The Derby (1895 film)

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The Derby
The Derby Full film
Directed by Birt Acres
Produced by
Cinematography Birt Acres
Release date
  • 1895 (1895)
Running time
28 seconds
Country United Kingdom
Language Silent

The Derby is an 1895 British short black-and-white silent documentary film, produced and directed by Birt Acres for exhibition on Robert W. Paul's Kinetoscopes, featuring the end of the 29 May 1895 Epsom Derby viewed from a raised position close to the finishing line with the main stand in the distance. A photograph of Acres filming the movie has survived, which shows that the camera used in the production was relatively portable despite what might have been expected from the equipment of the time.[1] The film was long considered lost but footage discovered in the Ray Henville collection in 1995 has been identified by the BFI as being from this film.[2]


A stationary camera looks diagonally across a racetrack toward the infield showing the horses as they pass. Once the horses have passed the camera it is clear that the race has come to an end and there is a close finish between three horses. Once the race is over police officers run onto the field. The camera also displays various members of the audience moving around.

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.[3] The surviving print for this film has Paul-type perforations, but is believed to be a reprint from 1896 when both Acres and Paul (working separately) were exhibiting the film. This copy however was filmed at a far slower speed than the 40 frame/s which would be typical of the time from an 1895 Kinetoscope film. This is said to cast doubt on the identity of the NFTVA print.[4]


  1. ^ "Birt Acres". Who's Who of Victorian Cinema. Retrieved 2007-03-30. 
  2. ^ "Lost and found no. 4 – The Henville collection". The Bioscope. 2008-03-09. Retrieved 2011-05-25. 
  3. ^ "Merchandise links". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2007-03-30. 
  4. ^ "Derby, The (1895)". Screenonline. Retrieved 2007-03-30. 

External links[edit]