British cinema has always enthralled us with their wit, humor, thrills and that weird bit of cockiness. We have always enjoyed the quirkiness portrayed in the British films.
Many of the films from the Queen’s land have touched on important political and racist issues too, in the special way nevertheless.
Here we will be having a look at 11 of the great British films which, in my opinion, are the greatest of all time!
11. Get Carter
If you haven’t seen the young Michael Caine showing off his acting skills, this is the movie. One of the best gangster flicks, Caine is the gangster who goes to Newcastle for his brother’s funeral and begins to suspect his death was no accident.
This revenge drama has some edgy thrills and violence as Caine exacts revenge on the folks he believes responsible. Entertaining, violent and classy British flick.
10. This is England
Shane Meadows directs this impactful British film about a kid called Shaun, (played superbly by newcomer Thomas Turgoose), dealing with his dad’s death and how he befriends a group of skinheads who take him in and show him the world of drink, girls and drugs.
The movie has a documentary-feel and is apparently based on the experiences of the director himself. Hard-hitting and delves well in the lives of the “skinheads”.
9. Shaun of the Dead
Edgar Wright has made a name as of the best film-makers of this era, and this film is arguably the one which got him universal acclaim. Starring Simon Pegg as a self-proclaimed loser, the movie is a perfect blend of horror and comedy.
Nevertheless, many believe it is the best “zombie” movie ever made, albeit with less thrills and more comedy.
A fun-ride backed by a terrific cast, this one is a great example of “British comedy-genre”.
8. A Clockwork Orange
Kubrick’s sensational and controversial adaptation of Anthony Burgess’ novel is a stunning visual achievement. Bizarre, outrageous and explicit to the hilt, this movie will stay with you for a lifetime! The violence remains disturbing throughout with its themes still pertinent.
Malcolm McDowell is a pioneer of punk in attitude and fashion. Its gross depiction of youth gangs and the authoritarian methods considered to control crime is starkly dark, that works in the service of creating a horrific vision of a society.
Undoubtedly the most disturbing movie from Kubrick, who was certainly one of the best film-makers to come out of Britain!
It will not be wrong to say that this movie was, and is still, a cultural phenomenon. Released in 1996, Trainspotting became a rage not only because of its grotesque description of British drug addicts, but also because the quirkiness in the whole narrative.
The film shows the lives of a group of Edinburgh heroin addicts, and had a strong star-cast spearheaded by Ewan McGregor. You will despise the characters, but pity them simultaneously. Must watch!
The British ruled India till 1947, and Mahatma Gandhi played a pivotal part in actually getting India its independence. But it took a Britisher to actually make a masterpiece on the life of the Indian freedom fighter!
Directed by the legend Sir Richard Attenborough and featuring an Award winning performance by Sir Ben Kingsley, Gandhi will arguably remain one of the best biographies of all time. And yes, it swept the Academy Awards too!
One of the quirkiest movies you will ever see, this one warranties a fun ride! Directed by the auteur Guy Ritchie, Snatch featured a stellar cast, including a brilliant Brad Pitt blabbering in Irish accent to precision!
Multiple sub-plots, confusion, boxing and a whole lot of cockney accents! Snatch had it all! And who could forgot the racy soundtrack, featuring the star British band Oasis?! Stellar, witty and smart, this is one for the ages!
4. 28 Days Later
Another zombie flick in the list, though this one has no comedy! Directed by the maverick film-maker Danny Boyle, 28 Days Later is about a virus which makes the infected person mad with extreme rage.
Within 28 days one outbreak in London causes the death of the entire Britain with a handful of survivors. Civilization comes to a halt, society gets destroyed while the survivors fight for existence amidst the blood-thirsty infected creatures.
28 days later has the right sets of thrills, is artistic and atmospheric, with a great pace, sympathetic characters, and a fantastic climax. Must watch!
3. The Third Man
This pulpy thriller is a cult classic for the ages! The story is about a pulp novelist Holly Martins, who travels to shadowy, post-war Vienna, only to find himself investigating the mysterious death of an old friend, Harry Lime.
Most consider The Third Man as a neo-noir which was much ahead of its time! Technically brilliant, the use of camera angles and lights is just spellbinding!
The movie is topped off by an engrossing story-line, and a great performance by Joseph Cotten, as the ordinary man mixed up in this web of mystery. An atmospheric British thriller which will always remain a classic!
A dystopian sci-fi stunner by Terry Gilliam which sadly bombed when it released in 1985. However, over the years that followed, Brazil has been appreciated and has gained cult status!
The movie deals with a computer error which causes havoc for the protagonist, Sam Lowry. He is someone who dreams of living as an individual, away from the system of Big Brother.
The movie is heavily influenced by George Orwell’s classic novel, 1984. Brazil(1985) is the closest thing to a perfect adaptation of 1984 for the big screen. Brazil is also known for the conflict between the director and producer, where the latter cut some scenes which pissed Gilliam to the core.
The movie is also available as an extended 142-minute cut which is brilliant! Brazil is not just a movie, its a dreamy experience, quite literally!
1. Lawrence of Arabia
Lawrence of Arabia is an epic historical drama which is my favorite British movie.
The story is about a British Lieutenant T.E. Lawrence, who is sent to Arabia to find Prince Faisal and serve as a liaison between the Arabs and the British in their fight against the Turks. With the aid of native Sherif Ali, Lawrence rebels against the orders of his superior officer and strikes out on a daring camel journey across the harsh desert to attack a well-guarded Turkish port.
Directed by David Lean and starring the legends Peter O’Toole, Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn, and of course, Omar Sharif, Arabia is considered a cultural milestone. Though there were various complaints about the accuracy of the movie, the movie is a triumph on almost all levels!
Its themes include Lawrence’s emotional struggles with the personal violence inherent in war, his own identity, and his divided allegiance between his native Britain and its army, and his new-found comrades within the Arabian desert tribes. And adding to the story, the brilliant performance by the stellar cast is like the cherry.
The cinematography, by Freddie Young, sucks you in the Arabian land without the use of CGI. Lawrence of Arabia is more than 3 hours long, but still lures you to view it again and again.
As Rotten Tomatoes say, Lawrence of Arabia is “The epic of all epics, which cements director David Lean’s status in the film-making pantheon with nearly four hours of grand scope, brilliant performances, and beautiful cinematography”.