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Top 10 Movies You Didn't Know Are British


Written by Andrea Buccino Hold up Hollywood, the Brits are coming! Welcome to WatchMojo UK, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Movies You Didn't Know Are British. For this list, we’re looking at films that, thanks to their setting, themes or lead actors, you might have forgotten (or just not have realised) are actually British. To qualify for this countdown, every entry must be at least part-British production, be primarily filmed in Britain, or have a British director at the helm. Special thanks to our user RichardFB for submitting the idea on our interactive suggestion tool: WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Top 10 Movies You Didn't Know Are British


Hold up Hollywood, the Brits are coming! Welcome to WatchMojo UK, and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Movies You Didn't Know Are British.

For this list, we’re looking at films that, thanks to their setting, themes or lead actors, you might have forgotten (or just not have realised) are actually British. To qualify for this countdown, every entry must be at least part-British production, be primarily filmed in Britain, or have a British director at the helm.

#10: “American Honey” (2016)

Andrea Arnold has made a name for herself with her honest, unrelenting eye on British life, so this film simply had to be British - even with a title so prominently centred stateside, and a storyline focussed on an American road trip. As well as being written and directed by the talented filmmaker behind “Fish Tank”, outside of cast and setting “American Honey” is a largely British-made film - with the likes of Film4 and the BFI among the companies that produced it. Having premiered at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, the movie also took home the coveted Jury Prize.

#9: “Ex Machina” (2014)

Alex Garland’s directorial debut, this complex sci-fi feature about the implications of artificial intelligence was nominated for a couple of Oscars, including Best Original Screenplay. It won the statuette for Visual Effects, as well as a slew of other awards on both sides of the pond. Shot almost entirely at Britain’s own Pinewood studios, “Ex Machina” follows in the great tradition of British sci-fi, more concerned with moral ambiguities than all-action set pieces. With Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander and Oscar Isaac fronting the cast, it’s clearly a global affair, but born out of Blighty!

#8: “Brazil” (1985)

A classic of dystopian satire, Terry Gilliam's masterpiece is often mistaken as an American production, for a number of reasons... Firstly, both the U.S. and international distributors were American companies. Then there’s the fact that Gilliam, while a member of Monty Python, is US-born. Add to that the appearance in the film of good ol’ Robert De Niro, and you can see why some audiences misplace the movie’s nationality. But, we’ll clear this one up: “Brazil” is a British film. So much so that in 1999 the BFI voted it the 54th greatest British film of all time!

#7: “Moon” (2009)

Another intimate sci-fi flick, “Moon” was actually nominated for the BAFTA Award for Outstanding British Film. Co-written and directed by Duncan Jones (AKA David Bowie's son), the movie has only two things that are unmistakably American: Sam Rockwell as lead, and the voice of Kevin Spacey. Seeing as those are the only main characters we get in this story, not realising you’re watching a British production is a pretty easy mistake to make. But, it was actually filmed in just 33 days, at Shepperton Studios in Surrey.

#6: “Hellraiser” (1987)

This one’s an interesting case. A British production, written and directed by English cult author Clive Barker, “Hellraiser” was originally set in Britain - like “The Hellbound Heart”, Barker’s novella from which it is adapted. The producers, though, convinced him to relocate the story to the States after filming had already been done, so a significant amount of dubbing was needed to lose a few British accents. And some establishing shots were re-filmed. But even after all of that, “Hellraiser”’s true soul remains one of unmistakable British horror.

#5: “Dredd” (2012)

Perhaps it's not surprising that a film based on one of Britain's most iconic characters would end up being, well, British. But after the all-American, Sylvester Stallone-starring failed adaptation from ‘95, and with it being set in the States and filmed in South Africa, it’s easy to forget this movie’s British roots. But “Dredd” was actually written and produced by “Ex Machina” director Alex Garland, was directed by Englishman Pete Travis, and is based on the Judge Dredd comics which have a history of British publishers. And that… makes it a very British film indeed.

#4: “Full Metal Jacket” (1987)

Stanley Kubrick’s tale of war and control, despite dealing with a very American story (and having the first half set in a US marine boot camp and the second half in Vietnam), was entirely shot in Britain and produced by Kubrick’s own British company. By 1987 the director had lived in the UK for the best part of three decades, and word has it he really didn't like travelling. So what else to do but recreate parts of South Vietnam using the disused Beckton Gasworks in London! The results were magnificent.

#3: “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” (2017)

There’s no doubt that this one takes place in the States, unless we missed something about Missouri being in Yorkshire. But while it also sports a large (and brilliant) American cast, “Three Billboards” was written, produced and directed by British-Irish playwright and filmmaker Martin McDonagh. And it can and should be considered a British production. One of the few films to ever win both the Best Film and the Outstanding British Film awards at the BAFTAs, “Three Billboards” also scored numerous nominations and wins worldwide.

#2: “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb” (1964)

He’s one of the most influential American directors of all time, but once Stanley Kubrick moved to Britain in 1961, he never returned to the States. So, all of his films made after that point (including “The Shining” and “Eyes Wide Shut”) were primarily shot in the UK… So it could be argued that all of them are British in their own way. As for “Dr. Strangelove”, it feels even more British thanks to its iconic Peter Sellers’ performance. Production isn’t just location, sure, but winning the Best British Film BAFTA in ’64 confirms this classic Cold War satire as one of our own!

#1: “Alien” (1979)

Raise eyebrows if you please, but this sci-fi epic is straight outta the UK. True, 20th Century Fox produced it - but through its British subsidiary. It was entirely filmed in Britain, with principal photography taking place in Surrey and miniature filming in Berkshire. And it was directed by Ridley Scott, a British director, with a largely British cast and crew - including John Hurt at the centre of that scene. So all things considered, calling the original “Alien” a British film isn’t that much of a stretch, after all.
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