MOVIES MADE IN BRITAIN BLOG Saturday 26th February 2022





 Often misunderstood by the rest of the world, the British have nevertheless managed to produce stunning examples of cinema over the years, ranging from early 20th century war movies and the confident charm of 007, to sharp rom-coms and period classics.

Combining opinions from The Telegraph, Time Out London and BBC Culture, as well as from British culture experts here are the list of the Top 31 British films of all time.

  1. 1935 ‘The 39 Steps’ – Alfred Hitchcock

No British film list could be complete without Alfred Hitchcock. This thriller, which stars Madeleine Carroll and Robert Donat, has often been described as the director’s first real masterpiece. The story follows a civilian who becomes involved in thwarting a group of spies from leaking British military secrets.

  1. 1955 ‘The Dam Busters’ – Michael Anderson

‘The Dam Busters’ flew to the top of the list at the British box office in 1955. With its poignant telling of the British invention of the “bouncing bomb” and air squadron 617 during World War Two, the movie touched on the patriotic zeitgeist of post-war Britain. In recent years a remake of the film has been speculated by Peter Jackson, but apart from discussion over how to appropriately rename character Guy Gibson’s dog, nothing concrete has developed.

  1. 1955 ‘The Lady Killers’ – Alexander Mackendrick

Directed by a Scotsman and originally written by an American, this film is set in North London and narrates the hilarious happenings of an old lady and a group of bank robbers who try unsuccessfully to kill her off.

  1. 1962 ‘Dr No’ – Terence Young

Though it’s impossible to agree which actor best played James Bond, it’s undeniable that the secret agent is a classic figure in British culture. Sean Connery stars as 007 in this first Bond film, an adaptation of the original novel by Ian Fleming.

  1. 1962 ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ – David Lean

This epic historical account depicts the life of enigmatic TE Lawrence (played by Peter O’Toole), the famous young British officer who helped lead Arabs against Turks in the early 1900s. Although critically acclaimed for its stunning cinematography, musical score, and acting, at almost four hours long, it requires viewers with stamina.

  1. 1964 ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ – Richard Lester

The Beatles’ first film was a huge success. Following John, Paul, Ringo, and George on a journey from Liverpool to London amid much joking and hilarity, it showcased the loveable group’s brash sense of humour. And all they had to do was act naturally…

  1. 1964 ‘Mary Poppins’ – Robert Stevenson

The original story was written by an Australian, and the Disney film produced by an American, but the musical film portrays the story of a very British nanny who transforms the life of a typically Edwardian family forever.

  1. 1968 ‘If…’ – Lindsay Anderson

Anarchy breaks out in a traditional boys boarding school, ending in tragedy. Starring Malcolm McDowell, the film was made during the time of the May 1968 protests in France and created as a satire on English public schools.

  1. 1969 ‘The Italian Job’ – Peter Collinson

A gang of British crooks headed by Michael Cain (pictured) engineer an elaborate traffic jam on the streets of Turin in a plot to steal a shipment of gold. Filled with car chases in Mini Coopers painted in the colors of the Union Jack, the film is famous for the line, “You’re only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!”

  1. 1970 ‘The Railway Children’ – Lionel Jeffries

The film adaptation of the children’s classic by Edith Nesbit tells the story of a mother and three children who must adapt to a new life in the countryside after their father is suspected of involvement in a crime. They fall in love with the railway next to their country cottage.

  1. 1971 ‘A Clockwork Orange’ – Stanley Kubrik

This dystopian crime drama was withdrawn from the UK in 1973 by Kubrik himself after his family received threats from the public. The controversial film explores juvenile delinquency and follows a group of youngsters who get their thrills from killing vagrants and raping women.

  1. 1979 ‘Life of Brian’ – Terry Jones

Monty Python return in their second hysterical classic, which tells the story of Brian, the accidental Messiah who was born on the same night as Jesus in the stable next door. The religious satire was banned from several countries and stars John Cleese and Eric Idle, amongst other British comedy legends.

  1. 1981 ‘Chariots of Fire’ – Hugh Hudson

‘Chariots of Fire’ follows the story of two British athletes in the run-up to the 1924 Olympics. The biopic of Eric Lidell and Harold M Abrahams (pictured) is famous for its iconic beach running scene, as well as that emblematic keyboard theme tune.

  1. 1985 ‘A Room with a View’ – James Ivory

The 1908 novel by E. M. Forster critiqued stiff English Edwardian society. Exploring young Lucy Honeychurch’s struggle to admit her true feelings for a man who does not align with the social rules set out for her, this timeless love story unfolds over idyllic scenes of Florence and southern England. A young Helena Bonham Carter is the protagonist and Maggie Smith her older cousin, Charlotte Bartlett.

  1. 1987 ‘Withnail and I’ – Bruce Robinson

Two unemployed actors, the petulant Withnail (Richard E. Grant) and long-suffering Marwood (Paul McGann), take a trip from London to the Lake District for a vacation that quickly descends into chaos. One of Britain’s biggest cult films, the soundtrack includes a rare recording of ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ by The Beatles, which was only allowed because George Harrison was a producer on the movie.

  1. 1994 ‘Four Weddings and a Funeral’ – Mike Newell

A charming English bachelor fleetingly meets a woman he thinks he’s fallen in love with at a friend’s wedding. Over four very British social occasions, he and his group of friends go through hilarity and tragedy in the quest for happiness. This was the first of screenwriter Richard Curtis’ films to star Hugh Grant and made him synonymous with the rom-com genre.

  1. 1995 ‘Sense and Sensibility’ – Ang Lee

Jane Austen’s classic tale of the Dashwood family is immortalized in this production, which includes notable performances from fresh-faced actors Alan Rickman, Hugh Grant, Kate Winslet, and Emma Thompson.

  1. 1996 ‘Trainspotting’ – Danny Boyle

Set in the parts of Edinburgh tourists don’t visit, this black comedy about a group of drug addicts stars an almost unrecognizably baby-faced Ewan McGregor. The harrowing look at the 90s heroin scene won the 1996 BAFTA for Best Adapted Screenplay and soon became a British cult classic.

  1. 1998 ‘Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels’ – Guy Ritchie

After a failed poker game, four lads from the east end of London find themselves in deep trouble and must fight against thugs, drug lords, and debt collectors over a mound of cash, some weed, and two antique shotguns.

  1. 2000 ‘Billy Elliot’ – Stephen Daldry

When an 11-year-old miner’s son stumbles across a ballet class while he’s supposed to be boxing, he becomes transfixed. Billy’s dancing potential is spotted a teacher who persuades him to swap the boxing gloves for dance shoes and trains him for greatness. Set in northern England during the coal mining strikes of the 1980s, this raw and powerful tale is a poignant British classic.

  1. 2001 ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary’ – Sharon Maguire

Bridget (Renée Zellweger) is a thirty-something smoker, binge drinker, and singleton who decides to turn a new page in her life and begin documenting her romantic escapades. Soon she’s caught in a turbulent struggle between a bad boy, who also happens to be her boss (Hugh Grant), and a good guy with a troubled past (Colin Firth). Will the accident-prone, compulsive-talking Londoner find love at last?

  1. 2002 ‘Bend it like Beckham’ – Gurinder Chadha

Jess (Parminder Nagra) is girl who loves football in an Indian family that doesn’t. After being spotted playing by Jules (Keira Knightley), she joins a semi-professional team, and finds the courage to pursue her dreams in the face of her family’s expectations. The film explores Britain’s changing attitude to its multicultural society, amongst other themes.

  1. 2003 ‘Love Actually’ – Richard Curtis

This Christmas-themed romantic comedy, written by the man who created Blackadder, entwines nine stories of individuals in London all searching for the one thing in life that truly matters: love. Although the film received mixed reviews in the USA, is arguably a modern-day Christmas classic.

  1. 2004 ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’ – Alfonso Cuarón

Harry Potter had to have a place in this list, though choosing which of the movies was no easy matter. The third instalment of J K. Rowling’s beloved teenage wizard is generally considered by fans and critics to be the best, and was the only one in the franchise to be directed by Alfonso Cuarón.

  1. 2006 ‘This is England’ – Shane Meadows

Young Shaun Fields (Thomas Turgoose) is accepted into a group of older skinheads after he stands up to their teasing. Things turn nasty when Cosmo, a former member who is just out of prison, splits the gang into two factions with his nationalistic rhetoric. The film presents a raw and rugged portrait of a British subculture in the 1980s.

  1. 2006 ‘The Queen’ – Stephen Frears

In the immediate aftermath of Princess Diana’s death in 1997, a torrent of public anger was unleashed on the Royal Family for their apparent lack of emotion and reaction to the tragedy. The relationship between the Queen (Helen Mirren) and Prime Minister Tony Blair (Michael Sheen), is explored in this film, which gives insight into the monarch’s emotions behind closed doors.

  1. 2007 ‘Hot Fuzz’ – Edgar Wright

An exemplary police officer (Simon Pegg) is posted to the fictional English village of Sandford, where he finds things a little different to his face-paced London life. Saddled with a lumbering but good-humored partner (Nick Frost), he begins to investigate a series of murders that aren’t as unrelated as they first seem.

  1. 2007 ‘Atonement’ – Joe Wright

Celia and her lover Robbie are torn apart by jealous little sister Briony, whose guilt for her actions haunt her for the rest of her life. Hopes for the young couple worsen as Robbie is taken to prison and then onto the battlefields of World War Two. The English drama boasts stunning performances from James McAvoy, Saoirse Ronan, and Keira Knightley.

  1. 2008 ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ – Danny Boyle

Set and filmed in India, this movie from acclaimed British director Danny Boyle tells the story of Jamal Malik (Dev Patel), a teenager from a Mumbai slum who is a contestant on ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?’ Although the movie was well received worldwide, it also received criticism for its casual westernization of many aspects of Indian culture.

  1. 2010 ‘The King’s Speech’ – Tom Hooper

When his older brother abdicates from the British throne in 1936, England’s stuttering Prince Albert (Colin Firth) is thrust into the limelight. On employing a speech therapist, Lionel Logue, to help the new king overcome his speech impediment, there begins a lifelong friendship between the two men that breaks down the rules between sovereign and subject.

Source: Stars Insider

REMEMBER: The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.

– Nicolas Chamfort



“The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams.” —Oprah Winfrey


Happiness is…a cosy night in watching a British Movie.


I can’t find my ‘Gone in 60 seconds’ DVD. It was here a minute ago.


Love is…knowing he/she splashed out just for you!


A time to watch The Railway Children (10) …A time to watch ‘Life of Brian’ (12).






©2022 Phil M Robinson