In these unpredictable times, comfort viewing is more important than ever. One fantastic way to escape reality is to immerse yourself in a storey set on the other side of the Atlantic. And while the best British films on the internet will undoubtedly always be those with posh accents, magnificent English countryside estates, and Colin Firth, the films on this list demonstrate that there’s a lot more to enjoy about British cinema. These are some of our all-time favourite British movies, from sombre black-and-white tales to slapstick comedy and renowned oldies, that are sure to perk you up after losing in a Malaysian online casino.
In this Norfolk-set two-hander, two titans of British cinema acting, working together for the first time, produce a combustible double-act. As Kate Mercer, one half of a long-married couple approaching a crucial milestone, Charlotte Rampling received her first Oscar nomination. The other half, husband Geoff (Tom Courtenay), has long-hidden skeletons in the closet. In this instance, the attic – that she unintentionally finds at this critical juncture. Director Andrew Haigh handles the film’s growing tensions and picture of marriage’s fall struggles with exquisite subtlety and empathy.
The Lady Vanishes
Alfred Hitchcock’s early career-defining thriller has all of the masters of suspense’s hallmarks. The Lady Vanishes, starring Margaret Lockwood and Michael Redgrave, takes place almost completely on a train journey through central Europe, slowly unravelling the mystery of a disappearing passenger.
The Railway Children
Lionel Jeffries’ 1970 adaptation of E Nesbit’s Edwardian children’s tale, follows a well-to-do London family ripped apart. This happened when their patriarch is arrested on suspicion of treason. The surviving members of the family decide to up sticks and settle alongside a picturesque Yorkshire railway line. The film’s pillars are Jenny Agutter and tiny Sally Thomsett, but Bernard Cribbins’ classic British stationmaster deserves special note. Naturally, the picture will not appeal to today’s digital youth because it is far too fusty and polite in tone and colour, but it still has the power to evoke happy childhood memories.
Even though this popular Christmas classic takes place during the holiday season, the comforting picture can be enjoyed at any time of the year. Hugh Grant is one of your favourite British actors in this film. Emma Thompson is a fantastic actress. Colin Firth, please! Knightley, Keira! Liam Neeson, Li We could go on! – and weaves together a selection of love stories so diverse that you’re sure to find at least one that speaks to you.
Andrea Arnold’s unexpected reimagining of Emily Bront’s great novel eliminates all the period-drama clichés we’ve come to expect. When any Bront is brought to the big screen to create an extraordinarily daring drama, it goes beyond Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliffe’s well-known love storey. Instead, Arnold exploits the love between two young northerners who are separated by position; and, most importantly in Arnold’s adaptation, race, to produce a film that captures all of the novel’s gothic essence while also highlighting the darker history of the British empire.