Ready the popcorn! The UK film industry knows how to sell its unique brand of Britishness to the world. They put their quirky sense of humor, stunning architecture, and exquisite countryside center stage. Nothing can match experiencing the UK first-hand but a great movie can act as a trailer for your future travels. In the meantime, curl up on the couch and enjoy one of these British classics.
1. “Four Weddings and a Funeral”, 1994
Hugh Grant, Andie MacDowell, Kristin Scott Thomas
No list of UK films is complete without at least one Richard Curtis movie. Four Weddings was the film that set off a wave of successful British rom-coms. While many followed, none can quite match the charm of this classic. Hugh Grant plays our bumbling hero, Charles. At a wedding in Somerset commitment-phobe, Charles meets Carrie, a mysterious American beauty. A romance of chance meetings and missed opportunities follows. There are more weddings, a funeral, and a lot of outrageous humor along the way.
2. “Trainspotting”, 1996
Ewan McGregor, Kelly Macdonald, Robert Carlyle
If you’re after something a bit grittier, then try this 90s classic on. The British Film Institute voted Trainspotting the tenth best British film of the 20th-century. This movie shows the less genteel side of elegant Edinburgh. If you thought this Scottish city was all historic castles and Georgian architecture, then think again. Follow a wild cast of characters as they deal with love, addiction, and life on the edge. This might not be the most cheerful subject matter but this is high-octane entertainment with a soundtrack to match. The movie features an incredible mix of 70s pop, 90s techno, and Britpop.
3. “Notting Hill”, 1999
Hugh Grant, Julia Roberts
Okay, so no list of British movies is complete without at least two Richard Curtis films. No one does quintessential British humor better. Set in the upmarket London neighborhood of Notting Hill, Hugh Grant plays an unassuming bookshop owner, Will Thacker. Will doesn’t realize he’s looking for love until a chance encounter with movie star, Anna Scott, played by Julia Roberts. This charming romance is like a love letter to West London with much of it set near Portobello Market. Why not go on a walking tour of this colorful area on your next trip to London?
4. “Pride and Prejudice”, 2005
Keira Knightley, Matthew MacFadyen, Rosamund Pike
Director Joe Wright’s adaptation of Jane Austen’s flawless masterpiece brings the romance of Regency England to life. Follow our spirited heroine, Elizabeth Bennet as she struggles with her love for the arrogant and withdrawn Mr. Darcy. The film’s backdrop features sweeping views of the English countryside. There are also many stunning shots of grand British houses including the neo-classical wonder, Chatsworth House.
5 “Skyfall”, 2012
Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem
If romance isn’t your thing but you’re craving a little action, look no further than this outing from 007. Watch as the ultimate British hero battles his foes in exotic locations all over the world as well as home in England. You have explosions right in the heart of central London, and a heart-stopping chase through abandoned London Underground tunnels. If this wasn’t enough, the grand finale takes place in the majestic Scottish Highlands. It’s an adventure guaranteed to get your adrenaline pumping.
6. “Pride”, 2014
Bill Nighy, Imelda Staunton
Travel to the Welsh Valleys with this charming comedy, set during the miner’s strikes of the 1980s. Pride is the true story of how the lesbian and gay community and Welsh miners came together to fight adversity. This was a time when members of the gay community were victims of much discrimination. They recognized that the miners were also facing challenges and raised money on their behalf. It’s a film about how people from different backgrounds can find a common cause. This movie is big on fun and high on the feel-good factor with plenty of risqué humor thrown in.
7. “Far From the Madding Crowd”, 2015
Carey Mulligan, Matthias Schoenaerts
Film buffs might prefer the 1967 adaptation starring Julie Christie and Terence Stamp but this recent version does Thomas Hardy’s novel more than justice. Carey Mulligan plays the headstrong heroine, Bathsheba Everdene. Bathsheba struggles with the demands of managing the farm she inherits. She also has difficulty maintaining her independence in male-dominated 19th-century society. She makes a few mistakes along the way, particularly in the pursuit of love. But the real star of the show is the cinematography. The film features many extraordinary views of the South Coast of England. The Dorset coastline never looked so good.
Brush up on your best British accent and escape to England’s rolling green fields without having to leave your home. If you want even more travel inspiration for your next great adventure then sign up for our newsletter.