Title ID 4137Collection ID521
TitleThe Motor Bandits
ThemeEarly film in the South East
KeywordsArmed Forces Cars Landscape Law Enforcement Motor Vehicles
LocalBrighton South Downs
RegionalBrighton and Hove East Sussex West Sussex
NationalEngland United Kingdom
ProductionSpeer Films (Brighton and County Film Company)
DirectorWalter Speer
ProducerSpeer Films
FormatBlack & White Silent
Duration17 min. 20 sec.
Copyright & AccessCopyright restrictions apply, contact Screen Archive South East for details


An early professionally-made fiction film with intertitles which tells the story of a bank robbery and the subsequent hunt for the robbers. The film is notable for its use of a highly-developed narrative, generic conventions and location shooting.


Three bandits learn that £1000 is to be withdrawn from the central bank. They ambush a car and use it in a daylight bank robbery. The police are informed - they set off by car to the South Downs where a car chase ensures between themselves and the bandits. The bandits escape. The police inform soldiers at a nearby Cadets Camp that the bandits are in the area. Two cadets stumble across the bandits hideout 'Skeleton Corse' but before they can raise the alarm, they are attacked, gagged and bound by the robbers. The bandits leave the hideout but their attempts at escape are cut short by the realization that their car is not fast enough - they head back to 'Skeleton Corse'. Meanwhile the two cadets have themselves escaped and signal their comrades. The bandits return to 'Skeleton Corse' where they are quickly surrounded by the cadets - a fierce gun battle ensues. One of the bandits if shot dead - the remaining two are arrested and led away by the police.


A still from 'The Motor Bandits' (1912) showing people in a car