Guild Home Video

Guild Home Video

Infobox Defunct Company
company_name = Guild Home Video
type = film distributor
foundation = 1979
defunct = 1998
fate = Closed Down
location = flagicon|United Kingdom Peterborough UK|

Guild Home Video (GHV) was one of the very first video distribution companies to start operating in the UK, but unlike other independent labels such as Intervision or Videoform, GHV not only survived for a very long time but continued to grow, eventually becoming video distributors for independent studios such as Carolco, Cannon and Lorimar.


Based in Oundle, Peterborough, Guild Home Video were one of the biggest of the early video companies, and responsible for distributing a large and varied catalogue of movies. The initial batch of releases came out in mid-1980 and were easily recognisable by the sky blue, stylised 'G' symbol that the company retained throughout its life (with only a colour change to gold in 1988), the original Guild catalogue included a mind-boggling array of features. From creaky and dated British science-fiction/horror fare such as "The Beast in the Cellar", "The Body Stealers" and "Doomwatch", to documentary/non-fiction titles like "The Entertaining Electron" and "Reardon on Snooker" as well as recent box office hits like David Cronenberg's "Scanners" and Jack Nicholson's remake of "The Postman Always Rings Twice". Many classic Australian movies such as "My Brilliant Career", "Breaker Morant" and "Money Movers" were also released at that time too.

The original catalogue was uncommonly large by the standards of most labels at that time, with well over 100 titles released within the first two years of trading alone, and Guild became well known for the professionalism of its product. At a time when many of the independent labels were resorting to tacky and often distatefully lurid cover designs to get its products noticed (Go Video's "Cannibal Holocaust/SS Experiment Camp" and Vipco's "Driller Killer" being prime examples), GHV adopted a much more subtle approach. Many of their cover designs can be seen on: Interestingly, early Guild covers were colour coded. Cassettes for "hire only" carried a Pink band round the base of the sleeve, while later Hire/Sale cassettes carried a sky blue band round the top. There were also a number of tapes with a yellow band as well, but these are all but extinct now and desirable when found.


Guild Home Video continued to grow steadily throughout the 1980's, notable especially as one of the very few independent labels to survive the 1984 Video Recordings Act (1). This ruinous and reactionary response to the "Video Nasties" crisis meant that any movie available on video had to carry a BBFC video certificate. As each film would cost hundreds of pounds to classify if re-submitted, many independent labels found it uneconomic to submit their entire back catalogues and several simply went out of business. GHV, by now exclusive distributors to the likes of Cannon, The Goldwyn Company and Lorimar were able to continue on the strength on their newer titles and the older back catalogue generally disappeared from view. More successful titles like "Straw Dogs" and "Suppose They Gave a War and Nobody Came" were among the first budget "sell through" titles to appear when Video Collection began retailing cut-price movies in 1986.


By the early 1990's the face of video was changing and the video trade was being dominated more and more by the big studios. It was in this climate that GHV had it's last hurrah. In 1988 they secured a distribution deal with Hollywood "mini-major" Carolco Pictures, which resulted in them gaining exclusive UK video rights for big budget blockbuster movies like "Terminator 2", "Total Recall", "Cliffhanger" and "Rambo 3". Whether GHV lost money when Carolco went bust is not known, but the gold 'G' faded away not long after Carolco was wound up and by 1995, the UK's leading independent video distributor was heading towards closure.


Footnote (1): Home Video merged with Pathe Film Distribution in 1997 forming Guild Pathe Cinema.By 1999 this became Pathe Distribution Limited and looking at the British Companies House database confirms this.

A lot of past Guild releases are now on the Pathe Distribution label.

External links

Reference website:

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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