Rough Sea at Dover

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Rough Sea at Dover
Full film
Directed by Birt Acres
Robert W. Paul
Produced by Birt Acres
Robert W. Paul
Cinematography Birt Acres
Release date
  • 14 January 1896 (1896-01-14)
Running time
39 seconds
Country United Kingdom
Language Silent

Rough Sea at Dover (also known as Rough Seas at Dover, The Beach at Dover[1] and Sea Waves at Dover) is an 1895 British short black-and-white silent documentary film directed and produced by Birt Acres and Robert W. Paul.

Paul and Acres shot the film in mid-1895, originally with the intention of showing it via kinetoscope. Projected, the film premiered on 14 January 1896 at the Royal Photographic Society in Hanover Street, London. This was the first public screening of a film in Britain and followed a month after the first such screening by the Lumière Brothers in Paris. Following its successful screening in London the film was taken to the United States where it was shown on 23 April 1896 at Koster and Bial's Music Hall in New York City with a series of American movies made by the Edison's company.

Despite its simple nature, Rough Sea at Dover became one of the most popular and widely screened early British films.[2]


The film consists of two distinct shots of different locations which have been edited together. It is not possible to tell with certainty whether these were edited together in the original release version. The first shot is of the rough sea as heavy waves crash against Admiralty Pier in Dover. The second shot is from a different location along a riverbank showing a view of fast-flowing water. It has been speculated that this second half of the footage has been taken from Niagara Falls No. 1: The Upper River Just Above The Falls a film made by Acres late in 1895.[3]

Current status[edit]

Given its age, this short film is available to freely download from the Internet. It has also featured in a number of film collections including The Movies Begin - A Treasury of Early Cinema, 1894-1913.[4]


  1. ^ "A Rough Sea at Dover". Silent Era PSFL. Retrieved 2007-04-09.
  2. ^ "Rough Sea at Dover". Screenonline. Retrieved 2007-04-09.
  3. ^ "Rough Sea at Dover". BFI Film & TV Database. Retrieved 2007-04-09.
  4. ^ "Merchandise". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2007-04-09.

External links[edit]