The Top 10 British Movies for Anglophiles

10. Notting Hill

This one is classic. Starring Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts, the story takes place in a charming London neighborhood of the same name that shapes the plot of the movie. Upon repeat viewings, you realize there is little chemistry between the leads and their love story is incomprehensible, but London – the movie’s biggest character – makes up for the talent deficit. They captured the neighborhood well, perhaps too well since now it’s even more of a tourist destination on the weekends. It’s hard to move around it’s crawling with so many tourists! There really is a Travel Bookshop in Notting Hill and it’s worth the visit.

Notting Hill Trailer:

Purchase:

Buy the Notting Hill DVD on Amazon.com

9. Love, Actually

This is very nearly one of those perfect romantic comedies. Set during Christmastime in London, it concerns the trials and tribulations in love of a loosely connected group of people. People who all live hip and cool lives that you really wish you were a part of. Some of the plot threads are sad, not necessarily happy but the subject is love in all it’s forms, warts and all. It’s charming and has become my favorite Christmas movie, if anything because Billy Mack is hilarious.

Love, Actually Trailer:

Purchase:

Buy the Love, Actually DVD on Amazon.com

8. Pride and Prejudice

I’ve never been a fan of Jane Austen so I only look at this movie as it’s own creature. I love it. I love the scenery, the culture, the plot, music, everything. The end where the couple meets on the cool English morning as the sun rises is a perfect representation of what it’s really like to walk through the English countryside in the morning. When I watch it, I’m literally in Dorset, walking across the hills and valleys. A lovely movie, even if it doesn’t keep to the book well.

Pride and Prejudice Trailer:

Purchase:

Buy Pride and Prejudice on Amazon.com

7. About a Boy

This isn’t your typical romantic comedy, in fact there isn’t much romance in it at all. It’s mostly about the relationship between a selfish materialistic man and a boy crying out for a father figure. Despite some serious subject matter, the movie works and has enough funny moments to make up for the serious bits. Hugh Grant does a great job playing himself, a self absorbed douchebag.

About a Boy Trailer:

Purchase:

Buy the About a Boy DVD on Amazon.com

6. Bridget Jones Diary

Though Bridget Jones herself can be a rather annoying person, the movie is still great fun. Colin Firth is a great lead and he mellows out the insane Bridget in many scenes. The real London locations are marvelous as are her stereotypical British friends. Avoid the sequel though, it’s a piece of crap. My wife and I were very disappointed.

Bridget Jones Diary Trailer:

Purchase:

BBuy the Bridget Jones’s Diary DVD on Amazon.com

5. The Queen

The Queen of England has generally been off limits for movies and dramas, so this movie breaks significant ground in portraying the venerable monarch. We get to see the inner working of the Royal family as well as a portrait of a person whom is generally thought to not have a real personality. The sets and scenery are amazing. It’s a wonderful film that takes place during a time of great change in Modern Britain. A very moving picture.

The Queen Trailer:

Purchase:

Buy The Queen DVD on Amazon.com

4. V for Vendetta

This is also a rather serious movie, dealing with themes such as the moral relativism of terrorism, totalitarian government and sick forms of love. It paints a pretty bleak picture of what England could become given the right conditions. But it’s also an excellent portrait of the resiliency of the British People who won’t take oppression lying down. The whole movie comes to a head at the end when a mob descends upon Parliament Square. What’s most amazing is that they actually filmed it there and considering all the logistics that went into it, you’ve gotta be impressed with the result.

V for Vendetta Trailer:

Purchase:

Buy the V for Vendetta DVD on Amazon.com

3. Local Hero

Many people haven’t heard of this movie, it’s a classic gem from the 80′s. It’s about an 80′s Yuppie Oilman sent to a sleepy Scottish village to negotiate it’s purchase because of oil located in the area. The locals are ecstatic since the area is rather economically depressed but the main character goes local and learns a lot about himself and what truly matters in life. It has an excellent score as well.

Local Hero Trailer:

Purchase:

Buy the Local Hero DVD on Amazon.com

2. The Remains of the Day

This is a wonderful sweeping British Drama from the days of Merchant-Ivory. Anthony Hopkins stars as a Butler who sees many changes in history and the ownership of the estate he serves. There are wonderful themes about friendship and loyalty as well as unrequited love and loss. The vistas are amazing as is the grand house it takes place in. Emma Thompson plays one of her best roles at the love interest of Hopkins. This movie is long, quiet and contemplative yet delightful.

The Remains of the Day Trailer:

Purchase:

Buy The Remains of the Day DVD on Amazon.com

1. Master and Commander

In my opinion, this is the perfect British movie for Anglophiles. Everything about this movie is perfect. From the authentic ship to the multi-faceted characters, it’s all perfect. It’s an awesome adventure filled with danger, loss and camaraderie. I can’t find a bad thing to say about this movie. It’s a shame it wasn’t a bigger hit so they’d make more.

Master and Commander Trailer:

Purchase:

Buy the Master and Commander DVD on Amazon.com

Comments

  1. avatarAndy Hill says

    What a terrible selection of films! Richard Curtis makes awful crap that is completely unrepresentative of the UK, all posh people and “cor blimney guvnor” type proles for them to patronise. I’ve never met anyone remotely resembling any of his characters in real life. V for Vendetta is almost unwatchably bad too. Master and Commander and Local Hero are both excellent.
    I would suggest:

    Comfort And Joy

    Gregory’s Girl

    Any Shane Meadows film

    Carry On Cleo/Carry On Up The Khyber

    Withnail And I

    A Matter Of Life And Death

    Trainspotting (looking slightly dated now but still more representative than any of the Curtis collection of tourist tat)

    Brazil

  2. avatarVicky says

    I adore Love Actually, Bridget Jones and About A Boy. Notting Hill is okay but definitely not Roberts’ or Grants’ best.

    The BBC version of Pride and Prejudice is 100% better than the film and of course has the classic lake/wet T-shirt scene!

    I’ve only seen a bit of The Queen and it didn’t grab me. Might have to try it again sometime. Not seen any of the others. I definitely think things like Brick Lane, Educating Rita and Gosford Park should be considered as well as they offer everything – great performances, wonderful stories and beautiful settings. :)

  3. avatarSarah Snow says

    Another one I would add to the list is “Saving Grace”. All the biggies are in it; Brenda Blethyn etc… Hilarious film. Even though there a huge house somewhere in Cornwall that somehow I managed to miss.. You go in to the front door in one place & come out of the back door in another! Amazing. But excellent film though…

    British film (although not about Britain) the proper, original “Italian Job” has to be on any list of British films. I love that film…

    “Personal Services” with Julie Walters. Haven’t seen it in years but it was hilarious.

  4. avatarKate says

    It wasn’t out when this was originally posted, but I highly recommend “The Young Victoria” – an excellent movie about Victoria coming to the throne.

  5. avatarTray says

    What about ‘Chariots of Fire” from the 80′s?
    What about the 1998 “Elizabeth” starring Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush?
    Also there is Shadowlands (1993) starring Anthony Hopkins about the British author C.S. Lewis.
    The fantastic actress Judi Dench played Queen Victoria after Prince Albert’s death in “Mrs. Brown (1997).”
    As mentioned above, Emily Blount did a good job as Queen Victoria in her youth in “Young Victoria.”

  6. avatarTray says

    Also a memorable film from 1987 about a kid and his family living through the Blitz in London, “Hope and Glory,” Also–any of the Kenneth Branagh movies. My favourite is “Henry V”.

  7. avatarmodwen says

    I do like some of your choices, but surely you didn’t mean to leave “Sense and Sensibility” off your list! An oversight, no doubt. ;) I would put it at the very top.

    • avatarCristina Prado says

      I must say, I see eye to eye with you… I’m always looking for films set in England, films that show their customs and let me enjoy British accent.
      I’d like to mention Brassed Off, which I found delightful.

  8. avatarpusspussbangbang says

    Gangster No 1 Dead Mans Shoes Karims Story 24 Hour Partey People Telstar , Billy Liar , Hell I could go on and on….

  9. avatarKelly says

    Love all the movies mentioned. But two more to see are Crush with Andie McDowel and the second one is Keeping Mum.

  10. avatarBeverlyC says

    Poor list…very poor. “Young Victoria” is lovely, but to leave off “Room with a View” and “Howard’s End”, “Emma” and “The King’s Speech” is criminal. “Master and Commander,” ugh. “V for Vendetta” a horror.

  11. avatarLouis says

    This list is very bad it only includes films that live up to the American stereotype of britishness most are middle/upperclass and have nothing to do with the real Britain.

    My list to show britain as a whole (and just good to watch)

    1) Kidulthood
    2) Shaun Of The Dead
    3) Four Lions
    4) Human Traffic
    5) Trainspotting
    6) Snatch
    7) Attack The Block
    8) The Full Monty
    9) Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
    10) Nil by Mouth
    11) Life Of Brian
    12) Withnail and i
    13) A Clockwork Orange
    14) Secrets and Lies
    15) The Wicker Man

  12. avatarJoel says

    Hot Fuzz
    Nil By Mouth
    Trainspotting
    To End All Wars
    Exam
    East Is East
    Four Lions
    Severence
    Atonement
    Anything by guy Ritchie is just bollocks frankly

  13. avatarDuane says

    I would say “A Hard Day’s Night,” “The Ladykillers,” “The Lavender Hill Mob,” “Trainspotting,” “Having a Wild Weekend,” (believe it or not, it’s not a bad film, although the Dave Clark 5 weren’t “Naturals” like the Fab Four). Also, any of Peter Sellers early comedies…”Alright Jack” for instance.

  14. avatarCathy Stanton says

    I agree with some of your choices, but the films I watch over and over are Secrets and Lies, Last September, and Carrington.

    • avataremays36@gmail.com says

      …and the great British detective movies and TV series, i.e., Foyle`s War, Inspector Morse and others. In the movies I just wish the British dialogue was clearer. Some times I just don`t get it.

  15. avatarEugene Melody says

    A not well known fact about the film Master and Commander is that in the book on which it is based the enemy is not a French warship but an American frigate named the USS Norfolk!

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