This book explores British cinema in relation to its social political and cultural contexts. Each chapter deals with a specific topic and includes close readings of key films from different historical periods. Topics include realism, expressionism, popular cinema, film and theater, sexuality and gender, comedy, class and ideology, heritage film, and diasporic cinema. Demonstrating the richness and variety of a national cinema that has traditionally struggled to define itself between the paradigms of Hollywood popular film and European art cinema, British Film also addresses the problematic concept of 'national character' as it has been applied in studies of national cinemas and cultures, and the increasing pressure on all of these ideas in the age of globalization. Designed for the general reader, this volume is suitable for use as a textbook, providing comprehensive coverage of British cinema and detailed discussion of specific films that can be used in tandem with screenings.