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It’s the opening night of the 60th BFI London Film Festival 2016, and to kickstart the Festival there’s a Gala screening of A United Kingdom, the true story of Prince Seretse Khama of Botswana who came to the UK in the late 1940’s and married Ruth Williams, a clerk at Lloyd’s of London. Their interracial marriage caused concerns both in the UK and in Botswana, and both politically and socially. The movie stars David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike as the couple who challenged the racist attitudes of two countries, and advance word on the movie is that it’s a remarkable portrait of the turbulent period it’s set in. If it is, then it’s in very good company, as over the years the programmers of the Festival have managed to secure some amazing, and varied, movies to occupy their Opening Night slot. Here are just a dozen of those movies.

1957 – Throne of Blood

1964 – The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

1968 – The Firemen’s Ball


1971 – Traffic

1977 – 1900

1980 – Kagemusha


1985 – Ran

1993 – The Remains of the Day

1999 – Ride With the Devil


2004 – Vera Drake

2009 – Fantastic Mr Fox

2013 – Captain Phillips