Classic British Films.

by alexanderdavies-99382 | created - 21 Feb 2019 | updated - 3 weeks ago | Public

A whole variety of genres throughout the decades, starring some of the biggest actors from the British acting industry. The likes of Alec Guinness, John Mills and Robert Newton brought the incredible storylines to life, not to mention the directors who would place their own style on their films. Apart from the classics, my list also includes some of the more obscure titles.

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1. A Matter of Life and Death (1946)

PG | 104 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy

A British wartime aviator who cheats death must argue for his life before a celestial court.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger | Stars: David Niven, Kim Hunter, Robert Coote, Kathleen Byron

Votes: 19,943

A defining film of the times.

2. The Fallen Idol (1948)

Approved | 95 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

88 Metascore

A butler working in a foreign embassy in London falls under suspicion when his wife accidentally falls to her death, the only witness being an impressionable young boy.

Director: Carol Reed | Stars: Ralph Richardson, Michèle Morgan, Sonia Dresdel, Bobby Henrey

Votes: 7,901 | Gross: $0.34M

3. Green for Danger (1946)

Not Rated | 91 min | Comedy, Crime, Mystery

After the nurse who declares that a recent surgical death was a murder dies also, an enigmatic Scotland Yard inspector arrives to investigate.

Director: Sidney Gilliat | Stars: Alastair Sim, Sally Gray, Trevor Howard, Leo Genn

Votes: 4,486

Although billed amongst the supporting cast, Alastair Sim steals the film.

4. Brighton Rock (1948)

Not Rated | 92 min | Crime, Drama

In Brighton in 1935, small-time gang leader Pinkie Brown murders a journalist and later desperately tries to cover his tracks but runs into trouble with the police, a few witnesses and a rival gang.

Director: John Boulting | Stars: Richard Attenborough, Hermione Baddeley, William Hartnell, Harcourt Williams

Votes: 5,324 | Gross: $0.22M

Raw, unyielding and unforgettable!

5. The Sound Barrier (1952)

Approved | 109 min | Adventure, Drama, Romance

Fictionalized story of British aerospace engineers solving the problem of supersonic flight.

Director: David Lean | Stars: Ralph Richardson, Ann Todd, Nigel Patrick, John Justin

Votes: 1,748

6. The 39 Steps (1959)

Approved | 93 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

In London, a diplomat accidentally becomes involved in the death of a British agent who's after a spy ring that covets British military secrets.

Director: Ralph Thomas | Stars: Kenneth More, Taina Elg, Brenda de Banzie, Barry Jones

Votes: 1,887

A good film in itself but Kenneth More is superb.

7. Paradise Lagoon (1957)

Approved | 94 min | Comedy

In 1905, Lord Henry Loam, his family and his servants are shipwrecked on a deserted island where the survival of the fittest renders the rigid class system irrelevant.

Director: Lewis Gilbert | Stars: Kenneth More, Diane Cilento, Cecil Parker, Sally Ann Howes

Votes: 1,399

Fun from beginning to end.

8. Genevieve (1953)

Approved | 86 min | Comedy

Two British couples pit their vintage automobiles against each other in an exciting cross-country race.

Director: Henry Cornelius | Stars: Dinah Sheridan, John Gregson, Kay Kendall, Kenneth More

Votes: 2,836

An engaging comedy. A classic.

9. Island Rescue (1951)

Approved | 87 min | Comedy, Drama, War

During WW2, British Major Valentine Moreland is tasked with rescuing a prized pedigree cow from the German-occupied Channel Island of Armorel.

Director: Ralph Thomas | Stars: David Niven, Glynis Johns, George Coulouris, Barry Jones

Votes: 251

10. The Heart of the Matter (1953)

Approved | 100 min | Drama

An unhappily married British security officer stationed in Sierra Leone during World War II falls in love with a young Austrian woman and starts an affair. He soon starts feeling guilty.

Director: George More O'Ferrall | Stars: Trevor Howard, Elizabeth Allan, Maria Schell, Denholm Elliott

Votes: 376

11. The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943)

Not Rated | 163 min | Drama, Romance, War

From the Boer War through World War II, a soldier rises through the ranks in the British military.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger | Stars: Roger Livesey, Deborah Kerr, Anton Walbrook, James McKechnie

Votes: 13,368

12. Black Narcissus (1947)

Not Rated | 101 min | Drama

86 Metascore

A group of nuns struggle to establish a convent in the Himalayas, while isolation, extreme weather, altitude, and culture clashes all conspire to drive the well-intentioned missionaries mad.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger | Stars: Deborah Kerr, David Farrar, Flora Robson, Jenny Laird

Votes: 22,362

13. Blithe Spirit (1945)

Not Rated | 96 min | Comedy, Fantasy

A man and his second wife are haunted by the ghost of his first wife.

Director: David Lean | Stars: Rex Harrison, Constance Cummings, Kay Hammond, Margaret Rutherford

Votes: 5,933

14. Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1939)

Unrated | 114 min | Drama, Romance

An aged teacher and former headmaster of a boarding school recalls his career and his personal life over the decades.

Directors: Sam Wood, Sidney Franklin | Stars: Robert Donat, Greer Garson, Terry Kilburn, John Mills

Votes: 9,836

Donat's Oscar is well deserved.

15. The Ghost Goes West (1935)

Approved | 95 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Horror

A haunted Scottish castle is dismantled and transported to Florida, bringing the family ghost along with it.

Director: René Clair | Stars: Robert Donat, Jean Parker, Eugene Pallette, Elsa Lanchester

Votes: 1,686

16. An Inspector Calls (1954)

Approved | 80 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

When a young girl is found dead an inspector is sent to investigate a prosperous Yorkshire household. It emerges that each member of the family has a guilty secret - each one is partly responsible for her death.

Director: Guy Hamilton | Stars: Alastair Sim, Arthur Young, Olga Lindo, Brian Worth

Votes: 3,304

No other version has matched this adaptation.

17. Inspector Hornleigh (1939)

Not Rated | 76 min | Comedy, Mystery

Inspector Hornleigh and his assistant Sergeant Bingham are called in to investigate a murder that involves the theft of government secrets.

Director: Eugene Forde | Stars: Gordon Harker, Alastair Sim, Miki Hood, Wally Patch

Votes: 207

The two leads are effective and the story has intrigue.

18. Inspector Hornleigh on Holiday (1939)

77 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

It comes as no surprise when Inspector Hornleigh and his assistant, Sergeant Bingham, go to enjoy the winds and rains on their annual seaside vacation, when they run into a "busman's ... See full summary »

Director: Walter Forde | Stars: Gordon Harker, Alastair Sim, Linden Travers, Wally Patch

Votes: 168

19. Mail Train (1941)

Not Rated | 87 min | Crime, Drama

The plot pits Hornleigh and Bingham against a clever gang of Nazi espionage agents. Most of the action takes place aboard a speeding train, with our heroes never quite certain who can be ... See full summary »

Director: Walter Forde | Stars: Gordon Harker, Alastair Sim, Phyllis Calvert, Edward Chapman

Votes: 212

20. The Secret Four (1939)

Approved | 85 min | Thriller, Drama, Mystery

The Four Men of the title are British WWI veterans who decide to work secretly against enemies of the country. They aren't above a bit of murder or sabotage to serve their ends, but they ... See full summary »

Director: Walter Forde | Stars: Hugh Sinclair, Griffith Jones, Francis L. Sullivan, Frank Lawton

Votes: 133

Overall, effective story and solidly made film.

21. The Missing Million (1942)

84 min | Crime, Thriller

A millionaire disappears after a blackmail attempt by criminal, The Panda. His sister tries to help the police find him and deal with an aftermath of murder and mystery.

Director: Philip Brandon | Stars: Linden Travers, John Warwick, Patricia Hilliard, John Stuart

Votes: 68

Very poor.

22. The Terror (1938)

64 min | Crime, Mystery

A mysterious criminal mastermind plots a spectacular gold robbery, then after the robbery is completed he makes sure his gang is caught by the police, keeps the gold and disappears. After ... See full summary »

Director: Richard Bird | Stars: Wilfrid Lawson, Bernard Lee, Arthur Wontner, Linden Travers

Votes: 210

Underrated Edgar Wallace adaptation.

23. Query (1945)

Approved | 87 min | Thriller

Tom Masterick, a dock worker, is wrongfully convicted of a murder charge. His death sentence is commuted to a long prison term. When released as an old man, he vows to find the real killer.

Director: Montgomery Tully | Stars: William Hartnell, Jimmy Hanley, Chili Bouchier, Brefni O'Rorke

Votes: 26

24. The Blue Lamp (1950)

Approved | 84 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

The daily routine of two London Policemen is interrupted by a killer.

Director: Basil Dearden | Stars: Jack Warner, Dirk Bogarde, Jimmy Hanley, Robert Flemyng

Votes: 1,679

Shocking for its time.

25. Train of Events (1949)

Approved | 88 min | Drama

A train disaster is told as four short stories to give character studies of the people involved, how it will affect them, and how they deal with it.

Directors: Sidney Cole, Charles Crichton, Basil Dearden | Stars: Jack Warner, Gladys Henson, Susan Shaw, Patric Doonan

Votes: 320

Missed opportunities.

26. The Human Monster (1939)

Approved | 73 min | Crime, Horror, Mystery

Insurance agent-physician collects on policies of men murdered by a disfigured resident of the home for the blind where he acts as doctor-on-call.

Director: Walter Summers | Stars: Bela Lugosi, Hugh Williams, Greta Gynt, Edmon Ryan

Votes: 1,160

27. Death at a Broadcast (1934)

71 min | Mystery

When an actor is murdered at the BBC Inspector Gregory finds he has many suspects to choose from.

Director: Reginald Denham | Stars: Ian Hunter, Austin Trevor, Lilian Oldland, Henry Kendall

Votes: 178

Nothing remarkable.

28. The House in Marsh Road (1960)

70 min | Horror, Thriller

A novelist and his sexy lover plot to kill the novelist's wife so he can inherit her fortune including her house that happens to be haunted.

Director: Montgomery Tully | Stars: Tony Wright, Patricia Dainton, Sandra Dorne, Derek Aylward

Votes: 432

29. The League of Gentlemen (1960)

Unrated | 116 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

A disgruntled veteran recruits a group of disgraced colleagues to perform a bank robbery with military precision.

Director: Basil Dearden | Stars: Jack Hawkins, Nigel Patrick, Roger Livesey, Richard Attenborough

Votes: 4,006

30. The Third Key (1956)

Not Rated | 96 min | Drama, Mystery

Police drama. The sleuths of Scotland Yard try to solve a series of burglaries.

Director: Charles Frend | Stars: Jack Hawkins, John Stratton, Dorothy Alison, Michael Brooke

Votes: 652

The "documentary" style of filming, suits the film well.

31. Gideon of Scotland Yard (1958)

Approved | 91 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama

A typical day for Scotland Yard Chief Inspector George Gideon consists of working on several cases at the same time.

Director: John Ford | Stars: Jack Hawkins, Anna Lee, Anna Massey, Andrew Ray

Votes: 1,138

32. Mr. Denning Drives North (1951)

Approved | 93 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

A British aircraft engineer accidentally kills his daughter's nasty foreign boyfriend and then tries to cover up his deed.

Director: Anthony Kimmins | Stars: John Mills, Phyllis Calvert, Eileen Moore, Sam Wanamaker

Votes: 426

Disappointing.

33. West 11 (1963)

93 min | Crime, Drama

This Michael Winner directed film looks into life at Notting Hill, London, then a seedy slum. A down on his luck Joe Beckett (Alfred Lynch) is recruited into crime by Richard Dyce (Eric Portman).

Director: Michael Winner | Stars: Alfred Lynch, Kathleen Breck, Eric Portman, Diana Dors

Votes: 186

Totally forgettable.

34. Cover Girl Killer (1959)

Not Rated | 61 min | Crime, Thriller

Set in the sleazy world of a backstreet 1950s nightclub, a serial-killer is believed to be murdering the models of a glamour magazine.

Director: Terry Bishop | Stars: Harry H. Corbett, Felicity Young, Spencer Teakle, Victor Brooks

Votes: 350

Effective and quite suspenseful.

35. Trent's Last Case (1952)

Approved | 90 min | Mystery

When a wealthy business man is found dead reporter Philip Trent is sent to investigate. Against the police conclusions, he suspects the assumed suicide is really a murder, and becomes ... See full summary »

Director: Herbert Wilcox | Stars: Michael Wilding, Margaret Lockwood, Orson Welles, John McCallum

Votes: 355

36. Three Cases of Murder (1955)

99 min | Crime, Drama, Fantasy

A trilogy of fantastic stories involving murder and the supernatural.

Directors: David Eady, George More O'Ferrall, Wendy Toye, Orson Welles | Stars: Orson Welles, John Gregson, Elizabeth Sellars, Emrys Jones

Votes: 815

37. Time Without Pity (1957)

85 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

The day before a young man is to be executed for killing his girlfriend, his alcoholic father shows up to try to prove his innocence.

Director: Joseph Losey | Stars: Michael Redgrave, Ann Todd, Leo McKern, Paul Daneman

Votes: 1,271

38. Trouble in the Sky (1960)

88 min | Drama, Thriller

In Britain, at the dawn of jet-powered commercial aviation, an aircraft manufacturer tries to shift the blame from mechanical failure to pilot error when its newest jet airliner has a series of accidents.

Director: Charles Frend | Stars: Michael Craig, Peter Cushing, Bernard Lee, Elizabeth Seal

Votes: 282

Tedious film, despite the excellent cast.

39. The Servant (1963)

Unrated | 116 min | Drama

93 Metascore

Upper-class Tony hires servant Hugo Barrett, who turns out to have a hidden agenda.

Director: Joseph Losey | Stars: Dirk Bogarde, Sarah Miles, Wendy Craig, James Fox

Votes: 10,457 | Gross: $0.04M

40. A Taste of Honey (1961)

Not Rated | 101 min | Drama

A pregnant teenage girl must fend for herself when her mother remarries, leaving the girl with only a new male friend for support.

Director: Tony Richardson | Stars: Rita Tushingham, Dora Bryan, Robert Stephens, Murray Melvin

Votes: 5,021

41. A Kind of Loving (1962)

Not Rated | 112 min | Drama, Romance

After his girlfriend's pregnancy forces him to marry her, a young man must adjust to his new life and contend with his domineering mother-in-law.

Director: John Schlesinger | Stars: Alan Bates, June Ritchie, Thora Hird,