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Bob Godfrey’s GREAT at 40 Years!

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If we were to ask you to name the first UK film (and film-maker) to win the Acadamy Award for Best Animated Short, would you know the answer (had the title of this article not given it away!)?

Directed by the late Bob Godfrey, Great took 4 years to complete and was released in 1975, and is a 28-minute film recounting the life of one of Britain’s most prolific engineers; Isambard Kingdom Brunel. The film is a humorous, musical biography into Brunel’s life – explaining the triumphs and setbacks of his career.


Due to a copyright issues, Great has not been released on DVD or Blu-ray, nor has it been screened publicly for many years. This may be one reason why so few people know of its importance within British animation history – with even less people having had the privilege of viewing it. That is, until now.

To mark the 40th anniversary of Great’s release, there is a rare 35mm screening at this week’s Manchester Animation Festival, plus a crowdfunding campaign to produce a ‘making-of’ documentary…

Great at Manchester Animation Festival

The Manchester Animation Festival are hosting a retrospective chat about the film’s legacy in a rare opportunity to see the film in all its glory in 35mm on the big screen. They will be joined by Tom Lowe (Bob Godfrey’s grandson), Jez Stewart (Animation Curator at the BFI) and Rebekah Taylor (Archivist and Special Collections Officer at UCA Farnham) to discuss this important film in detail.

When: Thursday 19th Nov – 11:40am
Where: Cinema 1, HOME, Manchester

Tickets available here.

The Making of Bob Godfrey’s Great

The Bob Godfrey Collection are proud to announce the online release of the teaser for 40 Great Years.

In 2014, Bob Godfrey’s eldest grandson, Tom Lowe, started interviewing the animators, designers, editors and technicians who made the 1975 Oscar-winning film a reality. With nearly all the interviews completed, a crowdfunding campaign was set up on the Bob Godfrey Collection website in order to raise the funds required.


The target has been set at £1,500 which will enable the final interviews to be conducted and to cover post-production costs. The donation amounts start at £1 and rewards for donations range from receiving a Tweet or Facebook message through to having your name listed in the credits, through to receiving a copy of the finished film as a digital download. The maximum donation amount of £20 will also result in a copy of the documentary on DVD.

For further information and and to donate to the campaign, please visit

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