A movement in British cinema in the late 1950s and early 1960s characterized by freedom from the constraints of commercial film production and a desire to depict (especially in documentary films) the everyday life of ordinary people.
Free Cinema was the title given to a series of six programmes of documentary films screened at the National Film Theatre, London, between 1956 and 1959. These films embody the movement's ethos, which was subsequently carried over into feature films. Among the leading practitioners of Free Cinema were Lindsay Anderson, Tony Richardson, and Karel Reisz.
1950s; earliest use found in The Times.