British Pathé releases 85,000 films on YouTube

Newsreel archive British Pathé has uploaded its entire collection of 85,000 historic films, in high resolution, to its YouTube channel.  This unprecedented release of vintage news reports and cinemagazines is part of a drive to make the archive more accessible to viewers all over the world.

British Pathé was once a dominant feature of the British cinema experience when, for some film-goers, the iconic black-and-white reports were their only source of news. 

Footage of an audience watching a newsreel begins at 1:06


Spanning the years from 1896 to 1976, the British Pathé Archive includes footage from around the world of major events, famous faces, fashion trends, travel, sport, culture and more.  It is now considered to be the finest newsreel archive in existence.

You can search the British Pathé Archive via YouTube or you can browse via the British Pathé website, where they have grouped the recordings into broad categories, like Entertainment & Humour, Fashion & Music, Lifestyle & Culture, and Travel & Exploration.  Within each category, you can limit your search by decade.  There is also an Advanced Search option, which allows you to search by Tape, Film ID, Canister number, Sort number, Sound, Colour, Licenceable, Group, Category, Decade, Period and Issue date.

In addition to moving images, they also have a Stills Gallery section. To quote, "British Pathé captured history in images.  Here we collect some of these images to inspire, entertain and remember."

I thought I would share a small sampling of films that might be relevant to ethnomusicologists.  But I encourage everyone to browse the archive for themselves.  And a reminder, these films date from 1896 to 1976.  Some of these recordings may be uncomfortable, if not objectionable, to modern audiences, but they are part of the historical record.  It is up to each of you to make your own evaluations of the material. 


Immortal Voices (1936) (includes images of Thomas Edison and early sound recording devices)


Temples Of The East Aka Bali Dancers (1937)


The Dance Of The Tribes (1934)


The Dance Of The Snakes (1932) (silent film)


American Hot Gospel Singers In Germany (1965)


Clans Gather At Cowal Games (1947)


Back To Methuselah (1934) (a museum of musical instruments)


Paul Robeson At Prague Spring Music Festival (1949)


The Imperial Hawaiians (1930)


The Ordeal Of Fire (1931) (India)


Celebrating The Festival Of Jagannath In India (1937)


Jagannath Festival (1961)


Tahitian Fighters Can Hula Too! (1940-1945)


Billy Jones - Pioneer Of Jazz (1963)


Musical Oddities (1932)


Typewriter For Music (1961)


Cast Of Hair - Aquarius (1970-1979)












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