Best British Films Poll

by Anne Thompson
August 30, 2009 9:33 AM
7 Comments
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Thompson on Hollywood
The London Observer has published its best British films poll 1984-2009, from "more than 60 experts - directors, screenwriters, actors, critics - and a few smart outsiders." They asked me and include my list, too, on the jump. I picked 30 films from the list for our own poll. Write in any others you like, please. (UPDATE: Here's their top 25 list.)

Vote for the best Brit film 1984-2009
Four Weddings and a Funeral
Gosford Park
Hope and Glory
Topsy-Turvy
The Constant Gardner
The Company of Wolves
My Beautiful Laundrette
The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover
Brazil
My Name is Joe
Secrets and Lies
Shakespeare in Love
This is England
Slumdog Millionaire
Croupier
Howard's End
Trainspotting
The English Patient
Dirty Pretty Things
Man on Wire
The Full Monty
Love is the Devil
The Talented Mr. Ripley
Persuasion
Atonement
The Hours
Distant Voices, Still Lives
Sexy Beast
Shadowlands
The Remains of the Day
  
pollcode.com free polls

My top 10: Peter Morgan, screenwriter

Croupier (Mike Hodges, 1998)
Last Resort (Pawel Pawlikowski, 2000)
Howards End (James Ivory, 1992)
Trainspotting (Danny Boyle, 1996)
Secrets & Lies (Mike Leigh, 1996)
The English Patient (Anthony Minghella, 1996)
Dirty Pretty Things (Stephen Frears, 2002)
Man on Wire James Marsh (2008)
One Day in September (Kevin Macdonald, 1999)
Love Is The Devil (John Maybury, 1998)

My top 10: Sam Taylor-Wood, director artist

The Talented Mr Ripley (Anthony Minghella, 1999)
Nil By Mouth (Gary Oldman, 1997)
Secrets & Lies (Mike Leigh, 1996)
Flashbacks of a Fool (Baillie Walsh, 2008)
Atonement (Joe Wright, 2007)
The Hours (Stephen Daldry, 2002)
My Beautiful Laundrette (Stephen Frears, 1985)
Distant Voices, Still Lives (Terence Davies, 1988)
Sexy Beast (Jonathan Glazer, 2000)
Dead Man's Shoes (Shane Meadows, 2004)

My top 10: Sir Ben Kingsley, actor

Shadowlands (Richard Attenborough, 1993)
The Remains of the Day (James Ivory, 1993)
Four Weddings and a Funeral (Mike Newell, 1994)
Gosford Park (Robert Altman, 2001)
Iris (Richard Eyre, 2001)
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (Mark Herman, 2008)
Trainspotting (Danny Boyle, 1996)
The Full Monty (Peter Cattaneo, 1997)
Somers Town (Shane Meadows, 2008)
Venus (Roger Michell, 2006)

My top 10: Jonathan Coe, novelist

Distant Voices, Still Lives (Terence Davies, 1988)
Comfort and Joy (Bill Forsyth, 1984)
Control (Anton Corbijn, 2007)
The Long Day Closes (Terence Davies, 1992)
Comrades (Bill Douglas, 1986)
Withnail and I (Bruce Robinson, 1987)
Butterfly Kiss (Michael Winterbottom, 1995)
Hilary and Jackie (Anand Tucker, 1998)
Prick Up Your Ears (Stephen Frears, 1987)
Red Road (Andrea Arnold, 2006)

My top 10: Joanna Hogg, director

Robinson in Space (Patrick Keiller, 1997)
Persuasion (Roger Michell, 1995)
Brazil (Terry Gilliam, 1985)
Naked (Mike Leigh, 1993)
Last Resort (Pawel Pawlikowski, 2000)
My Name is Joe (Ken Loach, 1998)
Blue (Derek Jarman, 1993)
The Cement Garden (Andrew Birkin, 1993)
Orlando (Sally Potter, 1992)
London (Patrick Keiller, 1994)

My top 10: Edgar Wright, director

Life is Sweet (Mike Leigh, 1991)
Sexy Beast (Jonathan Glazer, 2000)
Dead Man's Shoes (Shane Meadows, 2004)
Trainspotting (Danny Boyle, 1996)
The Filth and the Fury (Julien Temple, 2000)
Withnail and I (Bruce Robinson, 1987)
Control (Anton Corbijn, 2007)
Hunger (Steve McQueen, 2008)
The Descent (Neil Marshall, 2005)
The Low Down (Jamie Thraves, 2000)

My top 10: Anne Thompson, US film critic

Persuasion (Roger Michell, 1995)
Hope & Glory (John Boorman, 1987)
Distant Voices, Still Lives (Terence Davies, 1988)
Secrets & Lies (Mike Leigh, 1996)
Slumdog Millionaire (Danny Boyle, 2008)
Four Weddings and a Funeral (Mike Newell, 1994)
A Passage to India (David Lean, 1984)
Touching the Void (Kevin Macdonald, 2003)
Gladiator (Ridley Scott, 2000)
My Beautiful Laundrette (Stephen Frears, 1985)

My top 10: Sandra Hebron, London Film Festival Artistic Director

Distant Voices, Still Lives (Terence Davies, 1988)
Ratcatcher (Lynne Ramsay, 1999)
Wonderland (Michael Winterbottom, 1999)
A Room for Romeo Brass (Shane Meadows, 1999)
My Summer of Love (Pawel Pawlikowski, 2004)
Hunger (Steve McQueen, 2008)
Riff-Raff (Ken Loach, 1991)
Naked (Mike Leigh, 1993)
Sexy Beast (Jonathan Glazer,2000)
Trainspotting (Danny Boyle, 1996)

My top 10: Natalie Press, actor

Naked (Mike Leigh, 1993)
Ratcatcher (Lynne Ramsay, 1999)
Hunger (Steve McQueen, 2008)
Nil by Mouth (Gary Oldman, 1997)
Withnail and I (Bruce Robinson, 1987)
Orlando (Sally Potter, 1992)
The Cook, the Thief, His Wife and Her Lover (Peter Greenaway, 1989)
My Beautiful Laundrette (Stephen Frears, 1985)
Under the Skin (Carine Adler, 1997)
In This World (Michael Winterbottom, 2002)

My top 10: Kevin MacDonald, director

Riff-Raff (Ken Loach, 1991)
Trainspotting (Danny Boyle, 1996)
The Full Monty (Peter Cattaneo, 1997)
Distant Voices, Still Lives (Terence Davies, 1988)
The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover (Peter Greenaway, 1989)
Four Weddings and a Funeral (Mike Newell, 1994)
Driving Me Crazy (Nick Broomfield, 1988)
Hope & Glory (John Boorman, 1987)
Topsy-Turvy (Mike Leigh, 1999)
The Constant Gardener (Fernando Meirelles, 2005)

My top 10: Philip French, Observer film critic

The Company of Wolves (Neil Jordan, 1984)
My Beautiful Laundrette (Stephen Frears, 1985)
Hope & Glory (John Boorman, 1987)
The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover (Peter Greenaway, 1989)
The Long Day Closes (Terence Davies, 1992)
Land and Freedom (Ken Loach, 1995)
Secrets & Lies (Mike Leigh, 1996)
Shakespeare in Love (John Madden, 1998)
This is England (Shane Meadows, 2006)
Slumdog Millionaire (Danny Boyle, 2008)

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More: Directors, Stuck In Love, Danny Boyle, Critics

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7 Comments

  • Christian | September 1, 2009 6:17 AMReply

    As always with such lists, they leave out more than they comprise. My favorite would be The Tall Guy (produced by Working Title and London Weekend Films) with very funny performances of very young Jeff Goldblum, Emma Thompson and Rowan Atkinson... And it's by Richard Curtis... And it should have won an MTV-Award for 'Best apartment destruction by intercourse' Footnote: My favorite could very well be Truly, Madly, Deeply (Juliet Stevenson and Alan Rickman in the British version of 'Ghost') Last Footnote: Stevenson also played in my favorite 'Life Story', in which - again - Jeff Goldblum shines as the young Jim Watson. Next Post: My favorite Brit movies ;-)

  • Anne Thompson | August 31, 2009 7:01 AMReply

    When I made up my post-1984 list I left off "British" films directed by Americans, like Gosford Park (which I love). And I left off big Hollywood studio films directed by Brits like Ridley Scott. I tried to keep the list homegrown British. But The Crying Game feels British to me, shot and financed (with Miramax) in Britain.

  • han | August 31, 2009 4:14 AMReply

    hunger
    billy elliot
    birth
    control
    children of men
    transpotting

  • Brian | August 31, 2009 2:29 AMReply

    There's none on that list I'd feel even remotely interested in voting for. When I think of Best British Films, I think of THINGS TO COME (1936), THE FOUR FEATHERS (1939), DEAD OF NIGHT (1945), GREAT EXPECTATIONS (1946), HAMLET (1948), OLIVER TWIST (1948), THE RED SHOES (1948), THE THIRD MAN (1949), A HARD DAY'S NIGHT (1964), MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL (1975)...what else? Is that IT? Oh, wait, THE BANK JOB (2008)! The only "recent" (i.e. last 30 years) British film I'd consider.

    For some reason all that swingin' London '60s stuff never caught on with me (DARLING, GEORGY GIRL, ALFIE, etc.). Nor did all those Alec Guinness/Peter Sellers comedies.

    Do the Bond movies count? Then I'd add DR. NO, FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE and YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE.

  • rgm | August 31, 2009 1:10 AMReply

    Where would you place Neil Jordan's 1992 The Crying Game?

  • zhak | August 30, 2009 12:31 PMReply

    Tristram Shandy A Cock & Bull Story, Michael Winterbottom

  • Simon Kingsley-Holmes | August 30, 2009 11:22 AMReply

    Hunger
    The Descent
    Vera Drake
    The Hit
    Withnail and I
    Dead Man's Shoes
    Twentyfourseven
    Bloody Sunday
    28 Days Later...
    Brazil

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