The Telegraph’s 100 best British films of all time
Billed as ideal for self-isolating or a pleasant date night (although “Sunshine” and “Nil By Mouth” might not be the most pleasant options), there are some great works included, from the 1930s to the present day.
Obviously, any list of “best” is subjective and I would have liked to see some other British films included, such as the perfectly-crafted “School For Scoundrels“, the best (in my opinion) Bond film “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service“, and the chilling “Brighton Rock“, but there’s no denying there are some incredibly impactful films on the list, including “The Draughtsman’s Contract”, “Under The Skin”, and the classics below.
It’s wonderful to see the following films included in The Telegraph’s 100 best British films of all time:
Lauded at the time of release and still frequently included in most “best film” lists, including The Telegraph’s, “The Third Man” is a masterpiece of British film noir. Considered by some to be the greatest film of all time, the atmospheric zither music from “The Third Man” is instantly evocative of shadowy criminality at the birth of the Cold War.
In Alfred Hitchcock‘s “The Lady Vanishes”, Basil Radford & Naunton Wayne made their debut as the unique cinematic partnership of Charters & Caldicott. They would go on to appear in many other films together, including The Next of Kin, “Dead of Night” and the classic Ealing comedy “Passport to Pimlico“.
Fondly considered to be one of the best Ealing comedies, “The Ladykillers” boasts an all-star cast of classic British actors including Alec Guinness, Cecil Parker, Herbert Lom, Peter Sellers, Danny Green, and the archetypal policeman Jack Warner. Katie Johnson’s penultimate film, The Ladykillers earned her a BAFTA for Best British actress at the age of 77.
“Kind Hearts & Coronets” was one of the most popular films of 1949 and, along with “Passport to Pimlico”, “Whisky Galore!”, and “A Run for Your Money“, all released in the same year within the space of six months, firmly established the Ealing Comedies. Starring Alec Guinness as all nine members of the D’Ascoyne family, Dennis Price, Valerie Hobson, and Joan Greenwood, “Kind Hearts & Coronets” is regarded by many as the finest Ealing comedy.
Quite rightly, the unique pagan folk horror thriller musical “The Wicker Man” takes a spot on the list. Despite the studio’s reluctance to fully support the film at the time of release, the recognition of “The Wicker Man” has grown over the years to become a much-admired cult classic of British cinema.
Two Julie Christie films are included in The Telegraph’s round-up. John Schlesinger’s “Far from the Madding Crowd” makes their list, the Thomas Hardy adaptation co-starring Terence Stamp & Alan Bates, and Nicolas Roeg’s impactful horror set in Venice “Don’t Look Now” with Donald Sutherland.
Sean Connery‘s second outing as James Bond, “From Russia With Love” is included in The Telegraph’s list – grittier than 007’s debut in “Dr. No”, the rougher tone feels more like Connery’s gangster in “The Frightened City“, the British film noir which most possibly inspired his casting as Bond.
Two Michael Caine films make The Telegraph’s list: the Sixties spy film “The Ipcress File” with Michael Caine portraying Harry Palmer as a rougher, tougher spy investigating espionage activites during the Cold War. Also featuring Britt Ekland, “Get Carter” is on the list, the crime thriller in which Caine’s gangster descends upon Newcastle-Upon-Tyne.
Are your personal favourites on the list? See all 100 films listed at The Telegraph website here.