Arrow Films was established in 1991.
After the release of Zombie Flesh Eaters in 2012, film restorer James White stated that the label would try and revamp their brand to "focus on high-quality presentations of classic and cult cinema". White has stated that prior to Zombie Flesh Eaters, the label had a less favorable reception and that "a lot of those criticisms were valid. But people should understand that Arrow weren't personally responsible for those masters. They sub-licensed those titles from the rightsholders and it was either put them out with the masters they'd been supplied with or not release them at all. It's an unfortunate position that a lot of independent labels find themselves in."
Arrow Films is one of the U.K.'s leading independent distributors of world cinema, art house, horror and classic films. For over 15 years Arrow Films has pioneered the best directors from Europe and around the world, such as Denys Arcand, Tinto Brass, Luis Buñuel, Claude Chabrol, Jules Dassin, Vittorio De Sica, Abel Ferrara, Lasse Hallström, Eric Rohmer, Roberto Rossellini, Giuseppe Tornatore, Andrzej Wajda and Wim Wenders.
On 4 December 2009 Arrow Films released Departures in the United Kingdom theatrically; it won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2009 Oscars.
Arrow Video is a specialist label that encapsulates the spirit of the video nasties of the 1980s, including retro-style artwork and posters. This label includes films by renowned horror directors George A. Romero, Lucio Fulci, Lamberto Bava and Dario Argento. Each title is released completely uncut, usually with new transfers, and with a choice between the original audio track and usually a lossless 5.1. Brand new, specially commissioned artwork alongside the original release artwork are included on each release. Newly made and exclusive booklets are often accompanied with the Blu-ray/DVD. Also included are new extra features for each Blu-ray/DVD with new interviews and documentaries.
In August 2011 the Sony/PIAS warehouse fire in Enfield, North London during the 2011 England riots affected the release schedule and led to a substantial loss of stock.
In September 2011, Arrow Films launched a new sublabel, ArrowDrome, which includes brand new releases and several titles from the Arrow Video label being re-released. These new editions include reversible DVD sleeves, collectable booklets and extra features. The aim of ArrowDrome is to release DVD titles only at budget prices.
The collection includes these categories:
- ArrowDrome Action
- ArrowDrome Erotic
- ArrowDrome Giallo
- ArrowDrome Horror
- ArrowDrome Mystery
- ArrowDrome Samurai
- ArrowDrome Sci-fi
- ArrowDrome Blaxploitation
Arrow Video USA
In 2014, Arrow Films launched a successful Indiegogo campaign to begin releasing Blu-Ray and DVDs in North America. It was intended to begin with Blood and Black Lace, but right holding issues shelved this release until July 2016. Arrow Video USA launched with the release of Mark of the Devil on March 17, 2014. They have, as of November 2016, released over 90 films collected across 70 releases, including several films that have never seen Blu-Ray release. There have been a few exclusive North American Blu-ray releases.
Arrow began releasing films in the North American market in 2015. Francesco Simeoni, Arrow’s head of production and acquisition stated that Arrow's desire to move into the North American market as "indicative of the transforming landscape of physical home entertainment distribution" noting that it was "not dying; it’s evolving."
In 2017, Arrow Films launched a podcast to tie in with its ever-expanding catalogue. The fortnightly podcast takes the form of a review program. Each episode its hosts, special effects artist Dan Martin and journalist Sam Ashurst, chose a title from the Arrow catalogue and discuss it before recommending titles that may appeal to the listener.
Arrow has been listed by The Guardian twice as their home video distributor of the year. In 2011, they listed Arrow as the Label of the Year noting their release of Bicycle Thieves, Rififi and Les Diaboliques and specifically praising their releases of horror films where they "truly excel". The second time was in 2013 when they awarded Arrow Films "Label of the Year", noting their releases of Lifeforce and releases of television shows such as Borgen and The Killing as highlights.
Camera Obscura: The Walerian Borowczyk Collection was voted the best home video release of 2014 by several publications, including Sight and Sound and Little White Lies, and won the Focal International Award for Best Archival Restoration Project and the Cinema Ritrovato Award for Best DVD Series/Best Box.
- "About us". Arrow Films. Retrieved October 2, 2014.
Since 1991, through Arrow’s diverse and rich product mix, one of the most energetic and cutting edge labels in British distribution has been forged.
- Beek, Anton van (9 July 2013). "Restoring films for Blu-ray". Home Cinema Choice. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
- Grater, Tom (October 16, 2015). "Arrow Films exec to join CinemaLive". Screen Daily. Retrieved November 6, 2015.
- "Arrow Video Beckons You To The Arrowdrome". Twitch. Retrieved 16 September 2011.
- "Arrow Video USA Indiegogo". Indiegogo. Retrieved November 4, 2016.
- Clark, Ashley (11 March 2016). "Can the celebrated Criterion Collection make a splash in the UK?". The Guardian. Retrieved November 15, 2016.
- "Arrow Video Podcast With Sam and Dan". Arrow Podcast.
- O'Neill, Phelim. "The Best DVD & Blu-ray releases of 2011". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 November 2016.
- O'Neill, Phelim (21 December 2013). "2013 DVD & Blu-ray round-up". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
- "The best DVDs and Blu-rays of 2014". Sight and Sound. 25 February 2015. Retrieved 15 October 2015.
- Jenkins, David (17 December 2014). "The 25 Best DVD & Blu-ray Releases Of 2014". Little White Lies. Archived from the original on 22 October 2015. Retrieved 15 October 2015.
- "Focal International Awards 2015". Focal International Awards 2015. Retrieved 15 October 2015.
- "DVD Awards 2015 - XII Edition: The Winners". Il Cinema Ritrovato. Retrieved 15 October 2015.