Celebrating Internatiional Women’s Day

Big Picture Show Recommends is your lockdown guide to great films that you can stream for free on platforms like BBC iPlayer, BFI, Channel 4 and of course films on the TV. We have also added in a couple that are available to rent or stream on subscription services. In celebration of International Women’s Day on Monday 8th March, we’re sharing our top picks of films with feminist themes, strong female leads, female directors and women’s stories.

There’s even more going on this week; below the film recommendations you’ll find information about our next Big Picture Show Online screening, a free dance show from Rural Touring Dance Initiative and a whole host of free films from our friends over at WOW Film Festival.


PG | 2h 7min | Biography, Drama, History

Taraji P Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe star in an Oscar-nominated, fact-based drama about three women whose unsung genius made significant contributions to the space race, crossing gender and racial barriers and inspiring generations.

Rating: 4 out of 4.


Director:  Theodore Melfi 
Stars: Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe

Broadcast on Monday 8th March at 9PM on Film 4 and available afterwards on 4 on Demand.


There is always plenty of free-to-watch on our BPS Recommends list. Some family favourites, classics and films you may not have heard of. First, a reminder that you can still catch heartwarming adventure ‘Edie’, on BBC iPlayer 15th March. The film, mentioned in the last ‘BPS Recommends’, follows an 83 year old woman who, after the death of her husband, decides to take on a mountain in the Scottish Highlands.

Black Mother (2018)

TV-MA* | 1h 17min | Documentary

Khalik Allah’s beautiful, experimental documentary explores all aspects of his mother’s homeland of Jamaica, with a special focus on the lives and experiences of the island’s women.

‘an epic odyssey through Jamaican identity’THE GUARDIAN

Director: Khalik Allah 

Watch on 4 on Demand until Thursday 11th March.

* TVMA – TV Mature Audience Only – may be unsuitable for children under 17.

Educating Rita (1983)

 PG | 1h 50min | Comedy, Drama 

Moving comedy drama based on Willy Russell’s stage play about a hairdresser who dreams of rising above her drab urban existence through the power of education. For better or worse, she chooses drunken lecturer Frank Bryant as her tutor. Julie Walters gained an Oscar nomination for her film debut.

Director: Lewis Gilbert
Stars: Michael Caine, Julie Walters

Available until 21st March on BBC iPlayer

Lady MacBeth

18 / R | 1h 29min | Drama,
Romance | 2016

When her husband is called away to one of his collieries, Katherine begins a fiery relationship with a groom from the estate, beginning a tragic conflict with her family.

Director: William Oldroyd
Stars: Florence Pugh, Cosmo Jarvis, Paul Hilton

Available until 13th March on BBC iPlayer

Anna Karenina

PG-13 | 1h 48min | Drama,
Romance | 1997

Anna, wife, mother and St Petersburg aristocrat, faces tough choices after beginning an affair with the handsome Count Vronsky. Based on the 1877 Tolstoy novel.

Director: Bernard Rose
Stars: Sophie Marceau, Sean Bean, Alfred Molina

Available until 20th May on My5


U | 16min | Short, Drama,
Romance | 2020

A heartwarming LGBTQ+ love story that spans over six decades, between two Land Army girls during World War II. A partly silent short film, accompanied by a beautiful score.

Director: Jamie Weston
Stars: Miriam Margoyles, Virginia McKenna

Available to watch on Channel 4 on

Subscription & To Rent

Little Women

PG | 2h 15min | Drama, Romance | 2019

This 2019 film is the seventh adaptation of the 1868 novel of the same name. The film follows the story of the March sisters, living in post-Civil War America, each determined to live life on her own terms.

Director: Greta Gerwig
Stars: Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh

Available on NowTV, Amazon Prime or Apple TV

Erin Brockovich

R | 2h 11min | Biography, Drama

An inspiring story of how Erin, legal assistant and single mother, sought justice and almost single-handedly fought a case against a power company accused of polluting a city’s water supply.

Director: Steven Soderbergh
Stars: Julia Roberts, Albert Finney, David Brisbin

Available to watch on Netflix


Kathryn Bigelow has become a trailblazer for female directors the world over. In 2010 she became the first woman ever to receive an Academy Award for Best Director for her film ‘The Hurt Locker’.

The Hurt Locker (2008)

R | 2h 11min | Drama, Thriller, War
During the Iraq War, a Sergeant assigned to an army bomb squad is at odds with his squad mates due to his maverick way of handling his work.

Stars: Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie

Available to watch on Netflix

Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

R | 2h 37min | Drama, History, Thriller 
A chronicle of the decade-long hunt for al-Qaeda terrorist leader Osama bin Laden after the September 2001 attacks, and his death in May 2011.

Stars: Jessica Chastain, Joel Edgerton, Chris Pratt

Available to stream or rent on Amazon Prime

FREE DANCE SHOW – RTDI: 19th – 21st march

As part of their digital offering this Spring, our friends at Rural Touring Dance Initiative (RTDI), have worked with RTDI Alumni Alleyne Dance to present their heartwarming short interactive dance film ‘Reunited’.

Highlighting the strength of family bonds; watch the anticipation, joy, fear and excitement leading up to the moment siblings reunite after being separated for over half of their lives. Witness how connectivity is not limited to the physical but can be held together through love and hope.

Directed by award-winning filmmaker, Antoine Marc Performed by award-winning dancers Kristina and Sadé Alleyne.

* please be aware this film contains full nudity in the final scenes, filmed at a distance.


Big Picture Show Online is our new monthly event that lets you enjoy newly-released films from the comfort of your own home. We’ve now released tickets to our next, and third, virtual screening of historical comedy-drama ‘Misbehaviour’ on Friday 26th March, 7:30pm.

1h 46min | Comedy Drama | 2020 | 12A

The true-life story of how the Women’s Liberation Movement disrupted the Miss World competition of 1970, the most-watched TV show in the world.

Directed by Philippa Lowthorpe (The Crown, Call The Midwife) and staring Keira Knightley, Gugu Mbatha-Raw & Jessie Buckley, this British comedy drama looks at issues of feminism, race and class while maintaining an element of humour about what was a ridiculous event.  

WOW FILM FESTIVAL 11th – 21st March

WOW Film Festival is celebrating its 20th year by bringing you outstanding, handpicked cinema from across the globe, entirely for free! Taking place online 11-21 March 2021, WOW Film Festival joins March’s International Women’s Day celebrations by showcasing the best international female filmmakers. Nearly half the films in the 2021 programme are directed by women and this year’s strand ‘Women in World Cinema’ highlights some of their best works. Tickets are limited and available to book at http://www.wowfilmfestival.com

The festival is free, online, includes full-length feature films, shorts and Q&As from filmmakers across the globe. Here are our three picks of films being shown at WOW:

Made in Bangladesh

15 | 1h 35min | 2019

Inspired by real life stories of women’s rights activism, this empowering drama brings a tear to your eye and a cheer to your lips. Working long hours in a dangerous factory, seamstress Shimu and her co-workers decide to set up a union. Despite oppressive sweatshop bosses and her husband’s disapproval, Shimu discovers a wealth of courage and resilience.

Available from 13th March


PG | 54min | 2019

One of the last of the traditional herders, 82 year old Firouzeh is devoted to the mountains and her faithful cows. With a sense of humour and a nimble step, she hikes through the rugged landscape, climbs trees, chops wood and churns butter. Determined to keep her independent, simple life, strong-minded Firouzeh tells her life-story in her own words. An absolute gem.

Available from 12th March

Nothing but the sun

PG | 1h 25mins | 2020

Encouraged by missionaries to abandon the freedom of their nomadic life in the forest, the Ayoreo now live on government hand-outs at the fringe of Paraguayan society. For forty years Mateo Sobode Chiqueno has collected his people’s stories, preserving the memories of these sun worshippers before their culture is gone. With understated anger and beautifully composed images, this is a moving lament for the Ayoreo’s fall from Eden.

Available from 15th March

Start watching

With so many great films, it’s about time we start watching, if we want to get through the list. Follow Live & Local Film Schemes on Facebook and Twitter for regular film recommendations and be sure to subscribe to the Live & Local blog for updates across the organisation.

Let us know which films you’ll be watching in the comments and don’t forget to tell us what you think of them.

Streaming Films Online

Many of the films on BBC iPlayer and 4oD offer subtitles and audio description.
For a handy guide on getting setting up and using BBC iPlayer on your smart TV click here.

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