Hyde Park was at the birth of modern cinema and has remained a popular film location ever since.
The world's first moving pictures were filmed near Apsley Gate one morning in January 1889 by a British inventor, William Friese-Greene. The film was developed at a studio near Piccadilly and is the first known projected moving image.
Since then, Hyde Park has regularly been used as a film location and many fine movies have been made here. David Lean's 1944 classic This Happy Breed about ordinary family life between the two world wars, has a scene at Speaker's Corner. Robert Newton and Celia Johnson, playing Frank and Ethel Gibbons, stop to listen to a Blackshirt shouting at the crowd before uttering the immortal words: "Let's go for a nice cup of tea".
The park had a starring role in Genevieve (1953), the film about the annual London to Brighton classic car race, which still begins at Hyde Park. Rotten Row, at the southern edge of the park, was in the opening credits of Around the World in Eighty Days , the 1956 adaptation of the Jules Verne novel. Many Hollywood greats appeared in this film, including David Niven, Noel Coward, Frank Sinatra, Sir John Gielgud and Trevor Howard.
The Ipcress File (1965), the thriller starring Michael Caine as Harry Palmer, used a bench on Rotten Row as the location for clandestine meetings. It also filmed beneath the park to make what's said to be cinema's first ever scene in an underground car park. Rotten Row was also where Glenda Jackson was taught to play baseball by George Segal in A Touch of Class (1973), a film for which she won the 2nd of her two Best Actress Oscars.
More recently, South Carriage Drive was used in Johnny English (2003), starring Rowan Atkinson, Natalie Imbruglia and John Malkovich. (For more on Johnny English, see Brompton Cemetery.)The park also featured in The Mother (2003), a film with Anne Reid and Daniel Craig about a woman who has a passionate affair with a man half her age.
Filming on Stormbreaker , the adaptation of the Alex Rider novel by Anthony Horowitz, stopped the traffic around Hyde Park Corner in 2005. Alex (played by Alex Pettyfer), the 14-year-old hero hired by British intelligence to save millions of lives, is chased by the entire Household Guards on horseback. See Brompton Cemetery for another Stormbreaker location.