What do we know about the British? They drink tea at 5 pm, enjoy betting on horse racing offline and via platforms, like 22Bet Tanzania, and are pretty conservative. But these all are stereotypes. Want to know more about them? Then watch British movies.
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
Guy Ritchie’s comedy was the first of the director’s career. Before entering the cinema, he worked as a music video maker and shot short films. As a result, one short movie grew into a full-length film produced by Sting’s wife Trudy Styler. In doing so, one of the conditions was the artist’s participation in the movie. It was the debut not only for Richie but also for actors Jason Statham and Vinnie Jones. The latter went to the set straight from the police station, where the day before got into a fight.
Some people compare the movie to Pulp Fiction and call it the British version. With car chases, gang warfare and a lot of black humor, it has all the ingredients of the perfect action movie.
Inside I’m Dancing
James McAvoy is best known for his performance as Rory O’Shea, a guy confined to a wheelchair because of muscle atrophy, yet he never loses heart. Rory energizes Michael, who is in the hospital because of cerebral palsy, and together they achieve the right to live outside the hospital. The world outside the hospital is not always simple and understandable, but much more interesting than the hospital room.
The film is based on the story of writer Christian O’Reilly, who worked at the Center for the Right to Independent Living in Dublin. There he met a young man suffering from cerebral palsy, who inspired the writer’s work. To prepare for the role, James McAvoy interacted extensively with patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. As the actor said, he was impressed by this kind of experience, in particular the fact that the patients preferred to avoid any communication because of the pity for them by others.
The Stanley Kubrick movie is based on William Thackeray’s novel about an Irish hero who aspires to enter high society. Set in the 18th century, the young Redmond Barry, pursued for murder by the police, becomes a member of the English army after a series of events. Hoping to sneak back to Ireland, the hero unexpectedly joins the Prussian army and with this he thinks of becoming related to a German noblewoman.
The big three-hour movie won four Oscar statuettes, but not in the major categories. In 1976, the film academics appreciated the work of costume designers and artists, the camerawork of John Olcott, Kubrick’s constant cameraman, and the musical accompaniment. The movie is still called one of the director’s most beautiful and stylish films. Kubrick did depart from the original novel, for example, instead of a first-person narrative he introduced the figure of the narrator, who constantly inserts his remarks about the characters and explains to the audience what is happening on the screen.
One of the craziest movies in British cinema is firmly associated with the Scottish capital. You can use it to compare how the city has changed in 25 years, because part of the action takes place in the center of Edinburgh. The characters escape from a chase through the main shopping street of Princes Street, escape their pursuers on Hanover Street in front of the Royal Scottish Academy and hide under the bridge on Calton Street. There’s even a glimpse of Edinburgh Castle in one shot.
In terms of plot, the director drew from Irvine Welsh’s original novel and the theatrical production based on the book. One of the actors, Ewan Bremner, played both in the play and in Danny Boyle’s film. The film was criticized more than once for its theme of drug use and antisocial protagonists, but still the main message of the creators was to condemn this culture and the consequences of such a lifestyle. Nevertheless, in 2012 it was voted by the people of Great Britain as the best British film of the last 60 years because of its plot and acting. The music deserves special attention. The soundtrack includes prominent representatives of British and American rock: Iggy Pop, Blur, New Order, Underworld, and others.
A Clockwork Orange
A satirical dystopia originally came out as a book by Anthony Burgess. The novel so shocked Stanley Kubrick’s friend the writer Terry Southern that he immediately gave it to him. At the time Kubrick was busy filming “2001 Space Odyssey” and was not interested in the novel. He was confused by the special language – nadsat, in which the teenagers in the book communicated. Kubrick was sure that the mixture of English and Russian would be difficult to convey through the screen and some of the dialogue would be lost. A few years later, the director returned to the project and wrote his own script based on the book, including words in the fictional language nadsat.
After the premiere in 1971, some admired the film, while others, on the contrary, were horrified by the amount of violence on the screen. The director even received anonymous threats, after which he advised cinemas to withdraw the film from distribution. It was also banned from Ireland and Singapore for several years. Surprisingly, A Clockwork Orange was one of Warner’s most profitable projects and the film made almost a million dollars at the British box office again.
Lawrence of Arabia
David Lean’s epic three-hour film tells the story of a World War I hero, the English spy Thomas Edward Lawrence. He is known for having contributed significantly to the victory of the Arab revolt against the Ottoman Empire as a British soldier in the Middle East. He managed to infiltrate the Arabs and lead a guerrilla movement. For his actions, the locals nicknamed him Lawrence of Arabia. The script was based on the scout’s book “The Seven Pillars of Wisdom”, as well as scientific works on the study of his life. During filming, director David Lin wanted to emphasize that this was a “movie journey”, so all movements in the picture take place from left to right, as if forward, deep into the narrative.
At the 1963 Oscar, the movie amassed a heap of awards: seven statuettes, including top prizes for Best Picture and Best Director. The picture made famous the main actors Peter O’Toole and Omar Sharif, making them real stars of cinema.
This is one of director Ken Loach’s earliest works, which the British Film Institute ranked among the best domestic movies of the 20th century. As in his later works, in Kes the director turns to social themes and tells about the lives of ordinary people, including with the help of non-professional actors. In the story, Billy, a boy from a dysfunctional family who is not accepted by his peers, finds a young falcon and begins to train him. He gives him the name Kes.
The movie was played by non-professional actors, with the exception of Mr. Farthing. It was also filmed using natural light with no extra equipment, and was shot by Chris Menges, a master of photography and winner of two Academy Awards.
A Matter of Life and Death
The action takes place at the end of World War II. Peter Carter’s plane crashes and the pilot goes on the air for the last time. He contacts air traffic control, where a girl named June answers him, after which he jumps out of the crashed plane and miraculously survives. It turns out that because of the fog, the guide angel didn’t find Peter and take him with him. The movie unfolds simultaneously in two universes: the real world and the ladder to the sky.
The romantic story with a touch of sci-fi is not really the director’s original idea. After World War II, the script was commissioned by the British government – to improve British-American relations. In 2018, the film was prepared for re-release. For this, Martin Scorsese’s editor Thelma Schoonmaker digitally restored the film to restore the original colors and soundtrack.