Got to love those Brits. They dominated the seas, then they traded their oars for guitars and dominated pop music, and now they are second to none in the film industry. With hundreds of movies produced each year and a total spend of $7.6 Billion in 2021, there’s great quality rolling out of the British Isles. As a non-British Anglophile, myself, I deeply enjoy the accent, the level of acting, and the story depth of a British movie. With that in mind, I revisited a few classics that haven’t aged a bit, and they still made for a jolly good time.
Shakespeare in Love
Shakespeare in Love is a British-American production so it will provide for a soft landing. A perfect starter. The movie, by British director John Madden and released in 1998, is a dramedy against the backdrop of England in the Romantic period. It’s a love story between famous playwright William Shakespeare, impersonated by Ralph Fiennes, and Viola de Lesseps, played by Gwyneth Paltrow, with Colin Firth and Judi Dench in supporting roles. The film received seven Oscars and was the ninth highest grossing film production of the year.
Don’t look for a history lesson because the film is rife with historical inaccuracies and the love story with Viola never actually happened. Instead, enjoy it for the enchantment of a modern-told classic love story and the excellent cast.
Set against the backdrop of a coal-mining town in the Great Britain of Margaret Thatcher, a young boy discovers a passion for ballet dancing, much to the disapproval of his widower father and older brother. The plot alone holds promise of an emotional story and a great film. Main actors Jamie Bell, Gary Lewis, and Julie Walters, who delivers stellar acting work as Billy’s ballet teacher.
The 2000 adaptation of a play by Lee Hall was directed by Stephen Daldry. Close to 2,000 boys auditioned for the role of Billy, but Jamie Bell was chosen for his acting skills and presence, and possibly also because he’s been dancing ballet and other dance styles in real life since the age of 6. Jamie Bell is also originally from the area the movie is set in.
If you’re looking for a social movie with lots of inspiration and a beautiful storyline then give Billy Elliot a try.
Pride and Prejudice
The 2005 film adaptation of Pride & Prejudice, one of Jane Austen’s most famous novels and previously turned into a play, a BBC series, and a 1940 movie, was directed by British director Joe Wright. The movie starred Keira Knightley and Matthew MacFadyen in the lead roles. Very much in line with Austen’s usual critique of the 18th century English landed gentry, it tells the story of Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy who fall in love but are quickly conflicted over their differences in social class.
Watch this movie if you are into 18th century social dramas with a touch of humor. Fun fact, Keira Knightley wasn’t the director’s first choice, thinking she was too pretty for the role. But allegedly, when he met her, he looked at her and admitted she’d be great in the role of Elizabeth.
That’s it. If you are ready to take a break from Hollywood or the stock video based content on YouTube, then you won’t go far wrong with any of these three movies.