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South & The Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration on Film on BFI 3-disc Dual Format in February

3 February 2022

The birth of film coincided with the ‘heroic age’ of Antarctic exploration.100 years ago, it drew to a symbolic close with the death of Sir Ernest Shackleton. Marking this centenary, together for the first time on Blu-ray, are the surviving films of the great Antarctic explorers Roald Amundsen, Nobu Shirase, Sir Douglas Mawson and Sir Ernest Shackleton himself.

Their stories, together with those of Robert Falcon Scott (see the BFI’s The Great White Silence, to be re-issued on Blu-ray/DVD on 28 February) demonstrate the extraordinary human endurance  faced in those expeditions and are a landmark in how we see our relationship with the natural world in dramatic moving image.

South & The Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration on Film Dual Format cover art

South: Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Glorious Epic of the Antarctic (Frank Hurley, 1919) is the incredible film record of Shackleton’s attempt to cross Antarctica in 1914-16. During the expedition, the ship Endurance was trapped then crushed by ice, leaving the crew stranded. Notable for its strikingly dramatic images from the inhospitable wastes of Antarctica, SOUTH is both a unique historical document and a tribute to the indomitable courage of a small party of men who set out on a voyage of discovery that turned into an epic struggle to reach civilisation. Newly remastered by the BFI National Archive with a new score by Neil Brand and fresh from its UK cinema re-release on 28 January, it will be released on 28 February 2022 in a 3-disc Blu-ray/DVD Dual Format Edition, presented with an audio commentary and a new interview with Neil Brand on writing the new score. The set will retail at £29.99.

Fram’s South Polar Expedition (1910-12, 22 mins) documents parts of the legendary ‘race to the Pole’ won by Roald Amundsen and his Norwegian team. This the English version of the film footage seen in cinemas and theatres in 1913.

Nihon nankyoku tanken (1910-12, 19 mins) is the extraordinary and rare footage taken in the second year of the Japanese expedition to Antarctica led by Nobu Shirase.

Australasian Antarctic Expedition Films aka The Home of the Blizzard (c1916, 68 mins) comprises film taken by Frank Hurley of the 1911–1914 scientific expedition to the Magnetic South Pole led by Sir Douglas Mawson.

Other fascinating films in the set, range from 1898 to 1922 and include visual references to these and other notable Antarctic expeditions. Additional special features include film and audio extracts and an illustrated booklet containing a comprehensive overview of the films of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration in a range of new essays.


  • Antarctic Expedition: Sir George Newnes’ Farewell to Officers and Crew (1898, 1 min)
  • Departure of Shackleton’s British Antarctic Expedition from Lyttelton, NZ, 1st Jan, 1908 (1908, 8 mins)
  • Nihon nankyoku tanken (1910-12, 19 mins)
  • Fram’s South Polar Expedition (1910-12, 22 mins)
  • Australasian Antarctic Expedition Films aka The Home of the Blizzard (c1916, 68 mins)
  • Pathé’s Animated Gazette No. 140 (extract, 1911, 45 secs)
  • South – Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Glorious Epic of the Antarcti(Frank Hurley, 1919, 81 mins)
  • Topical Budget – Dogs for the Antarctic (extract, 1914, 1 min)
  • Dogs for the Antarctic – Sir Ernest Shackleton’s dogs in quarantine at Beddington (extract, 1914, 45 secs)
  • Australasian Gazette – Captain Davis returns to Sydney... (extract, 1917, 26 secs)
  • The Late Sir Ernest Shackleton Bathing Query (extract, 1922, 2 mins)
  • El Homenaje del Uruguay a los Restos de Sir Ernest Shackleton (1922, 11 mins)
  • Shackleton’s Funeral (extract, 1922, 4 mins)
  • Shackleton South Georgia Birds (1920, 13 mins)


  • outh audio commentary by Luke McKernan (2002)
  • Neil Brand on Scoring South (2022, 15 mins): the composer on his approach to the new score
  • Neil Brand’s 2002 score for South
  • Map of Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition with commentary by Kelly Tyler-Lewis (2002, 2 mins)
  • Ross Sea Party (1917, 9 mins): footage shot by Aubrey Howard Ninnis, the Aurora’s purser, and Alexander Stevens Chief Scientist presented with Kelly Tyler-Lewis 2002 narration
  • Additional footage from South (1919, 19 mins)
  • My South Polar Expedition (1910, 4 mins, audio): Shackleton recorded a week after returning to New Zealand
  • Shackleton Speaks (1910, 1 min, audio): recording of Shackleton naming his Nimrod crew
  • **First pressing only** Illustrated booklet with new essays and credits for all content