Meet Britain's biggest film buff who has seen over 7,000 films in the last 70 years visiting Swiss Cottage Odeon every week

Lynsey Barber
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One man has spent 456 days of his life at the cinema (Source: Getty)

A London man can lay claim to the title of being Britain's biggest film buff, having gone to the cinema every single week for the last 70 years.

John Gale has taken in more than 7,000 films at the Odeon in Swiss Cottage, which he calls a second home after visiting at least every week, and sometimes more, since 1945.

The 75-year-old watched his first film at the cinema - The Dolly Sisters - at the tender age of five. Since then, Gale has watched 657,000 minutes of film. That's the equivalent of 456 days, or more than a year of his life. The movie mad Gale has often visited the cinema three times in a single week.

Gale said the 1970s was a low point for him in terms of films: "Too much sci-fi. I hated Star Wars," he told the Ham&High.

"Back then we used to try and rush out before the end of the film so we didn’t have to stand and sing ‘God Save the King’ as they played it through the auditorium. It seems mad now - try that today and the screen would probably be pelted with tomatoes.

But that was an era when films were truly magnificent, with great musicals and fantastic epics. Film has deteriorated somewhat from back then with too much violence and sex.

Now the film buff has been rewarded by the Odeon with free cinema tickets for every year he's been going and hailed as its most devoted film fan.

“It’s truly an honour to meet a loyal guest who’s seen more films than our staff combined," said James VanDyke, the manager of Swiss Cottage Odeon, which first opened its doors to film fans in 1937.


40s The Dolly Sisters / Mother Wore Tights

50s The Nun's Story /A Star is Born

60s Funny Girl / Elmer Gantry

70s The Way We Were / Yanks

90s The English Patient / Sense and Sensibility

00s Mamma Mia / Chicago

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