Ken Loach

Born: 17 June 1936, Nuneaton, Warks.

Stills must not be reproduced, copied or downloaded in any way. Hard copies of some images can be bought via the BFI Printstore and the complete collection can be accessed for commercial reuse via BFI Stills.

Introduction

Ken Loach is a British film and television director, and the UK's foremost political filmmaker.

Born in 1936 in Nuneaton, Ken Loach studied law at Oxford, but branched into a repertory stage career (at one point understudying Kenneth Williams in Leicester). Shifting into television, he forged an alliance with producer Tony Garnett and developed the docudrama format via a series of hard-hitting ‘plays’ such as Cathy Come Home.

Loach made his feature debut Poor Cow in 1967 and with Kes, two years later, he directed what is now acclaimed as one of the finest films ever made in Britain. His socially combative work over the next decade or two was often kept off the radar by a combination of poor distribution and broadcasting censorship. Loach's star rose again in the 1990s as award followed award for feature work no less engaged, and he came to be regarded as one of Europe's premier filmmakers.

 

Highlighted works

  • Poor Cow

    Poor Cow

    Carol White (Cathy Come Home) stars in Ken Loach’s debut film, as a working-class single mother living in the London slums.

  • Riff-Raff

    Riff-Raff

    Robert Carlyle and Ricky Tomlinson star in Ken Loach’s tragicomedy set on a London building site.

  • Ae Fond Kiss...

    Ae Fond Kiss...

    A post 9/11 cross-cultural romance is the focus of Ken Loach’s award-winning feature, set in Glasgow.

  • The Navigators

    The Navigators

    The privatisation of British Rail has grim repercussions for a group of railway workers in Yorkshire.

  • Family Life

    Family Life

    Ken Loach’s film remake of his earlier TV drama In Two Minds explores the treatment of a teenager’s schizophrenia.

  • Land and Freedom

    Land and Freedom

    Ian Hart stars as a Liverpool Communist Party member who joins the republicans to fight Franco in the Spanish Civil War.

  • Raining Stones

    Raining Stones

    An unemployed man goes to great lengths to amass enough money to buy his daughter a communion dress.

  • The Wind That Shakes the Barley

    The Wind That Shakes the Barley

    Ken Loach won his first Palme d’Or for his controversial depiction of two brothers who join the Republican Army in 1920 to fight for Irish independence.

  • Sweet Sixteen

    Sweet Sixteen

    A teenager attempts to raise money to help his drug addict mother move out of a poverty-stricken Scottish town in Ken Loach’s forceful drama.

  • Hidden Agenda

    Hidden Agenda

    The killing of an American activist by the police in Northern Ireland reveals a high-reaching political conspiracy in Ken Loach’s thriller.

  • Carla's Song

    Carla's Song

    In Ken Loach’s drama, Robert Carlyle stars as a Glaswegian who falls in love with a Nicaraguan woman living in exile.

  • My Name Is Joe

    My Name Is Joe

    Peter Mullan won the best actor award at Cannes for his portrayal of a recovering alcoholic in Ken Loach’s uncompromising drama.

  • Kes

    Kes

    The tough, touching story of a northern schoolboy and the kestrel that brings hope to his hardscrabble life remains the most widely admired of Ken Loach’s films.

Filmography

Latest from the BFI

  • Latest from the BFI

    Latest news, features and opinion.

More information

Films, TV and people

  • Films, TV and people

    Film lists and highlights from BFI Player.

More information

Sight & Sound magazine

  • Sight & Sound magazine

    Reviews, interviews and features from the international film magazine.

More information

Back to the top