The Telegraph’s 100 best British films of all time

Telegraph 100 Best British films

Published on Monday this past week, The Telegraph’s film critics Tim Robey & Robbie Collin have compiled a list of their 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:

The Third Man

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.

The Lady Vanishes
Basil Radford & Naunton Wayne pop art by Art & Hue

In Alfred Hitchcock‘s “The Lady Vanishes” (starring Margaret Lockwood & Michael Redgrave), 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“.

The Ladykillers
The Ladykillers Poster pop art print by Art & Hue

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
Kind Hearts & Coronets Group by Art & Hue

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.

The Wicker Man

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.

Julie Christie films

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.

From Russia With Love

Sean Connery‘s second outing as 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.

The Ipcress File & Get Carter

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, Ian Hendry & the iconic Trinity Square car park, “Get Carter” is on the list, the crime thriller in which Caine’s gangster descends upon Newcastle-Upon-Tyne.

Other films selected for the list include “A Matter of Life & Death” with David Niven, “The Red Shoes” with Moira Shearer, “The Dam Busters” with Richard Todd, “Dracula” with Christopher Lee, “The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner” with Tom Courtenay, “This Sporting Life” with Richard Harris & Rachel Roberts, “Zulu” with Stanley Baker, Jack Hawkins & Michael Caine, “Accident” with Dirk Bogarde, “If…” with Richard Warwick & Mona Washbourne, “Performance” with James Fox, “A Clockwork Orange” with Patrick Magee, “Gregory’s Girl” with Clare Grogan, “Gosford Park” with Michael Gambon & Maggie Smith, and “45 Years” with Charlotte Rampling, to name a few.

Are your personal favourites on the list? See all 100 films listed at The Telegraph website here.

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