Alex Massie

Best British Movies?

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Commenting on this post, WPN asks: "What would a list of the Top 10 British films of the last 25 years look like? As an American, British films are not 'foreign' enough for me to think of them as a separate category in my own mental space. I'd be curious what Brits think."

Good question! The obvious answer is, natch, "thin". Nonetheless, my own list of Top British Flicks Since Local Hero would include (in no particular order):

Other contenders could include: Small Faces, Land and Freedom, Layer Cake, Sense and Sensibility, Hamlet, A cock and Bull Story, Bright Young Things...

From which one might conclude that the best directors of recent times are Neil Jordan (yes, I know he's Irish), Ken Loach and Mike Leigh. (Nods to Branagh and Michael Winterbottom too.) Note also how indebted British cinema - at least on this list - is to the theatre. Not just Shakespeare, of course, but also Alan Bennett's Madness of King George III. For that matter, both Loach and Leigh tend to work on a narrow, often domestic, canvas that could quite easily be adapted to fit the stage. You'll also notice the total absence of Richard Curtis pap from this list.

Doubtless, however, I've forgotten some good movies. Doubtless too, you'll let me know which ones ought to be on the list.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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