“There’s not a single person working in the British film industry that doesn’t owe a colossal debt to Dickie Attenborough. That cannot be true of anyone else working anywhere in the world in any other national film industry.”
– Lord David Puttnam
Join The Chiswick Cinema for an unforgettable journey through Lord Richard Attenborough’s (1923-2014) ground-breaking works, both in front of and behind the camera in a unique season exclusive to The Chiswick Cinema.
A legend and champion of British cinema, his work as an actor, director, and producer, saw him apply his remarkable humanity and versatility to a breadth of subjects. His contributions to the film industry have left a lasting impact on cinema. From his early triumphs as a talented actor to his celebrated directorial masterpieces, Richard Attenborough’s films have left an indelible mark on the cinematic landscape. This season offers a unique opportunity to rediscover his remarkable contributions to the art of storytelling.
Member free tickets apply. Five films from his vast repertoire are now on sale, with future screenings added and announced at later dates via the Chiswick Cinema newsletter and updated on this page. Prices have been calibrated to make the season as accessible as possible. Group bookings and discount requests are welcome to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re keen to ensure we mark Lord Attenborough’s legacy by sharing in his educational and philanthropic work where possible.
We hope you can join us as we pay tribute to a true visionary.
Season Launch Night Q&A + Drinks Reception
Dir. Guy Green, Drama, 91 mins, UK  (PG)
“THE ANGRY SILENCE marked a significant moment in Dad’s career. He had just decided to give up acting, as he felt he was being dreadfully typecast. So he formed Beaver Films with Bryan Forbes. ‘Angry’ was their first project, but was deemed utterly uncommercial by all the studios, so they decided to do it on a tiny budget and on a profit-share basis. However, no one would take on the leading role for no money. So Dad had to play it! The film was a huge success, earned Dad a BAFTA nomination and transformed his career!” — Michael Attenborough
Dir. Richard Attenborough, Biopic, 191 mins, UK  (PG)
‘My Dad was first asked to direct GANDHI eighteen years before it was eventually made and six years before he directed his first movie. Nobody would put up the money. But he would not be deterred. It eventually won eight Oscars, including Best Film and Best Director.’— Michael Attenborough
Dir. John Sturges, War, 172 mins + Intermission + Entr’Acte, USA  (PG)
‘THE GREAT ESCAPE was his first Hollywood film, though, ironically, not shot in Hollywood. It marked the start of a deep friendship with Steve McQueen, who asked for Dad to play opposite him in his next film – THE SAND PEBBLES.’— Michael Attenborough
Dir. Richard Attenborough, Biopic, 126 mins, UK  (U)
Presented in proud partnership with Chiswick Book Festival and Chiswick in Film Festival.
‘SHADOWLANDS was Dad’s favourite of all the movies he directed. Perhaps because it enabled him to focus above all on the performances and the chance to work with Tony Hopkins again, whom he directed five times. He was not a religious man and naturally struggled with grief; indeed like CS Lewis, who was religious. A decade later personal grief was to hit him very hard’.
Dir. Richard Attenborough, Musical, 138 mins, UK  (PG)
‘OH WHAT A LOVELY WAR marked his directorial debut. Preceded, as ever, by a universal refusal by the studios to back the movie. Except Paramount, for whom Dad personally auditioned all the songs. And to whom he fibbed outrageously as to the array of stars who had agreed to appear. He then proceeded to sign them all up! The film was, thankfully, wonderfully received.’ — Michael Attenborough
About Lord Richard Attenborough
Attenborough’s skill as a filmmaker was characterized by his commitment to storytelling, his attention to detail, and his ability to tackle complex subjects with empathy and thoughtfulness. Attenborough had a strong sensibility and distinct humanism that ran through his career, often choosing stories that explored the triumphs, struggles, and resilience of individuals. His works showcased the human condition with empathy and understanding, often underscored by a spotlight on injustices and a championing of social change.
With sweeping scope and grandeur, Attenborough’s films often featured large-scale lavish productions that were behemoth undertakings, especially by today’s standards. A solid attention to detail in production design, costumes, and cinematography unifies all his works. Many of the films in this season, are pinnacles of the medium in terms of scale and immersion.