List of films shot at the British Museum

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Reading Room in the British Museum as it appeared in 2004. Used in many films as a backdrop including Hitchcock's Blackmail and Zinnemann's The Day of the Jackal.

The following is a list of films featuring the British Museum in the plot line, and/or with scenes filmed there ordered by release date:

The Wakefield Case (1921)

Four rubies belonging to the British Museum are stolen. A man called Wakefield is killed after trying to capture two brothers in possession of the jewels. His son (Wakefield Jr), a playwright, investigates and follows a woman whom he suspects of his father’s murder across the Atlantic to the US. Wakefield eventually solves the case and falls in love with the woman, who was in fact a Secret Service agent working under cover as a member of the gang.[1][2]

Blackmail (1929)

Blackmail features a chase scene around the British Museum, although due to low light inside the building, the director Alfred Hitchcock made do with blown-up photographs as studio backdrops. The last shot of the film is the dome of the Reading Room.[3][4]

Bulldog Jack (1935)

A comedy thriller which ends in a chase through a secret (fictitious) tunnel from ‘Bloomsbury’ underground station (clearly modelled on the British Museum underground station which closed in September 1933, not long before this film was made) to the Egyptian room at the Museum. The film features the British Museum in the story line, but was filmed at Shepherd's Bush Studios.[5]

Night of the Demon (1957)

John Holden (Dana Andrews) is seen researching in the British Museum reading room about the origin of an ancient but once powerful Satanic cult.

Phaedra (1962)

Jules Dassin's 1962 film Phaedra was an updated version of Euripides' Hippolytus. Melina Mercouri plays the eponymous tragic heroine who falls in love with her stepson, Alexis/Hippolytus, played by Anthony Perkins. In the film, Phaedra meets her stepson for the first time in the British Museum's Duveen Gallery where the Parthenon sculptures are displayed.[6][citation needed]

The Ipcress File (1965)

An encounter between hero and villain, though using the exterior of the Royal School of Mines in South Kensington, used as the interior location a library at the British Museum (not the main reading room).[7]

Day of the Jackal (1973)

The Jackal is seen researching at the British Museum reading room.[8][9]

Maurice (1987)

The film is based on the novel by E.M. Forster (written 1913-, published posthumously 1971). In this scene, Maurice bumps into his old schoolmaster (Simon Callow) by the Assyrian sculptures.[10]

Tale of the Mummy (1998)

The Mummy Returns (2001)

The British Museum is the new home for Imhotep.[11][12] A British Museum curator Baltus Hafez (Alun Armstrong) leads a cult who have resurrected the ancient Egyptian god Imhotep with the intent of using Imhotep's power to defeat the Scorpion King. The cult capture Alex, the eight-year-old son of Rick (Brendan Fraser) and Evelyn O'Connell (Rachel Weisz) who set off to save their son and save the world from Imhotep.

Possession (2002)

Roland Michell (Aaron Eckhart) is an American scholar working at the British Museum as a research assistant to Professor Blackadder (Tom Hickey), an expert on Randolph Henry Ash, a 19th-century English poet. One afternoon while studying Ash's Latin texts in the London Library (sequences filmed in the Arched Room in the British Museum),[13] Roland discovers two drafts of what appear to be love letters written by Ash to the Victorian poet Christabel LaMotte. Roland takes the letters to Maud Bailey (Gwyneth Paltrow), a gender studies scholar, an expert on LaMotte who also happens to be a distant relation.

Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb (2014)


  1. ^ AFI Catalog: Feature Films The Wakefield Case
  2. ^ "The Wakefield Case (1921)". Retrieved 2011-03-02.
  3. ^ IMDb Blackmail
  4. ^ Cohen, Tom (2005), Hitchcock's cryptonymies, Volumes 1-2, U of Minnesota Press, p. 76, ISBN 978-0-8166-4206-9
  5. ^ Reid, John Howard (2006), Success in the Cinema: Money-Making Movies and Critics' Choices, p. 90, ISBN 978-1-84728-088-6
  6. ^ IMDb Phaedra
  7. ^ Frank Greenaway (2007), Chymica Acta, Jeremy Mills Publishing, p. 99, ISBN 978-1-905217-50-2
  8. ^ Sinyard, Neil (2003), Fred Zinnemann: films of character and conscience, McFarland, p. 136, ISBN 978-0-7864-1711-7
  9. ^ IMDb Day of the Jackal
  10. ^ Black, Barbara J. (2000), On exhibit: Victorians and their museums, University of Virginia Press, p. 119, ISBN 978-0-8139-1897-6
  11. ^ IMDb The Mummy Returns
  12. ^ Keene, Suzanne (2005), Fragments of the world: uses of museum collections, Butterworth-Heinemann, p. 109, ISBN 978-0-7506-6472-1
  13. ^ British Museum The Arched Room

See also[edit]

List of films shot at the Palace of Versailles