The Red Shoes PG

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From the archive

This film was last shown on 21 December 2023

One of the greatest British films of all time, Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s The Red Shoes is visually ravishing masterpiece.

Like the heroine of Hans Christian Andersen’s source fairytale, whose magic shoes compel her to dance, Victoria Page – played by real-life ballerina Moira Shearer – finds herself driven to breaking point by obsessive Russian impresario Lermontov (Anton Walbrook) when she’s cast in his ballet, The Red Shoes.

For writer-directors Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, it represented a triumphant attempt to create a ‘composed film’ in which music – here by Brian Easdale – plays a more central role, demanding similar expressive intensity in every detail of design and performance. Fittingly, it won Oscars for both art direction and music.

With its captivating behind-the-scenes insight into the creative process, and characters for whom art is more important than life itself, the film has proved an inspiration to filmmakers and dancers alike.

You can also come along to a special talk on ballet in Powell and Pressburger films on Fri 8 Dec with Lillian Crawford, or a special screening of The Red Shoes with an extended introduction by Pamela Hutchinson on Fri 22 Dec.

Audio Description is available for any screening of this film, just ask at box office.

bfi fan


Emeric Pressburger, Michael Powell
2 hours 15 minutes
Anton Walbrook, Marius Goring, Moira Shearer


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