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Peter Watkins' Culloden and The War Game on dual format in March

3 March 2016

On 28th March the BFI will bring Peter Watkins’ controversial BBC productions Culloden (1964), a brilliant reconstruction of the famous battle of 1746, and the Academy Award-winning The War Game (1965), which was banned from TV screens for twenty years, to Blu-ray for the first time. Both films have been newly remastered to High Definition and will be presented together in a Dual Format Edition.

These startling and controversial films by Peter Watkins, first broadcast on BBC TV, have been newly remastered to High Definition and will be released on Blu-ray for the first time together with an array of special features, including a new interview by film editor Michael Bradsell, who worked with Peter Watkins at the BBC, audio commentaries for both films and short films about each one.

Hailed as a breakthrough when it was first broadcast in 1964, Culloden – which brilliantly reconstructs the famous battle of 1746 – stunned viewers by approaching its historical subject matter in the style of contemporary TV news coverage.

Watkins’ The War Game, about a limited nuclear attack on Kent, blended fact and fiction to create a disturbing vision of the personal and public consequences of such an attack. Banned from TV screens for twenty years, it was through its cinema release in 1966 – and its Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature in 1967 – that it gained a loyal and vociferous following.

Culloden and The War Game will be released on UK dual format (Blu-ray and DVD) on 28th March 2016 by the BFI at the RRP of £19.99.

Special features:

  • Michael Bradsell Interview (2015, 21 mins): the film editor talks about working with Peter Watkins at the BBC

  • John Cook audio commentary on Culloden (2002)

  • Culloden on Location (Donald Fairservice, 1964, 8 mins): colour footage of the cast and crew during the filming of Culloden, with a 2002 commentary by John Cook

  • Patrick Murphy audio commentary on The War Game (2002)

  • The War Game: The Controversy (2002, 19 mins): Patrick Murphy charts the production history, banning and eventual distribution of The War Game

  • The War Game book: on-screen gallery of the complete 1967 book, published to accompany the film

  • Illustrated booklet with new essays by John Cook, David Archibald and William Fowler, and full film credits