British drama is in a fantastic spot at the moment, with successful TV shows like Sherlock and Line of Duty coupled with the international acclaim of movies like Legend.
But don’t forget about the golden oldies. Because although the future of British cinema looks bright, there are loads of fantastic flicks and TV classics from these Isles ready for you to watch on Netflix right now.
This iconic satirical masterpiece may focus on the American side of nuclear catastrophe, but it was produced right here in blighty – with homegrown legend Peter Sellers turning in an extraordinary series of performances.
Stanley Kubrick’s scathing commentary on the idiocy of cold war politics and potential apocalypse pokes fun at the stupidity of conflict, but the humorous situations only strengthen the thought-provoking undertones.
A Clockwork Orange’s Malcolm McDowell is on similar smirking, rebellious form in If…, a metaphorical tale about a student-led uprising in a straight edged English public school.
One of the finest slices of homegrown ’60s counter-culture in cinema, Mick Travis is an engaging protagonist – and the lessons Lindsay Anderson tries to teach with this film are clear.
Battle of Britain
Being a dramatic representation of the struggle for air superiority amid a potential invasion of Blighty, this film is well worth a watch for anyone interested in the history of World War II.
Although extremely patriotic (and arguably stereotypical), Battle of Britain is an interesting and epic look at one of that conflict’s defining moments. Plus it’s got Michael Caine in it. So that should be enough.
Pride and Prejudice
Oh Mr. Darcy! He’s a literary romantic creation of devilish proportions, in this instance played quite swooningly by Collin Firth. Jane Austen’s novel has been adapted an uncountable number of time for the screen, but if you’re going to watch any of the adaptations of Pride and Prejudice, it might as well be this definitive one.
If for no other reason, than just to laugh at Firth’s terrible mutton chops.
Sean Bean is basically the 19th century Yorkshire answer to James Bond in the Sharpe series, and this feature-length adventure cuts no corners when it comes to impossible acts of heroism.
A generals daughte’r is being held captive by the Maharajah, and only one man can save her: super secret agent stealthy man Sharpe. The whole damn saga is beloved for a reason.
The King’s Speech
Colin Firth strikes again in this Oscar winning epic about George VI’s difficult rise to the throne and rule. Poor Bertie suffers with a stammer at a time when radio broadcasts are all the rage, and when imminent war breaks in Europe, it’s up to his newly appointed speech therapist (Geoffrey Rush, who is fantastic by the way) to help him overcome his rhetoric road-block.
Not already seen it? There’s no excuse for missing this inspirational hit.
The Hound of the Baskervilles
The deer-stalker donning detective wasn’t always and young and handsome as Benedict Cumberbatch, but what Peter Cushing lacks in chiseled jaw bones, he makes up for in considerable acting prowess.
For a more classic, loyal, and accurate portrayal of Holmes in arguably his most famous tale, you’ve come to the right place.
A genuine modern cult classic, this is the London-based crime flick Guy Ritchie dreams he made. The debut work of former Ritchie cohort Matthew Vaughn, it’s then up-and-coming cast – fronted by Daniel Craig and featuring a young Tom Hardy – tackle the tale of a suave, middle-class drug dealer who gets caught up in a brutal conspiracy.
Layer Cake combines quintessential British wit and comedy with a grounding dose of shocking and visceral drama. Mysterious, ambitious, and compelling.