Watch rare socialist film footage via “Socialism on Film,” an Adam Matthew resource produced in partnership with British Film Institute

Researchers will now be able to view the world through a communist lens in Adam Matthew’s newest digitized collection: Socialism on Film: The Cold War and International Propaganda, a resource that focuses on rare socialist film footage from the twentieth century.

Unique in nature and scope, and enabling comparative global research, this collection provides access to previously unseen footage captured by film makers from the USSR, Vietnam, Cuba, China, East Germany, Eastern Europe and more. The footage gives a rare glimpse into all aspects of socialist life using documentary films, features and newsreels. “This is a very important opportunity for teachers of propaganda and the twentieth century,” commented Jo Fox, Professor of History, Durham University. “It is a unique visual record.”

Socialism on Film provides a counterview to Western perceptions of communist states and their actions, while illuminating how socialist countries saw themselves and the world around them during major political and social events of the twentieth century. Students and scholars can now watch such significant history as:

    • Soviet fears on President Reagan’s ‘Star Wars’ defense initiative
    • Interviews with imprisoned American pilots shot down and captured over Vietnam in Pilots in Pyjamas
    • Vanessa Redgrave’s emotional response to nuclear testing in The Nuclear Plague
    • Footage previously banned from general release in Britain

In partnership with the British Film Institute National Archive, the films have been digitized from original film reels acquired by British communist, Stanley Forman, from his personal contacts within the socialist world. This is the largest collection of its kind to survive in Western Europe. Previously shown in private screenings by political groups and other interested parties, the footage is now fully transcribed and searchable through a single interface.

“We’re pleased to bring new research opportunities through this important collection of rare film footage from the twentieth century now digitized and made available to new audiences in partnership with Adam Matthew Digital,” said Gabriele Popp, Head of Collections and Information, BFI National Archive.

Socialism on Film: The Cold War and International Propaganda will be published in three modules:

·         Module I: Wars & Revolutions (available now)

·         Module II: Newsreels & Magazines

·         Module III: Culture & Society

Films are fully transcribed and available to stream through a specially-developed video player. Watch the trailer here. For a free 30-day trial or more information, contact