The best films on BBC iPlayer (16th October 2021)
James R | On 16, Oct 2021
Who needs to pay for a subscription when you can stream new and old cinematic gems alike for free on BBC iPlayer?
What films are currently available on BBC iPlayer? We round up the best movies on BBC iPlayer right now, with their expiry dates listed so you know how long you have to stream them. (Click here to see our reviews of the best TV shows on BBC iPlayer.)
Pass Go, collect £200, and enjoy one of the funniest movies of 2018.
If Beale Street Could Talk
A beautiful story of love, dignity and respect, this lyrical masterpiece is one of the best films of the year.
The Light Between Oceans
Kathryn Bigelow’s depiction of the 1967 Detroit riots is brutal, violent viewing – sometimes too much so.
David Oyelowo delivers a superb performance in Ava DuVernay’s stirring, powerful biopic of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Powell and Pressburger’s study of faith, duty and desire is a riveting, immersive plummet into melodrama.
The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp
Powell and Pressburger’s remarkable war epic explores friendship, life and patience with compassion.
Mike Nichaols’ seminal coming-of-age tale, starring Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft, still inspires new generations of lost college-leavers today, a sign of just how timeless his knack for entertaining people was – and continues to be.
Kathryn Bigelow’s depiction of the 1967 Detroit riots is brutal, violent viewing – sometimes too much so.
Boyz n the Hood
John Singleton’s 1991 drama, starring Cuba Gooding Jr. and Ice Cube, follows the lives of three young males living in the Crenshaw ghetto of Los Angeles. Seminal cinema.
A music student determined to be the best drummer of all time (Miles Teller) is pushed to his limits by a sadistic teacher (J.K. Simmons). The result is a riveting drama that has the toe-tapping style of jazz and the exhilarating thrill of an action movie.
A Monster Calls
A hugely moving tribute to the profound power of storytelling.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
This impeccable adaptation of John le Carre’s spy thriller is an atmospheric puzzle of betrayal, distrust and decline.
Julianne Moore’s performance justifies Sebastian Lelio’s US remake of his Chilean drama Gloria.
The Children Act
High Court judge Fiona Maye is given the case of a 17-year-old Jehovah’s Witness who refuses to undergo a blood transfusion for leukaemia that could save his life in this earnest adaptation of Ian McEwan’s novel.
Scottish filmmaker Anthony Baxter captures the fallout of the Flint water crisis in this urgent and eye-opening documentary.
Man on the Moon
Jim Carrey is remarkable in this biopic of controversial comedian Andy Kaufman. Star of Taxi and Saturday Night Live, Kaufman’s unorthodox humour was often misunderstood.
Brad Pitt is excellent in this time-travel thriller in which a convict from 2035 is sent back in time to find the cause of a virus which has wiped out most of the planet’s population.
Whitney: Can I Be Me?
This poignant portrait of the iconic singer is lacking in insight but not in impact.
Peter Mullan stars in the moving drama about a man experiencing homelessness who makes his journey from Glasgow to London in search of friendship and warmth at Christmas.
The Eichmann Show
Martin Freeman stars in this drama about the efforts to broadcast the 1961 trial of Adolf Eichmann in Israel. A moving, gripping reminder of the banality of evil – and the importance of telling what happened to new generations.
Stan & Ollie
Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly capture the magic of entertainment and friendship in this warm, winning biopic.
The Mole Agent
An octogenarian becomes an unlikely spy in this hugely entertaining and moving Oscar-nominated documentary.
This Oscar-nominated documentary about healthcare corruption in Romania is a gripping, harrowing watch.
Finding Jack Charlton
This moving documentary tells the story of football legend Jack Charlton, which looks at his special association with Ireland, his complicated relationship with brother Sir Bobby Charlton and his final battle with dementia.
Billie: In Search of Billie Holiday
With The United States vs Billie Holiday up for awards, there’s no better time to catch this superior documentary, which takes us back through the life of the singing legend. An icon who has often been considered a victim, James Erskine brings depth to the story of her career, as unvarnished in its portrait of her talent and personal troubles as it is unflinching in its details of the politics and social tensions she had to somehow navigate. It’s all held together with spellbinding footage of her singing on stage, including the powerful, mesmerising Strange Fruit.
Two workmen struggle with a plank of work as they attempt to move it from a timber yard to their building site in this classic silent comedy directed by and starring Eric Sykes.
Mr Blandings Builds His Dream House
Cary Grant and Myrna Loy star in this comedy about a family forced out of their Manhattan apartment court disaster when they buy a dilapidated country house, fit only for demolition.
This superbly acted coming-of-age Brit flick isn’t exactly what you’d call a comedy – but it’s a helluva set.
The Gangster, The Cop, The Devil
This intense, action-packed flick hardly ever lets up.
Nicole Kidman is blisteringly good in this brutally gripping crime drama.
When We Were Kings
This documentary captures perhaps the most famous heavyweight title fight of all time which took place on 30th October 1974 in Kinshasa, Zaire, between champion George Foreman and challenger Muhammad Ali.
Viktor Kossakovsky’s charming, poignant and unique documentary offers a piglet’s eye view of farmyard reality. Read our full review
A Farewell to Arms
Helen Hayes and Gary Cooper are on iconic form in this adaptation of Ernest Hemingway’s novel about an American serving as an ambulance driver in Italy during World War I, who falls in love with a nurse.
The Peanut Butter Falcon
This heartfelt, funny road trip is warm, enjoyably earnest buddy movie.
British Films on BBC Two
Gymnast Frankie Box delivers a starmaking performance in Eva Riley’s fantastic coming-of-age debut.
This beautifully atmospheric coming-of-age mystery is a confident, stylish calling card for debut director Claire Oakley.
One Man and His Shoes
This excellent, unflinching documentary charts the story of the Air Jordan phenomenon, showing the sneakers’ social, cultural and racial significance and how groundbreaking marketing strategies created a multi-billion-dollar business.
Silver Screen Classics
Silver Screen Classics: Collection 1
BBC iPlayer has the rights to a bunch of classics from old Hollywood studio RKO, including Citizen Kane (1941), King Kong (1933), Suspicion (1941), The Magnificent Ambersons (1942) and Top Hat (1935). Others include Angel Face (1952), Beautiful But Dangerous (1954), Blackbeard the Pirate (1952), Bringing Up Baby, Carefree (1938), Fort Apache (1948), The Gay Divorce (1934), Kitty Foyle (1940), Love Affair (1939), Miracle of the Bells (1948), Mr Blandings Builds His Dreamhouse (1948), My Favourite Wife (1940), She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949), The Sky’s the Limit (1943), The Spanish Main (1945), The Velvet Touch (1948), Vivacious Lady (1938) and Wagon Master (1950).
Silver Screen Classics: Collection 2
Just when you think BBC iPlayer can’t spoil us any more, up pops a second wave of classic films from RKO Pictures, one of Hollywood’s Golden Age studios. This collection includes the classic Gershwin musical A Damsel in Distress, classic 1950s chiller The Thing from Another World, and more Katherine Hepburn, Ginger Rogers and Cary Grant than you can shake a stick at. Other titles include: Second Chance, I Remember Mama, Holiday Affair, Bachelor Knight, Yellow Canary, Primrose Path, Sylvia Scarlett, Hotel Reserve, Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Windy Poplars.
Six years after the death of her husband, Amelia struggles to discipline her out of control 6 year-old Samuel, a son she finds difficult to love. Samuel’s dreams are plagued by a monster he believes is coming to kill them both. When a disturbing storybook called The Babadook turns up at their house, Samuel is convinced that the Babadook is the creature he’s been dreaming about. The Babadook astutely unites the wry, modern storybook incarnation with the genre’s disturbing past. The result is one of the horror movies of recent years.
The first horror film producer Val Lewton made for RKO Pictures redefined the genre by leaving its terrors to the audience’s imagination. A Serbian émigré in Manhattan believes that, because of an ancient curse, any physical intimacy with the man she loves will turn her into a feline predator.
I Walked with a Zombie
A nurse tending a paralysed woman on a Caribbean island discovers that her charge hides a terrifying secret. Jacques Tourneur’s 1943 classic stars Frances Dee and Tom Conway.
Night of the Living Dead
George A Romero’s 1967 classic, which sees a group of people barricaded in a farmhouse to survive the reawakening of the dead, remains as chillingly relevant as ever.
Minding the Gap
Bing Liu’s Oscar nominated documentary Minding the Gap is the coming-of-age saga of three skateboarding friends in their Rust Belt hometown, hit hard by decades of recession. Read our interview with Bing here and our full review of the film here.
iPlayer Originals and Exclusives
Happy New Year, Colin Burstead
Tragicomedy directed by Ben Wheatley about the difficulty of family relations. Middle-aged Colin organises a New Year’s Eve gathering for his extended family. Read our review
Adam Curtis’ latest documentary is perfectly at home on BBC iPlayer, freed from broadcasting constraints to ramble through the last three decades of global history to try and work out how we got to today’s world of Donald Trump and Brexit. The result is typically simplified and willfully obtuse, but there are thought-provoking flashes of inspiration amid the experimental mash-up of polemic and pop culture. Clocking in at almost three hours, no one else is making documentaries like this, and that’s something to be celebrated.
The Fear of God: 25 Years of The Exorcist
The Exorcist is, without a doubt, one of the scariest films ever made – and, without a doubt, the man most determined to convince you of that fact is Mark Kermode. The BBC critic is known for his ardent love of William Friedkin’s seminal horror, so it is no surprise that in 1998, he wound up presenting a documentary marking its 25th anniversary. 21 years on, however, it is a surprise that BBC iPlayer should bring it back to our screens for Halloween, after the documentary has existed in various cuts in various places but never available to stream legally until now. Read our full review
The definitive adaptation of Julia Donaldson’s book tells the magical tale of a mouse who takes a walk through the woods in search of a nut – and tells everyone he meets of his imaginary creature.
The Gruffalo’s Child
A little Gruffalo ignores her father’s warnings and tiptoes out into the snow in search of the Big Bad Mouse in this charming sequel.
The story of a keen young dragon in his first years at Dragon School.
Room on the Broom
A kind witch invites a surprising collection of animals to join her on her broom, much to the frustration of her cat.
The Highway Rat
A greedy rat (David Tennant) travels the highway in search of other animals’ food, before his sweet tooth finally leads him to a sticky outcome.
Stick Man tells the tale of a happy-go-lucky father’s epic journey to make it home in time for Christmas.
Wallace & Gromit: Shorts
Enjoy a triple-bill of Aardman’s charming stop-motion duo with The Wrong Trousers, A Grand Day Out and A Matter of Loaf and Death all available to stream.