Although best remembered for three controversial and groundbreaking dramas – Made in Britain, The Firm and the notorious Scum – the breadth of Clarke’s radical, politically incisive and innovative work deserves fuller recognition.
With star turns including Gary Oldman (The Firm), Ray Winstone (Scum), Tim Roth (Made in Britain) and even David Bowie (Baal), his films have offered a crucial platform for working class talent and stories. And his clear impact on the work of directors like Gus Van Sant, Paul Greengrass, Harmony Korine, Clio Barnard and Shane Meadows should see him regarded as one of British cinema's foremost influencers.
Typically marked by a gritty, frank naturalism and focus on society’s marginalised, his filmmaking has nevertheless tackled a range of styles, from bleak comedy (Rita, Sue and Bob Too) to drama (Elephant, Christine) and adaptations of writers as diverse as Bertolt Brecht and Georg Büchner.
Not sure where to start with Alan Clarke? Here's a handy BFI guide to inspire your viewing.