28 votes
Mark Kermode's Secrets of Cinema

Mark Kermode's Secrets of Cinema

BBC Four 2018

British film critic Mark Kermode presents his guide to cinema.

Documentary Series All Currently Running Shows Documentaries about Movies & The History of Cinema Documentary Awesome Shows All Shows 2000-2018 EN ListrrShowListEnglish All Shows - Documentary BBC iPlayer TvList-Series-old-purge-2019-07-04 BBC BBC/ITV/SKY

The 10 Best Episodes of Mark Kermode's Secrets of Cinema

Mark Kermode's Secrets of Cinema - S1E4

#1 - Science Fiction


Season 1 - Episode 4

Mark explores the most visionary of all genres - science fiction, and shows how film-makers have risen to the challenge of making the unbelievable believable. Always at the forefront of cinema technology, science fiction films have used cutting-edge visual effects to transport us to other worlds or into the far future. But as Mark shows, it's not just about the effects.

The episode was rated from 25 votes.

Mark Kermode's Secrets of Cinema - S1E2

#2 - The Heist


Season 1 - Episode 2

This time it is the turn of the heist movie, with its unique combination of suspense and action. Whether it is the big bank job or netting a fortune in diamonds, why, asks Mark, do otherwise law-abiding audiences find themselves rooting for robbers and even killers? More than any other genre, the heist movie plays with our sympathies, encouraging us to identify with characters we would run a mile from in real life.

The episode was rated from 23 votes.

Mark Kermode's Secrets of Cinema - S1E1

#3 - The Romcom


Season 1 - Episode 1

Mark begins with one of the most popular genres of all, the classic romantic comedy. They are sometimes sneered at by critics, but from the 1930s to the present day, many of our most beloved movies have been romantic comedies.

The episode was rated from 28 votes.

Mark Kermode's Secrets of Cinema - S1E3

#4 - Coming of Age


Season 1 - Episode 3

Mark explores the genre that captures the joy and pain of growing up - the coming-of-age movie. It is the most universal of all genres, the one we can all relate to from our own experience, yet it can also be the most autobiographical and personal.

The episode was rated from 22 votes.

Mark Kermode's Secrets of Cinema - S1E5

#5 - Horror


Season 1 - Episode 5

Mark Kermode reveals the cinematic tricks and techniques used to create classic horror films, from The Phantom of the Opera to The Exorcist, Psycho to Get Out.

The episode was rated from 25 votes.

Mark Kermode's Secrets of Cinema - S3E3
#6 - Cult Movies
Season 3 - Episode 3

Mark Kermode invites you on an entertaining journey into the weird and wonderful world of cult movies, filled with some of the strangest, most truly original and unexpected moments in cinema. Film-makers don’t decide what becomes a cult movie, argues Mark. We - the audience - do. Mark looks at the qualities a film needs to acquire cult status, and the main types of cult movie, from films that are so bad they’re good, to groundbreaking masterpieces of foreign language cinema. Some cult films set out to shock and break taboos; others are camp classics embraced by audiences who find new or hidden meanings in them. Mark also explores the strange phenomenon of cult films about actual cults, and looks at the future of cult cinema in an age when even the most obscure and offbeat movie is just a download away.

The episode was rated from 14 votes.
Mark Kermode's Secrets of Cinema - S3E1
#7 - British Comedy
Season 3 - Episode 1

In a revealing look at one of the defining genres of British cinema, Mark argues that comedy films win laughs by tapping into our abiding national preoccupations. We love to root for the underdog or 'little man', a key figure who appears in countless guises. We delight in seeing class and manners satirised and subverted. We’re fascinated by films that mix comedy and crime. We enjoy home-grown pastiches and parodies that take the big beasts of Hollywood down a peg. And then there’s the infamous phenomenon of the British sex comedy... From side-splitting classics to overlooked gems, Mark shows how making fools of ourselves can make for seriously good cinema.

The episode was rated from 12 votes.
Mark Kermode's Secrets of Cinema - S3E2
#8 - Pop Music Movies
Season 3 - Episode 2

Mark looks at a genre combining his twin passions; music & movies. Pop movies encompass many forms, from drama and comedy to fantasy and documentary, producing some of the most potent, emotive moments in popular culture. There’s the classic pop star vehicle, where the biggest acts play themselves, or a version of themselves, in exuberant films promoting their brand and help sell their music. Then there's pop biopics, dramatised accounts of the stars’ lives, dazzling us with musical set pieces while playing on our fascination with fame's darker side. Even rock documentaries, or 'rockumentaries', feature recurring themes and situations, both on and off stage. We also see what happens when actors play musicians, or when musicians take on acting roles, and celebrate some of the true cinematic oddities coming from pop stars putting their wildest ideas on screen. Rebellion, romance, anarchy, excitement. Mark shows how the fusion of pop music and movies has been a double act like no other.

The episode was rated from 10 votes.
Mark Kermode's Secrets of Cinema - S2E1
#9 - Superheroes
Season 2 - Episode 1

From flying saviour figures in primary-coloured costumes to brooding nocturnal vigilantes, the superhero movie has spawned many record-breaking global hits. It has also provoked a backlash from some leading film-makers, yet superheroes have had a relationship with cinema that stretches back to the first half of the 20th century, and the genre taps deeply into timeless themes and storytelling traditions. Drawing on a range of films, past and present, Mark Kermode explores the key elements of superhero movies, including origins, superpowers, costumes, secret identities, villains and sacrifice, to show why they resonate with audiences across the world. Mark also addresses criticisms of the genre, and offers his own thoughts on how superhero movies must adapt for the future.

The episode was rated from 21 votes.
Mark Kermode's Secrets of Cinema - S2E2
#10 - British history movies
Season 2 - Episode 2

'History', says Mark Kermode, 'is the quintessential British film genre'. America may have its great outdoors for road movies and westerns, and teeming cities for cop and crime sagas. But there is more than enough in two millennia of British history to provide a bottomless well of story material. To prove the point, Mark looks at some of the best films about British history in the order of when they are set, tracing the story of Britain from the Roman invasion to the modern era, via medieval times, the Tudors, the English Civil War and the 18th and 19th centuries. He shows, from action and adventure to political intrigue, and from forest-dwelling outlaws to embattled kings and queens, that British history encompasses a remarkable range of styles and situations. Each period is almost a genre in itself, with its own particular themes and characters. And facts are rarely allowed to stand in the way of a good story or striking image.

The episode was rated from 17 votes.

Last updated: may 02, 2022



I love cinema. And I have interest in how movies are made, why they are made and what were the intentions of the author. I always watch all the bonus features of a movie with keen interest. But I fell asleep several times while watching this show. Mark Kermode's monotone, lecturing talking style does that easily. Plus, he seemes to pick the movies to proof his pre-formed opinions. Critics oftentime do explain movies in a way that makes me think I haven't understand any movie I've ever watched. They are putting explanations in that I am not sure were there in the first place.


I full on loved this series. Great examples with visualizations to follow along, great recommendations and comparisons too. It has started me watching lots more documentaries on the topic of film production and film history.

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