Government goes to the movies

In the 1940s, the British government discovered the power of film to inform, promote, and persuade the public, and it created the Central Office of Information to create strategic media campaigns on all kinds of subjects. In this episode, we’re silencing our phones, dimming the lights, and digging into 65 years of informative, odd, sad, scary and funny COI films.

If you think public information films were all dry and boring, then prepare to have your mind thoroughly changed.

Download the full episode transcript here.

Documents from The National Archives used in this episode: INF 6/382.

Production files for many of the other films discussed can be found by searching our catalogue, Discovery. For advice on searching for films and records about them take a look at our guide to Government film-making and the film industry.

All of the film clips featured in this episode are linked to and can be viewed online via the BFI Player or the Public Information Films page of our website. Both websites contain additional information about copyright and re-use of the film clips.

There are many other COI films held by The National Archives, the BFI and Imperial War Museums.

This podcast is being released as part of the #COI75 anniversary celebrations, where The National Archives has joined with the BFI, and Imperial War Museums (IWM) to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the COI. Read more here.

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