100 best British films: the full list

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Time Out counts down the best British films, as chosen by the film industry

What's your favourite British film? Here's the 100 best British films as chosen by a panel of 150 film industry experts, including directors Sam Mendes, Mike Leigh, Ken Loach and Wes Anderson, actors David Morrissey, Sally Hawkins and Thandie Newton, newspaper and magazine critics and the heads of the UK's major cultural organisations.

By Dave Calhoun, Tom Huddleston and David Jenkins, with Derek Adams, Geoff Andrew, Adam Lee Davies, Gareth Evans, Paul Fairclough and Wally Hammond.

100

In This World (2002)

Dir Michael Winterbottom (Jamal Udin Torabi, Enayatullah)

99

The Railway Children (1970)

Dir Lionel Jeffries (Dinah Sheridan, William Mervyn, Jenny Agutter)

98

School for Scoundrels (1960)

Dir Robert Hamer (Ian Carmichael, Alastair Sim, Terry-Thomas)

97

28 Days Later… (2002)

Dir Danny Boyle (Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Brendan Gleeson)

96

Theatre of Blood (1973)

Dir Douglas Hickox (Vincent Price, Diana Rigg, Ian Hendry)

95

London to Brighton (2006)

Dir Paul Andrew Williams (Lorraine Stanley, Johnny Harris, Georgia Groome)

94

24 Hour Party People (2002)

Dir Michael Winterbottom (Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon, Ron Cook)

93

Zulu (1964)

Dir Cy Endfield (Stanley Baker, Jack Hawkins, Michael Caine)

92

Dead Man's Shoes (2004)

Dir Shane Meadows (Paddy Considine, Gary Stretch, Toby Kebbell)

91

Land and Freedom (1995)

Dir Ken Loach (Ian Hart, Icíar Bollaín, Tom Gilroy)

90

Blue (1993)

Dir Derek Jarman (voices of Tilda Swinton, John Quentin, Nigel Terry)

89

The Go Between (1970)

Dir Joseph Losey (Julie Christie, Alan Bates, Dominic Guard)

88

This Is England (2006)

Dir Shane Meadows (Thomas Turgoose, Stephen Graham, Jo Hartley)

87

Night and the City (1950)

Dir Jules Dassin (Richard Widmark, Gene Tierney, Googie Withers)

86

The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

Dir David Lean (Alec Guinness, William Holden, Jack Hawkins)

85

I'm Alright Jack (1959)

Dir John Boulting (Peter Sellers, Ian Carmichael, Terry-Thomas)

84

Fish Tank (2009)

Dir Andrea Arnold (Katie Jarvis, Kierston Wareing, Michael Fassbender)

83

A Cottage on Dartmoor (1929)

Dir Anthony Asquith (Hans Adalbert von Schlettow, Uno Henning, Norah Baring)

82

Orlando (1993)

Dir Sally Potter (Tilda Swinton, Billy Zane, John Wood)

81

Dr No (1962)

Dir Terence Young (Sean Connery, Ursula Andress, Joseph Wiseman)

80

Under the Skin (1997)

Dir Carine Adler (Samantha Morton, Claire Rushbrook, Rita Tushingham)

79

The Offence (1972)

Dir Sidney Lumet (Sean Connery, Trevor Howard, Vivien Merchant)

78

Billy Liar (1963)

Dir John Schlesinger (Tom Courtenay, Julie Christie, Wilfred Pickles)

77

Piccadilly (1929)

Dir EA Dupont (Anna May Wong, Gilda Gray, Jameson Thomas)

76

Penda's Fen (1974)

Dir Alan Clarke (Spencer Banks, John Atkinson, Ian Hogg)

75

A Room for Romeo Brass (1999)

Dir Shane Meadows (Paddy Considine, Andrew Shim, Ben Marshall)

74

Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)

Dir Mike Newell (Hugh Grant, Andie MacDowell, Kristin Scott Thomas)

73

The Man in the White Suit (1951)

Dir Alexander Mackendrick (Alec Guinness, Joan Greenwood, Cecil Parker)

72

The Long Day Closes (1992)

Dir Terence Davies (Marjorie Yates, Leigh McCormack, Anthony Watson)

71

Edvard Munch (1974)

Dir Peter Watkins (Geir Westby, Gro Fraas, Iselin von Hanno Bart)

70

Bad Timing (1980)

Dir Nicolas Roeg (Art Garfunkel, Theresa Russell, Harvey Keitel)

69

Oliver! (1968)

Dir Carol Reed (Ron Moody, Shani Wallis, Oliver Reed)

68

Dead of Night (1945)

Dirs Alberto Cavalcanti, Charles Crichton, Basil Dearden, Robert Hamer (Mervyn Johns, Michael Redgrave, Roland Culver)

67

Whisky Galore! (1949)

Dir Alexander Mackendrick (Basil Radford, Joan Greenwood, Jean Cadell)

66

Wonderland (1999)

Dir Michael Winterbottom (Gina McKee, Shirley Henderson, Molly Parker, John Simm)

65

Dracula (1958)

Dir Terence Fisher (Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Michael Gough)

64

Topsy-Turvy (1999)

Dir Mike Leigh (Jim Broadbent, Allan Corduner, Timothy Spall)

63

Nuts In May (1976)

Dir Mike Leigh (Roger Sloman, Alison Steadman)

62

Deep End (1970)

Dir Jerzy Skolimowski (Jane Asher, John Moulder-Brown, Diana Dors)

61

Walkabout (1971)

Dir Nicolas Roeg (Jenny Agutter, David Gulpilil, Lucien John)

60

The Long Good Friday (1980)

Dir John Mackenzie (Bob Hoskins, Helen Mirren, Derek Thompson)

59

Blackmail (1929)

Dir Alfred Hitchcock (Anny Ondra, Sara Allgood, John Longden)

58

Gregory's Girl (1981)

Dir Bill Forsyth (John Gordon Sinclair, Dee Hepburn, Claire Grogan)

57

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

Dir Stanley Kubrick (Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, William Sylvester)

56

Caravaggio (1986)

Dir Derek Jarman (Nigel Terry, Sean Bean, Tilda Swinton)

55

Radio-On (1980)

Dir Chris Petit (David Beames, Lisa Kreuzer, Sandy Ratcliff)

54

Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1974)

Dirs Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones (Graham Chapman, Michael Palin, John Cleese, Eric Idle et al)

53

This Sporting Life (1963)

Dir Lindsay Anderson (Richard Harris, Rachel Roberts)

52

Robinson in Space (1997)

Dir Patrick Keiller (Paul Scofield (voice))

51

Local Hero (1983)

Dir Bill Forsyth (Burt Lancaster, Peter Riegert, Denis Lawson)

50

Culloden (1964)

Dir Peter Watkins (George McBean, Alan Pope, the people of Inverness)

49

Gallivant (1996)

Dir Andrew Kötting (Andrew Kötting, Eden Kötting, Gladys Morris)

48

Hunger (2008)

Dir Steve McQueen (Michael Fassbender, Liam Cunningham)

47

Blow-Up (1966)

Dir Michelangelo Antonioni (David Hemmings, Vanessa Redgrave, Paul Bowles)

46

The Fallen Idol (1948)

Dir Carol Reed (Ralph Richardson, Michèle Morgan, Bobby Henrey)

45

Repulsion (1965)

Dir Roman Polanski (Catherine Deneuve, Yvonne Furneaux)

44

Sabotage (1936)

Dir Alfred Hitchcock (Oscar Homolka, Sylvia Sidney, John Loder)

43

Fires Were Started (1941)

Dir Humphrey Jennings

42

Listen to Britain (1942)

Dir Humphrey Jennings

41

Witchfinder General (1968)

Dir Michael Reeves (Vincent Price, Patrick Wymark, Ian Ogilvy)

40

Ratcatcher (1999)

Dir Lynne Ramsay (William Eadie, Tommy Flanagan, Mandy Matthews)

39

London (1994)

Dir Patrick Keiller (voice of Paul Scofield)

38

Went the Day Well? (1942)

Dir Alberto Cavalcanti (Leslie Banks, Elizabeth Allan, Frank Lawton)

37

It Always Rains on Sunday (1947)

Dir Robert Hamer (Googie Withers, Edward Chapman, John McCallum)

36

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962)

Dir Tony Richardson (Tom Courtenay, James Bolam, Julia Foster)

35

The Servant (1963)

Dir Joseph Losey (James Fox, Dirk Bogarde, Sarah Miles, Wendy Craig)

34

A Clockwork Orange (1971)

Dir Stanley Kubrick (Malcolm McDowell, Patrick Magee, Michael Bates)

33

Secrets and Lies (1996)

Dir Mike Leigh (Brenda Blethyn, Timothy Spall, Marianne Jean-Baptiste)

32

Get Carter (1971)

Dir Mike Hodges (Michael Caine, Britt Ekland, John Osborne)

31

The Lady Vanishes (1938)

Dir Alfred Hitchcock (Margaret Lockwood, Michael Redgrave)

30

The Ladykillers (1955)

Dir Alexander Mackendrick (Alec Guinness, Peter Sellers, Katie Johnson)

29

Peeping Tom (1960)

Dir Michael Powell (Karl Böhm, Anna Massey, Maxine Audley)

28

The Wicker Man (1973)

Dir Robin Hardy (Edward Woodward, Christopher Lee, Britt Ekland)

27

The Bill Douglas Trilogy (1972, 1973, 1978)

Dir Bill Douglas (Stephen Archibald, Hughie Restorick, Jean Taylor-Smith)

26

I Know Where I'm Going! (1945)

Dirs Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger (Wendy Hiller, Roger Livesey)

25

Great Expectations (1946)

Dir David Lean (John Mills, Valerie Hobson, Martita Hunt)

24

Brazil (1985)

Dir Terry Gilliam (Jonathan Pryce, Robert De Niro, Katherine Helmond)

23

Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

Dir David Lean (Peter O’Toole, Omar Sharif, Alec Guinness)

22

Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960)

Dir Karel Reisz (Albert Finney, Rachel Roberts, Shirley Anne Field)

21

Nil by Mouth (1997)

Dir Gary Oldman (Kathy Burke, Ray Winstone)

20

Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979)

Dir Terry Jones (Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Michael Palin, Eric Idle et al)

19

Barry Lyndon (1975)

Dir Stanley Kubrick (Ryan O'Neal, Marisa Berenson, Patrick Magee)

18

The Innocents (1961)

Dir Jack Clayton (Deborah Kerr, Michael Redgrave)

17

A Canterbury Tale (1944)

Dirs Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger (Eric Portman, Sheila Sim, John Sweet, Dennis Price)

16

Black Narcissus (1947)

Dirs Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger (Deborah Kerr, Sabu, David Farrar)

15

Withnail and I (1987)

Dir Bruce Robinson (Richard E Grant, Paul McGann, Richard Griffiths)

14

The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943)

Dirs Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger (Roger Livesey, Deborah Kerr)

13

The 39 Steps (1935)

Dir Alfred Hitchcock (Robert Donat, Madeleine Carroll, Godfrey Tearle)

12

Brief Encounter (1945)

Dir David Lean (Trevor Howard, Celia Johnson)

11

Naked (1993)

Dir Mike Leigh (David Thewlis, Lesley Sharp, Karin Cartlidge)

10

Trainspotting (1996)

Dir Danny Boyle (Ewan McGregor, Robert Carlyle, Jonny Lee Miller)

9

If... (1968)

Dir Lindsay Anderson (Malcom McDowell, David Wood, Richard Warwick)

8

Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)

Dir Robert Hamer (Dennis Price, Alec Guinness, Joan Greenwood)

7

Performance (1970)

Dirs Nicolas Roeg, Donald Cammell (James Fox, Mick Jagger, Anita Pallenberg)

6

A Matter of Life and Death (1946)

Dirs Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger (David Niven, Kim Hunter, Roger Livesey, Raymond Massey)

5

The Red Shoes (1948)

Dirs Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger (Moira Shearer, Anton Walbrook, Marius Goring)

4

Kes (1969)

Dir Ken Loach (David Bradley, Lynne Perrie, Freddie Fletcher)

3

Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988)

Dir Terence Davies (Pete Postlethwaite, Freda Dowie)

2

The Third Man (1949)

Dir Carol Reed (Joseph Cotten, Orson Welles, Alide Valli)

1

Don't Look Now (1973)

Dir Nicolas Roeg (Julie Christie, Donald Sutherland)

Users say

82 comments
Victor H
Victor H

What a bout bedazzled with dudley moore? Surely a satire which shines above all others

Donald K
Donald K

goldfinger the ipcress file belles of st trinians trouble in store hue and cry five missing from this list that should have been on there


Dalton Cowley
Dalton Cowley

Young and Innocent, Let George Do It! and Night of the Demon would be on my list but the biggest omission in my opinion is Whistle Down The Wind.

Albert Head
Albert Head

Any list that has Zulu as no. 93 and not at least in the top ten is completely invalid! Nos 4, 6, and 8 are all good, although only Kes is really top ten material. There's some serious crap nuveau in there, too!

Aggie
Aggie

You can't even begin to call it a list of British movies without Merchant-Ivory films!!!

Valentina Stanca
Valentina Stanca

This is I don't know who's opinion! HOWARD's end , and all Merchant- Ivory films , Room with a view , Maurice, all classic drama , this is what make British films different and unique. "Remains of the day " all Films after Jane Austin books , The English patient , the istoric drama is what is best of the best , and what nobody else was able to create as high as british cinematography! Your list -with few exceptions is totally wrong!

miab
miab

Dr.No 81.place? It should be top 3! Where's Love actually,Notting Hill,Harry Potter(haha),From Russia with Love,The Italian Job,

Luke
Luke

an excellent list!! my favourite is Fish Tank

Andrew
Andrew

A cursory glance reveals the absence of The Lion in Winter. And given some of the inclusions, my interest in this list ended.

Ray
Ray

Soooooo many good British movies missing from this list, the top 10 is largly unheard of "the 3rd man"? a movie made in the 1940's got ahead of Harry Brown? or 4 weddings and a funeral? really? the person who wrote this list must of been smoking some real strong crack.

Birchjonathan
Birchjonathan

Where are The Killing Fields, Hope and Glory, or Sleuth?

Jonathan
Jonathan

Where is Lock, Stock. Two Smoking Barrels? Full Monty? Ghandi? Who makes these awful lists?!

Ed
Ed

British Cinema is a rather desperate if this is a sampling of the best of it. There are a lot of films on this list that wouldn't even come close to making a Top 100 greatest list if they had come from America, France or Japan. Apart from some of the films from a handful of really unique British filmmakers such as Ken Loach and Mike Leigh, why does it feel like modern British movies (since the 70s or so) really shine mainly when they are comedies? There are no David Leans or Michael Powells anymore -- no British filmmakers (working in Britain) with that true feel for cinema -- for the epic and the grand anymore. They couldn't have all gone to America or to teevee, could they have? Distant Voices Still Lives is borrowed claptrap in the style of a continental art film. The attempts at controversy and shock-value in films like If... and Walkabout just aren't memorable compared to the more cinematic, original and biting comparisons from 60s France or 70s America. British films of the 70s in particular have the feel of a Cambridge graduate trying to audition for a punk band. And what is with the sentiment that British gangster "dramas" like the Long Good Friday and Get Carter are great films? Tthese films are very rich in style and not much else. Some modern British films are really good -- This is England, which is on the list, is one of the first to come to mind. But there are some great British classics that for some reason failed to make this list. The Horse's Mouth, Pygmalion, Sabotage all should be here. And you want a great modern British gangster drama? Try The Krays or Bronson.

Adriaan
Adriaan

Is "A fish called Wanda" not British enough?

James
James

Good list! But I suspected "chariots of fire" might of made the list?

barry
barry

bridge on the river kwai, 86 -- yeah right? the list and people behind it lose all credibility. shameful.

George
George

Taste of honey???

Dan
Dan

London Boulevard was another brilliant movie - did it come out after the list was put together? I scoffed earlier at a criticism that the list had been put together by Media Studies graduates, however I'm a bit lost at how some brilliant films have been missed for some of the obscure tosh put out there. Agreed that Sexy Beast should be here, fantastically paced plot, even as a 'movement-image'.

Dan
Dan

Remains of the Day?

Christopher Martyn Meade
Christopher Martyn Meade

Looks like we haven't had a winning British film for a while - what's happened? Chritopher Martyn Meade

MARTHA ZULY SHIVERS
MARTHA ZULY SHIVERS

BRIGHTON ROCK (Richard Attenborough) NEEDS TO BE ON THE TOP 10 AT LEAST!

Will
Will

Only two movies post-1973 in the top ten??! Britain going backwards? I don't think so!

Paul
Paul

This list includes some great movies, but has some glaring omissions, many of which have already been noted. Kinky Boots could be added...

chris daykin
chris daykin

I'm glad 'fires were started' is on the list and i probably have included 'millions like us' but then we are all different. I should think most people will be surprised and given the time we could all make our own list

harri
harri

Missing: Scum (should be number 1 on this list) Made in Britain (should be number 2)

sue
sue

East is East, Rita sue n bob too, proper british movies that you connect to in some way

sue
sue

bit dissapointed, good list but could of been better

Movie Ramble
Movie Ramble

Great top one hundred, so many brilliant films. Good to see so many by Powell and Pressburger

Dave M
Dave M

Good list, lots of titles worth investigating. Shame there's only one Alan Clarke film tho. Surely Contact or The Firm belong here? Still, kudos in general.

John
John

A pretty bloody impeccable list.

Theo
Theo

Children of Men. None of the films on this list capture the British landscape as it really looks in such an immediate way. Why isn't it on this list when so many of these films aren't set in Britain?

Georgina
Georgina

Excuse me but where is the Full Monty!!!

ml
ml

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2 is nothing but breathtaking!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You should take it into account!!!!!

Sofena
Sofena

Millions by Danny Boyle :)

Gabba
Gabba

Ummmm......... A Fish called Wanda???

Obli
Obli

I don't want to know who you use, as long as they're not complete muppets. No "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels"?

Floody
Floody

"Chariots of Fire" and " A Man for all Seasons" won Best Picture Oscars yet neither is included in the list of 100 Best British films? Can't understand it?

Marco_Jacko
Marco_Jacko

Kes is number four seriously! There is nothing innovative about the film, the main protagonist is dull and we just see him used as a punching bag from start to finish. The acting is mediocre as I've seen far better in plenty of films. There are no redeeming qualities. Billy's longing for his absent father (an important plot point in the book) is ignored. The ending was changed from the book leaving no effort to make an impact with the viewer. Just not a good film and not a very good novel either. Liked to have seen 28 Days Later higher though.

Mr Logic
Mr Logic

I have a set-theoretic problem with this list: since The 39 Steps is (together with the 7th Seal) the greatest film ever made, and since the set of British films is a proper subset of the set of all films, how can The 39 Steps be only the 13th greatest British film? And, as an aside, why is the sometime distasteful, entirely 'imagined' (i.e. credibility-lacking) 'Naked' two positions above it? (When it comes to characterisation: is Naked's Porsche-driving yuppy to anyone's taste?)

fants
fants

I felt the list left off quite a few good movies, and how is The Bridge on the River Kwai that far down on the list? Also where is Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Life of Brian, Snatch, The King's Speech (Too new?), Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, and Straw Dogs (Just to throw out a borderline british film.)

ulysses
ulysses

A very good selection. None of the films mentioned in the comments is better than the films in the list. If I could suggest an omission it would be Betrayal, a filmed play I know but one with superlative performances from an all-star cast.

Baggers
Baggers

I searched in vain for "Love Actually"...

Barrie Pattison
Barrie Pattison

Imagine running up that Century! Nothing by Maurice Elvey, who dominated British film for twenty years. Has any one on your roster even seen his HINDLE WAKES, The LODGER or LIFE OF DAVID LLOYD GEORGE? Well Alex Korda, who was the next key contributor, gets a similar black out. ROOM AT THE TOP, KING SOLOMON'S MINES, TOM JONES, MAN WHO KNEW TOO MUCH, JOURNEY'S END, WHATEVER HAPPENED TO WHATS'IS NAME. or for that matter THE KING'S SPEECH? Another shovel of dirt on the business of serious film.

Biggles11
Biggles11

Is Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels a British film..if so a shocking omission.

Ash
Ash

Slumdog Millionaire is not there? What a joke. By the way, old films with their stilted scripts, stage-style acting, procrastinating plots and crap special effects stink. There, I said it. I'm not gonna sit here and pretend that films haven't improved in the last 80 years like most critics like to do. My Blu-Ray collection doesn't extend beyond the 80s and there're probably only a few 70s films that I'd have in there.

Steve Sullivan
Steve Sullivan

Look out... Aussie whinge alert.... Safzoro, I think you'll find it was British money and production that was behind Walkabout... Just because it was filmed in the Northern Territory doesn't mean it's an Aussie film... Similarly, Bridge On The River Kwai is not a Burmese film and 2001:A Space Odyssey is not a Jupiterian production.... Alvin Purple however is an Australian film and a belter to boot.

Steve Sullivan
Steve Sullivan

Quite incredible some of the selections....2001 : A Space Odyssey at no.57 !!! One of the greatest films ever beaten by Humphrey Jennings war films.... Are you havin' a laugh...???...No sign of The Cook, The Thief etc. by Greenaway and The Hill with Sean Connery in one of his best roles.... The original Sleuth is another that should be in the top 100... Not a very well thought out list methinks.. No sign of The Italian Job either.... oh dear oh dear...