Films about Britain

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This topic contains 40 replies, has 15 voices, and was last updated by  jon_uk 2 years, 8 months ago.

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  • #15484

    Diane
    Participant

    Anyone have any recommendations for good (and bad) films on Britain? I'm hoping to compile a list and watch them over my summer break, and maybe start a film review section on the forum. Feedback?

  • #17474

    Tim the Enchanter
    Participant

    Hi Diane,I thinking you came to the right place!  ;)What type of films?  Fictional films set in Britain?  Historical movies?  Documentaries?I think we can come up with a good list for you for any catagory!

  • #17475

    Liam
    Participant

    Billy elliot paints a pretty good picture of life for miners in the strikes (the storys irrelevant to british history though)

  • #17476

    Diane
    Participant

    I suppose starting with mostly fictional/mainstream films would be a good place to start. These films will be easiest to find and of most interest to me (likely others too!). Probably a good place to start would be what we've covered in the podcast so far and the stuff that will be coming up soon (Prehistory & the Roman period, and the Dark Ages). I have watched these four in the past month, so I suppose we could leave them off the list. Centurion (2010)The Eagle (2011)King Arthur (2004)Tristan + Isolde (2006)Documentaries would also be very cool! Except they might be harder for me to find.

  • #17477

    Tim the Enchanter
    Participant

    Well, those are historical fictions. (Some much more fiction than others) As long as you remember they are hollywood movies and not all that historically accurate, I'd suggest these similar movies.  They should be easy to find…

    • Robin Hood (The new one with Russell Crowe, not the Kevin Costner one...)
    • Braveheart
    • Pillars of the Earth (actually a 6-or-so part miniseries, but movie quality)
    • The Tudors (tv series)
    • Elizabeth
    • Elizabeth: The Golden Age
    • The Young Victoria
    • The King's Speech
    • The Queen

    These might be somewhat harder to find, unless you have Netflix or Lovefilm or want to get them online:

    • Ivanhoe (another miniseries)
    • The Madness of King George
    • The Lost Prince

    No, these are not entirely historically accurate, but they are good films on their own and I think they serve to promote greater interest in the subject.  Other suggestions?  Outside historical films, is there a type of film you like?  Comedy?  Drama?  Action?  Just anything with British accents?

  • #17478

    Anonymous

    I hate to disagree with better minds than mine but every film version of “Robin Hood” has been pretty awful. I agree the most recent version is the least bad but that is damning with faint praise. Dry as they are, anything produced by the BBC is good but, as noted before, some of them are tough to track down. “The First Churchills” is part of the reason I got sucked into an ongoing interest in British history. Good luck and I am sure I will think of better recommendations as my old brain allows.ee

  • #17479

    Diane
    Participant

    I just thought of some other historical films that depict Britain, the British, or British society: (NOT NECESSARILY GOOD FILMS!!!)   The Wind That Shakes the Barley (2006)... Excellent film!! Seriously, an absolute favourite!!  Amazing Grace (2006)  Atonement (2007)  Becoming Jane (2007)... I'm a James McAvoy fan, so I got over the flaws and major inaccuracies!   Lady Jane (1986)  Braveheart (1995)  Mrs. Brown (1997)  Shakespeare in Love (1998)  Tinker Tailor Toy Soldier (2011)  Titanic (1997)  Sherlocke Holmes (I cannot believe I'm including these but particularly the 2009 film shows Victorian London).  Almost anything starring Keira Knightly... she seems to have done a lot of historical British films.I suppose I could include the British overseas too:   The Painted Veil (2006)   The Patriot (2000) And then there are adaptations of British literature:   Any of the 10 000 adaptations of Jane Austen novels,  Any of the 10 000 adaptations of Shakespeare,  Any of the 10 000 adaptations of Dickens,  Jane Eyre (2011)   Dorian (2009)  Vanity Fair (2004)I'm open to all genres of mainstream film at this point:  drama and historical drama,  horror- just saw Daniel Radcliffe's The Woman in Black (2012)... creepy,   comedy- which I might add holds the distinction of producing the ONLY good (still not historically accurate) Robin Hood- Robin Hood Men in Tights (1993),   action/adventure,   war films- which I will confess I've seen a  lot of films on WWI and WWII from American, German, Japanese, Dutch, and French perspectives (Even the AWFUL AWFUL AWFUL Canadian film Passchendaele (2008)) but I can't think of any British-perspective war films off hand... I'm not counting War Horse (2011) because I'm trying to erase that film (which is more a drama anyways) from my memory. Truth be told, I'm not keen on science fiction; although, I didn't mind Lord Of the Rings (more fantasy I guess). I suppose the LOTR series would count as British literature- Tolkien was British, yes?Hope this helps get the juices flowing... I could definitely use some more films involving the British overseas and British war films but I'm open to all suggestions!

  • #17480

    Tim the Enchanter
    Participant

    I'm sorry people, I liked the newest Robin Hood.  I thought it was a decent film.  Cate Blanchet is always fun to watch.  I liked the actress who played Eleanor of Aquitaine.  I like the fact that the film had Eleanor of Aquitaine.  I liked how they tried to weave in Magna Carta, even if it was cheesy (Yes I know it didnt really happen that way, its a movie).  I dont love the movie, just thought it was good.  Certainly not as horrible as so many of the others.  But Robin Hood Men in Tights is a close second! :)

  • #17481

    Anonymous

    As I said, it was way better than any other of RH's and did have more semi-accurate moments. Having Richard I die where and how he actually did was good instead of coming to the rescue at the end and I too would listen to Ms Blanchette read the yellow pages. The last scenes on the beach reminded me, I'm afraid, of the end of the movie “Help” blended with “Saving Private Ryan”.  All that was missing was the channel swimmer seeking directions…and my house is made out of glass regarding my favorite movies. One of my favorite movies is the hard to find WWII war-horse “The Dam Busters” (Best not John Williams movie music ever.) What I like and what I can defend are two different things. As for movies from and of the British Isles, “Local Hero” is probably my favorite but it certainly has no “historical” perspective…ee

  • #17482

    peterjcharles
    Participant

    Heres an off the wall one with a historical connectionThere is an old B&W comedy film called 'Passport to Pimlico". Pimlico is an area of London near to Victoria and in this film the reisdents discover an acient charter that says that they are actually not part of England but belong to the Duchy of Burgendy. Thus they become an area sealed off from the rest of London. Initially it seems to be all profitable as they dont pay taxes etc but when they realise they have no police etc all sorts of undesirable people move in to take advantage.I guess the basis of the plot would not have been lost on Kings and lords from earleir times as there was a continuous swapping of allegiances.

  • #17483

    Anonymous

    All of the “Ealing” comedies are both wonderful and so, so British. Passport to Pimlico, Kind Hearts and Coronets and the Ladykillers are my favorites but there were numerous films put out between 1947 and 1957 by the Ealing Studios that are all fine. Alec Guiness shows up often and that is always a good thing. But maybe I am digressing too far?ee

  • #17484

    Captain Slack
    Participant

    The BEST Robin Hood film was The Adventures of Robin Hood.  It starred Errol Flynn, Olivia DeHaviland, Basil Rathbone, & Claude Rains.  None of the other adaptions even come close.  That said, the BBC did a series in the '80's starring Michael Pared that was excellent. Most of the movies I saw listed in this thread were fairly recent.  Some older one's I'd recommend both star Peter O'Toole as Henry I:  Beckett and The Lion in Winter.  A Man for All Seasons, which is about Sir Thomas Moore & Henry VIII is also good.  A documentary series I'd recommend is Monarchy, which is presented by David Starkey.  It covers the English Monarchy from Alfred the Great through to the House of Windsor.  Seasons 1 & 2 are on Netflix streaming, but I don't know about Season 3.

  • #17485

    anonymous
    Participant

    Oh my god, that's an awesome idea. You really should put that thread together.Try

    • Zulu (with Michael Caine)In which we serveA bridge too far (best WW2 film until Saving Private Ryan or Enemy at the Gates)Sink the Bismark (Black and White showing the true heroism of the Royal Navy, but also the courage of the eventually doomed Germans). My Grandfather was almost on the HMS Hoods fatal last cruise.Bridge on the River Kiwi. A reminder that the British also went through absolute hell in the Pacific.A Matter of Life and Death (David Niven and Richard Attenborough)The Charge of the Light Brigade (1968 Trevor Howard and John Gielgood)Kind Hearts and Coronets [1949] (A young Alec Guinness stars in a number of roles killing off heirs to the covered title)

    These are mostly Pinewood classics, made soon after the war or within 20 years so the actors often had experience and they were unashamedly British.

  • #17486

    Chris
    Participant

    Anyone have any recommendations for good (and bad) films on Britain? I'm hoping to compile a list and watch them over my summer break, and maybe start a film review section on the forum. Feedback?

    Diane, there are some great movie suggestions in the previous topic What are your favourite British movies and I think the film review section is a great idea. Is this something you will be including after you have compiled and seen all the movies you intend to watch over the summer?This has been difficult to answer as most of the films I would have suggested already have been suggested between yourself and Tim (and I like ALL of Tim's suggestions, my favourites being Pillars of the Earth, Elizabeth and The King's Speech, which was absolutely brilliant). You have covered a pretty good selection of movies already and the mention of Ealing comedies is definitely on my list of great British movies, most of which were set in present day at the time they were filmed so they are not historical in nature. Here are some of mine from the previous topic (in no particular order) plus a few others that have not yet been mentioned in this topic yet. Some are historical and some not:The Third ManMonty Python's Life of BrianTwo Way StretchToo May CrooksA Night too RememberThe Green ManLawrence of ArabiaHenry VThe BountySchool for ScoundrelsBattle of BritainAll Quiet on the Western FrontThe Italian JobSleuthThe Lavender Hill MobThe Wrong Arm of the LawHope and GloryThe MissionThe Hound of the BaskervillesAny of the Sharpe TV moviesNot great movies but worth watching to form your own opinion:Rob RoyKingdom of HeavenThe Other Boleyn GirlBlack DeathIroncladThere's loads of other great movies but they are not either about British culture/history or are produced by British film companies and therefore can't be included.

  • #17487

    Chris
    Participant

    I'm sorry people, I liked the newest Robin Hood.  I thought it was a decent film.  Cate Blanchet is always fun to watch.  I liked the actress who played Eleanor of Aquitaine.  I like the fact that the film had Eleanor of Aquitaine.  I liked how they tried to weave in Magna Carta, even if it was cheesy (Yes I know it didnt really happen that way, its a movie).  I dont love the movie, just thought it was good.  Certainly not as horrible as so many of the others.  But Robin Hood Men in Tights is a close second! :)

    I with you on this one Tim. I don't really like any other renditions of the Robin Hood saga that has been spewed out over the years except the latest version by Ridley Scott. This, I think, has been the best of the bunch even though some of the accents were dodgy (Not Cate's though because she is just a pleasure to watch in any movie). Many people are just way too bothered that a film is not historically accurate and they are quick to slate a movie because of this one thing alone. Who cares? It's just a movie. I bet half the people who say they don't like historically inaccurate movies secretly like something about them but they are too scared to admit it. I'll just say I don't like the Errol Flynn version because let's face it that too isn't exactly historically accurate but that's not the reason why I don't like it, it's just too garish and swashbuckling for my tastes. The best thing about that movie is Basil Rathbone playing Guy of Gisbourne and that's about it. And as for Men in Tights.......well, that was mostly awful but fun at the same time  ;D

  • #17488

    peterjcharles
    Participant

    The BEST Robin Hood film was The Adventures of Robin Hood.  It starred Errol Flynn, Olivia DeHaviland, Basil Rathbone, & Claude Rains.  None of the other adaptions even come close.  That said, the BBC did a series in the '80's starring Michael Pared that was excellent.

    Absolutely agree that this is the best Robin Hood ever

  • #17489

    Jamie
    Keymaster

    No mention of disneys Robin Hood with foxy maid Marion?  ;)

  • #17490

    Jonny the Grognard
    Participant

    No mention of disneys Robin Hood with foxy maid Marion?  ;)

    That film was awful. Just awful.

  • #17491

    Tim the Enchanter
    Participant

    No mention of disneys Robin Hood with foxy maid Marion?  ;)

    That film was awful. Just awful.

    No way. The disney version is wonderful.     

  • #17492

    Jamie
    Keymaster

    I might have to rethink this movie idea- the number of movies, documentaries and tv shows is growing exponentially; I don't think I can manage this all by my lonesome! Perhaps my fellow Anglophiles would like to form a "movie club"- like a book club, but based in the forums. We could all watch the same movie during a specific week, come online and discuss it, or watch different movies and offer our opinions!Feedback?

    That sounds like a lot of fun!  ... Unless it involves The Eagle.  ;)

  • #17493

    Diane
    Participant

    I would never subject anyone to the awfulness of The Eagle. Absolutely terrible.

  • #17494

    Jonny the Grognard
    Participant

    No mention of disneys Robin Hood with foxy maid Marion?  ;)

    That film was awful. Just awful.

    No way. The disney version is wonderful.   

    Little John is just baloo in clothes, the animation is not all that great and the plot gets very slow at points.

  • #17495

    Anonymous

    Oh, Come on. “The Eagle” is the best British historical film in which the lead is played by an ex-male stripper.  He does cover the whole emotional range from A to B and who needs historical accuracy anyway?

  • #17496

    peterjcharles
    Participant

    Oh, Come on. "The Eagle" is the best British historical film in which the lead is played by an ex-male stripper.  He does cover the whole emotional range from A to B and who needs historical accuracy anyway?

    The best British historical film in which the lead is played by an ex-male stripper sounds like a category at some film awards, although I would guess the nominations for it would be rather sparse

  • #17497

    Anonymous

    Sparse but then I would probably discover that Connery or Burton or one of the others whose first name is now “Sir” had been a stripper before they did Shakespeare…

  • #17498

    Jonny the Grognard
    Participant

    Sparse but then I would probably discover that Connery or Burton or one of the others whose first name is now "Sir" had been a stripper before they did Shakespeare...

    We've all been stripper at sometime in our lives

  • #17499

    Anonymous

    Some of us have been offered money to keep our clothes on…kind of strippers in reverse.

  • #17500

    Jonny the Grognard
    Participant

    Some of us have been offered money to keep our clothes on...kind of strippers in reverse.

    It's not something you should really be proud of.

  • #17501

    Anonymous

    …not so much proud as aware of the usual truism at nude beaches. The people that should be naked, aren't and the people that shouldn't be, are.  Most of us benefit from some coverage as we enter the last third of our three score and tenish years. I admire those with 4% body fat but I do not understand them…

  • #17502

    Jamie
    Keymaster

    I've moved the Film club discussion to it's own topic.  http://thebritishhistorypodcast.com/forum/index.php?topic=221.0

  • #17503

    Chris
    Participant

    That sounds like a lot of fun!  … Unless it involves The Eagle.  ;)

    I would never subject anyone to the awfulness of The Eagle. Absolutely terrible.

    I am going to have to watch this movie now simply because everyone hates it so much.....I am intrigued  ;)

  • #17504

    Jamie
    Keymaster

    I am going to have to watch this movie now simply because everyone hates it so much.....I am intrigued  ;)

    Don't do it!  You'll never get those hours of your life back!

  • #17505

    Chris
    Participant

    That makes me want to watch it all the more now Jamie just so I can join in on the 'I hate The Eagle movie' fan club. I know you mentioned the historical inaccuracies before now but what else is it that really riles you? The episode about the Ninth Legion in which you mentioned it was a while ago now and I can't remember. Did you hate 'Centurion' as much?

  • #17506

    Jamie
    Keymaster

    No, Centurion was significantly better than The Eagle.  It isn't the inaccuracies, though they certainly don't help, but rather that it just fails as a film entirely.  I was bored out of my mind watching it.  You really shouldn't be bored while watching an adventure movie.  ;)

  • #17507

    Chris
    Participant

    No, Centurion was significantly better than The Eagle.  It isn't the inaccuracies, though they certainly don't help, but rather that it just fails as a film entirely.  I was bored out of my mind watching it.  You really shouldn't be bored while watching an adventure movie.  ;)

    Very true! There are very few things I have turned off because they were so dire I couldn't bring myself to waste any more time watching it. The Eagle will be a test to see how long I last.I actually liked Centurion simply because it worked for me in a way where I wasn't expecting too much and that is what I got; I think it is better to be a doubter with movies and if it turns out to be better than you thought then that is a bonus, if it doesn't then you haven't lost anything. Strange how my girlfriend thinks I am a sceptic  ???  but I am usually not too disappointed generally speaking when it comes to movies, unless it is a steaming pile of manure of course!! Then I think like you and The Eagle....what a waste of 2 hours. The other reason why I like Centurion is because I liked Neil Marshall's Dog Soldiers and The Descent, which wasn't too bad either.

  • #17508

    drewster81
    Participant

    Big fan of Neil Marshall as well, Chris.  I could say more, but I've got a lot of catching up to do on the forum and the podcasts.  I didn't know there were new eps because iTunes wasn't downloading the eps.  Also, busy-ness.  I'm back, though!

  • #17509

    WhovianKate
    Participant

    and let's not forget Monty Python's Holy Grail, that's one of my faves.  There's a movie about Elizabeth I and the Earl of Essex (whose Christian name escapes me) that stars Bette Davis as the later-years ER, and Olivia deHaviland as one of her maids….completely cheesy but fun!

  • #17510

    historyTara
    Participant

    The Eagle was a disappointment for me because I really thought they had a great subject to work with but wasted it with how boring it was. Although I thought Jaime Bell was a bright spot in the movie, even though I still remember him in Billy Elliott. I did enjoy Centurion much more. Both movies did have some really good scenic shots.

  • #17511

    jrapoport
    Participant

    EXCALIBUR (1981)SINK THE BISMARCK (1941)

  • #17512

    Anonymous

    Only seen:1) Monty Python and the Holy Grail 5/5 2) Centurion 4.5/53) Braveheart  3/54) The Eagle .5/5The eagle is not good! I watched the whole movie, and I felt my IQ dropping like a rock. Giving it a .5 is pretty generous.

  • #17513

    jon_uk
    Participant

    Some of the best movies on British history were produced in the 60s and 70s with actors like Alec Guiness and Richard Harris and believe it or not were actually British movies! Try:CromwellBecketA Man for all seasonsAnne of a Thousand DaysThe Lion in Winter

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