5. TRAINSPOTTING (1996)
Set in an economically depressed area of Edinburgh in the 1990s and centred on a gaggle of lowlifes, Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting is as far from a crowd-pleaser as you can get. But spirited performances from a young cast and a near-perfect soundtrack elevated this indie production to one of the most important films of the nineties and, according to Ewen Bremner, aka Spud, it also invented skinny jeans for men. No wonder it made the top five.
4. LOVE ACTUALLY (2003)
Love it or hate it, this rom-com has become a cult holiday classic amongst soft-hearted cinephiles. Based around 10 interconnecting love stories, the film originally contained 14 separate stories but four of them ended up being cut, including an African couple supporting each other through a famine and a stern headmistress nursing her lesbian partner through cancer.
3. ZULU (1964)
At number three, it’s a Michael Caine classic. Zulu, an epic war drama depicting the 1879 Battle of Rorke’s Drift, was Caine’s first major acting role and despite auditioning with “the worst screen test ever seen”, his performance as the snobby Lieutenant Gonville Bromhead garnered praise from critics and catapulted Caine into stardom.
“These results are a fascinating reflection of British culture over the decades, beginning with epic war film Zulu in 1964, when real-life battles were still fresh in many audience members' minds.”
– Anna Smith, President of the UK Critics' Circle
2. THE FULL MONTY (1997)
It’s been more than two decades since six unlikely strippers entered the public's pop culture consciousness – and it seems our love for the larrikins has not waned. Nothing short of a phenomenon when it opened in cinemas in 1997, The Full Monty manages to juggle social commentary and subtle character reveals with slapstick humor and, erm, larger-than-life dance moves that will have you heading for the dance floor.
“It’s rare that a film can break our hearts and then make us laugh in the blink of an eye. The scene where our unlikely heroes dance to ‘Hot Stuff’ in the dole queue epitomises the tightrope between humour and tragedy that Brits do best and I defy anyone to watch it without a huge grin on their face.”
– Rhianna Dhillon, BBC Film Critic
1. THE ITALIAN JOB (1969)
This fast, flashy romp about a gang of career criminals slid in at number one – and is anyone surprised? The quintessential British caper film of the 1960s, The Italian Job sees ex-crook Charlie Croker (Michael Caine) take over a complicated plan to hijack gold bullion from Italy – right from underneath the noses of the Mafia.
“The Italian Job is a testament to the quality of British filmmaking. There are bigger productions on the list, starring bigger stars, but Sir Michael Caine’s appeal across the generations as an actor, and the iconic scenes of The Italian Job make it a worthy winner.”
– Dean Cross, Vue Film Content Manager