A talky, two-hander scene between Sands and a priest Liam Cunningham is all the more hard-hitting because it emerges suddenly in the middle of a film which foregrounds images over chat — but the entire film is full of such surprises. Yet, his film has a more cynical edge than only being about the sensations of a city. The young Polish filmmaker Roman Polanski came to London to make his second film — and first in English — and cast year-old Catherine Deneuve as Carole, a fragile young Belgian woman living in South Kensington with her sister and working in a local hairdressing salon.
Never repeated it!
The 100 best films of the 21st century
His film is a celebration of heroism, a lament for lives lost and a stoical expression of the necessary wartime maxim that life must go on. That this near-wordless celebration of wartime Britain in all its music-hall, factory-floor, greenfield glory can still inspire a flush of patriotic pride seven decades on is testament to the extraordinary purity of vision and experimental nous of its director, Humphrey Jennings.
While we can only imagine the pleasure of watching original choice Donald Pleasance as the sexually repressed misogynist Hopkins, Vincent Price makes a horribly effective substitute, lisping biblical lore to the screams of his victims on the rack and at the stake. The pranks of monosyllabic scamp James William Eadie form the core of the film, and we eventually learn that James wants nothing more than to abandon the squalor of the city and move to a new housing project next to a cornfield in which he can frolic.
If you didn't know Patrick Keiller's smartly rambling, tricksy walking tour of our city from , you might think that his title was pompous or presumptive. What if, right, the Hun were on the cusp of clinching victory in Europe, and all that stood between your average, flat-capped English patriot and the swift introduction of sauerkraut to the national menu was the collective muscle of a close-knit countryside community?
The plot — a Bethnal Green mother and housewife Googie Withers hides an on-the-run con and ex-lover John McCallum in her busy home — allows us intimate access to a working-class home. Two films by the American exile Joseph Losey have made our list, and few would argue that this chilling domestic two-hander from is his most enduring. The actors are tremendous. It presents the wayward travails of Little Alex Malcolm McDowell a tearaway who likes nothing more than a bit of the old ultra violence.
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The style of filmmaking is at once clinically precise and imaginatively loose. This is down to the multitude of tricks that Kubrick hoists in slo-mo, fast-forward, cartoon inserts, back projection to encapsulate the total autonomy these characters have and why they see their behaviour as thrilling. Does it stand up psychologically? Probably not. The story of an adopted, professional black British woman Marianne Jean-Baptiste who tracks down her white, working-class birth mother Brenda Blethyn came with its own themes and ideas.
But it also allowed Leigh to refine interests he had been exploring for years, such as the relationships between parents and kids, the love and antagonism of siblings and our awkward relationships to material wealth. Some argue that Hitchcock made his greatest works in the US, but the presence of four of his British films on our list suggests that not everybody holds that view — or at least that his earlier work is still held in very high regard. Small wonder this classic Ealing crime caper remains a mainstay of so many film polls.
The casting and performances, for a start, are brilliantly sharp.
I m b e c i l i t y
It alienated much of his fanbase and put a full stop on his career in British film. But nudge the lurid Technicolor brutality aside and what you have is a film which depicts the act of consuming the moving image as a way of psychologically participating in the acts of those on screen. In film, it was a different matter: what sane production company was likely to shell out thousands for tales of earth-worship and mystic rites, especially when the target audience was a notoriously cash-strapped and b largely confined to rambling country cottages miles from the nearest picture palace?
That its rediscovery continues to gather pace almost four decades later is testament to his skill as a filmmaker. These films capture a rare poetry in their depiction of wayward youth, the death of industry and the small, diligent ways in which the downtrodden are able to retain hope and ward off constant darkness. I want you to kiss me! Thank God for Universal Studios.
What a pity Gary Oldman has never been able to fulfil his dream of following up this, his directorial debut! However fine many of his performances had been, both the writing and the direction of this deservedly acclaimed movie displayed considerably more than great promise.
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One of the strangest but most welcome side effects of great comedy is the way it crystallises ideas, bringing concepts previously vague and inexpressible into the public consciousness. When talking about the impossibility of a successful military occupation, how long before someone mentions what the Romans did for us? I think Thackeray trades off the advantage of surprise to gain a greater sense of inevitability and a better integration of what might otherwise seem melodramatic or contrived.
The story sees Miss Giddens Deborah Kerr become governess to two children who live in a sprawling country pile and are the wards of an absent uncle Michael Redgrave who lives in London. Is Miss Giddens mad? Are there ghosts? Are both things true, even? Their hokey investigation to locate the scoundrel acts as the narrative through-line with which Powell and Pressburger hang a gorgeous, panoramic vision of an England steeped in history, tradition and eccentric, downhome custom.
It also takes a comic look at the cultural divisions between America and Britain and the need to bridge that divide for the common good. A heady, almost surreal climax in Canterbury, where the three pals part ways and find comfort in friends, music and memory, is tremendously moving, not least because we also discover the reason why they were all there in the first place.
Period drama? Social satire? In , Total Film readers voted it the third best comedy of all time. At the time of its release at the height of war, it was also very bold in trying to counter some myths about history and give colour to black-and-white prejudices not least about Germany and Germans. Many view the film as cold, heartless, too stiff-lipped to be truly moving check the current Time Out review by Dave Calhoun for evidence. And yet, of all the films in the higher echelons of this list, it might be the most flawed and difficult.
Certainly, at the time it marked a departure for Leigh into more mythical, less domestic territory, and in retrospect marked a new maturity in his filmmaking.
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The film — which now bizarrely makes the mids Britpop fad appear to have been the cultural highlight of modern times — told of happy-go-lucky junkie Mark Renton McGregor and the band of mischievous associates he would occasionally call friends, including Spud Ewen Bremner , Sick Boy Jonny Lee Miller , Tommy Kevin McKidd and Begbie Robert Carlyle. Plus, is this the greatest opening five minutes ever? Many scenes stick in the mind, most of them tinged with a strange comedy. The Ealing comedies undoubtedly remain a bastion of British whimsicality, but the results of this poll suggest they have fallen out of favour.
Dennis Price is Louis Mazzini D'Ascoyne, bon mot-dropping avenging angel and class warrior by default, out to take down the remaining D'Ascoyne clan all played by Alec Guinness as punishment for excommunicating his dear, dead mother. The beauty of this film is how easy it is to divorce yourself from its horrors and side with this gentleman psychopath on his quest. Expecting a jolly, Beatles-esque musical romp starring those loveable rogues The Rolling Stones, they were subjected to minutes of graphic gangland violence, explicit three-way sex, celebratory drug taking and Mick Jagger in a dress.
So why is a film which should, by rights, be too dated to watch still gaining traction well into its fourth decade? It may not be accidental that our quotidian earthly existence is shown in colour while the fanciful realm of the hereafter is consigned to the monochrome favoured by Grierson et al.
Quite dazzling. Considering that their votes were split seven ways, The Archers have received far more votes than any other director on the list. The increased availability of their work on DVD will have played a major role here, particularly in the rediscovery of the two new titles.
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Its songs lift us, while its sadnesses bring us down. Our hero, Holly Martins Joseph Cotten , is a writer of dimestore westerns.
Time Out's handpicked deals — hurry, they won't be around for long Go to the content Go to the footer Worldwide icon-chevron-right Europe icon-chevron-right United Kingdom icon-chevron-right England icon-chevron-right London icon-chevron-right The best British films. Read more. Director Bill Forsyth Cast John Gordon Sinclair, Dee Hepburn, Claire Grogan Of all the British filmmakers who, flush with the success of their first few homegrown efforts, decided to go and seek their fortunes across the pond, the tale of Bill Forsyth is the most cautionary.
Director Derek Jarman Cast Nigel Terry, Sean Bean, Tilda Swinton The late Derek Jarman took the same anachronistic liberties in depicting the life of his subject — Italian, seventeenth-century painter Caravaggio — as the painter himself did with his subjects.