Lindsay Anderson Collection

Scope and Content

Correspondence, production notes, scripts, photographs, promotional material and press cuttings relating to all of Lindsay Anderson's films including This Sporting Life, If..., O Lucky Man and Britannia Hospital and 40 of this theatre productions; correspondence and scripts relating to unrealised film projects; general correspondence files (1970s-90s); correspondence and minutes of Royal Court Theatre; correspondence with the British Film Institute (1974-94); correspondence with the BBC (1977-94); personal diaries and working papers; theatre and film posters; scrapbooks; awards and memorabilia. The collection also includes Anderson's personal library of books (mainly relating to film and theatre).

Administrative / Biographical History

Lindsay Anderson (1923-94) film-maker, theatre director, critic and actor was born in Bangalore, India on 17 April 1923. The son of a British army officer, he attended Cheltenham College and Oxford University. While at Oxford he founded the film magazine Sequence in 1947 with Tony Richardson, Gavin Lambert and Karel Reisz. The magazine which ran until 1952 took a critical approach to the British cinema of the time and championed what it saw as the more vibrant, imaginative and artistic films coming from the US and Europe. Lindsay Anderson became a documentary film-maker in the 1950s, winning an Oscar for Thursday's Children, a documentary about a school for deaf children, in 1954. He was one of the founders of the 'Free Cinema' movement of the mid 1950s which challenged the established cosy images of British life with a series of dramas and documentaries portraying subjects hitherto rarely seen on screen.

In 1962 Anderson directed his first feature film, This Sporting Life, starring Richard Harris. In 1968 Anderson made If..., one of the most important British films of the 1960s which won the Palm D'or at the 1969 Cannes Film Festival. If... was the beginning of a trilogy of films made by Anderson that provided a controversial comment on the state of the nation. It was followed by O Lucky Man! (1972) and Britannia Hospital (1982). Lindsay Anderson also had a long and distinguished career in the theatre. He directed many productions for the Royal Court Theatre, where he directed his first play in 1957. He also wrote a number of works on the cinema including Making a Film - the Story of Secret People (1952) and About John Ford (1981). His final work was the autobiographical television documentary Is that all there is? (1992).


The arrangement reflects Lindsay Anderson's work in film, television and the theatre. From the early 1970s onwards Anderson employed a secretary and maintained an office in his house. Where possible the original order of his working files is retained.

Access Information

A small amount of material is closed to researchers. Enquiries about the collection should be directed to the project archivist.

Acquisition Information

The collection was transferred to Stirling University from the Scottish Screen Archive in 2001.

Other Finding Aids

Detailed descriptions of the collection will be made available on the University of Stirling Library website from August 2004 onwards.

Conditions Governing Use

For further details contact the project archivist.


Further material relating to Anderson's career as a writer and critic expected in Autumn 2004.


The following books have used material from the collection: 

  • Hedling, Erik, Lindsay Anderson, Maverick Film-Maker, (London, 1998)
  • Lambert, Gavin, Mainly About Lindsay Anderson, (London, 2000)
  • Sutton, Paul, (ed.) The Lindsay Anderson Diaries, (London, 2004)

The following books provide further information on Lindsay Anderson and his work: 

  • Sussex, Elizabeth, Lindsay Anderson, (London, 1969)
  • Silet, Charles, Lindsay Anderson - a guide to references and resources, (London, 1979)
  • Graham, Alison, Lindsay Anderson, (Boston, 1981)
  • Sherwin, David, Going Mad in Hollywood, (London, 1997)