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In Conversation with Lewis Gilbert

7 May 2010

British cinema legend Lewis Gilbert talks to friend and colleague Julie Walters about his extraordinary career.

  • Hear about Lewis Gilbert's brushes with Hollywood greats including Alfred Hitchcock and Orson Wells
  • Discover his first-hand experiences of the golden era of British cinema
  • Watch an audience of friends and colleagues pay moving tributes to the legendary director



From Reach for the Sky and Alfie to the Bond Films, Educating Rita and Shirley Valentine, director Lewis Gilbert's remarkable career in the British film industry spanned over seven decades. In this exclusive BAFTA video, Gilbert discusses his lifelong experiences in the entertainment industry, beginning with his earliest role as a child actor at the tender age of five. He goes on to talk about the lucky breaks and hard work that led to the fast establishment of his career during an era when “cinema was King”.

Talking onstage to friend and colleague Julie Walters, he explains how his early wartime pictures were influenced by his own experiences serving in the Air Force during WW1. After experiencing far-reaching success with Alfie in the 1960’s his work became became increasingly fashionable and he talks about landing the director chair for three Bond movies during the Roger Moore era. In a touching tribute, Walters (who worked with Gilbert on Educating Rita) says, “Your life touched mine and changed it forever”.

An array of similarly enthusiastic and emotional sentiments from colleagues and friends provide insight into the true character of a man who is today considered one of the most distinguished directors in British cinema. Considering what he has learnt of the film industry in the course of his career, Lewis Gilbert offers this piece sound advice :

The things you think are disasters turn out to be wonderful and the things you think are wonderful turn out to be disasters...