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Top 10 Movies Set in London

VO: Karen Young WRITTEN BY: Georgie Grier
Who knew one city could produce such cinematic magic? Welcome to WatchMojoUK and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Movies Set in London. For this list, we'll be looking at films not only set in London, but those where London is so engrained into the fabric of the movie that you can't imagine it being set anywhere else. Special thanks to our user WordToTheWes for submitting the idea on our interactive suggestion tool: WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Top 10 Movies Set in London


Who knew one city could produce such cinematic magic? Welcome to WatchMojoUK and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the Top 10 Movies Set in London.

For this list, we'll be looking at films not only set in London, but those where London is so engrained into the fabric of the movie that you can't imagine it being set anywhere else.

#10: “Quadrophenia” (1979)

This film took us back to the 1960s, when London was full of Mods and Rockers, and Britain was steadily establishing itself as the epicentre of rock and pop music. With the likes of Phil Daniels and the then-rising star Sting leading the way, it’s a movie that made a permanent mark on the city – celebrating its sub-cultures, and setting it all to a seriously good soundtrack – courtesy of The Who. What’s more of a tribute to London than riding on the back of a scooter down its streets and navigating the ups and downs of teenage life? It’s a bit of a history lesson at the same time.

#9: “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” (2007)

You just don't see a lot of musical horror films, these days – do ya. Still, it's hard to miss Tim Burton’s rendition of “Sweeney Todd”, with Johnny Depp front and centre. The dark, haunting backstreets of the Big Smoke serve as Todd’s playground here. And while music and singing play a large part in this production, don’t be fooled; the horror still very much exists. A pie-making shop and barber company don’t often go hand in hand, after all. The film is set in 1846, and seeing the city in a new, much darker, light is an enjoyable and unique experience.

#8: “Dirty Pretty Things” (2002)

This early noughties film, starring the brilliant Audrey Tautou and Chiwetel Ejiofor, follows the story of two immigrants in the capital. One, a taxi driver. The other, a hotel cleaner. What really catches the eye is that “Dirty Pretty Things” is filmed in a documentary style way and as such, it looks at London without the glitz and glamour that you might find in other productions. A Richard Curtis comedy it certainly is not. Instead, this thriller looks at the real complexities of the city through the eyes of some incredibly interesting characters.

#7: “V for Vendetta” (2005)

A political thriller set in a dystopian world, this movie tells the story of an anarchist freedom fighter who tries to start a revolution. The cast is led by big names like Natalie Portman and Hugo Weaving, but “V for Vendetta” is by no means just another Hollywood production. It’s original, unpredictable and well and truly British – with most of its more pivotal scenes playing out in London. A movie that’s full of fireworks, drama, top notch acting, and a masked vigilante you do not want to mess with, it’s a comic book adaptation unlike any other.

#6: “Snatch” (2000)

The British gangster flick can sometimes feel an acquired taste, but “Snatch” set all new standards for glorious grittiness and cut-throat comedy. With its rich and varied cast ranging from big budget A-lister Brad Pitt to ex-football hardman Vinnie Jones, it charts the comings and goings of London’s criminal underworld. And, while its tongue is set firmly in its cheek, the film doesn’t shy away from on-the-money fight scenes involving appropriately unhinged characters and an endless stream of good ol’ fashioned British swear words. For Guy Ritchie fans, it’s one of his finest movies.

#5: “Shaun of the Dead” (2004)

Edgar Wright’s horror comedy follows the wholly unexpected story of Shaun, a down-on-his-luck Londoner who gets caught in the middle of a zombie uprising. Naturally. And, as the title character and his mates (and David) search for some semblance of safety, they wind up heading to the Winchester – Shaun’s local pub. With cricket bats in hand and a selection of beers on tap, the rest is a manic fight for survival featuring a dart to the head, a rifle Big Al was rightabout, and Queen on the jukebox. It’s not exactly your standard Friday night knees up, but it’s bloody brilliant.

#4: “Bridget Jones’s Diary” (2001)

As with “Love Actually”, “Notting Hill”, and “About a Boy”, “Bridget Jones's Diary” has the requisite Hugh Grant appearance, but it's also the film that put the comic perils of thirty-something life in London firmly on the movie map. Bridget navigates friends, family, jobs and relationships in the city... and it sure isn’t easy. Whatever setbacks she faces, though, she somehow overcomes them with style (and most of her dignity still intact). Between Bridget, Daniel and Colin Firth’s Darcy, it’s like a movie love triangle 101: the dos and (definitely) don’ts of looking for that perfect someone.

#3: “The Elephant Man” (1980)

This early '80s historical drama sees John Hurt play the severely deformed John Merrick, in one of Hurt’s most iconic roles. When doctor Frederick Treves, played by Anthony Hopkins, finds Merrick featured in a local ‘freak show’, he sets about helping the man out of his desperate situation. But, there are countless challenges to overcome, and Merrick’s story becomes perhaps one of the bleakest movies ever set in London. Given that “The Elephant Man” is also filmed in black and white, and it’s based on a real-life story, it can feel a difficult watch… But few films hit such emotional heights.

#2: “Sherlock Holmes” (2009)

This was hardly the first time the classic literary character (and the crime-ridden world he resides in) was brought to life for the big screen, but Guy Ritchie’s stylish take on the classic injects all new oomph into the story. With Robert Downey Jr as Holmes and Jude Law as his trusty partner Dr John Watson, not only was this film (and its sequel) a commercial success, but it also won critical acclaim across the board. And honestly, what better way to see the London of old than to witness it through the blockbuster lens of a Hollywood whodunnit?

#1: “Mary Poppins” (1964)

Few film characters feel as quintessentially British as Mary Poppins, the no-nonsense nanny sent to bring an Edwardian London family closer together. And, while the Disney musical was famously filmed in California, with the London scenes as painted backdrops, the English city setting is a major part of the magic. Of course, Julie Andrews takes the lead role, for an all-singing, all-dancing spoonful of cinema that’s guaranteed to get you smiling. Leaving us all with an unrelenting urge to fly kites, there’s only one word for it really…
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