British films are very few and even fewer to find ones that are actually good in my opinion. I never really watch that many British films but when I do it's usually only stuff that I get good recommendations from.
I'm not really that much of a huge fan of dance movies but when I saw this I was actually surprised that it was actually a decent watch. The movie follows a story of a group of dancers that fall at some trouble when their leader leaves and things start going wrong for them. The team fix up and try and win a competition. The story in the film is quite typical for a dance film and a bit predictable but it was the quality of the film which made me add this to the list at 5. I think the dancing and the shooting style of the film is right up there with the likes of the Step Up franchise. the movie made 11 million in box office takings and considering it has only had a UK release that is very good.
4. Sweeney Todd : The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
I had to debate weather to put this on since it's a British story, set in Britain and most importantly a British cast (minus Johnny Depp) BUT it was directed by Tim Burton so who is american. I think since the British elements outweigh the american it's safe to say this is a British film.
I put this on the list because I was blown away by this film because of how good it was. The time period has been captured very well in this movie and I think the props, locations and costumes have been chosen very carefully. The acting is brilliant and has the likes of Helen Bonham- Carter who I am a fan of which was a bonus.
3. This Is England
This Is England made the list because it is just typical England. The way they talk, present themselves and things they get up to is just like England for the most part. I think most British movies always water down the perception of a British people like speaking the queens English and being posh. It annoys me sometimes because not everyone in England is like that it's just a stereotype. I think with This Is England it's just raw Britain which is good to show for once. The storyline is a little weak but it is made up for by all the laughs watching the movie gives.
2. St Trinians
I think St Trinians just had to go on this list with no exceptions. I think this movie has good acting, is funny and the plot is good and entertaining also. When this came out in the cinema I went to watch it twice and for me that is very unusual for a British film because I very rarely watch British films in the cinema. I liked it because it is about school girl misfits and it has all the different clicks that you have in school in it but they still work together even though there are some conflicts between the clicks. It's different because in american movies clicks never get together to do anything.
1. Harry Potter Franchise
I think harry Potter had to be number 1 because it is probably one of the most successful movies and shows that us Brits can make a good film. It was shot in England and has a British cast AND crew which shows that not just american are talented acting and behind the scenes. Harry Potter is the best Wizard movie and has a brilliant plot that can get complicated but it is always consistent which is good to stretch over 8 films. Harry Potter shows that although British films are very few when they are done properly they can be great. This is the same for other successful movies such as James Bond and Johnny English that have gone global.
There are quite a few films that won't make my list but deserve a mention of course. Mike Leigh and Ken Loaches contribution with bittersweet comedies have defined British working-class comic films for thirty rears; Life is Sweet and Riff Raff two of the best. Then there's the brilliance of the Pythons first film, 'The Holy Grail' also edged off my list, as is Hope & Glory and Gregory's Girl. There's also those beautifully made Merchant Ivory classics in the mix, but Shadowlands also falling at the last. Slumdog Millionaire is British but not British enough to be considered, as is the case with Trainspotting. Can't understand a word of it! I won't be including the cliché and over-rated Four Weddings and a Funeral (three dull sitcom episodes stuck together if you ask me) or films that are really average TV dramas at best, like The Full Monty. I have no time for the traditionally British overwhelming sprawling bores of The English Patient and Atonement. No, I define a top movie as one you can watch over and over again on TV, regardless of your mood.
-LIFE OF BRIAN-
Imdb.com 8.2 out of 10 (90,932 votes)
Coordinator: Good. Out of the door, line on the left, one cross each.
Mr. Cheeky: Er, no, freedom actually.
Mr. Cheeky: Yeah, they said I hadn't done anything and I could go and live on an island somewhere.
Coordinator: Oh I say, that's very nice. Well, off you go then.
Mr. Cheeky: No, I'm just pulling your leg, its crucifixion really.
Coordinator: [laughing] Oh yes, very good. Well...
Mr. Cheeky: Yes I know, out of the door, one cross each, line on the left.
It caused a stir at the time in the church like a Catholic Priest pants in a borstal, but The Pythons always smart enough to stoke that nonsense to hype their brilliant movie that sits atop most peoples all time comedy list. Yes it does mock religion and the reason why EMI pulled out of financing it, and if they did a comedy on Islam today you would guarantee it wouldn't get past the storyboard stage. But back then there were enough arty people who liked to rile the establishment up and it was Beatle George Harrison's that saved the day, creating 'Handmade Films' to ensure this classic did get made as the Pythons scrambled for funding. Rather bizarrely it was only totally banned in Norway, Torbay and Aberyswyth, the latter council only recently lifting its ban in the last ten months for a film made four decades ago.
Its joke after joke, religious pi**take after pi**take, side-splitting stuff all the way through, Chapman's 'Brian Cohen' character born on the same day as Jesus but in the next door stable but Chapman, Jesus in all but name here, yet another false prophet in Biblical times full of many, the films only point. Its just deliciously silly and funny but also witty and intelligent, the perfect mix, visual gags for the lads and clever written stuff for the students to guffaw about. It's just hard to fault this. Surprisingly it's only done £20,100,000 to date in 32 years. Valentines Day did that on opening holiday weekend this year.
The six cast members played 40 characters between them to keep the bills down and Eric Idle sung the theme tunes whilst Terry Gilliam continuing to play the hunchbacks and doing the animations. Apparently, when the HMS Sheffield was hit in the Falklands, the crew whistled Eric's tune, 'Always Look on the bright side of life'.... as they awaited rescue. Graham Chapman, a qualified doctor, would hold surgeries after filming on all the Python sets to sort ailments and relax nerves, whilst smoking his pipe. Some guys aye!
The film was shot on location in Tunisia, which allowed the Pythons to reuse sets from Franco Zeffirelli's Jesus of Nazareth (1977). Many locals were employed as extras on the Life of Brian and they were all very knowing because they'd all worked for Franco Zeffirelli on Jesus of Nazareth, and accoring to Terry jones, elderly Tunisians telling me, 'Well, Mr Zeffirelli wouldn't have done it like that, you know.'
Brian: Look, you've got it all wrong! You don't need to follow me, you don't need to follow anybody! You've got to think for yourselves! You're all individuals!
The Crowd (in unison): Yes! We're all individuals!
Brian: You're all different!
The Crowd (in unison): Yes, we are all different!
Man in Crowd: I'm not.
Another Man: Shhh!
- 2000 -
Imdb.com - 7.1 out of 10 (20,486 votes)
Gal: I am going to have to turn this opportunity down.
Don: No, you are going to have to turn this opportunity yes!
This is one of Britain's finest cool dialogue led movies and a must see for all guys and girls that drink pints. Sir Ben Kinglsey gives a startlingly dark and unrecognizable performance as psychotic crime gang muscle, Don Logan, who travels to the Costa's to recruit reluctant ex safe cracker Ray Winstone for one last job for Teddy Bass (Ian McShane), the Mr Bigg back in the 'Smoke' where Gal (Winstone) is required. Kingsley steals the film and received a surprise Oscar nomination for his brilliant Logan character.
It is that striking visual and the cool spoken word that sucks you into this from frame one, director Jonathan Glazer coming from a background of making pop videos and so his stylish approach very prevalent. The opening scene of a boulder crashing down off the hill into Ray Winston's Spanish villa swimming pool seems self-indulgent and yet it fits neatly into the final narrative, a filmmaker that knows what his target audience enjoys in this type of lads movie and how to deliver that. Yes it's another style other contemporary in British gangster flicks like 'Layer Cake' and 'Gangster Number One' but remains credible and one you can watch over and over. Guy Ritchie's films don't make my list as they were just Tarantino clones, although Snatch the most superior of the four Ritchie efforts. Posh men that talk cockney wearing country hats to cover their bald patches and are not to be trusted. Sexy beast did £31 million to date although the follow up film, '44 Inch Waist', was waste of time and one to miss.
------ Quote -------
Don: Shut up, c*nt. You louse. You got some f*ckin' neck ain't you. Retired? F*ck off, you're revolting. Look at your sun tan, its leather; it's like leather man, your skin. We could make a f*cking suitcase out of you. Like a crocodile, fat crocodile, fat bastard. You look like f*cking Idi Amin, you know what I mean? Stay here? You should be ashamed of yourself. Who do you think you are? King of the castle? Cock of the walk? [Don gut-punches Gal]
-DEAD MANS SHOES-
Imdb.com - 7.9 out of 10 (17, 250 votes)
Dean Man Shoes is a real gem. Director Shane Meadows explodes onto the screen with this low budget classic, the story of ex-squaddie Richard (Paddy Consadine), who has returned from Iraq after seven years to avenge his brother's abuse within the small Derbyshire village where they grew up. His target is a local drug dealer Sonny and his deliberately gormless goons, Sonny played by ex boxer Gary Stretch, a surprisingly good comic/serious turn, Richard picking off the losers one-by-one, his violence justified by the films late twist.
With some quotable dialogue and a real sense of foreboding it just builds and builds, the clever twist skillfully hidden until the last scenes. Its Paddy Considine's best performance to date and amazing how he has recovered his Nottingham accent after five years at posh London stage school. For Meadows to make a film like this for just £725,000, and on location, shows a real talent. This guy is going to win an Oscar in glorious style one day soon like Danny Boyle did. This is a must see film if your over 16 and male, the word F**K being used a then record of 116 times in a British film its laddish qualification.
Sonny: You're making me very nervous, Richard.
Richard: Well you should be. If I were you, I'd get in that f*ckin' car and I'd get out of here man. I'd gather them goonies and get whatever you've got comin' mate... 'cause I'm gonna f*cking hit you all.
Sonny: I don't like being threatened, Rich'.
Richard: I'm not threatening you mate. It's beyond f*cking words. I watched over you when you were asleep and I looked at your f*cking neck and I was that far away from slicing it.
Richard: [Richard opens up his hand right hand and points towards his palm] you're f*cking there mate!
[Richard clenches his hand]
Richard: So get in that car... and F**K OFF!
-REMAINS OF THE DAY-
Imdb.com - 7.9 out of 10 (21,234 votes)
Stevens: "Do you know what I am doing, Miss Kenton? I am placing my mind elsewhere while you chatter away".
I'm not a huge fan of period English films and apart from 'Mr Brown', I have genuinely steered clear of them. But when this run of Merchant Ivory films came about in the late 80s and early 90s and everyone knew they had quality stamped all over them, Anthony Hopkins at his utmost best on screen in two of them. They were so well made that even Hugh Grant was terrible in this one. I honestly believe they gave Hopkins that silly Oscar for Silence of the Lambs because they didn't reward his best work in the likes of this and Shadowlands. He is astounding in both films, especially this one, the sexual tension between his correct head butler character and the brilliant Emma Thompson as the flirty housekeeper, trying to squeeze in the tightest of emotional gaps between Stevens and his loyalty to his employer, excruciating as it is brilliant. They practically have tartaric sex on screen but without knowing it. Fabulous acting!
The film is beautifully intricate and superbly paced and the English social class structure of upstairs, downstairs is exploited to perfection here, even though the prize winning book this is based on was written by a Japanese guy and actually set in Japan. Even if you can't stand period dramas this is not fluttering eye lids hiding under bonnets stuff with heaving chests, and there's not a Mr Darcey type in sight either. It's an intelligent look at post war England and the gentry meddling with right wing policies as the state and the gentry began to drift apart, but the butler totally loyal to his master, however dangerous those times, and certainly no time for sexual shenanigans and tolerating lazy staff.
Imdb.com - 7.9 out of 10 (9.813 votes)
Louise: What are you doing here? You look like sh*t.
Johnny: I'm just tryin' to blend in with the surroundings
This little celebrated Mike Leigh indie starring David Thewlis (when he made decent movies) as an obnoxious smartass Manc drifter who spends all night winding people up after he flees Manchester for London after being accused of rape, is well worth catching up on through filmfour or lovefilm.com, guys. It's rarely show on TV and if it is it's on at an ungodly hour. It's a very clever dialogue led film and would make a great stage play,
The Thewlis character Johnny is very smart and educated and particularly enjoys bending the ear of anyone forced to listen to his musings on the world and the universe, clearly not a fan of Londoners. The power of this film is the writing with some very clever/funny bits. Thewlis is also superb in it and it's hard to believe he has gone downhill so far with his choice of roles since this film. It's not a smug student humor film in the way 'With Nail and I' is and why that one doesn't make the list, this superior in so many ways. Atmospheric as it is seedy, Thewlis cynical man against the world Johnny prowls the darker back streets of London with an almighty chip on his shoulder he is proud of.
Louise: How did you get here?
Johnny: Well, basically, there was this little dot, right? And the dot went bang and the bang expanded. Energy formed into matter, matter cooled, matter lived, the amoeba to fish, to fish to fowl, to fowl to frog, to frog to mammal, the mammal to monkey, to monkey to man, amo amas amat, quid pro quo, memento mori, ad infinitum, sprinkle on a little bit of grated cheese and leave under the grill till Doomsday.
America has given me most of my favourite films but there are so many British films that are amazing and it's really hard to pick just 5. I think this country is producing some amazing films at the minute but I wish we could match America in the action stakes. Nothing ever seems to be big enough or elaborate enough compared. I was really trying to think of some older British films that I loved but this is the list that I came up with. Enjoy.
I know this isn't a 100% British film but it's mostly British so I say it counts. Although this is really a kids film, I know so many adults that love it. Everything about it is fantastic and magical and I was really surprised by this film.
With such an amazing cast you would have thought there were too many big names but seeing as each role wasn't huge, it wasn't overdone. Robert DeNiro was by far the best thing about this film and during his part, I was crying with laughter. I think there were many actors in this film that really showed how talented they are because they all played someone completely different to what they normally would.
I think this film has pretty much everything to offer and has a great mix of romance, comedy and action.
2. St Trinian's
My sister had been banging on about this film while I was in Canada so I was quite annoyed that I had to wait about 6 months before I could see it. St Trinian's has an interesting mix of characters that kept the film entertaining and interesting throughout. The storyline was fun and exciting at the same time and featured some amazing unknown actors as well as some very famous ones like Russell Brand and Rupert Everett.
St Trinian's is a very strange film and I can't really put it in one category but it was a lot better than I expected it to be. I guess it is kind of like Wild Child for an older audience and a lot better.
3. The Descent - I think Britain has produced some of the best horror films in the past decade because they are actually scary. American horror films are full of clichés and predictability but this is where British horrors differ. The Decent was extremely creepy and made me jump at various times. I never knew what to expect with The Decent and that was what made it so scary. There aren't any majorly predictable parts and that really makes this horror film stand out.
4. The Full Monty
I don't know anyone who doesn't love this film. I think this was something extremely different but greatly needed at the time. The Full Monty has me in stitches every time I watch it. Some of my friends in Canada had seen this but didn't understand much of it so I had to sit there, watch it again, and explain everything to them.
The Full Monty attempts to bring up some important issues in Britain such as unemployment and the troubles with marriage, divorce and children and I thought each was very interesting on their own but gave a comedy film a good edge at the same time. I really liked the way that the main characters all had their own sub stories within the main plot, which made the film always interesting.
5. 28 Days Later
When I first saw this film, I thought it was going to very similar to Resident Evil because of the basic plot but it wasn't anything like that. The only real similarity was that a virus turns people in zombies.
What really freaked me out about this film was that it was set in the UK. I'm not crazy enough to really believe this could actually happen but it certainly put some ideas into my head. Just setting the film in this country made it scary for me.
The cinematography was amazing and really added to the suspense of the film and was what made it as scary as it was, probably because it managed to engage the audience and make us feel the fear that the characters are experiencing. 28 Days Later was thrilling from start to finish and wasn't predictable at any point.
This was tough, how do you leave out if......., Kes, Get Carter, Four Weddings, The Long Good Friday, The Third Man, the 39 Steps, Whisky Galore, Kind Hearts and Coronets, Trainspotting, Don't Look Now, Oliver Twist, Performance, there are so many others I could mention, but these are 5 I love, they all sum up Britishness in their own way.
I think British films can have a real charm and really portray our nation and its people in a much more realistic way than any ofther country can portray us, in the history of World Cinema I truly believe we have made some amazing and groundbreaking films which stand comparison with any and here are my top five of all time.....so far!!!!
5 - Brief Encounter - A wonderful film, that I think does truly encapsulate the British Pscyche, starring Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard and directed by the inimitable David Lean. Based on a one act Noel Coward play, this film is based around two lovers who agree never to meet again, it is a story of repressed love, of longing and romance, it always makes me proud to be British as this idea of repressing ones love and not causing a stir has often been a peculiarly British thing. The settings are stunning, as is cinematography and the acting is heart aching, a timelessly romantic film.
4 - The Red Shoes - An innovative and ground breaking film, directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. Again there is an element of repression here, the story is based around a showing of the ballet 'The Red Shoes', (a 15 minute centrepiece to the film based on a short Hans Christian Anderson story of a wicked shoemaker who gives a young ballerine some red shoes which won't stop until she dies of exhaustion). The main piece is the relationship between the dominating impressario (Anton Walbrook) and his young ballerina (Moira Shearer). Their story bears comparison to the Red Shoes ballet as you will find out, it is a sad story and the ballet is incredibly well choreographed, with the cinematography blowing my mind, the colours stand out for this timeless film. I would recommend this intelligent film to anyone, it has stuck with me throughout my life and is a joy to watch and see more each time.
3 - Gandhi - Richard Attenboroughs Oscar domination biopic of the Indian hero, this film traces 59 years of his life, from experiencing racism in South Africa as a young lawyer to his final year, uniting India in a defiant, yet peaceful demand for freedom for British rule. Ben Kingsley plays Gandhi as a wise and yet not entirely sure man who develops inner peace and understanding of the struggle he faces to become wise and unyielding, inspiring and yet fair to all. Beautifully shot this film is an epic in scenery, content and acting. A fantastic cast and wonderfully intuitive direction make this film an all-time classic and a truly interesting one at that.
2 - A Matter of Life and Death - The second Powell and Pressburger film on my list, this was originally made as a propaganda film to cheer up the troops however it morphed into a diatribe on life and death and love. This is a deeply romantic film, David Niven is restrained and yet powerfully emotional in the main role as a Pilot stuck in a world between life and death awaiting his fate, as he cheats his own death due to the love he feels for a young radio operator. The use of colour in this film is extraordinary and the performances are all winners, this is a really bright film.
1 - Lawrence of Arabia - The film the word epic was probably created for, this is an epic of epic proportions, David Lean has created a true masterpiece of cinema here, with Peter O'Toole in his most famous and best role as T.E.Lawrence a man who knows arabs and sets about convincing them to fight alongside the British against the Turks in the great war of 1914-1917, the desert is the true star of this film, the cinematography is out of this world, so light and defined and yet so inspiring, the film builds itself up to its inevitable crescendo and O'Toole plays his hero with panache, class and real confidence. A truly great film and a truly great British film.
It has been very difficult to narrow my favourites down to just five British films, but with careful discernment, my list is now complete. I haven't gone into too much detail regarding the storyline of the films, as I'd hate to spoil it for anybody who hasn't seen them, yet is thinking of doing so.
For me, cinema in general has had its day as it now just seems to concentrate on empty sensationalism, mawkishly pretentious "emotion" and tenth-rate comedy. I much prefer a film to centre around characterisation and acting skills, and I feel that my list which follows contains the cream of the crop of British offerings.
1. THE FAMILY WAY
Released in 1966
Main cast: Hywel Bennett, John Mills, Hayley Mills, Wilfred Pickles, Marjorie Rhodes, Avril Angers, Murray Head & Barry Foster
Director: Roy Boulting
Screenplay: Bill Naughton
Musical score: Paul McCartney
A very watchable and well acted comedy/drama set in a small northern UK town in the swinging 60s. When a young couple marry and it is discovered the man is impotent, the revelation of such brings huge skeletons out of his family closet. John Mills as Ezra Fitton, a rather coarse mannered yet well-meaning man who gives his son a very hard time, is at the top of my all-time list for skill, sensitivity and humour in the way he portrayed this character.
2. A KIND OF LOVING
Released in 1962
Main cast: Alan Bates, Thora Hird, June Ritchie, Jack Smethurst, Bert Palmer, Malcolm Patton, Gwen Nelson, Pat Keen, David Mahlowe
Producer: John Schlesinger (his very first feature film)
Set in a northern British industrial town, this (at the time controversial) film tells the story of a young couple forced to marry when the girl becomes pregnant, and how their relationship deterioriates due to the interference of the girl's snobbish and difficult mother. First class performances from Alan Bates as the trapped young husband, and Thora Hird as the domineering and spiteful mother-in-law.
Released in 1966
Main cast: Michael Caine, Shelley Winters, Milllicent Martin, Julia Foster, Jane Asher, Shirley Ann Field, Eleanor Bron, Vivien Merchant, Denholm Elliott, Alfie Bass
Director: Lewis Gilbert
Screenplay: Bill Naughton
Carefree Jack The Lad Alfie is a womaniser who's philosophy is to take each day as it comes, and just enjoy life. Things for Alfie take a few turns down some of life's darker avenues, and he is forced to act in a serious and responsible manner, albeit temporarily. Full marks to Michael Caine for his jaunty and very convincing performance as Alfie.
4. AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON
Released in 1981
Main cast: David Naughton, Jenny Agutter, Griffin Dunne, John Woodvine, Brian Glover, Frank Oz, David Schofield, Lila Kaye, and with a very brief appearance from Rik Mayall
Directed by John Landis
Music: Van Morrison's "Moon Dance", Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Bad Moon Rising" and The Marcels' "Blue Moon"
Two young American men are attacked by a werewolf while lost on the Yorkshire Moors. One is killed, and the survivor (who is taken to a London hospital and on his release, moves in with his nurse who he falls in love with) is warned by the ghost of his dead friend that he will turn into a werewolf at the next full moon. The eve of the full moon dawns, and the surviving young man becomes a werewolf, causing mayhem on the streets of London. This film is very well acted and funny, with some truly stunning special effects, winding down to a very sad finale.
Released in 1993
Main cast: David Thewlis, Lesley Sharp, Katrin Cartlidge, Greg Cruttwell, Claire Skinner, Peter Wright, Susan Vidler, Deborah MacLaren, Gina McKee, Elizabeth Berrington
Written & directed by Mike Leigh
Mancunian Johnny absconds to London in a stolen car, fearing for his safety after raping a girl who threatens to tell her boyfriend what happened. Once in London, he visits his ex-girlfriend who shares a flat with a batty pseudo-goth and a neurotic nurse. Johnny is bored and restless and after taunting his ex by flirting and having sex with the pseudo-goth, he takes himself out onto the streets of London. Encountering several people who he engages with in bizarre ways, he eventually gets beaten up and seeks refuge back at his ex's flat. David Thewlis should have been given an Oscar for playing the part of Johnny - a highly intelligent, articulate, angry, and argumentative young man who is somewhat disturbed, maybe bordering upon madness. The late Katrin Cartlidge also deserves admirable recognition for her skilful portrayal of an intelligent, but emotionally screwed up young goth. The complex dialogue on this film is intense, dark, deep, and surpasses everything else.
Final comment: For anybody wishing to watch Mike Leigh's "Naked" film, I give a warning that it contains some quite graphic scenes of sexual violence.
There are a few films I just love and feel all British when watching them. I do love the occasional American film but the 5 following films are classics I just love to watch over and over again. I am not sure what it is but all of these films can be watched over and over without getting boring. Any film with Hugh Grant in seems to be a good British film, so it's hardly surprising that I have mentioned two of his films and could have named more. Here are a few films I absolutely love.
I love The Full Monty, not only because of the naked men featuring in it but for the serious message of unemployment. The film really makes you think about custodial battles, unemployment in the 70's and uncertain future of many factory workers. The film manages top deal with some awkward situations in a very good way through a touching but comical storyline.
The film is based in Sheffield during the 1970's and the factories have closed leaving many people unemployed. The main character Gaz (Robert Carlyle) has lost his son in a custody battle and the only hope of getting access is by getting a job and sorting his life out. Gaz and his mates see an advert for the Chippendales and decided to make some fast cash by becoming strippers but instead of going part of the way they claim to be the 'Full Monty'.
Why I like the film
The film is hilarious in places but shows the tribulations along the way. Whilst the scene in the job centre is funny it also shows the shame and guilt at having to claim benefits. The way that emotion and joy were mixed was very clever. I loved the soundtrack and always find the film very watchable. In fact its one of the few films I can watch over and over again without getting bored.
BRIDGET JONE'S DIARY
2001 (followed by the sequel in 2004)
I love this film, when I first watched it I found it slightly boring but now that I have grown up slightly with a job, in a relationship and basically an adult I love it. As British goes Bridget Jones is the epitome of many British women, in fact I could compare it quite easily to my auntie's life.
The story is based on the life of a 30ish year old woman called Bridget Jones (Renee Zellweger). She is single and has little luck with men. She is a spinster living alone in her rather untidy flat. Bridget has few ambitions and seems to be in a rut. She aims to lose weight and find the right man.
She has a group of friends who try and help but even then that seems hopeless. She is soon torn between two men her boss Daniel Cleaver (Colin Firth) and Mark Darcy (Hugh Grant) and Old family friend. Daniel is a bit of a sleazy womanizer and Mark is pretty boring but 'safe'.
Why I like it
I love this film; it is funny and deals with a few issues such as weight, boy trouble and the dreaded family events. I can imagine many women being attracted to such a chick flick'. The soundtrack is great, and adds significantly to the events in the film.
Notting Hill is a typical British Film set in London. The accents although rather 'staged' just create a British feel.
Set in Notting Hill, London Will Thacker (Hugh Grant) is on his way to work. Will the owner of a book shop goes about his daily life. He lives with a rather eccentric housemate called Spike and goes to work each day in his small book shop...well until the day famous actress Anna Scott (Julia Roberts) wanders into the store looking for a travel book.
They seem to keep bumping into each other. They start to get closer until one day she stays over at Will's house...all seems to be going great until his dopey house mate informs the guys at the pub. The next day the press are queued outside the house. Things soon get better and they end up married a typical modern day 'fairy tale romance'.
Why I like it
I loved this film it was so funny in places with rude t-shirts worn by Spike, Will pretending to be a reporter for the Horse and Hound and the developing love between Will and Anna. Certainly a British classic.
HARRY POTTER AND THE PHILOSOPHER'S STONE
2001 (still making sequels 2001-2007)
It's hard to choose a favourite film but Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone is the better of the five films so far. I have found the others quite dark but Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was more child friendly and could be watched as a 'stand alone' film. I am sure when most people think of Britain they think of Harry Potter, In fact I have many mates in Europe who associate life in Britain as living at Hogwarts.
The film starts at Harry's home with his bullying Aunt, Uncle and Cousin. He sleeps in the cupboard under the stairs and does all the nasty chores around the house.
On his 11th birthday however Harry receives news that he is a wizard and his mum and dad were killed by the 'Dark Lord'. He starts his first term at Hogwarts but not all is as easy as he expects. He meets with Hermione and Ron who will be his best friends throughout the next 7 years at Hogwarts.
Why I like it
I like this film most because it deals with the grass roots of Harry's life, his introduction to Hogwarts and his developing friendships and tribulations. We see some jolly characters such as Dumbledore, Hagrid and the Weasleys as well as the darker characters such as the Malfoys and Snape.
OK so this may be an American Musical so not totally British but I cannot go abroad without someone mentioning that they would love to go to London and see the chimneys in Mary Poppins, or people asking why I talk like a country bumpkin and not like Mary Poppins.
The film starts on a cloud and Mary Poppins (Julie Andrews) is perched on top looking over London in 1910. She floats down on an umbrella to meet with her cockney mate Bert (Dick Van Dyke). On the other side of town we see the latest nanny at the Banks residence leaving...she has quit. Mrs Banks arrives home after a Suffragettes campaign and Mr Banks returns home from work the cook is getting stressed. They advertise for a new nanny and many turn up...well until a gust of wind blows them away and mary Poppins turns up at the door. She is later employed as the new nanny and gets to work straight away. The children love her and go on many adventures. Mary Poppins has a huge impact on the whole family and soon is ready to be on her way.
Why I like it
I love this film as it dealt with many issues such as the suffragettes, class such as rich and poor. It shows how children lived back then with a nanny whilst the father went to work. We see the developing relationship between father and children we watch as the relationship blossoms until there is a proper relationship formed. Mary Poppins is your typical British nanny but with a little more magic than most, a lovable character we would all love to meet. I love the songs and find myself singing them for days after watching the film; they certainly get stuck in the mind! I loved this film as a child and I still love it now, it will always be a classic and one that I will show my children one day (when I have them that is!)
Hope you enjoyed this review, I may just go and watch Mary Poppins now, however I will be singing along to it all week!
This is going to be such a toughie. Not thinking of five British films to fill this list with, but narrowing it down to only five. I have a real love for British Film, its a shame its so overshadowed by the big budget American film-churning machine. But still, what the Brits lack in budget they more than make up for in stories, acting and good old fashioned British humour. So hold on to your seats lads and ladies, whilst I load up the first of my top five British Films;
The Italian Job
If you had to sum up the Italian Job in a couple of words, you might come up with gold thieves, Charlie Croker or even Benny Hill but for me, the words that encapsulate this film the best are Mini car-chase. The legendary Italian Job car chase involved one red, one white and one blue Mini Cooper along with a couple of Jags and a bus, of all things. The Minis took to the streets, sewers, pavements, stairways and buildings of Turin to make a clean getaway with Millions of pounds of stolen gold.
The car stunts were fantastic, the casting was inspired and the acting was brilliant. Not only did this film spawn what is, for me the best film quote of all time you were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off. But it starred my childhood hero, Benny Hill, in a role that Id like to think was written for him and if it wasnt, it shouldve been.
Still Crazy is a little known British film released in 1998 starring Billy Connolly, Jimmy Nail, Timothy Spall and the great Bill Nighy. Its a film about a 1970s rock band, Strange Fruit, who never quite made the big time.
Given the chance to reunite for a tour of Europe 20 years later, some of the band are keener than others. Rays fiery wife, Astrid forbids him to rejoin his old bandmates, and nobody knows where Brian is. Still, the band do get themselves in gear and back on the road, joined by their former manager Karen, roadie Hughie and young guitar God Luke brought in to replace the missing, presumed dead, Brian and to add some younger interest for the fans.
This is a film that always has me rolling on the floor laughing and shedding a quiet tear moments later. Its a film for anybody who wanted to be the next Jim Morrison and failed, or knows somebody who did. Its a film that clearly doesnt have a huge budget, but more than makes up for the lack of funds with fantastic acting, a great storyline and incredible British humour mixed with really dark pathos that just makes Still Crazy a joy to watch. If you havent watched it already hunt it out, you wont regret it.
Shaun of the Dead
Simon Pegg is a comedy genius. I will brook no argument.
I fell in love with Spaced, watched every minute of it several times over, and couldnt wait for Shaun of the Dead to be released. I was seriously not disappointed. This is an absolute classic of British comedy/horror and I enjoyed every moment of it, and continue to do so on a regular basis when I get those pangs for a little zombie action and watch it again.
The film tells the story of Shaun, an amiable loser nearing thirty and working in an electrical shop whos main aim in life is getting back with his ex-girlfriend, who dumped him when she got tired of his habitual visits to the local pub and rather intrusive flat mate. And then the dead arose
Ok, this isnt Pride and Prejudice, its basically a film about Zombies walking the earth whilst the remaining humans try to get away from them. But its also so much more than that. As always in anything Simon Pegg touches, the comedy is sublime (and often ridiculous). Theres plenty of slapstick, dark humour and witty one-liners, but theres also a very human and real element to this film. There was a tear or two welling in the corner of my eye at times, Im not ashamed to admit.
The Full Monty
I was at work one morning when my boss came in telling us all about the amazing film shed seen at the cinema the night before, and urging us all to go and see it before it was taken off the bill. Well, I didnt get around to watching it at the pictures, but much later on I spotted a copy on a car boot sale for a couple of pounds and snapped it up. I so wished Id made the effort to watch it on the big screen, once Id seen it.
Robert Carlyle is one of my favourite actors anyway, but he absolutely shone in this film. His character Gaz, along with friend Dave and ex-boss Gerald put together a troupe of working-class male strippers to go the Full Monty in front of hundreds of local women. It was a desperate plan, but they were all unemployed and desperate for work, and Gaz needed to earn money fast to pay the back maintenance for Nathan, his son, so that he could get access again.
The Full Monty was the inspiration for a string of copy-cat acts in working mens clubs up and down the Country, after its release. It caused a huge sensation matched only in recent years by ladies getting their gubbins out and posing for tasteful pictures after the release of Calendar Girls.
There are so very many high points in this film that if I mentioned them all itd take over the whole review. But the Full Monty manages to include a gay relationship, death, unemployment, bullying, parents separated from their children and a man whose warped image of his own body leaves him believing hes too fat for his own wife to love. Yet I still laughed until I cried over and over again throughout this film. A true classic, there was no way that this one was going to be missed from my list.
Yes, I know, this is on just about every list that Ive seen so far, but lets be honest, theres a damn good reason for it. The release of Trainspotting did more for the British film industry than any other film for years before and afterwards.
The delectably down and dirty Renton, played by the delectably not so down and dirty Ewan McGregor began the film by stating; Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a starter home. Choose dental insurance, leisure wear and matching luggage. Choose your future. But why would anyone want to do a thing like that?
And that began the most amazing couple of hours of British cinema Id seen in a long, long time.
Summing up this film would be pointless, if you have any sense youve already seen it, and if you havent seen it, then all I can say is Im certainly not going to spoil it for you, get out there and watch it. You can buy it on dvd from Amazon for £15.99, but you can usually pick up a second hand copy for much less than that on ebay.
Oh, ok, Ill take pity on you Renton is a heroin addict who, after a near miss with prison, decides to go straight with the help of his friends. But that's all you're getting.
If this had been my top ten British movies, I wouldve included the Rocky Horror Picture Show, About a Boy, Notting Hill, 51st State and Love Honour and Obey. Or maybe Hot Fuzz. Or one of the Bond movies. But then, Id be leaving out Mean Machine, oh, and of course then theres
Many of us dont realise the greatness of British cinema. Here is a list of great British films.
5) Gandhi (1982) Ben Kingsley is Gandhi in this film. He looks like him as well. One of the best films ever with cast of thousands.
4) Withnail and I (1987) two actors go on holidays by mistake to a remote cottage in the Lake District. This film has one of the best single lines in the cinema history, maybe I am over rating it.
3) Lawrence of Arabia (1962) Peter O Toole is a British scholar, becomes a soldier and unites Bedouins to rise up against the Turks. Films dont get bigger than this. I have a question which is about the content of the film. Were Arabs so dumb that they needed a British man to unite them into a nation or is the film telling a lie?
Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994) one of the best romantic comedy films ever. Hugh Grant plays Charles, a bumbling bachelor smitten by an American woman Carrie played by Andy MacDowell. They keep running into each other at weddings and a funeral. Charles has very odd friends as well.
1) Trainspotting (1996) film about several heroine addicts from Edinburgh, their exploits and one of them Mark Renton (Ewan McGregor) escape to a better life. A unique film, combines bleak topic with comedy, had me laughing. It could be a serious film and it is but the way it is told is very comical.
I rate these films to be the greatest British films of all time.
1 Trainspotting (1996) is about heroin addicts living in Edinburgh. Ewan McGregor is Mark Renton and Robert Carlyle is Bagbie. It was the right film for the 90's. It had so many brilliant scenes and the script was amazing.
2 Third Man is a 1949 film directed by Carol Reed (Man). Orsen Wells is Holy Martins looking for his British friend Harry Lime in post war Vienna. Limes dies before his American friend can meet him. Martins talks to Lime's friends and he discovers that his friend was not a nice person. I like the film because of angles and shadows used in the film.
3 Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels(1998)
Was a different film from anything I had seen from British film makers before. This film was brilliant. Vinnie Jones and Jason Statham were the main actors in this film, Jones only says a few lines but he had a real screen presence.
4 Brassed Off is 1996 film based on a true life story. The film is set in a South Yorkshire town of Grimethorpe but in the film it is called Grimley. The story is about a colliery brass band whose members have to go through a rough patch as they lose their jobs. It is a very emotional film.
5 Gandhi is a 1982 epic about the great leader. Sir Ben Kingsley looks exactly like the great man. Brilliant film had so many brilliant scenes.
Having just got through Christmas and having found very few films or programmes that we wanted to watch on TV we have been revisiting a few old favourites on DVD instead, a lot of these British ones which has prompted me to compile this list. I am a big fan of British films so the difficulty is restricting myself to just five. I think I've got my favourites here, but probably if I was writing on another day, I might think differently! So here goes...
1. To Sir with Love
I am going right back to the sixties for my first choice but I do feel that this is one of the most moving and enjoyable films ever. Sidney Poitier's dignified portrayal of Mr Thackeray, a substitute teacher brought into a difficult school to 'teach' a set of surly teenagers is magnificent. The film shows how he gradually brings his pupils round by treating them with respect and showing them trust - something they have never been given before! By the end of the film, the class are like a different set of people, caring about themselves and each other. At the end, at the leaving party Mr Thackeray is presented with a gift acompanied by Lulu, who made her debut in this film, singing the song 'To Sir with Love'. It's enough to move me to tears everytime, and I always know it's going to happen!
THhs was probably the first film I saw at the cinema when I was very small. I immediately fell in love with the characters and the songs, but also remember feeling so upset and crying at the violence, particularly when Bill Sykes is shot and is left dangling from the rooftops. There are many memorable performances from some wonderful actors. Mark Lester gave a very angelic performance as Oliver, but I fell in love with Jack Wild, as the chirpy, cheeky Artful Dodger! (I was so sad to learn of his death from cancer about a year ago). Harry Seacombe, Leonard Rossiter, Oliver Reed and Ron Moody were all there too! My parents had the record of the soundtrack and I think the 'Oliver' songs were some of the first I learned! I love the song 'I'd do Anything' and I often sing it to my girls now! I really think it is a film of contrasts - the grey of the workhouse, the colourful pickpocket's lives in London, and the brutality of Bill and Nancy's deaths. This film had it all for me as well as fantastic songs to sing along too.
3. Chariots of Fire
THis is another film I have always found very moving. It tells the true story of the 1924 Olympic games and of the athletes Harold Abrahams and Eric Liddle - both who achieved magnificent gold medals. The film really sets out to show the difference between these two men in their private lives - showing the difference between Abraham's flamboyant and at times seemingly frivolous lifestyle, but also his difficulty in coming to terms with his jewishness, and Liddle's religious and moral outlook on life - so much so that he refuses to compete on a Sunday! The one thing that both men have in common though is their dedication and their desire to win. The two main characters are played by Ben Cross and Ian Charleson (another actor who sadly died relatively young) and in my opinion both give excellent performances! This one always has me in tears at the end as well!
4. Notting Hill
Coming much more up to date now, I just love this film. It tells the story of Will (Hugh Grant)a bookshop owner, and his uneasy falling in love with Anna (Julia Roberts) a highly successful Hollywood actress. There are lots of misunderstandings in the film but eventually true love conquers all! What makes this film for me though, is the wonderful cast of supporting actors - Emma Chambers who plays Will's sister, James Dreyfus, Will's assistant and Rhys Ifans who plays housemate Spike and has a line in t-shirts with crude messages. There is also an excellent soundtrack to the film, most notably Ronan Keating's 'When You say Nothing at All'. And you've guessed it, I'm in tears at the end of this one too - I just love a happy ending!
5. About a Boy
This is my final choice and again it's another Hugh Grant film (and coincidentally he plays another character called Will!). This is based on the very enjoyable book by Nick Hornby, whose books I love, and the film is pretty true to the book, which is not tthe case in all film adaptations! It tells the unlikely story of Will, a fully grown man, and Marcus (Nicholas Hoult) a thirteen year old boy! As the film progresses they form a fragile friendship through which both gradually find happiness. There is a classic moment when Marcus decides to sing 'Killing me Softly' at the school talent show, and is about to be pelted off stage, when Will comes to his rescue. There are lots of funny moments in this film but some quite poignant ones too! It is all to backing tracks by the group Badly Drawn Boy. I'm afraid this one has me in tears too!
So, I feel I have been a little self-indulgant in my trip down Memory Lane, remembering these films, some that I associate with key moments in my life. I think that there are a lot of very good British films out there, often overshadowed by American ones. But I hope you have found my little list interesting and entertaining even if you might not agree with my choices!
I thought it had been a while since I had actually written a top five / ten review and I miss them quite a bit because I think they are extremely interesting to write and just have a rant and get your views out. With regards to British movies I am always interested in giving them a go because they are usually my sense of humour and it is nice to see some movies which are not all Americanised with massive special effects and over-inflated egos from the lead characters. Anyway enough waffle; here are my top five good old British movies.
Bridget Jones Diary / Edge of Reason.
I love the Bridget Jones films which is strange because I found the books to be so boring that I gave up half way through the second one. The films are about a hopeless woman Bridget and her disastrous love life from the moody guy her Mom tries to fix her up with to her sexist egotistical boss. It charts her life over a time period where she must decide exactly who she is and what she wants and especially so she does not end up as a spinster being eaten by her Alsatian (you will understand when you watch it).
I like these films because they are easy going and although I like films that get you thinking, my brain does require a rest every now and again so with these you can just stick them on the screen and half concentrate on them which is fantastic. The actual films are extremely sweet and hilarious at parts and the characters are ones that are memorable and that you can fall in love with. By the end of the film I was shouting go Bridget although they felt they had to cast an American as a very British Bridget.
28 Days Later.
This horror picture is absolutely fantastic and ever since I watched it at the cinema quite a few years ago now I have loved it ever since. It is basically a zombie film with one guy who is in a coma, waking up and finding that there is nobody anywhere all over London. It soon becomes apparent however that there are people about but nobody that is left as a human as they have all turned into zombies who have been affected with rage.
Let me get this over to you this film is scary and everybody I know has jumped at one point in it which is not even that scary at all. The thing about this film is that it is creepy with good, believable characters and the story is actually quite good and one you could imagine happening although obviously I hope it doesnt. This film is one for fans of the horror genre only. I loved everything about it from the beginning to end and I found the story and characters to be extremely strong and memorable. Considering I dont think they had a great big budget they have done extremely well.
A lowly guy working in a small quiet book store suddenly finds himself thrust into the limelight when he has an accidental meeting with one of the worlds most famous movie stars. They begin a close friendship but can a movie star stay with a small town guy and can a small town guy cope with the fame that goes with knowing a movie star.
The reason I love this film is because I do think it is just magical as the story is so wonderful. It shows the type of meeting that I am sure everybody would like to make in real life and the film plays out well with Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant playing superb lead roles and showing us characters that you will not forget any time soon. I think everything about this film is excellent and it is one of my favourite British films because I can watch it over and over and it just doesnt get old to me.
When I first heard about this film I was intrigued. A British werewolf movie sounded quite funny to be honest so I thought I would go to the cinema and give it a go. What I found was that I enjoyed it immensely because it was funny, quite creepy and very very British. It is basically about a bunch of soldiers who come across a bunch of werewolves and the story doesnt develop much more than that.
Yes as you will expect the story is not very intelligent and yes it is British and low budget so do not expect the werewolves to look real but this film is a good British horror. I like it that the story does go somewhere and that although the characters are not memorable they are so much fun to watch. It is a bit gory but the whole film is done with a good British humour which keeps you entertained. For a horror I think along with 28 days later this is one of Britains best.
Pride and Prejudice.
I will admit to only watching the most recent version of this film so I have missed the delights of Colin Firth emerging wet from the lake in the original TV adaptation which I am a little upset about but I think my Mom has it so I will have to borrow it. I watched the Keira Knightley version and this film about Elizabeth Bennet who seems to want to repel men at any costs in a society where women should be married off, is absolutely wonderful and enchanting.
What I loved most was that this film was well shot and had a beautiful feel to just watching it as it sort of made you feel warm and fuzzy inside which was great. The photography is fantastic and just makes you wish you were there and then we have the fact that the story is so romantic and funny and gentle that it is a film that you can just watch and enjoy and not worry about swearing and violence and sex.
So there you have it and I have to say that I love British films and as we live here in the UK I think we should support them. It is nice to see them as they do not go over the top like many that come from Hollywood but instead they give us a good story instead with some very memorable moments and characters. Fantastic.
Thanks for reading.
Even though Britain does not have the film industry of the USA,still we have managed some truly great films over the years-my top 5 are mostly modern films but then this is my era sothese are all films I love to watch over and over.so in no paticular order.....
3 young flatmates take on a new lodger who promptly dies on them,leaving a large stash of cash in a suitcase.Rather than report it,they keep the money leading to paranoia,suspicion and ultimately betrayal as they fight over their share and their part in disposing of the body.
Christopher Eccleston is brilliant and steals the show as the one who slowly starts to crack over his part in the disposal of the body,whilst Ewan McGregor is in just as top form as the wisecracking fool who is more crafty than he at first seems as we discover at the films climax.
And of course the scores by LEFTFIELD which just finishes this film off a treat!!
A group of armed robbers decide to perform one last job together before going their seperate ways-all goes well untill one of the gang gets greedy and starts going after everyone elses share of the money.Great gangster flick featuring Robert Carlyle,Ray Winstone and Blur's Damon Albarn amongst others.
The end shoot-out in a police station has to be seen to be believed and all the cast are as outstanding as each other.
Well worth renting if you've never seen it-won't be disappointed.
3*the 51st state*
Samuel.L.Jackson's chemist character comes to england in a kilt to sell a new drug he has created that will beat any other high on the street but becomes most wanted when everyone tries to steal his formula for themselves.Once again Robert Carlyle steals the show along with so many recognizable british faces that to name them all would take too long.Ricky Tomlimson plays a paticulary good role as does Rhys Ifans as a psychotic dealer.
Funny,gripping and with a show stopping climax which takes place at a big Liverpool match,this film is as good as british cinema gets....
2*the Italian Job*
No need to say anything-this is the greatest chase-heist movie ever made with Michael Caine in one of his best loved roles.
The hollywood remake with Matt Damon isn't bad but not a patch on this-anyone who hasn't seen this at least one christmas or easter must have been living in a cave.....
little known cult Rutger Hauer film about a psychotic,unstable,constantly wired on coffee and chocolate police detective roaming the streets of a futuristic,flooded london searching for the serial killer who murdered his partner whilst teamed up with a posh university graduate in behavioural studies.
Great set pieces and plenty of humour feature in this b-movie horror with plenty of blood gore to keep most sicko's happy.
Personally i think this film is very under-rated but then i'm a big rutger hauer fan...
Well those are my choices,no doubt you'll disagree but then everyones diffrent and i think these represent some of the best of modern british film .none of that billy elliot,full monty rubbish for me-i like my movies fun,loud and violent just like my women!!
In no particular order...
~~ BILLY LIAR ~~
This use to be one of my favourite films. It was directed by John Schlesinger's as a screen adaptation of the Keith Waterhouse/Willis Hall stage play. Tom Courtenay gives a delightful performance in the lead role as perpetual daydreamer Billy Fisher. He reluctantly upholds a dreary job as a clerk working at a funeral directors but spends most of his time daydreaming of his fantasyland Ambrosia. His life and relationships end up in a mess because of a series of lies he makes gets out of hand. In the end nobody believes a word he says as he weaves his way around his three girlfriends: Liz (Julie Christie), Barbara (Helen Fraser) and Rita (Gwendolyn Watts). Schlesinger manages to skilfully blend urban realism and working-class satire to produce one of the comical highs of British New Wave cinema.
~~ SATURDAY NIGHT SUNDAY MORNING ~~
Saturday Night and Sunday Morning was one of the first British films to give an accurate portrayal of a working-class hero. Set in Nottingham at the end of the 1950s it follows the working and social life of an insubordinate factory worker Arthur Seaton (Albert Finney), and portrays a past age where work, drink, and death were all that Britain's young men had to look forward to... some might say not much has changed. The film was in many ways a landmark film at the time. It was a follow up to such films as Room at the Top (1958) and it was an affront to previous British films that only ever presented petty middle-class values in which everyone knew their place.
~~ A CLOCKWORK ORANGE ~~
I only saw this film when it was screened on television for the first time a few years ago. A Clockwork Orange is Kubrick's disturbing powerful satire based on Anthony Burgess's experimental novel in which contemporary society is overrun by gang violence but instead of hoodies the culprits are 'droogs' who wear bowler hats and codpieces and terrorise the neighbourhood with their 'ultraviolence'. Given the fact that it was made in the early 1970s I expected the film to appear slightly dated but in my opinion it stands up to the test on time fairly well. I love the unique language of the script and the sound track is sublime.
~~ ALFIE ~~
Arguably Michael Caine's best performance as the titular amoral anti-hero who treats women like dogs referring to 'it' instead of 'she' and preferring to share their pleasure but not their pain. The women who fall victim to his charm include Shelley Winters, Jane Asher and Shirley Ann Field. It's only near the end of the film that Alfie begins to question his values. During the whole of the film Alfie talks directly to the viewer throughout the film as if the camera is a sort of confidant. I don't think there is any other film that has used this technique so successfully. The film is based on the play by Bill Naughton who also wrote the excellent script. There is also an outstanding soundtrack featuring jazz arrangements by Sonny Rollins and at the end of the film is wonderful title song performed by Cilla Black.
~~ KES ~~
Every time I see this film it just gets better and better - Ken Loach's 1969 movie debut remains a timeless masterpiece of British cinema. The film focuses upon themes of social and spiritual poverty and the struggle for individual existence which emerge in many of Loach's films, but this time from a child's perspective. It tells the story of Barnsley lad Billy Casper (David Bradley), who finds escape from his failure and alienation in the classroom through his extracurricular activities of training the a kestrel. The film's combination of comical elements and bleak realism are heart wrenching.
The ones that nearly made it:
If... (Anderson) - a brilliant film
2001: A Space Odyssey (Kubrick) - just a bit on the slow side.
Dr Zhivago (Lean) - beautifully shot and lovely soundtrack
Riff Raff (Loach) - but second half of film is weak.
Naked (Leigh) - again the second half of the film is weak.
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (Ritchie) - but I don't like silly Vinnie Jones.
The Wicker Man (Hardy) - great sound track but the Britt Ekland bedroom scene is just a bit too short.
It looks like the set of the latest British made James Bond film has been destroyed by fire this weekend however fortunately the filming had been completed so this subject matter is quite topical.
Four Weddings and a Funeral is probably my favourite British film. Staring the lovely Hugh Grant it is a gentle little comedy with the odd sad moment as it follows a mixed group of posh and eccentric twenty and thirty somethings through their various dysfunctional love lives which centre on a number of formal events. The acting is wonderful and the story is well set out and very funny at times.
Bridget Jones is another classic film following on from the success of the book. Renee Zellweger is brilliant in the lead role even if she does lose the pounds she piles on for the role within a couple of weeks of filming ending and make the rest of woman kind feel inadequate. An added bonus to this very funny film is that once again I get to drool over Hugh Grant.
Get Carter is in at the insistence of my other half who claims it to be the best British film ever made and better than all the girly crap that I like (guess who will be cooking his own dinner tonight). Set in Newcastle the film stars Michael Caine and is quite violent throughout as Caine sets out to find out the truth following the death of his brother.
Bout a Boy is another girly film with the yummy Hugh Grant. This time Grant plays the role of a single bloke whose life evolves around watching telly, playing snooker and dating women who he treats pretty badly as he has a fear of commitment. Based in London he meets a dysfunctional teenage boy with whom he strikes up an uneasy and at times very funny relationship.
Quadraphenia is a classic film which charts the summer of violence between the Mods and Rockers in Brighton. Told through the eyes of a group of Mods it has an impressive cast of baby faced young British talent including an appearance by Sting as well as Lesley Ash, Jim from The Bill and Jeff Daniels in the lead role. The soundtrack is brilliant and the film makes a good attempt at capturing the mood of the times and the culture behind the Mod fashion scene.
That for me is my favourite four films and one that was added by my soon to be hungry other half.
Occasionally the British Film industry produces an absolute classic that lows anything Hollywood can produce out of the water it is just a shame that increasingly this event becomes more of a rare one. My knowledge of film does not stretch back far enough to include those from the fifties and sixties but these are the ones I would include in my top five.
Hollywood tried to remake this with Stallone in the lead and it was awful. The original featured Michael Caine as a London gangster visiting Newcastle to attend the funeral of his brother and then setting out on a violent mission to get revenge on those responsible for his death. At the same time he is being pursued by fellow gangsters from London who have been sent to return him to the capital. This is a gritty hard hitting film, with great settings around the city and the violence is very realistic where the fight scenes show that the first person to get a punch in usually wins. It also features a whole host of British talent and the rather strange image of Alf Roberts from Coronation Street playing the role of a small time gangster.
Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
This Guy Ritchie directed Brit Pop style film is heavy on attitude and at the time boasted a cast of relatively unknown British actors including Vinnie Jones in his attempt to carve out a career in films. Both Jones and Jason Statham have both gone on to experience some level of Hollywood success.
The film revolves around four east end lads who get into debt to a Soho based villain in a game of cards and have to come up with half a million pounds or start losing parts of their body. The characters are over the top at times and the humour is quite dark but the film has great style, a superb soundtrack and a fast paced storyline.
Four Weddings and a Funeral
This was the film that bought Hugh Grant into the limelight, that and dating a woman who wore revealing dresses. Grant played his typical role as an upper class slightly bumbling individual who along with his strange assortment of friends gets to attend a series of weddings and a funeral which helps define their various love lives and in particular his own infatuation with a visiting American. There are some very humourous episodes in this film and the acting is wonderful with very strong cast.
The Long Good Friday
This is likely to make most peoples top five as it features Bob Hoskins and is another gangster movie which charts Hoskins attempts to defend his criminal empire against another gangs attempt to take it over. Hoskins performance is brilliant as he slowly realises that he is out of his depth.
Set in Glasgow this film created quite a stir at the time of its release as it charted the lives of a group of heroin addicts. The film was another stylish effort with a great sound track and a number of scenes that were designed to shock the viewer. There was also a certain amount of dark humour and one particular scene involving a soiled bed sheet and the breakfast table that would put you off your cornflakes.
These are my top five hope you have enjoyed them.