The Best British Film Ever?

According to 1,000 Britons polled by AOL UK, the Best British Film of All Time is Four Weddings and a Funeral, followed closely by Monty Python's Life of Brian, Trainspotting, Casino Royale, and Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels.

These people are idiots, plain and simple.

Not that these are bad films, but the best British films of all time? I know these are just average joes being polled, but it's a sad reminder of just how little average joes know about film, much less great film.

I would go with Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's The Red Shoes or The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp for the title of best British film of all time, although this 1999 list by the British Film Institute is pretty definitive and hard to argue with. I take issue with Colonel Blimp (#45) and Black Narcissus (#44) being listed so low, but I'm admittedly biased toward the films of The Archers.

It's interesting to see how many of the films overlap with the American Film Institutes's original 1997 list of the Best American Films of all time, showing that the qualifications to be either a British or American production are dubious at best. Can they both claim Bridge on the River Kwai, Lawrence of Arabia, and Clockwork Orange?


J.D. said…
The correct answer is Children of Men, duh. But The Red Shoes is definitely up there.

Also: Atonement, Billy Elliot, Blow-Up, The Constant Gardener, Dear Frankie, Elizabeth, Gosford Park, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, The Hours, If...., The Lady Vanishes, Millions, Orlando, Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility, Shaun of the Dead, 2001, and Wallace & Gromit.

*weird Anglophile*
Mattie Lucas said…
As much as I love "Gosford Park," I wouldn't really include it on this list considering that Robert Altman is American, not British. Ditto "Children of Men," with a Mexican director. But we live in such a globalized world its hard to pin down just one country for films like that anymore. You've got money coming from one place, talent from's confusing.
Fox said…
I will stand with you on The Red Shoes. In fact, it would get my vote for best film ever... anywhere.

My vote for favorite film ever? Stairway To Heaven (or A Matter of Life and Death).

I too am very biased when it comes to Michael Powell.

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