phone mail2 facebook twitter play
Brighton in Film & TV
Image Credit: Banalities

Brighton in Film & TV

13 March 2017 | Edd Elliott

Fun fact: Britain’s first films were made in Brighton. Little known cinema pioneer George Albert Smith purchased one of the Lumière’s new-fangled camera-thingys shortly after the famous Paris exhibition in 1895 and went on to make a series of experimental short films. Since then the home of salty air and saucy postcards has been a regular on the big screen. Here are just a few of the most famous films to grace Brighton’s sunny shores.

Quadrophenia
 
Quadrophenia? Who’s that? (Insert comedy drum roll here). Yes, Pete Townshend & co.’s mod-rock opera spends plenty of time roaring along the Brighton front. Phil Daniels’ teen tearaway Jimmy Cooper departs from his humdrum London abode for a rebellious weekend down south. He ends up having fist-fights with leather-clad rockers in the coastal town’s dingy clubs and back streets – not the best tourist advert for the city. If you did happen to want to do a bit of location spotting, however, there are a few infamous haunts you can find. East Street and the old front feature prominently in many of the youths’ brawls with police, and Brighton’s Grand Hotel also pops up once or twice.


 
Brighton Rock
 
No, it’s not a sales video for the city’s famous confectionary: it’s the 1947 adaptation of Graham Greene’s classic novel and one of Britain’s best loved black-and-white films. Richard Attenborough gives arguably his finest performance as misleadingly-named local thug Pinkie. The wannabe mafioso has some illegal schemes operating out of the Brighton’s racecourse – a racket that isn’t making him many friends. At the same time, he is becoming increasingly embroiled with wide-eyed waitress Rose in an attempt to cover his tracks for an earlier murder. It doesn’t end well. Brighton’s racecourse can still be visited out to the east of the town, and the Clock Tower, station, Royal Pavilion and pier all appear in the film’s background of this thoroughly Brighton-based film.


 
Wimbledon
 
Everybody’s favourite tennis-based rom com Wimbledon takes a brief holiday to a particularly sunny version of the south coast. Paul Bettany’s aging sports-star-come-nice-guy Peter Colt just has to get away from the pressure of the big tournament and decides his childhood home of Brighton is the best place to be. Here he is confronted by his oddball family and visited by love-interest-come-tennis-champion Lizzie Bradbury, played by Kirsten Dunst. A few scenes were shot along the Marine Parade, but other than that you will have to travel to the All England Club to do this movie’s location stomping.


 
Mona Lisa
 
Mona Lisa is a gritty film about an ex-con’s attempts to save a prostitute from her criminal employers – not to be confused with Julia Robert’s feel-good coming-of-age drama Mona Lisa Smile. Bob Hoskins plays the naïve protagonist, hopelessly fallen for Cathy Tyson’s call girl, and the pair find themselves chased around Brighton Pier by a team of mobsters. The tourist spot has rarely looked more grey and unappealing – but then nothing in Mona Lisa comes out looking particularly nice. A great film, if not a great advert for the seaside resort.


 
Carry On Girls
 
They went to the jungle; they went back to the Romans – of course the Carry On films came to Brighton. In Carry On Girls, the fictional seaside resort of Fircombe attempts to put itself on the map by holding a beauty contest. After that the plot divulges into the usual “Ooohs” and “Aaahs” that make up most Carry On films. Brighton stood in for the rainy holiday town, and many of the city’s well known landmarks – the front, the pier, the Grand Hotel – all feature. It’s not Sid James’ finest hour, but nor is it a bore: a classic British film series in a classic British town.
 

Tell us what you think

You may also like

Top 5 Sunday Roasts in Tunbridge Wells

Top 5 Sunday Roasts in Tunbridge Wells

Locals to Royal Tunbridge Wells will have you believe that they have the best pubs in the country – although which town doesn’t say that? One…

Bristol’s Hidden Gems: Alternative Date Ideas

Bristol’s Hidden Gems: Alternative Date Ideas

We’ve put together a round up of some of the best unusual date spots and activities across the city...

Exeter on a Budget

Exeter on a Budget

Exeter, Devon’s capital city, is a wonderful blend of busy city, serene nature and vibrant culture. Boasting a history that pre-dates the Romans yet retaining a…

A Weekend Away in ... Cardiff

A Weekend Away in ... Cardiff

The sun is appearing from behind the clouds and the idea of a weekend away is becoming more and more tempting. Get on the train…

An Interview with Raymond Blanc

An Interview with Raymond Blanc

Raymond Blanc has come a long way since he was dispatched to England with little knowledge of the language after offering to give his former…

A Hangover Guide to Brighton

A Hangover Guide to Brighton

You’ve woken up feeling fragile and WhatsApp’d around to ask what the hangover day holds. We know the score, so while you hunt for your darkest…

A Weekend Away in Arundel

A Weekend Away in Arundel

Surrounded by gentle English countryside and presided over by both a stunning gothic cathedral and a huge medieval castle, its not hard to see why…

Discover: The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic, Boscastle, Cornwall

Discover: The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic, Boscastle, Cornwall

Stories of witchcraft and magic have been a staple on the pages of children’s books and on our television and film screens, from Roald Dahl's witches…

An Interview with Maisie Williams

An Interview with Maisie Williams

She scooped her first screen role as part of a series that would go on to become one of the most successful in the history…

Win Free Entry to The Canterbury Tales Experience

The Canterbury Tales - Win Free Entry to The Canterbury Tales Experience

We're giving away the chance to win free entry to an interactive tour through Chaucer's tales, meeting costumed characters and pilgrims along the way.

Most popular

Win Two Tickets to the Brighton Fringe’s Spiegeltent and a Meal for Two!

Brighton Fringe - Win Two Tickets to the Brighton Fringe’s Spiegeltent and a Meal for Two!

Roll up, Roll up! We're giving away two tickets to a fantastic evening at the Brighton Fringe’s Spiegeltent, plus a delicious meal!
Win Free Entry to The Canterbury Tales Experience

The Canterbury Tales - Win Free Entry to The Canterbury Tales Experience

We're giving away the chance to win free entry to an interactive tour through Chaucer's tales, meeting costumed characters and pilgrims along the way.
A Guide to the Dutch Season at the Brighton Fringe

A Guide to the Dutch Season at the Brighton Fringe

We celebrate the best of Holland's cultural offerings at the Brighton Fringe.
A Guide to May Day in Cambridge

A Guide to May Day in Cambridge

The May Bank Holiday is upon us, so experience it Cambridge-style.
A Hangover Guide to Brighton

A Hangover Guide to Brighton

Here are the greatest hangover cures following a night out in Brighton.
Win a Family Stay at Marwell Hotel and Zoo

Marwell Wildlife - Win a Family Stay at Marwell Hotel and Zoo

Looking for a family weekend this summer? We’re giving away a family stay at the amazing Marwell Zoo’s on-site lodgings, the Marwell Hotel.
Top 5 Sunday Roasts in Nottingham

Top 5 Sunday Roasts in Nottingham

We've scouted out the best roasts Nottingham has to offer.
5 Things You Didn’t Know About Oxford’s History

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Oxford’s History

We've compiled 5 of Oxford's lesser-known historical facts.
Bristol’s Hidden Gems: Alternative Date Ideas

Bristol’s Hidden Gems: Alternative Date Ideas

Here's a selection of some of the best unusual date spots across Bristol.
A Weekend Away in Arundel

A Weekend Away in Arundel

We spend a weekend in the beautiful Arundel, West Sussex.

Your inbox deserves a little culture!