BFI logo











Screenonline banner

Refuge Britain?

Welcome to Refuge Britain? Here you'll find specially selected films and extracts which help shed light on the topic of refugees and asylum seekers in Britain and abroad.

A refugee is, literally, somebody who is seeking refuge - that is, safety. Refugees and asylum seekers have been with us since ancient times - and, like many other countries around the world, the British Isles have for centuries been providing a safe haven for those who have been forced to flee their homes.

Filmmakers often tackle complex issues in both fiction and non-fiction. As you explore the films and extracts on these pages, you might want to consider some of these key questions:

  • How far can film and TV help us understand the refugee experience of Britain?
  • How have different filmmakers approached the topic and why?
  • What can we learn about the refugee experience itself from these extracts, for example - how might a refugee feel about being sent to Britain? How easy is it to feel at home and to become accepted? What does it mean to be British? Can Britain be a better haven for those fleeing problems in their own country?

We've broken these pages into four main sections, leading you through some of the experiences a refugee might have - from fleeing from home, their first impressions of a new life, to how they must try to fit in and put down roots in their newly adopted country. Find your way around using the buttons on the left of the page.