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TH, Director Ken Loach Cast David Bradley, Lynne Perrie, Freddie Fletcher, As the tide of the 1960s began to recede, taking with it all that class-obsessed ee-by-’eck pub-jazz new wave chest-beating that had threatened to drag British cinema into some kind of socialist-modernist-industrial nightmare, the real realists were revealed, sitting quietly and waiting for someone to notice. ‘Rise of the Footsoldier’? TH, Director David Lean Cast Alec Guinness, William Holden, Jack HawkinsNot even the breeze coming off his twirling moral compass can keep Alec Guinness’s stiff upper lip from wilting in the maddening Burmese heat during David Lean’s truly epic – as opposed to simply lengthy – meditation on the possibilities of humane behaviour in wartime. (It may not be accidental that our quotidian earthly existence is shown in colour while the fanciful realm of the hereafter is consigned to the monochrome favoured by Grierson et al.) Aside from Jonathan Glazer’s eminently stylish ‘Sexy Beast’, only Paul Andrew Williams’s pithy and relentlessly entertaining debut has managed to poke its head above the sea of mediocrity. And it’s not as though Lean is celebrating these characters’ inability to communicate, to break through their social strictures and live real lives. Written and directed by Polish filmmaker Jerzy Skolimowski (who cut his teeth co-writing Polanski’s masterful debut ‘Knife in the Water’), the film captures the sexual shenanigans of the staff and clientele of a squalid South London swimming bath. It’s ruthlessly intelligent stuff, and the conclusions are strangely prophetic. A complete list of War movies in 2001. List of 2001 box office number-one films in the United Kingdom; 2001 in British music; 2001 in British radio; 2001 in British television; 2001 in the United Kingdom; References External links. ALD, Director Carine Adler Cast Samantha Morton, Claire Rushbrook, Rita TushinghamWomen directed only four of our top 100 films, although perhaps we should celebrate that all four of those are from the last 20 years, which might suggest the gender gap in cinema is gradually closing. PDS, Director Danny Boyle Cast Cillian Murphy, Naomie Harris, Brendan GleesonThe first scene in Danny Boyle’s symbolic UK-set zombie fest is hairy in more ways than one: a group of animal activists descend on a biological vivisection centre and release a chimpanzee infected with rage, a contagious rabies-like virus. ‘The Fallen Idol’ is primarily a film about class, which even then was nothing new. But it’s Greene’s approach to his topic which sets the film apart: by viewing the social hierarchy through a child’s eyes, the author allows us to view the matter afresh, an approach which would bear fruit again in films as diverse as ‘The Spanish Gardener’, ‘The Go-Between’ and ‘Atonement’. By entering your email address you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and consent to receive emails from Time Out about news, events, offers and partner promotions. So we’re keeping this one! Emotionally honest and full of human warmth, ‘Four Weddings…’ stands out as one of the most enjoyable of British romcoms. WH, The documentary-maker Humphrey Jennings has been well remembered in recent years, first with a film in 2002 by Kevin Macdonald and then in 2004 with a biography by Kevin Jackson – which might explain the placing of this and his stirring ‘Listen to Britain’, both wartime films, so high on our list. But after a bungled break-in where he is abandoned by his band of cock-nosed droogs, he is packed off to a hospital to be ‘cured’. Certainly, at the time it marked a departure for Leigh into more mythical, less domestic territory, and in retrospect marked a new maturity in his filmmaking. Even his masterpiece, ‘Edvard Munch’ – a beautiful, heartbreaking and extraordinarily empathetic three-and-a-half hour meditation on the life and work of the Norwegian painter describing ‘the illness, insanity and death’ that pre-occupied the artist’s life – was largely unavailable for 20-or-so years. And is there too much running around in that otherwise barbed consumerist satire, ‘The Man in the White Suit’? An account of the South Wales Border Regiment’s seemingly hopeless last-ditch stand against the massed ranks of the Zulu Nation, it’s a massively successful enterprise – especially from first-time producer (and star) Stanley Baker and a director previously known chiefly for low-budget noirs. Considering that their votes were split seven ways, The Archers have received far more votes than any other director on the list. A perfect case in point is the disconnect between Anton Corbijn’s mournful, largely forgettable 2007 kitchen sink biopic ‘Control’, which placed Ian Curtis on a tortured-artist pedestal, and Michael Winterbottom’s lurid, lively Madchester romp ‘24 Hour Party People’, which presented the Joy Division frontman as a sadistic, sarcastic Tory loudmouth: hell to live with, perhaps, but painfully human. Often erroneously described as ‘autobiographical’, the film’s astute portrait of macho violence, alcoholic excess, drug addiction and petty criminality nevertheless benefitted from Oldman’s proximity to such behaviour in his early years, and that, coupled with a style partly inspired by Cassavetes, makes for a movie as riveting in its raw, nocturnal ‘realism’ as it is unsentimental in its humanity and dark humour. GA, Director Mike Leigh Cast Roger Sloman, Alison SteadmanJudging by its surprise inclusion in this poll, this second episode in Mike Leigh’s ‘Play for Today’ TV series has remained one of the director’s most fondly remembered early features. DJ, Directors Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger Cast Wendy Hiller, Roger Livesey, ‘Will you do something for me before I go away? WH, Directors Michael Powell and Emeric PressburgerCast Roger Livesey, Deborah Kerr, Two things are well known about Powell and Pressburger’s 1943 epic about the life of an old-fashioned ex-army officer serving in the Home Guard during World War II: Churchill disliked the whole idea of it, and may have thought it was about him, and the Blimp character, over-fed and irascible, was inspired by David Low’s cartoon character of the same name in the Evening Standard. It helps that Peter Cushing as Van Helsing and Christopher Lee as Dracula are both on top scenery (and in the case of Lee, neck) chewing form, while you also watch in amazement at how they managed to make such a lavish film on the near-pittance of £81,000. No, the entire film is packed with touching moments, from the affectionate depiction of banter between members of the music hall audience at the film’s beginning to the unexpectedly touching moment of Mr Memory’s death at the Palladium, when his brief dialogue with Hannay deftly suggests the men’s mutual respect. His post-homicide delivery of Shakespeare will surprise anyone who bought his popular image as a one-dimensional hack, adding yet another layer to a film that satirises both its stars and audience without ever sacrificing its disconcerting edge. Wrecking!’ are the terse first words of Hitchcock’s atmospheric, exciting and sometimes funny, 1936 London-based suspenser, adapted from Joseph Conrad’s ‘The Secret Agent’. Ultimately, both men’s attitudes are compromised to the greater good as the bridge comes crashing down in a riveting scene of unbridled catharsis. Robinson has said the film’s mid-1980s production for Handmade Films almost made him as penurious as his hero: having to provide £30,000 of his own cash to film Richard E Grant and Paul McGann on their fateful trip in their clapped-out Jaguar MK2 to the Lake District. DJ, Director Chris Petit Cast David Beames, Lisa Kreuzer, Sandy Ratcliff, Few British feature film debuts come as distinctive – or as quietly influential – as former Time Out Film editor Chris Petit’s Europhile mission statement. Does the fanciful madcap of ‘The Lavender Hill Mob’ now just feel empty? Time Out is a registered trademark of Time Out Digital Limited. DC, Directors Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger Cast Eric Portman, Sheila Sim, John Sweet, Dennis Price, For many, this light-fingered take on Chaucer’s infamous tome will always be Powell and Pressburger’s great work. But as the story fragments along with James Fox’s consciousness, as Jagger pouts and struts like the world’s sexiest junkie ostrich, as the visuals become more berserk and hallucinatory, you can almost hear Roeg and Cammell rubbing their hands together and chuckling at the sheer, mindblowing intensity and uniqueness of this monster they’ve somehow managed to create. Anna May Wong gives an empowering performance as the dancer Shosho and her first appearance, dancing on the sideboard in the club’s scullery, feels as luminous and provocative today as it surely must have in the late 1920s. The centrepiece scene remains the staggering, emotionally draining wrestling match between avuncular old-timer Gregorius and new-fangled masked avenger The Strangler, arguably the most punishing fight ever committed to celluloid, five unforgiving minutes of sweat, muscle and dogged determination. ‘What is important is not what is going to happen, but how it will happen. If you list a lot of the film’s more creepy tics – sweet but demonic children; ghostly visions; a music-box score; stuffed animals; a scary attic – they now sound like clichés, but the film still works fantastically well as a supernatural-cum-psychological chiller and most obviously feels like a template for Polanski’s ‘Repulsion’, ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ and even ‘The Tenant’. But with its dark, grimy Dickensian squalor (courtesy of one of Shepperton Studios’ most authentic sets – now sadly dismantled), Oliver Reed’s memorably chilling arch crim Bill Sikes, and at least one shocking murder, the film also displayed a level of foreboding darkness capable of scaring the bejesus out of younger viewers. Williams claims to have written the film over one weekend, and both the clamp-like tightness of its structure and the bracingly realistic progression of its characters – if you get hurt, you stay hurt – make that entirely believable. Here, the dangerously inquisitive Robinson has been tasked with solving the ‘problem of England’ and takes that as his cue to circumnavigate these hallowed isles and pontificate to his heart’s content. It’s trite but true to say that Billy Casper stands for the crushed child in all of us, with his beloved kestrel as the soaring soul that school, work, family and society conspire to kill quietly in the woodshed. 10 British movies we can't wait to see in 2021. It’s surprising therefore to see a place in this poll for a hitherto neglected classic of British cinema, as well as further testament to the power and necessity of DVD revivals. It’s a bold, moving work, but it’s Jarman’s ability to conjure up such a unique, experimental event as ‘Blue’ that we must remember and honour – the way that, with this avant-garde work, he drew attention to him, his work, sexuality and illness and made an unembarrassed, deathbed claim for art itself. DC, Director Steve McQueen Cast Michael Fassbender, Liam Cunningham, Steve McQueen’s first feature film is not even three years old and yet it ranks in the top half of this list, which is a mark of the impact the film made in 2008, when it won the Camera d’Or at Cannes for best debut. ‘Whisky Galore’ is an unashamed celebration of alcoholism: the magic liquor greases the social machinery, gets communities communicating, even cures a bedridden geriatric of all that ails him. Perhaps it’s simply that ‘Performance’ is the most perfect example of imperfection, a ragged, uncontrolled miasma of disparate influences and conflicting ideas, genres and even directors battling for dominance. It was his encroaching blindness, much referred to in the voiceover read by several actors, which gave Jarman the idea to apply words to an unchanging, blue screen for 76 minutes. And yet, of all the films in the higher echelons of this list, it might be the most flawed and difficult. It all looks scarily familiar. In film, it was a different matter: what sane production company was likely to shell out thousands for tales of earth-worship and mystic rites, especially when the target audience was a) notoriously cash-strapped and b) largely confined to rambling country cottages miles from the nearest picture palace? DJ, Director Terence Young Cast Sean Connery, Ursula Andress, Joseph WisemanIt might look fresh today, but ‘Dr No’ must have seemed like ‘Avatar’ to post-war British audiences. Yes, it’s propaganda – but what humane, artful propaganda it is. According to interviews given on the most recent DVD release, the production of the Pythons’ first properly scripted feature was not only dogged by differences between its co-directors Terry Gilliam (who was more interested in camera positions and framing) and Terry Jones (who felt they should focus more on performances) but also by Graham Chapman’s alcoholism – he played most of his parts under the influence. British (16) Husband Wife Relationship (16) Knife (16) Neo Noir (16) Prison (16) Torture (16) Based On Novel (15) Boyfriend Girlfriend Relationship (15) Gang (15) Nightclub (15) Pistol (15) Surprise Ending (15) Cult Film (14) Fight (14) Punched In The Face (14) Restaurant (14) Shot To Death (14) Telephone Call (14) Voice Over Narration (14) Brutality (13) Face Slap (13) Fistfight (13) Unforgettable. Set amid the icy old-world charm of Vienna, the fragmentary romantic drama builds into a hallucinatory thriller, as Harvey Keitel’s police detective – sans accent but with killer shoulder-length John the Baptist locks – begins to question Garfunkel over Russell’s abortive suicide attempt and forces us to reconsider all that’s gone before. That said, the careers of two of those four directors, Lynne Ramsay and Carine Adler, have stalled in recent years and only Andrea Arnold seems able to move easily from film to film. I want you to kiss me!’ It might be Joan Webster’s (Wendy Hiller) first unplanned move in all of Powell and Pressburger’s film, a witty and characteristically eccentric romance filmed largely in the Western Isles of Scotland about a headstrong young woman who heads north from London to a remote island to marry a wealthy man she barely knows. It’s a droll, Ealing-made World War II propaganda film that also happens to be a ridiculously taut suspense thriller about how the denizens of the fictional Bramley End put aside their differences and foil a Nazi plot to capture Britain, sometimes even sacrificing life and limb by diving on live grenades and going on ad hoc axe rampages. Are there ghosts? The inability of protagonist Johnny Saxby to open up is delivered with piercing melancholy and palpable physical frustration by Josh O’Connor. His film is a celebration of heroism, a lament for lives lost and a stoical expression of the necessary wartime maxim that life must go on. At that point, the ‘Withnail & I’ fan club was at its bibulous height, with its ardent admirers, word-perfect in Robinson’s semi-autobiographical script, meeting in Camden pubs to swap quotes and play the DVD-extra drinking games (though, more properly, they should have frequented tea shops, demanding ‘the finest wines available to humanity!’). The way Lean weaves elements of Universal horror and film noir into his depiction of nineteenth-century London is breathtaking, and his treatment of Miss Havisham as a giant time-ravaged spider-queen wrapped in a crumbling web of dust and rotting lace finds unexpected echoes in everything from ‘Psycho’ to ‘Aliens’. Tom Courtenay is unforgettable in the title role, and Julie Christie’s fleeting, flitting presence is as convincing a ‘star is born’ moment as British film has to offer. That Candice-Marie appears to be showing sympathy towards the other party only serves to inflame the situation… It’s a film of so many memorable moments – from Keith’s cringeworthy grovelling when a policeman questions the roadworthiness of his beloved Morris Minor to Candice-Marie’s hilariously lispy vegetarian folk song. TH, Director Mike Leigh Cast David Thewlis, Lesley Sharp, Karin Cartlidge, From its initial release, it was clear that ‘Naked’, which is Mike Leigh’s highest-ranked film on our chart, was destined to appear on lists like this for years to come. That the resulting film was still compulsively weird, highly atmospheric and a total financial disaster is testament to Hardy’s misjudgment of the marketplace. There’s the exoticism of its unique Saharan locations; Maurice Jarre’s stirringly melodious string-laden score; and, above all, the undeniable quality of Freddie Young’s cinematography. DC, Director Lionel Jeffries Cast Dinah Sheridan, William Mervyn, Jenny Agutter, As warm and cosy as a cup of Horlicks, Lionel Jeffries’s 1970 adaptation of E Nesbit’s Edwardian children’s novel centres on a well-to-do London family torn apart when its patriarch is arrested on suspicion of treason. From there, we discover that Travis and his two friends are thorns in the side of their rigid boarding house, where their peers exercise brutal authority purely because of their ties or badges – or, as Travis puts it, ‘That bit of fluff on your tit’. Since then, she has made two features, ‘Red Road’ and ‘Fish Tank’, both of which triumphed at Cannes. So far Adler’s 1997 film ‘Under the Skin’ is her one and only feature, but it still remains rare for offering a female writer-director’s view on a woman’s extreme sexuality as a young Liverpudlian woman Iris (Samantha Morton) embraces promiscuity and a heightened sexual awareness as part of the grieving process in the wake of her mother’s death from cancer. Of course, you can titter at the gothic excess of the production design, how po-faced the whole enterprise is (with its lithe hotties darting around in lace negligees) and the cheapo effects, but the subtext of the story about the tragedy of addiction and the transmission of disease remains deadly serious. Bill Douglas Trilogy: My Childhood (1972), My Ain Folk (1973) and My Way Home (1978), 22. Young Bud (Leigh McCormack) is his alter ego, and this is a rhapsodic scrapbook of memories from a working-class Liverpool childhood accompanied by dispatches from the wireless, popular songs and rousing classical standards. Sabotage! TH, Buy, rent or watch ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’, Director Derek Jarman Cast Nigel Terry, Sean Bean, Tilda Swinton, The late Derek Jarman took the same anachronistic liberties in depicting the life of his subject – Italian, seventeenth-century painter Caravaggio – as the painter himself did with his subjects. But Meadows’s film shows that this initially benign enclave was very different to the growing ranks of supporters of the National Front, even if their appearance was similar. Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994) Film Comedy Director Mike Newell. The real star, though, is the textured, bleak cinematography of John Colquillon (who later shot ‘Straw Dogs’), which lends an eerie, tripped-out detachment to the pitiless violence and casts the landscape as a timeless witness to casual horror. The controversy may have faded, but three decades on, ‘Life of Brian’ still dominates our perceptions of organised religion (and organised resistance) and their many obfuscations, untruths and double standards in a way that is not just remarkable, but extremely heartwarming. The film – which now bizarrely makes the mid-1990s Britpop fad appear to have been the cultural highlight of modern times – told of happy-go-lucky junkie Mark Renton (McGregor) and the band of mischievous associates he would occasionally call friends, including Spud (Ewen Bremner), Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller), Tommy (Kevin McKidd) and Begbie (Robert Carlyle). Alchemically spinning cinema into music (and music into poetry), Jennings paints a national portrait which is admittedly rosy, but also pleasingly humorous (footage of vaudeville crowd-pleasers Flanagan and Allen is intercut with a sign reading ‘boiled potatoes’) and even quietly subversive: the cut from a riotous workers’ music hall to a stuffy lunchtime classical concert attended by the then Queen accentuates the essential similarity between the two experiences, while the pan from a playground filled with clog-dancing tykes to a street roaring with military vehicles underlines the precipitous state of our nation’s future. It’s rare that experimental filmmaking is this humane and enjoyable. I think Thackeray trades off the advantage of surprise to gain a greater sense of inevitability and a better integration of what might otherwise seem melodramatic or contrived.’ Likewise, as time goes by, Kubrick’s own contrivances – the technical obsessions, the outwardly puppet-like performances, Ryan O’Neal’s seemingly endless wanderings, adventures and increasingly futile ambitions – have themselves fallen away to reveal something quite extraordinary: the shape of a life, a human’s rise and fall, rendered as an epic, mesmeric, suffusing slow dance of immersive cinema – and therefore, not only Kubrick’s most beautiful but also his most empathetic and understanding work. In our biggest ever film critics’ poll, the list of best movies ever made has a new top film, ending the 50-year reign of Citizen Kane. As reported in the terrific 2008 Ozsploitation doc ‘Not Quite Hollywood’, Australian cinema in the late ’60s was non-existent. 30. Set during the 1940s in Douglas’s own birthplace (the dead-end mining town of Newcraighall) the emotional focal point of these films is Jamie (Stephen Archibald), an inquisitive, defensive young scamp whose day-to-day existence is a fight for survival and friendship. Utterly cinematic, powered by a startlingly resonant late ’70s soundtrack (with Bowie’s ‘Heroes’ the ironic turntable centre) and with an acute sense of transformative hybrid landscapes as equal players in the film’s unfolding sensibility, ‘Radio On’ sits, quite literally, on the precipice between a failing post-war reality and the coming abyss of Thatcherism. But first and foremost this is a film which weighs up the consolations of cinema against the consolations of religion, and – if we are to read anything into the final shot of Bud and a friend watching a film of clouds drifting by starlight as Arthur Sullivan’s song ‘The Long Day Closes’ plays in the background – cinema wins by a mile. May 13 47th British Academy Television Awards: "Da Ali G Show" Best Comedy, "Clocking Off" Best Drama Music Single May 15 "Fiesta" single released by R. Kelly featuring Jay-Z and Boo & Gotti (Billboard Song of the Year 2001) A nominal plot – the strange death of a brother in Bristol – prompts a journey west from London into a place beyond narrative cinema. That’s a misleading reading, however. But it’s also a celebration of bloody-minded Britishness (or at least Scottishness) and the rebel spirit which, according to Ealing, showed Gerry what for. But from its ‘Carry On’-ish opening, the film morphs into something much more sinister, even segueing into ‘Peeping Tom’ territory, as Mike’s love turns to violent fixation. The trick and power of Powell and Pressburger’s film is that, by first giving us the Blimp we expect – loud, angry, stuck in his ways – and then flashing back and recounting events in his life from 1902 to 1943, including a lifelong friendship with a German officer, a lost love and time spent serving in three wars, they give us an entirely different character: a complex, rounded and sympathetic man. The film may bear little relation to Gerald Kersh’s far nastier (and more grimly believable) source novel, but Jules Dassin’s stark, unforgiving direction, Max Greene’s oppressive monochrome cinematography and Richard Widmark’s twitchy central performance give the movie a paranoid power all of its own. He cast old pal Paddy Considine, who had been gripping as a volatile loner in ‘A Room for Romeo Brass’, and went for the jugular with this tale of a man who seeks and dishes out violence in revenge for something terrible that happened in his family’s past. 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