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Don't expect to finish this one dry-eyed. Barefoot Gen [ T ]. Director: Mori Masaki - "It's the summer of Gen is a young boy living a struggling yet satisfying life in the city of Hiroshima, that has been strangely spared by the bombing taken in almost every other Japanese City. Food is scarce, and Gen's family is suffering from severe malnutrition, which endangeres his pregnant mother.
There isn't much spare time as Gen and his little brother Shinji help their father and mother at work and try to make sure their family survives the tought times. Little do they know, what the Americans have in store for the city of Hiroshima and as of the 6th of August , their lives are about to change dramatically.
While Forest of Fireflies concentrates on the devastating firebombings of Tokyo, Barefoot Gen recounts the atomic bomb drop over Hiroshima and the horror that follows. Loosely based on the author's own experiences, it graphically depicts the events of August 6, in terrifying detail.
Not a movie for those with weak stomachs. Humanity's most potent weapon comes in the form of a young singer. Can her heartfelt love song stem the tide of destruction? A remake of the original Macross saga that avoids the pacing problems of the original and greatly improves the animation. Grave of the Fireflies [ T ]. To Seita and his four-year-old sister, the helplessness and indifference of their countrymen is even more painful than the enemy raids.
Through desperation, hunger and grief, these children's lives are as heartbreakingly fragile as their spirit and love is inspiring. If this doesn't tear at your heart strings, then you might just be a robot. Tokyo Godfathers [ T ]. In modern-day Tokyo, three homeless people's lives are changed forever when they discover a baby girl at a garbage dump on Christmas Eve. As the New Year fast approaches, these three forgotten members of society band together to solve the mystery of the abandoned child and the fate of her parents.
Along the way, encounters with seemingly unrelated events and people force them to confront their own haunted pasts, as they learn to face their future, together. It's one of Kon's less flashy films, but it still has that same magic that makes him such a great director.
Garden of Words [ T ]. Director: Makoto Shinkai - "When Takao, a young high school student who dreams of becoming a shoe designer, decides to skip school one day in favor of sketching in a rainy garden, he has no idea how much his life will change when he encounters Yukino.
Older, but perhaps not as much wiser, she seems adrift in the world. Despite the difference in their ages, they strike up an unusual relationship that unexpectedly continues and evolves, without planning, with random meetings that always occur in the same garden on each rainy day. But the rainy season is coming to a close, and there are so many things still left unsaid and undone between them. Will there be time left for Takao to put his feelings into actions and words? Millennium Actress [ T ].
Director: Satoshi Kon - "When Studio Gin'ei commissions filmmaker Gen'ya Tachibana to make a documentary in commemoration of its 70th anniversary, he travels to a secluded mountain lodge to interview the idol of his youth, the enigmatic Chiyoko Fujiwara, who was the studio's leading lady from the s until the s. As Chiyoko reminisces about her life, Tachibana and his cameraman suddenly find themselves on a rich and dazzling journey through time.
Chiyoko's films and personal memories intertwine with present events and stretch the boundaries of reality. Paprika [ T ]. Director: Satoshi Kon - "In the near future, a revolutionary new psychotherapy treatment called PT has been invented. Through a device called the "DC Mini" it is able to act as a "dream detective" to enter into people's dreams and explore their unconscious thoughts.
Before the government can pass a bill authorizing the use of such advanced psychiatric technology, one of the prototypes is stolen, sending the research facility into an uproar. In the wrong hands, the potential misuse of the device could be devastating, allowing the user to completely annihilate a dreamer's personality while they are asleep.
Renowned scientist, Dr. Atsuko Chiba, enters the dream world under her exotic alter-ego, code name "PAPRIKA," in an attempt to discover who is behind the plot to undermine the new invention. The visuals in this film are just indescribable.
Director: Mamoru Hosoda - "What would you do if you could leap backward through time? When 17 year old Makoto Konno gains this ability after an accident in her high school chemistry lab, she immediately sets about improving her grades and preventing personal mishaps. Before long however, she realizes that even innocuous changes can have terrible consequences.
Changing the past is not as simple as it seems, and eventually Makoto will have to rely on her new powers to shape the future for herself and her friends. Into the Forest of Fireflies' Light [ T ]. Director: Takahiro Omori - The story of Hotarubi no Mori e centers around Hotaru, a little girl who gets lost in an enchanted forest where apparitions reside. A young boy, Gin, appears before Hotaru, but she cannot touch him for fear of making him disappear. At only 45 minutes long, they manage to stuff an awful lot of story into a tiny little package.
A charming little story of a romance that could never be. Tekkon Kinkreet [ T ]. When a gang of thugs move into town, it's up to the boys to put a stop to them. The first and only western-born director to show up on the list.
It features some really unique characters and some awesome background art. Summer Wars [ T ]. Director: Mamoru Hosoda - Kenji is your typical teenage misfit. He's good at math, bad with girls, and spends most of his time hanging out in the all-powerful, online community known as OZ.
Things only get stranger from there. A late-night email containing a cryptic mathematic riddle leads to the unleashing of a rogue AI intent on using the virtual word of OZ to destroy the real world, literarily. Many people may say this is ranked too highly, but I thought it was insanely entertaining. Kiki's Delivery Service Director: Hayao Miyazaki - Kiki is an enterprising young girl who must follow tradition to become a full-fledged witch.
Venturing out with only her chatty black cat, Jiji, Kiki flies off for the adventure of a lifetime. Landing in a far-off city, she sets up a high-flying delivery service and begins a wonderful experience of independence and responsibility as she finds her place in the world. From Up on Poppy Hill Director: Gorou Miyazaki - "Umi, a shy teenaged girl, manages a boarding house on the Yokohama seaside. Her father was killed in the war and her mother travels constantly, so in addition to attending high school, Umi must also run the family business.
Her classmate Shun, an orphan unsure of his lineage, lives with a few other students in the old high-school clubhouse, a French-style, mansion that's set to be demolished as part of the current modernization project. Shun and his schoolmates refuse to let this happen. Leafie: A Hen into the Wild Director: Oh Sung-yoon - Our 4th Korean film of the list, and one of the most underwatched shows in anime. It tells the story of a factory hen that longs to leave her crowded barn and join the outside world.
When she finally makes her break for freedom, she unexpectedly becomes thrust into the role of parenthood. A touching drama that more people need to watch. Leafie boasts a top rating on MAL, yet is ranked worse than on the popularity charts. Revolutionary Girl Utena: Adolescence of Utena Director: Kunihiko Ikuhara - "In a loose retelling of the Revolutionary Girl Utena TV series, Utena Tenjou arrives at Ohtori Academy, only to be immediately swept up in a series of duels for the hand of her classmate Anthy Himemiya and the power she supposedly holds.
At the same time, Utena reunites with Touga Kiryuu, a friend from her childhood who seems to know the secrets behind the duels. Utena must discover those secrets for herself, before the power that rules Ohtori claims her and her friends, new and old. Director: Katsuhiro Otomo - Clandestine army activities threaten the war torn city of Neo-Tokyo when a mysterious child with powerful psychic abilities escapes his prison and inadvertently draws a violent motorcycle gang into a heinous web of experimentation.
This cyberpunk masterpiece is one of the most influential anime ever made. Director: Hayao Miyazaki - "A young boy named Sosuke rescues a goldfish named Ponyo, and they embark on a fantastic journey of friendship and discovery before Ponyo's father, a powerful sorcerer, forces her to return to her home in the sea.
But Ponyo's desire to be human upsets the delicate balance of nature and triggers a gigantic storm. Only Ponyo's mother, a beautiful sea goddess, can restore nature's balance and make Ponyo's dreams come true. Pom Poko Director: Isao Takahata - "Faced with the destruction of their habitat due to the growth of Tokyo, a group of tanuki try to defend their homes.
They decide to use their transforming talents to try to hold back the new development. Two of them, especially skilled at transforming, are sent to Shikoku to enlist the help of three sages. Meanwhile, the rest of them do their best to disrupt the construction site, at first causing accidents, and then actually haunting the site.
However, the humans are very persistent, and soon the tanuki are forced to use more and more extreme measures to save their home. Sword of the Stranger Director: Masahiro Ando - An action samurai film with heart. A mysterious ronin with a troubled past rescues a young boy who has been marked for death. Compelling plot mixed with intense fight scenes combine to form a very enjoyable movie. My Neighbor Totoro Director: Hayao Miyazaki - "Follow the adventures of Satsuki and her four-year-old sister Mei when they move into a new home in the countryside.
To their delight they discover that their new neighbor is a mysterious forest spirit called Totoro who can be seen only through the eyes of a child. A must-watch for all anime lovers. Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya Director: Tatsuya Ishihara -With a run time of almost 3 hours, we get to the longest movie on the list.
The brigade members Kyon, Yuki Nagato, Mikuru Asahina and Itsuki Koizumi start preparing everything for the party, such as costumes and decorations. But a couple of days later, Kyon arrives at school only to find that Haruhi is missing. Not only that, but Mikuru claims she has never known Kyon before, Koizumi is also missing, and Yuki has become the sole member of the literature club. No one in the school has ever heard about her Kyon-kun, Denwa! The Secret World of Arrietty Director: Hiromasa Yonebayashi - "Arrietty, a tiny but tenacious year-old, lives with her parents in the recesses of a suburban garden home, unbeknownst to the homeowner and her housekeeper.
Like all little people, Arrietty remains hidden from view, except during occasional covert ventures beyond the floorboards to "borrow" scrap supplies like sugar cubes from her human hosts. But when year-old Shou, a human boy who comes to stay in the home, discovers his mysterious housemate one evening, a secret friendship blossoms. If discovered, their relationship could drive Arrietty's family from the home and straight into danger. Sign me up! Watch as these two roommates get into all sorts of humorous predicaments while trying to perform everyday tasks like talking to the landlady, buying groceries, or visiting amusement parks.
Director: - "At the Personality Plant, robots are being built and slowly outfitted with the artificial memories of real people. Suzu is one such robot, being made to replace the young boy a family has lost. By chance, he meets Hotori, a young girl suffering from progressive memory loss. The two children become friends and attempt to define themselves in the light of their changing memories.
The first scene of the film probably has one of the best hooks in anime. You can't watch it and not want to find out what happens next. Director: Naoko Yamada - Our notorious tea-drinking, pop-rocking quintet of girls heads to London for a graduation trip. The movie contains scenes that were included in the second season of the anime. I'd recommend watching both seasons before tackling the film. A must-watch for any slice of life fan!
The Dog of Flanders Director: Yoshio Kuroda - At 35, we have the tearjerker that's so often referenced in other anime series. Nello has a talent for drawing pictures and has been fascinated by it since he saw one of Rubens a famous artist pictures as a little boy. Helping Jehan with the daily milk delivery to Antwerp, Nello one day discovers Patrash, a working dog who has been mistreated and abandoned by his former owner. He treats the exhausted animal and after a little while a close and dependable friendship develops.
Alois Cojez, the daughter of the richest and hence most influential man in Blacken Village, is Nellos best friend. When Nello decides to become an artist he has to experience firsthand the ignorance and cruelty of the villagers. Especially Alois father thinks of him as a slacker who cannot earn his living by drawing pictures. Nontheless Nello perseveres and never gives up to achieve his dream and to win their appreciation and respect while strenuously struggling with his poverty.
Junkers Come Here Director: Junichi Sato - Both slice of life and drama, this story tells the tale of a young girl named Hiromi and her pet dog, Junkers. With her grandmother recently deceased, her mother working deep into the night, her father constantly away on business, and a lack of friends at school, Hiromi finds herself struggling with loneliness and a feeling of abandonment. Junkers is her only constant companion, and we quickly learn that Junkers is no ordinary dog Junkers can talk!
A great coming of age story. Latchkey kids should especially connect with it. Director: Rintaro - "In the great city of Metropolis, severe community structures and prejudice dominate a world where humans and robots live together. Unrest and violence increase with each new day. Searching for the scientist Dr. Laughton, suspected to violate human rights by trading organs, the Japanese detective Shunsaku Ban and his nephew Kenichi arrive at Metropolis.
In the scientist's laboratory, Kenichi discovers a girl without any memory of her past life. He decides to help her, so they run away together. His uncle follows him and penetrates the dark secrets of the city to find Duke Red, the man ruling from the shadows. Meanwhile, Kenichi desperately tries to protect the mysterious girl from the people hunting her. However, Duke Red and his adoptive son have their own deep reasons for chasing the girl. These reasons are connected to her true identity and the struggle for the domination of Metropolis The Door Into Summer It explores topics that you wouldn't expect an older anime to cover such as homosexuality and underage relationships.
It's actually a pretty thought provoking anime. Because of his disdain for emotional display, he ignores anything remotely akin to affection. But when he's entangled in a romantic affair with an older courtesan, his rationalism is revealed to be little more than a cover for his own emotional immaturity. Learning to love, Marion blossoms under his older lover's care but unfortunately, Marion has yet to learn the true price of the affair.
Patema Inverted Director: Yasuhiro Yoshiura - "In an underground world where tunnels extend everywhere, even though they live in dark and confined spaces, people wear protective clothes and lead quiet and enjoyable lives. Patema, a princess in her underground village, loves to explore the tunnels. Her favorite place is a "danger zone" that her village prohibits people from entering.
Even though she's scolded, Patema's curiosity can't be held back. No one ever explained what the supposed danger was. On her usual trip to the "danger zone," Patema faces unexpected events. When hidden secrets come to light, the story begins to unfold. I imagine if you got to watch this in theaters, you'd feel as acrophobic as Patema did.
Director: Sunao Katabuchi - "Confined in the castle tower by her father, princess Arete spends her days watching the world outside her window. Sometimes she seeks out to watch the common people at work. The knights of the kingdom compete for the right to marry her and rule the land by competing to see who can find powerful magic objects made by a long dead race of sorcerers.
Arete wants none of this. She longs to meet the common people and travel to exotic lands she has only seen in the books she keeps hidden under her bed. One day the sorcerer Boax arrives in a fantastic flying machine and offers to take Arete as his wife and transform her into a proper princess.
Howl's Moving Castle Director: Hayao Miyazaki - "Sophie, a quiet girl working in a hat shop, finds her life thrown into turmoil when she is literally swept off her feet by a handsome but mysterious wizard named Howl. The vain and vengeful Witch of the Waste, jealous of their friendship, puts a spell on Sophie. In a life-changing adventure, Sophie climbs aboard Howl's magnificent flying castle and enters a magical world on a quest to break the spell.
Whisper of the Heart Intrigued, she decides to follow him. This chance encounter leads her to the mysterious Seiji, a boy who is determined to follow his dreams, and The Baron, a magical cat figurine who helps her listen to the whispers in her heart. Soon, Shizuku's exciting adventures carry her far beyond the boundaries of her imagination.
Tales from Earthsea Director: Goro Miyazaki - "Based on the classic Earthsea fantasy book series by Ursula Le Guin, Tales from Earthsea is set in a mythical world filled with magic and bewitchment. Journey with Lord Archmage Sparrowhawk, a master wizard and Arren, a troubled young prince on a tale of redemption and self discovery as they search for the force behind a mysterious imbalance in the land of Earthsea; crops are dwindling, dragons have reappeared, and humanity is giving way to chaos.
House of Small Cubes Director: Kunio Kato - An old man reminisces about times gone past as he swims through the flooded levels of his home. At 12 minutes long, I think this is officially the shortest film out of the choices. Cowboy Bebop: Knockin' on Heaven's Door Director: Shinichiro Watanabe - "As the Cowboy Bebop crew travels the stars, they learn of the largest bounty yet, a huge million Woolongs. Apparently, someone is wielding a hugely powerful chemical weapon, and of course the authorities are at a loss to stop it.
The war to take down the most dangerous criminal yet forces the crew to face a true madman, with bare hope to succeed. End of Evangelion Be ready for an amazing and somewhat confusing experience. Director: Konosuke Uda - "Yuuta was year-old boy, who had lost his father in the traffic accident one year ago. In the summer vacation, he visited a deserted dam deep in the mountains, where he had a good time with his father before.
Suddenly a thunder storm occurred and he slipped on the ground. He lost consciousness and woke up to find a girl and an unfamiliar village. He time-traveled 30 years and reached a village, which sank at the bottom of the dam. This is Yuuta's precious memory of "another" summer vacation. Director: Hiroshi Hamasaki - Often unfavorably compared to its television series predecessor, I still think the Steins;Gate movie is well worth a watch.
I'll avoid a plot description so I don't spoil it for anyone who hasn't seen the original. If that describes you, go watch the Steins;Gate tv series now! Death Billiards Director: Tachikawa, Yuzuru - "An old and a young man find themselves in a mysterious bar where they have to play a game of billiard. The bet: their lives. A television anime series based on the movie will air in under the name Death Parade.
Director: Katsuhiro Otomo - "Ray is a young inventor living in the U. Shortly before the first ever Great Exhibition, a marvelous invention called the "Steam Ball," behind which a menacing power is hidden, arrives at his door from his grandfather Lloyd in the U. Meanwhile the nefarious O'Hara Foundation has sent men to aquire the Steam Ball so that they can use its power towards their own illicit ends. Ghost in the Shell Director: Mamoru Oshii - "In the year , the barriers of our world have been broken down by the net and by cybernetics, but this brings new vulnerability to humans in the form of brain-hacking.
When a highly-wanted hacker known as 'The Puppetmaster' begins involving them in politics, Section 9, a group of cybernetically enhanced cops, are called in to investigate and stop the Puppetmaster. The pursuit will call into question what makes a human and what is the Puppetmaster in a world where the distinction between human and machine is increasingly blurry. Garden of Sinners - Director: Hayao Miyazaki - Already Miyazaki's 5th appearance of the list. This comedic adventure follows the exploits of a high-flying pig as he battles sky pirates and takes part in a daring race where true love is on the line.
Director: Makoto Shinkai - "Tohno Takaki and Shinohara Akari, two very close friends and classmates, are torn apart when Akari's family is transferred to another region of Japan due to her family's job.
Despite separation, they continue to keep in touch through mail. When Takaki finds out that his family is also moving, he decides to meet with Akari one last time. As years pass by, they continue down their own paths, their distance slowly growing wider and their contact with one another fades.
Yet, they keep remembering one another and the times they have shared together, wondering if they will have the chance to meet once again. Director: Isao Takahata - "Chie Takemoto is a dependable girl who struggles to help her troublesome father run a small tavern in Osaka.
Unbeknown to her dad, she occasionally visits her mother who left him not too long ago. She plans on trying to reunite them, but not until her father gets a job. Director: Atsuya Uki - "When a gigantic, unearthly monster suddenly looms on the skyline of a Japanese city, the expected occurs—the Japan Self-Defense Forces roll out the tanks while the public panics.
Nobody knows what it is or where it came from, but Yuki, a bold and inquisitive teenage girl, has a secret but might be a useful clue. Her friend Tetsu has been clandestinely caring for a bizarre creature called Cenco, which will soon prove itself to have some remarkable, even impossible characteristics. Another teenage boy, a stranger with some mysterious link to the monstrosity attacking the city, shows up, and his unwelcome interest in Tetsu's pet snuffs out any doubt of a connection—and lights the fuse for the coming battle.
The Wind Rises Director: Hayao Miyazaki - Miyazaki's critically acclaimed last feature length film. It gives a fictionalized account of the life of Dr. Jiro Horikoshi, a famous engineer responsible for the designs of many Japanese aircraft. Lovers of romance and historical movies will enjoy this film.
Director: Akiyuki Shinbo and Yukihiro Miyamoto - The controversial sequel to the beloved television series. Some people love it, and some people hate it, but one way or another, everyone has a strong opinion about it. Director: Sung Baek-yeop - Based on a Korean fairy tale, it tells the story of 2 orphans taken in by kindly monks.
Be ready for a real tearjerker. Director: Hayao Miyazaki - "After a successful robbery leaves famed thief Lupin III and his partner Jigen with nothing but a large amount of fake money, the so called "Goat Bills", he decides to track down the counterfeiter responsible - and steal any other treasures he may find in the Castle of Cagliostro, including the 'damsel in distress' he finds imprisoned there. However, as usual, Inspector Zenigata is hot on his trail. Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade Director: Hiroyuki Okiura - "After witnessing the suicide bombing of a terrorist girl, Constable Kazuki Fuse becomes haunted by her image, and is forced to undergo retraining for his position in the Capital Police's Special Unit.
However, unknown to him, he becomes a key player in a dispute between Capital and Local Police forces, as he finds himself increasingly involved with the sister of the very girl he saw die. Director: Hayao Miyazaki - "A thousand years after a global war, a seaside kingdom known as the Valley Of The Wind remains one of only a few areas still populated.
While trying to figure out, however, he and his gang are thrust into a conspiracy involving clones, Lupin's un-trustworthy rival Fujiko, and a miniature madman's plot to take over the world. You just have to watch it. It's one of the most surreal movie experiences. Little Witch Academia Director: You Yoshinari - With a run time of less than 30 minutes, this is one of the shortest films to make the list. It's a cute fantasy story about a school for young witches.
Likeable characters, a fun story, and crisp animation combine to make a very enjoyable short film. Children Who Chase Lost Voices Director: Makoto Shinkai - "Strange sounds in the darkness Unearthly music from an old crystal radio These are all the warning Asuna Watase has before a simple walk to her clubhouse catapults her into a nightmarish adventure that will take her beneath the Earth to a lost land beyond the realm of legend!
Attacked by a strange monstrous creature, rescued by a mysterious stranger and pursued by a relentless enemy, Asuna finds herself enmeshed in a centuries old mystery that will bind her to a strange young defender and lead her inevitably, towards a secret that may hold the key to life itself!
Nasu: Summer in Andalusia He is a support rider for one of the teams competing in the race, and his role is to assist the team's top rider in winning the overall race. As the story unfolds, the racers are set to ride through Pepe's home town in Andalusia on the same day as the wedding of his elder brother Angel to his former girlfriend Carmen.
Their relationship was a factor in his decision to leave the town to pursue professional cycling, and the wedding is a frustrating reminder that his career hasn't turned out as he would have liked. Now, with the sponsor planning to drop him from the team and his family and friends cheering him on, Pepe abandons his assigned role and strives for glory. Wouldn't Wallace overdose on cheese along the way?
We needn't have worried. The sparkling Curse Of The Were-Rabbit positively brims with ideas and energy, dazzling movie fans with sly references to everything from Hammer horrors and The Incredible Hulk to King Kong and Top Gun , and bounds along like a hound in a hurry. The plot, the part we foolishly thought might let it down, pitches the famously taciturn Dogwarts' alumnus and his Wensleydale-chomping owner Sallis against the dastardly Victor Quartermaine Fiennes , taking mutating bunnies, prize-winning marrows and the posh-as-biscuits Lady Tottington Bonham Carter along for the ride.
In short, it's the most marvellously English animation there is. Doing for the buddy-cop actioner what they did for the zombie movie with Shaun Of The Dead , Spaced 's creative trio of Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and director Edgar Wright made it two-for-two on the big screen. It's initially a tad jarring to see Pegg as the straight man, but his natural chemistry with long-time real-life pal Frost remains endearing as ever.
When he wasn't working his devilish charm on Elizabeth Taylor, hanging out in bars with Peter O'Toole and Richard Harris or hunting sharks with his bare hands, Richard Burton was also a magnificent actor. Here's early proof. Burton is very near his best in Tony Richardson's melodrama as Jimmy Porter, a jazz man stuck down the kind of dead end that's filled with British New Wave rebels. When he seethes "I have no public school scruples about hitting girls" at the sly Helena Claire Bloom , you know it's no empty threat.
He's Steetcar 's Stanley Kowalski on three pints of bitter; the closest thing s Derby has to its own volcano. As claustrophobic and uncomfortable as the John Osborne stage play on which it's based, it was the first salvo in British cinema's class war.
Here's a Mike Leigh film even for people who don't like Mike Leigh films, the director's ultra-naturalistic style softened by the period setting and enhanced by the heightened emotions of its characters. There's not a kitchen sink in sight as Gilbert Broadbent and Sullivan Corduner collaborate to create their Japan-inspired comic opera The Mikado, surrounded by performers who each have their own neuroses and crises and who, incidentally, do their own singing to boot.
Broadbent and Corduner are a wonderfully mismatched but mutually admiring pair: one a solid family man, the other a whore-loving drug addict. The Wicker Man isn't scary in a conventional manner and, arguably, is more of a Gothic mystery than a horror movie, but you'd be hard-pushed to find a more disturbing and horrific film experience. Certainly one of the most chilling British movies ever created, there's something indefinably unsettling about Robin Hardy's strangely seductive cult chiller from the moment Edward Woodward sets foot on the remote Scottish island.
While his buttoned-up Christian copper from the mainland searches for a supposedly missing girl, this strange place hauntingly evolves from a small town of eccentric locals to a paranoid-flavoured asylum with no way out. In the lead, Woodward has never been better except perhaps in The Equaliser , while nobody does sinister menace quite like Christopher Lee and his burning eyes.
If Anthony Minghella's death robbed British cinema of one of its most dazzling voices, this heartrending wartime romance stands as a fitting testament to his talent. A Best Picture winner, it's a perfectly judged adaptation of Michael Ondaatje's novel, filled with tenderness and longing. As the North African sun beats down on Ralph Fiennes' enigmatic Count Laszlo, hideously burnt in his crashed biplane, all other considerations strip away but one: his fierce passion for the woman he loves.
Part of its success is down to the stellar crew the Oscar-winning Minghella assembled. Walter Murch's editing another Oscar winner switches from the drama from North Africa to Italy's shell-pocked byways, while John Seale's photography yup, you guessed it gives us one of the best adverts for Tuscany committed to celluloid.
If you can watch this film and not want to go straight there and start defusing bombs, you've been watching a different movie. The Archers' critically-acclaimed gothic melodrama sees Deborah Kerr play Sister Clodagh, a young nun sent with four other sisters to establish a convent in an abandoned Himalayan palace. At this point, things start to go wrong. Very wrong. Like, nun-going-crazy-with-jealousy-and-putting-on-unnunly-amounts-of-eyeliner wrong.
Essentially a psychological drama, Black Narcissus 's emotional resonance in a nun-deprived modern world may be somewhat lessened, but there's no denying its influence amongst modern directors. Scorsese, for one, cites it as one of his favourite films. Then there's the striking cinematography from Jack Cardiff, a true great of British cinema. The gleaming photography is especially astonishing when you consider that, despite being set in Darjeeling, the film was almost entirely shot at Pinewood Studios.
It's no wonder then that Cardiff and art director Alfred Junge both won Oscars for their work. It remains one of the finest Technicolor productions of all time. We're all familiar with Sir Ben Kingsley, right? Small chap, played Gandhi , rather refined and well-spoken.
Well, not anymore. In this twist on the gangster movie, he's the psychotic gang boss Don Logan calling the happily retired Gary Dove Ray Winstone back to London from one last job. Creepily magnetic when he's still, absolutely bloody terrifying when he starts spitting out profanities and acting out, it's a performance that will convince you that this man could cow even the hulking Winstone into obedience.
Admittedly, the one-last-job hook has been done before, but the characterization is so fresh and surprising here — and the Costa del Sol setting such a nice change from the usual gloomy skies — that it feels very much like its own beast. The problem with adapting Charles Dickens novels for the screen is that he was, essentially, paid by the word.
The resulting sprawling epics don't make for the sort of lean, muscular narrative that lends itself naturally to film. But what's great about this version of his rags-to-riches fable is that Lean and his fellow scriptwriters managed to find a central story — Pip's Mills love of Estella Hobson — to hang the film around, while still leaving enough space for the more memorable supporting characters Hunt's Miss Havisham, Francis L.
The black-and-white photography is gorgeous, some of David Lean 's pre-colour best, and the story sufficiently engrossing that you'll be able to overlook the gigantic top hats. If you're a Bowie fan hunting for another film starring Ziggy Stardust, this is not the movie you're looking for. Whereas Jim Henderson's puppet-filled spectacular had entertainment at its heart, Nicolas Roeg's uber-thinky masterpiece seeks only to make your brain do several thinks at once.
Layers of references cover blankets of metaphor, making what might appear to be a simple "man out of time, man out of place" tale into a chin-scratching cult classic. But that's a very good thing. Giving Bowie's acting ability one hell of a workout, Roeg takes him through periods of ecstasy, agony, and everywhere in-between before leaving him broken, alcoholic and lonely, a million miles from home. Practically the definition of the movie that demands repeat viewings, it's interesting to note that Bowie's seminal Low album contains music originally intended for the film's soundtrack, so next time you watch this, be sure to play it alongside.
Most independent movies wouldn't even attempt to match the big studio pics in terms of production value. And in most cases, they're right not to try. But British first-time director Gareth Edwards achieved something astonishing with Monsters. Not only did he direct, write, production-design and shoot the film himself on location in South and Central America , he also did the visual effects, creating towering alien creatures as convincing and impressive as those you'd find in any Hollywood blockbuster.
Not that anyone should expect the film to be a full-on creature-feature; in a bold stroke, Edwards places the aliens-on-Earth action mostly in the background, concentrating instead on the couple Whitney Able and Scoot McNairy forced to travel through the alien-infested 'Infected Zone'.
A road movie love story with monsters? Why not? Turner is the performance of his illustrious career. His physical expression of the great painter's deep emotional hinterland does bring its share of snuffles, grunts and wheezes but they only add a strange roly-poly charm to his interactions, particularly with his dad Paul Jesson , his mistress and housekeeper Dorothy Atkinson , and painting wildcard Benjamin Haydon Martin Savage.
The first two he loves; the latter he tolerates benignly. Ask most film lovers what they remember most about The Italian Job and the words 'Turin traffic jam', 'robbery', 'Mini' and 'getaway' will feature prominently — and rightly so. But a Boxing Day rewatch will remind any casual fan just what a camp comic triumph this movie is.
Sure, it's also about the pride every Englishman feels when British pluck and derring-do win part of the day kind of , but with characters like Benny Hill's Professor Simon Peach, with his penchant for extra-large ladies, and Noel Coward's not-quite-royally appointed crime boss Mr. Bridger, there's no denying The Italian Job 's chuckles are firmly rooted in saucy seaside postcards and all that carry on.
But it's because of that untouchable team of comic talent - Caine in particular — as well as the pacy robbery antics and the "England! He howled onto the scene with surprise werewolf hit, Dog Soldiers , but Neil Marshall surpassed himself with this claustrophobic follow-up that sees six female potholers trapped in the dark, deep underground. Set in the US where these things more routinely seem to happen but shot at Pinewood and on location in Scotland, The Descent takes an inherently creepy location and then layers scares on top of that to an near-unbearable degree.
So while you'll be wincing just at the everyday potholing scenes, you'll soon be nostalgic for those moments as you gibber in fright when it all goes wrong. Its achievement is unrelenting terror, not letting up until the final moments in the US edit or maybe not even then.
Ultimately a simple concept, this is skillfully executed, with a well-balanced character dynamic underpinning Marshall's expert grasp of horror filmmaking. Whether we're going to technically class it as a zombie movie or call them "infected", there's no question that Danny Boyle's film juiced up British horror in particular and the horror genre in general.
Shot on a digital video that manages to look both gritty and gorgeous, combining moments of heart-stopping terror with stretches of quiet horror at the profoundly unnatural sight of an empty London, it's become the new benchmark, inspiring a wealth of imitators but few equals. Boyle's eye for talent pays off too: newcomers Cillian Murphy and Naomie Harris hold the attention even at the heart of the storm, however many of the monstrous horde pursue them, while Christopher Ecclestone's late appearance reminds us that people don't have to be infected to be seriously disturbing.
Still, it bears repeating: those infected are really fast and seriously scary. Malcolm McDowell, whose knack for putting the proverbial boot into Britain's moral sensibilities was given full voice in A Clockwork Orange , found a kindred spirit in public school old boy and Brit New Wave-er Lindsay Anderson. Three years before that Kubrick collaboration, Anderson had McDowell up on the roof of Cheltenham College equipped with a Bren gun and some serious issues with the gowned tyranny of boarding-school life.
The title arguably suggests that the bullet-ridden finale — Another Country meets The Expendables — may be one giant cheese dream by McDowell's anarchic student, Mick Travis, but the film's impassioned cry of class rebellion was all in earnest. The only question: how on Earth did Anderson persuade his alma mater to let him film there? If there's a worse advertisement for boarding school - corporal punishment, fagging, VD clinic and all - we definitely haven't seen it.
Awards and box office haul aside, the fact remains: it's bloody hilarious. Coady's unfortunate death by heart attack and, of course, the steamroller to end all steamrollers, but it's the unified, bizarre, crazy whole that makes it a must-own for any British comedy fan. What's more, it made possible Richard Curtis's later Brit-com oeuvre by establishing that British eccentricism can sell, revived the world's interest in Ealing comedies, and allowed a character with Cary Grant's real name — Cleese's bumbling lawyer Archie Leach — to live again on the big screen.
Not bad for one film, eh? Recent slanders in Hilary Martell's Wolf Hall notwithstanding, the Thomas More presented here by director Fred Zinneman, playwright and screenwriter Robert Bolt and actor Paul Scofield is the sort of bloke we can all get behind. More is on top of the world, a friend and confidant to King Henry VIII, poised for power and riches - but he can't compromise his own conscience in pursuit of self-interest, so when the King pursues a divorce and breaks from the Church, More puts himself in harm's way.
The structure, building so inevitably from the personalities involved and their intransigences, is the stuff of classic tragedy, and it's beautifully — and wittily — brought to life here. Even after the heavily CG-assisted likes of or The Two Towers , Zulu remains the ultimate outnumbered, under-siege battle story. Following the real-life incident where odd Welsh infantrymen defended their isolated outpost against plus warriors during the Anglo-Zulu conflict, its impact depends directly on the scale of your viewing experience — so nothing less than a Juggernaut-sized flatscreen will do.
For sure, the first hour or so requires patience, but when the swarming Zulus start attacking in endless waves, it's stirring stuff, despite the fact that director Cy Endfield is evidently more comfortable handling the character drama inbetween attacks. Though deceptively known more as the breakthrough for a young Michael Caine who plays against type and goes — gasp! In September , the BBC's now legendary six-episode adaptation of Pride And Prejudice began, firmly tattooing the image of a near-shirtless and utterly drenched Mr.
Darcy Colin Firth on the underside of every British woman's eyelids. Moviegoers were helpless in the face of this glitzkreig of Jane Austen mania, queuing up in their droves to experience the one-two punch Hugh Grant and Alan Rickman donning breeches and heading a-wooing. Much of the praise should be sent in Thompson's direction, with her Oscar-winning script and gently perfect performance carrying the film wonderfully, but Lee's outsider's eye brought Austen to life with a verve and understanding that most English filmmakers could only marvel at.
Austen would be proud. As well as one of Britain's greatest directors, Nic Roeg has a Simon Cowell-like gift for spotting acting ability in rock stars. This was no small feat in Jagger's case: his Ned Kelly was more wooden than a koala's living room, but the Rolling Stone stepped up a gear in Roeg's debut feature. Okay, he's playing a rock star — there's that — but his gaunt, rubber-lipped cool lends a seriously subversive quality to Roeg's lysergic gangster flick.
His sex scenes with Anita Pallenberg, the femme fatale holed up in Turner's London bolt hole, didn't go down brilliantly with his band mate, her then-boyfriend Keith Richards, but their on and off- screen chemistry brought electricity to an alt-gangster flick that's not exactly short of it to begin with.
James Fox's fraying hood, meanwhile, is a walking case-study of sexual repression and pent-up violence, while Roeg's visual flourishes lures us into a seedy late '60s world of hipsters and heroin that feels like an X-rated episode of Through The Keyhole. The film that raised the bar for little old ladies everywhere, The Ladykillers is one of the blackest comedies in Ealing's repertoire of delights keep reading.
It's not hard to see why, for all their version's flaws, the Coen brothers tried to hand at remaking it. How could they not be tickled by a comedy with a higher body count than Psycho? In retrospect, Tom Hanks, J. Simmons et al could never hope to match the gleeful hamming of Sellers, Guinness, Lom and their gang, an identity parade of vaudeville villainy with enough spot-on comic timing to reset the atomic clock. Chuck in Katie Johnson's old dear — and at one point they try to do exactly that — and you've got a hilariously cynical skew on human nature.
Still Ken Loach's best film, this beautifully etches the relationship between 15 year-old Barnsley school boy Billy Casper David Bradley , bullied and beaten at home, ignored at school and the baby kestrel he nurtures and loves. It's a fantastic mixture of the poetic — cinematographer Chris Menges beautifully lenses sequences of Billy with his bird on the moors — and the everyday — the boredom and rhythms of school life have rarely been captured.
Everyone remembers Brian Glover as the sadistic sports teacher who runs away with a farcical football match, but this is a film full of great performances, especially Bradley as a vulnerable, believable hero. After all, what major studio would produce a film about a racist, sexist, perverted pseudo-Kazakhstan journalist who runs around the US looking for his new wife — Pamela Anderson, of course — all the while embarrassing nearby Americans and generally being an arsehole? The mankini alone would be reason enough to shun him, never mind the anti-Semitism and naked wrestling our eyes!
Our eyes! Take that Ali G, you big corporate sell-out, you. Most films on this list are here primarily because of the person behind the camera. In this case, and with no disrespect to Shane Meadows' assured direction, it's the stunning turn by its star and co-writer, Paddy Considine, that's won it a place. He's the spine of the film, an ex-soldier who returns to his hometown and brings down a world of pain on the men who bullied his younger brother. The result is a sort of Sympathy For Mr Derbyshire, a brutal but strangely compassionate look at a ruthless and violent figure, a sort of slasher movie in reverse.
A showcase for a deserving actor, and a perfect example of the indie sector's ability to tackle storylines that studios would shy away from, this is one of the finest British films in years. A wave of hype bore this thriller, threatening to swamp it under proclamations that the British were coming, that Scotland was sexy, that this Ewan McGregor fella might do well for himself.
Well, that's all true except for Scotland being sexy, anyway , but there's more to Shallow Grave than a shot in the arm for British cinema. Danny Boyle's immensely stylish tale of dead mains, a suitcase full of money and rampant paranoia is an inspired blend of pitch-black comedy and bloody violence, held together by career-making performances and scathing wit.
Three central characters this flawed and nasty are a rare sight in American cinema — even in the independent sector — and they're surrounded by a heck of a supporting cast. The lot benefit from Boyle's nascent directorial flair and winning partnership with writer John Hodge and producer Andrew MacDonald.
The all-round alchemy, combined with the intelligence and sheer panache on show here, make it a must-see. Winston Churchill didn't like Colonel Blimp. Perhaps it was because his advisors dismissed it as unpatriotic, or maybe it was because he saw something of himself in the character of Clive Candy. Whatever the reason, everyone's favourite stogie-chomping prime minister did his damndest to halt production before The Ministry of Information and War Office apparatchiks allowed it to go ahead anyway.
It's just as well: Powell and Pressburger, founders of Britain's great production house, Archers Film Productions, consider it their greatest work. It's certainly the film of which they were most proud. Dealing with the nature of patriotism, the essence of Britishness, the notion of honour and the horror of war through the career of one man, it's a grand, glorious film that's an object lesson in crafting the perfect - albeit fictional — biopic. What's more, Winston needn't have bothered with the whole censorship farrago: this is probably the most patriotic film on any movie afficiando's DVD collection — and we're including The Italian Job here.
After enduring three Transformers movies, Battle Los Angeles and Green Lantern , you'd have been forgiven for thinking that sci-fi had been left for braindead. But then came Duncan Jones' Moon , a smart, stripped down brainteaser that builds suspense and handles complex philosophical and ethical issues with a few sets and a single central performance by Sam Rockwell.
The set-up is a little High Noon High Moon? The film's crisp, clean look is pure'70s sci-fi, but there are clever inversions. And the big 'twist' is actually revealed relatively early. It's not so much about flooring the audience with the mind-blowing revelation, more about watching how the character — or rather, characters — react. Technically, this was Alfred Hitchcock's first American film — but since it's set in England and stars a largely English line-up, we're allowing it despite the studio backing.
It is, after all, a soaring example of Hitch's ability with old-fashioned filmmaking long before he became known for suspense and shock tactics. Which is not to say there's no suspense here: as the second Mrs de Winter, meek Joan Fontaine tangles with a malevolent housekeeper who forever compares the newcomer — unfavourably — to her predecessor, Rebecca. Her distant husband doesn't help much, and before you can say costume party there are suicide attempts, infidelities and murder charges to be dealt with.
Gorgeously shot and beautifully performed, this is a worthy farewell to the early stage of Hitchcock's career. One of the key films of the '60s realist movement, this is the one with Albert Finney as the cocky factory worker "Don't let the bastards grind you down. That's one thing you learn. It's difficult now to assess its rawness, but this is still superbly enacted and filled with a tangible yearning for better lives.
Cast your mind back to Hugh Grant is still "the bloke from that weird Roman Polanski film"; Richard Curtis is best known as the man behind Blackadder's withering put-downs, people still greeted rain with a four-letter word rather than an opportunity to mock Andie MacDowell, and only the most literate could tell W. Auden from WHSmith. Can't remember it?
Us neither. Much of its longevity is down to Curtis's playful dialogue which gives Grant's bumbling romantic and Andie MacDowell's coy outsider, beguiled and baffled in equal measure, enough gold to charm even the most granite hearted. It's a veritable Petri dish of British idiosyncrasies and humour "Are you telling me I don't know my own brother! If a space alien ever asks you to explain how the English middle classes see themselves, show them this. Then go for help.
If you think about it, this is a very odd mix of topics. A World War II pilot is shot down over the Channel on a foggy night — but in the mist his soul isn't collected at once, leading him to wash ashore and fall in love with the radio operator who had been his last contact, pre-crash. He's then, essentially, put on trial for his life, with heaven on one hand concerned that he was destined to die, but on the other forced to consider the new element that he has fallen in love.
So we've got romance, metaphysics, bureaucratic mix-ups and war, along with a dash of ping-pong for good measure — hardly your typical blockbuster. Still, thanks to the writer-directors sure touch and David Niven's none-more-English, never-more sympathetic chap's chap persona, this is a memorably different wartime weepie.
It's dated, sure, but there are a host of memorable sequences including the infamous meat-hook interrogation , an impossibly-catchy sax score and the saltiest, geezer dialogue this side of Michael Caine "A sleepin' partner's one thing - but you're in a fuckin' coma!
As the East End kingpin whose empire is rapidly crumbling, Bob Hoskins delivers a towering performance check out his wordless final scene , while a young Helen Mirren sparkles as the sexy femme fatale and the support is littered with familiar faces including Pierce Brosnan, a few Ritchie regulars and Charlie from Casualty.
Monty Python's first narrative ish film may not have the bite of Brian, but it's such an inspired piece of silliness that it would make a stone laugh. Taking inspiration from Arthurian legend but ladling in social commentary or at least comedy , anachronistic touches and surreal interludes, this is perhaps the most quotable and quoted film on the entire list, and also deserves our thanks for saving the group after they had almost burnt out following three TV series and the underperforming And Now For Something Completely Different.
From shrubberies to parents who smell of elderberries to flesh wounds and women who weigh more than ducks, all human life is here - as long as it is, like the Pythons themselves, simultaneously both extremely silly and very, very clever. Elvis ordered a print of this comedy classic and watched it five times. If it's good enough for the King, it's good enough for you.
What made this coming-of-age drama feel so fresh was not just the refreshingly unobvious mix of topics, but the deftness with which they were brought together. The devastating Miners' Strike of is the backdrop, but in the foreground is an 11 year-old boy who wants to learn ballet. The problems he faces are immense: money, class even if that's just a little overegged in the audition scene and his town's complete lack of experience with boys who like ballet.
Teacher Mrs Wilkinson Julie Walters finds herself almost having to translate between the ballet and miners' worlds. In the end, though, the mutual bafflement between Billy and his gruff father, and the real love that is revealed underneath, are the key to making this soar even higher than those final jets. For many of us, Goldfinger is still the quintessential James Bond experience. Occupying the perfect middle-ground between the more realistic first two instalments and the increasingly-fantastical later Connerys, the third nailed the perfect balance of the Bondian formula.
Taking what audiences already loved Sean, girls, spying, exotic locations and infusing new ingredients popstar theme tune, unrelated pre-credits sequence, Q grumping on , the template here became the benchmark and bulges with iconic elements. Connery at his virile peak, the Aston Martin with ejector seat, Shirley Eaton covered in gold paint, the brilliant tuxedo-under-the-wetsuit opening gambit, the often-quoted laserbeam exchange "Do you expect me to talk? Do we expect you to like it? No, we expect you to love it.
Impossible to describe with using the word 'epic', David Lean 's rightly-acclaimed bridge-building World War II drama is grand, spectacle-filled and, well, epic. Despite featuring hardly any actual warfare and boasting a running time that will numb your bottom like a camel trek through Lean's widescreen version of Arabia, this award-magnet is a stone-cold or, should that be sweltering hot?
There's lush cinematography and a top-notch cast, but it's the underlying psychological character journey of Alec Guinness's stubbornly-defiant and indefatigable Colonel Nicholson that stays with you. Determined to find a way to keep his men together and morale up, he leaps upon the bridge building labour they're assigned as a means to his end - rather forgetting, at least temporarily, the aid it gives the enemy. His eventual realisation of his mistake is unforgettable. That, and the infectious, now-infamous 'Colonel Bogey March' whistle the one often used for "Hitler, has only got one British noir at its best, Carol Reed's classic is adored for many things.
There's Robert Krasker's much-lauded cinematography, a chiaroscuro masterclass full of angles and shadows practically begging to be filled with villains; the unmistakable twang of Anton Karas' zither; and the rubble-strewn netherworld war veteran Reed translates so brilliantly from Graham Greene's thriller.
Then there's that much-quoted diss of the Swiss, cuckoo clocks and all. Looming over it all though, is Harry Lime Orson Welles , a villain for the ages and the dark heart of Reed's film. Where the war-ravaged Viennese see sorrow, Lime glimpses opportunity: he's basically the prototype for any number of hedge-fund managers. As much as he's the most odious villain this side of Brighton Rock's Pinkie, British cinema would be a much poorer place without him.
He needs to gen up on his horology though: it was the Germans who invented the cuckoo clock. Ripped from his own childhood growing in '40's and '50s Liverpool, Terence Davies' brutal but poetic feature is less a movie and more a filmed remembrance.
The first, tougher part, Distant Voices, depicts life during wartime and the reign of terror Davies' father - brilliantly realised by Pete Postlethwaite - inflicted on the family whereas the second Still Lives charts the happier life of his stoic mother Freda Dowie and sister Eileen Angela Walsh whose marriage represents a breath of fresh air in the Davies household. This may sound like soap opera but Davies charts the highs wedding celebrations, pub sing songs and lows domestic abuse, crushed hopes of everyday life in beautiful tracking shots and inspired choices of music that couldn't be further away from the kitchen sink.
It's a tough watch - especially if you've been weaned on conventional storytelling -but there isn't a more personal, more visually stunning, more moving film on this list. And so it proved, even if the BBFC's draconian 18 certificate meant that the people it was aimed at couldn't actually see it. Set in the Nottinghamshire boondocks, This Is England is a slice of Brit realism with an energy all of its own, a film with serious fire in its belly.
The source of its zeal, Meadows, tiptoes between brutality and tenderness with the poise of a dancer - albeit a dancer who looks a bit like a prop forward. It's a celebration of friendship, a love letter to its director's teenage years Thomas Turgoose's Shaun surrogates for the young Meadows and a big old 'V' sign to the National Front. It also spawned terrific telly in the shape of Channel 4's This Is England spin-off series. Pretty good for a self-professed 'cult' movie. Malcolm McDowell always claimed that while making A Clockwork Orange he was under the impression that it was a comedy.
As Hans Gruber might say: "Ho On its release in , amid a hurricane of controversy that would eventually lead Stanley Kubrick to pull his film from cinemas, a comment like that would have had Daily Mail readers spluttering into their morning tea. Now, however, it seems somehow apt: the 20 minute rampage by the droogs, Alex's "rehabilitation" and his friends' recruitment into the police force and so on, are in their own dark and twisted way, extremely funny. But, more importantly, they're also shoulder-shakingly prescient.
To this day, its impact on the first-time viewer cannot be denied. Here, movie-lovers, is a crash course in humanism featuring massive dildos, orgies and brainwashing only Kubrick could deliver. Starring : Richard E. Another entry from Brit mini-production house Handmade, this is one of those masterpieces that almost didn't happen.
Yet somehow all of them persevered like an alcoholic actor determinedly seeking his next snifter, and it all worked out. The film is possibly one of the finest on-the-page screenplays ever written, brought to life with offbeat performances and an understated style that the mainstream simply wouldn't dream of attempting. Sadly much of its popularity has been within the student community, who fixate on the heavy drinking focus and still believe that endlessly quoting the lines often incorrectly will make them as funny as the title characters, but don't let that sour the genius.
We all know what happens when Big Business tries to muscle in on a small town, right? They are met with universal hostility and chucked out on their ear — or, in this case, not quite. Certainly, tycoon Burt Lancaster has designs on the small Scottish village of Ferness and sends his agent, "Mac" MacIntyre Riegert there to seal the deal, and certainly things don't go smoothly, but there's little hostility and no real conflict here.
Mac gradually comes around to the village's slower way of life, even as the villagers leap on the money that should flow from the oil purchases — and if things don't work out quite as anyone planned, well, all's well that ends well. Beautifully shot and mixing whimsy and hard-headed realism in equal measure, this is the most feelgood film ever to feature a literal bunny boiler. Trainspotting didn't so much reinvigorate British cinema as spike filmmaking heroin into its vein.
In adapting Irvine Welsh's cult novel, director Danny Boyle re-teamed with the winning creative talent behind Shallow Grave producer Andrew Macdonald, screenwriter John Hodge and the result is another offbeat rush of dark, orgasmic cinema.
Ignoring tabloid arguments of whether the movie glorifies drug use or not it doesn't , a grotty depiction of the Edinburgh junkie subculture just shouldn't be this enjoyable. But in fusing wildly imaginative style Renton's plunge into the filthiest toilet in Scotland with naturalistic but witty dialogue, an impossibly iconic soundtrack, some truly disturbing imagery the baby, anyone? From Robert Carlyle's 'tache-totting psycho to Jonny Lee Miller's Connery-worshipping wideboy, it's also full of memorable, quote-worthy characters, while Mark Renton remains the performance of Ewan McGregor's career.
A biting class satire, a hilarious farce, a comedy of pitchest black, this is the jewel in the glittering crown of Ealing Studios. Oh, it may be amoral and thoroughly naughty, but that just adds to the deliciousness of this tale, whereby an impoverished offshoot of a noble family, Louis Mazzini Price murders his relations all played by Guinness on his way to a title. Price is impossibly poised in the lead role, but it's Guinness who garnered most of the attention in a succession of noble turns that run the gamut from fop to fogey via suffragette.
With a Wildean voice over dripping with bon mots "It is so difficult to make a neat job of killing people with whom one is not on friendly terms" and a thorough villain as its hero, this isn't nearly as cuddly as, say, Passport To Pimlico or Whisky Galore! At Shaun Of The Dead 's big, beautiful heart, there's a single, simple joke: modern-day Londoners behave much like zombies, so what if there was an actual zombie apocalypse?
Would all the Tube-going, bum-scratching commuters even notice? It's a film so good that even if you don't like horror, you love this movie. It's a film so good that even if you don't like the Spaced crew, you love this movie. It's all because it was written, produced and acted with such passion, energy and sheer, unadulterated charm that it's nigh-on impossible not to enjoy.
No matter what magnificent deeds the trio accomplish in the future, we have a sneaking suspicion that Shaun Of The Dead will remain many folks' favourite. Maybe the greatest weepie ever made, this is guaranteed to make every stiff upper lip wobble a little. Johnson is Laura, the housewife who forms an innocent friendship with Trevor Howard's Alex, a doctor she meets in town on her weekly shopping trip.
But friendship turns to something more, and before you can say tea and crumpets this respectful, rather staid pair are contemplating throwing it all away for love's sake. Proof that deep wells of human emotion exist even under the most tightly buttoned cardie, this has a strong claim to be the most English film ever made along with This Is England , of course - boasting as it does endless cups of tea and a visit to Boots for good measure. Featuring the most famous dwarf this side of Thorin Oakenshield, deeply poignant turns from Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie, and that famous did-they-didn't-they sex scene they didn't , Nic Roeg's great masterpiece has slowly seeped into British filmmaking lore.
It brims with indelible moments — the blind seer in the restaurant; the crashing scaffolding; the bloody climax — and exudes a dank menace that envelopes you like a Venetian fog. Much comes faithfully from the pages of Daphne Du Maurier's short story. There is, though, one small but crucial switcheroo: the Baxters' daughter doesn't die of meningitis but drowns under their own noses, adding guilt to the broil of emotions the grieving couple is feeling. Roeg's skill in building atmosphere and manipulating chronology, so innovative at the time, makes this one of the most influential films in cinema.
There's a reason why most reviews of Black Swan harked back to this post-War Powell and Pressburger classic: this is the definitive ballet-dancer-finds-life-clashing-with-art film. Shot in Technicolor, the better to make those red shoes bleed into life, Moira Shearer plays the passionate young ballerina with a perfect mixture of passion and obsession. She's willing to sacrifice anything to dance — at first at least and that's something that the Svengali Lermontov Walbrook takes ruthless advantage of, pushing her towards stardom but unwilling to accept anything that threatens her single-minded dedication.
So he runs off young composer Julian Goring , to keep her in the business — but can human emotions be so easily controlled? The stage is set for some sort of explosive result, although even those who have read the dark and rather twisted Hans Christian Anderson story which inspires this will be shocked at how it transpires.
It's melodramatic, perhaps, but it's luminously shot and has just enough sinister edge to undercut any accusations of girliness. Most of us know by now the origins of Python's second proper movie - at a press conference, Eric Idle laughingly suggested that their next project would be "Jesus Christ: Lust For Glory".
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