Anstey was educated at Watford Grammar School for Boys and Birkbeck College. He spent a few years as a civil servant before starting in 1930 at The Empire Marketing Board's film unit, under the direction of John Grierson. In 1949, he joined the British Transport Films unit, which he headed until 1974. He was nominated for the Short Subject (Live Action) Academy Award in 1965 for the documentary film Snow. He directed Housing Problems in 1935.
- Alberto Cavalcanti
- Arthur Elton
- British Transport Films
- John Grierson
- Humphrey Jennings
- Wolfgang Suschitzky
- "Anstey, Edgar (Harold Macfarlane)". Who Was Who in America, 1993-1996, vol. 11. New Providence, N.J.: Marquis Who's Who. 1996. p. 7. ISBN 0837902258.
- "1966". OSCARS. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 9 January 2017.
- Barsam, Richard Meran (1992). Nonfiction Film: A Critical History. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. pp. 96, 107. ISBN 9780253207067.
- Nicholas Pronay, ‘Anstey, Edgar Harold Macfarlane (1907–1987)’, rev., Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004, accessed 4 Oct 2007
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