IWM has managed a Film Archive from its very beginnings as an institution, and the film collection now covers all aspects of conflicts in which British, Commonwealth or former Empire countries have been involved since the start of the twentieth century.

Our constantly growing collection now extends to over 23,000 hours of moving images, representing a wide and diverse range of material from public and service information films, documentaries and unedited combat film, through to official newsreels and amateur films.

Highlights of the collection include the original 1916 record of The Battle of the Somme (now granted UNESCO Memory of the World status), Academy Award-winning documentaries Target for Tonight (1941) and The True Glory (1945), the former library of NATO, UNTV Zagreb newsreels and library, and most recently, digital born material of operations in Afghanistan.

There is also a significant collection of amateur film – much of it in colour – covering wide areas of the former British Empire, the Second World War, India and Partition, and beyond.

IWM has a team of experienced film curators who offer assistance to commercial researchers and offers a website designed for the needs of commercial users, IWM Film.

The Film Archive also offers a limited bespoke viewing and copying service for museums, armed forces, veterans and their immediate family, family history researchers, students and filmmakers involved with the IWM Short Film Festival. For details of these services and expert advice on accessing the IWM film collection for such purposes please contact

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