Radio Times are running a film competition with a prize of a £200 John Lewis voucher going to the winner. All you have to do is take a look at film critic Barry Norman’s Top 49 Greatest British Films and nominate your choice to complete the Top 50. Entry details are below, but before entering have a look at the Recordpress Top 10 Best British Films as a possible guide and aid memoire –
Top 10 Best British Films
1) Scandal ( 1989 ) – Starring Joanne Whalley, Bridget Fonda, John Hurt, Leslie Phillips and Sir Ian Mckellen. This film depicts the Profumo Scandal in 1963 at an interesting time in UK history that saw the social juxtaposition of the new, non deferential Swinging Sixties values clashing with and ultimately undermining the Establishment and old aristocratic order, represented by Harold MacMillan’s Conservative government. The film is perfected by the sublime theme song “Nothing Has Been Proved” by the late lamented Dusty Springfield.
2) Room At The Top ( 1959 ) – Riveting Laurence Harvey performance as a ambitious social climber Joe Lampton in a similar scenario to “Scandal” with the social clash of brusque nouveau riche working class aspirations knocking at the doors of the Establishment and old money.
3) White Mischief ( 1987 ) – Charles Dance and Greta Scaachi as the doomed lovers set in the decadent world of an aristocratic haven “Happy Valley”, where shallow, bored socialites shelter from the inconvenience of the Second World War in colonial Africa. The reckless and destructive passionate love affair leads to murder and misery, committed by the wonderful Joss Ackland.
4) Rebecca ( 1940 ) – Starring Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine. Alfred Hitchcock’s direction perfectly captures the sinister menace of housekeeper Mrs Manvers and the mystery of the rambling house “Mandeville”, haunted by the claustrophobic presence of it’s deceased mistress Rebecca, as depicted in the Daphne du Maurier novel.
5) Darling ( 1965 ) – The film tells the story of Dirk Bogarde’s college professor’s infatuation and obsession with underage, amoral nymphet model and social butterfly played by Julie Christie, at the peak of her seductive physical powers in 1965. Another film that perfectly captures the hedonism and lack of inhibition of Swinging Sixties London.
6) The Dam Busters ( 1954 ) – If ever a film truly represented the gallantry, heroism and sheer courage of the RAF and the ingenuity and bloody minded Churchillian persistence of the British people during WW2, it’s this one. Richard Todd and Michael Redgrave spearhead a brilliant cast, which is illuminated further by special effects that almost still hold water ( if you’ll pardon the pun ) in the era of CGI!!
7) Four Weddings & A Funeral ( 1994 ) – Funny, witty, sad and poignant in equal measure. A “Rom Com” with an all star cast, directed by Richard Curtis at the peak of his comedic powers. Hugh Grant steals the show, but the scriptwriters are the real stars. A winning formula of putting a great script with very good actors and watching the chemistry and sparks fly!! Ultimately this film is not so much about the love affair between Hugh Grant and the irritatingly wooden Andi McDowell, but the totality of friendship and the bonds of love that brings.
8) Fever Pitch ( 1997 ) – Another example of a great script and fine acting. Nick Hornby’s forensic grasp of the dynamics of relationships and the idiocy of men pursuing their intoxicating passion / seemingly pointless pursuit of football, from the differing perspectives of boyfriend and girlfriend is unerringly accurate and hilarious at the same time. A must see for all Arsenal fans and residents of the Holloway Road area of North London.
9) Sexy Beast ( 2000 ) – National thespian treasures, Ray Winstone and Ben Kingsley meet head to head in this bank robbery caper. It’s a tribute and testimony to Ben Kingsley’s superb acting skills that it’s utterly believable and credible that the indomitable, macho character played by type cast Ray Winstone meets his match / nemesis and is intimidated by Ben Kingsley’s terrifying psychopath. A character further from Ghandi you could not possibly find!!
10) Don’t Look Now ( 1974 ) – Nicholas Roeg’s adaption of Daphne du Maurier’s short story is not a horror story – it’s far better than that. It’s an incredibly chilling and atmospheric film about the supernatural, enhanced by it’s setting in a deserted, out of season Venice full of menace and portents of doom, with the ultimate twist ( of a knife ) in the tail. The film is famous for the longest lovemaking scene in cinematic history, played out by Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie.
What are your favourite British films? Let us know in the Reply Box below.
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If you wish to enter the Radio Times Film 50 Competition, EITHER Email: email@example.com OR visit www.radiotimes.com/50films