely funny exploration of the effect of the UK's economic depression on a group of Merseyside characters, originally introduced in his 1978 play, The Blackstuff.

Boys from the Blackstuff.

Boys from the Blackstuff. Five episodes of the now-classic series which portrays the bleak atmosphere of Liverpool in the 80s.


Willy Russell

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Educating Rita.

Educating Rita. 1983. Adaptation of the play by Willy Russell. Michael Caine and the knockout Julie Walters deliver a pair of wonderful performances in this endearingly bittersweet tale of a boozily burnt-out professor's tutoring of (and subsequent tutoring by) a free-spirited hairdresser determined to improve her lot in life.

Shirley Valentine

Shirley Valentine. 1989. Pauline Collins repeats her stage success as the character Shirley Valentine, a married woman who decides in her middle years that she wants more out of life.

One Summer.

One Summer. Screenplay by Willy Russell. Two lads from Liverpool who are in danger of falling foul of the law, escape to the Welsh valleys.


Jim Cartwright

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Little Voice

Little Voice. 1998. Adaptation of Jim Cartwright's play The Rise and Fall of Little Voice. Michael Caine, Brenda Blethyn, Ewan McGregor, and Jane Horrocks give absolutely stellar performances in this wonderfully quirky film.

Vacuuming Completely Nude in Paradise.

Vacuuming Completely Nude in Paradise. 2001. Screenplay by Jim Cartwright, starring Timothy Spall.


Patrick Marber

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Closer. Four extremely beautiful people do extremely horrible things to one another in Closer, Mike Nichols' pungent adaptation of Patrick Marber's play that easily marks the Oscar-winning director's best work in years.


Jonathan Harvey

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Beautiful Thing

Beautiful Thing. 1996. A grim, gritty South London housing estate makes an unlikley setting for a romantic fairy-tale, but Hetti MacDonald's gay teenage love story all but brings it off. Adapted by screenwriter Jonathan Harvey from his own stage play.



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