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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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: