UK Student Life homepage
Study, work or travel in the UK. British culture and life.
A-Z index
Message Board
Contact us
< Up
Britain / Films / Guide
Guide to watching British films
Films (c) Hemera Technologies Inc
  British films


This page lists some of the most famous British films. If you are studying English then watching films can be an entertaining way of improving your English listening skills and learning about British culture.

Back to top


Below is a selection of films with a British connection, together with the year they were released and a description of the type of film. They may have involved British producers/directors/actors/writers, or the stories may have been set (at least in part) in Britain. The films cover the period since the 1930s. If you click on the links you can read some reviews and, if you wish, can purchase the DVD.

The 39 Steps (1935): Mystery / Thriller
About A Boy (2002): Comedy / Drama; Alfie (1966): Drama; An American Werewolf In London (1981): Horror / Comedy
Barry Lyndon (1975): Drama / Romance; Bend It Like Beckham (2002): Comedy; Billy Elliot (2000): Drama; Billy Liar (1963): Comedy; Black Narcissus (1947): Drama; Blow Up (1966): Drama / Mystery; Brassed Off (1996): Comedy / Drama; Braveheart (1995): Action / Romance; Brazil (1985): Comedy; The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957): Drama; Bridget Jones's Diary (2000): Romance / Comedy; Brief Encounter (1945): Romance; Brighton Rock (1947): Thriller
Caravaggio (1986): Drama ; Carry On Up The Khyber (1968): Comedy; Casino Royale (2006): Action; Chariots of Fire (1981): Drama; Chicken Run (2000): Comedy / Family; Clockwise (1986): Comedy; A Clockwork Orange (1971): Drama; The Commitments (1991): Comedy / Drama; The Cruel Sea (1952): Drama; The Crying Game (1992): Drama
The Dam Busters (1955): Action; Darling (1965): Drama; The Day of the Jackal (1973): Thriller; Diamonds Are Forever (1971): Action; Die Another Day (2002): Action; Doctor Zhivago (1965): Drama / Romance; Don't Look Now (1973): Mystery / Horror; Dr. No (1962): Action; Dr. Strangelove (1964): Comedy; The Draughtsman's Contract (1982): Comedy / Drama
East Is East (1998): Comedy / Drama; Educating Rita (1983): Drama; The Elephant Man (1980): Drama; Elizabeth (1998): Drama; Emma (1996): Romance; The English Patient (1996): Romance / Drama; The Englishman Who Went Up A Hill But Came Down A Mountain (1995): Romance / Comedy; Entrapment (1999): Action / Thriller
Far From the Madding Crowd (1967): Drama; First Knight (1995): Action / Romance; A Fish Called Wanda (1988): Comedy; For Your Eyes Only (1981): Action; Four Weddings And A Funeral (1994): Comedy / Romance; The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981): Drama; From Russia with Love (1963): Action; The Full Monty (1997): Comedy
Gandhi (1982): Drama; Genevieve (1953): Comedy; Get Carter (1971): Action / Thriller; Gladiator (1999): Action / Drama; The Go-Between (1970): Drama; GoldenEye (1995): Action; Goldfinger (1964): Action; Goodbye Mr. Chips (1939): Drama; Gosford Park (2001): Drama; Great Expectations (1946): Drama; The Great St. Trinian's Train Robbery (1966): Comedy; Gregory's Girl (1980): Comedy
Hamlet (1948): Drama; A Hard Day's Night (1964): Musical / Comedy; Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001): Family; Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002): Family; Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004): Family; The Haunting (1999): Mystery / Horror; Henry V (1944): Drama; Highlander (1986): Action; Hilary And Jackie (1998): Drama; Hope and Glory (1987): Comedy / Drama; The House Of Mirth (2000): Romance; Howard's End (1992): Drama
An Ideal Husband (1999): Comedy; If.... (1968): Drama; The Importance of Being Earnest (1952); The Importance of Being Earnest (2002): Comedy; In Which We Serve (1942): Drama; The Ipcress File (1965): Thriller; Iris (2001): Drama; The Italian Job (1969): Action / Comedy
Johnny English (2003): Comedy
Kes (1969): Drama; The Killing Fields (1984): Drama; Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949): Comedy
The Lady Vanishes (1938): Mystery / Romance; The Ladykillers (1955): Comedy; Land Girls (1998): Drama; The Lavender Hill Mob (1951): Comedy; Lawrence of Arabia (1962): Action; Licence to Kill (1989): Action; The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943): Romance / Drama; Life is Sweet (1990): Comedy; Little Voice (1998): Comedy; Live and Let Die (1973): Action; Living Daylights (1987): Action; Local Hero (1983): Comedy; Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels (1998): Crime / Thriller; The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962): Drama; The Long Good Friday (1980): Drama / Thriller; Love Actually (2003): Comedy
The Madness of King George (1994): Drama / Comedy; A Man For All Seasons (1966): Drama; The Man in the White Suit (1951): Comedy; Mansfield Park (1999): Drama; Martha - Meet Frank, Daniel And Laurence (1998): Comedy / Romance; Mary Poppins (1964): Musical / Family; A Matter of Life and Death (1946): Romance; Mona Lisa (1986): Comedy / Thriller; Monty Python And The Holy Grail (1975): Comedy; Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979): Comedy; Monty Python's The Meaning of Life (1983): Comedy; Moonraker (1979): Action; Mrs. Brown (1997): Drama / Romance; Much Ado About Nothing (1993): Comedy / Romance; The Mummy (1999): Action / Horror; My Beautiful Laundrette (1985): Drama / Romance; My Fair Lady (1964): Musical / Romance; My Left Foot (1989): Drama; My Name is Joe (1998): Drama / Romance
Never Say Never Again (1983): Action; Nicholas Nickleby (2003); Nil By Mouth (1997): Drama; Notting Hill (1999): Comedy / Romance
Octopussy (1983): Action; Oliver Twist (1948): Drama; Oliver! (1968): Musical / Family; Onegin (1999): Drama
Passport to Pimlico (1949): Comedy; Peeping Tom (1960): Drama / Thriller; Performance (1970): Drama; Pink Floyd The Wall (1982): Musical / Drama; The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie (1969): Drama
The Queen (2006): Drama
The Railway Children (1970): Drama / Family; The Red Shoes (1948): Romance / Drama; The Remains of the Day (1993): Romance / Drama; Rob Roy (1995): Action / Romance; Robin Hood - Prince Of Thieves (1991): Action; Room at the Top (1958): Drama; A Room With A View (1985): Drama / Romance
Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960): Drama; Secrets & Lies (1995): Drama; Sense and Sensibility (1995): Romance; The Servant (1963): Drama; Shadowlands (1993): Drama / Romance; Shakespeare in Love (1998): Romance / Comedy; Sliding Doors (1998): Romance / Comedy; Small Faces (1995): Drama; SpiceWorld (1997): Musical / Comedy
A Taste of Honey (1961): Drama; The Third Man (1949): Mystery / Thriller; This Sporting Life (1963): Drama; Thomas And The Magic Railroad (2000): Family; Tom Jones (1963): Comedy; Tomorrow Never Dies (1997): Action; Topsy-Turvy (1999): Drama / Musical; Trainspotting (1996): Drama
Under Milk Wood (1973): Comedy / Animation
A View to a Kill (1985): Action
Waking Ned (1998): Comedy; Wallace & Gromit A Close Shave (1995), A Grand Day Out (1992), The Wrong Trousers (1993): Comedy / Animation; Whisky Galore (1949): Comedy; The Wicker Man (1973): Mystery / Thriller; Wilde (1997): Drama; Withnail and I (1987): Comedy; Women in Love (1969): Romance / Drama; The World Is Not Enough (1999): Action
Zulu (1964): Action

Back to top


If English is not your first language it can be easier to understand if the words are shown, either in English or in your language, at the bottom of the screen ("subtitles").

Many DVDs allow you to see English subtitles to a film. Subtitles may also be available in your own language. The following links will show you a list of DVDs sold in the UK (in Region 2 format) which have subtitles in these languages:
Arabic ; Bulgarian ; Cantonese ; Chinese ; Croatian ; Czech ; Danish ; Dutch ; English ; Finnish ; French ; German ; Greek ; Hebrew ; Hindi ; Hungarian ; Iberian ; Icelandic ; Italian ; Japanese ; Norwegian ; Polish ; Portuguese ; Romanian ; Russian ; Slovenian ; Spanish ; Swedish ; Turkish

If you see an English-language film in your own country (or a film from your own country in the UK), you can improve your English listening skills by watching the original version with subtitles instead of a "dubbed" version (in which voices have been changed).

If you are watching a film on television in the UK, you may be able to add subtitles using Teletext page 888.

Back to top


Where can I find the words to a film (the script)?

Some film scripts are available on the internet. One list of film scripts is provided by Simply Scripts at
Alternatively, use a search engine (such as Google at with the name of a film (in quotes if it has more than one word) and the words "script", "transcript" or "screenplay". For example, if you use a search +"Notting Hill"+script you should be able to find a copy of the words to the film "Notting Hill". Sometimes the film's script is available as a book. To find this, you can go to the website of an online bookshop such as Amazon and enter the film's name in the search.

How can I see films cheaply?

Many cinemas offer discounts to students (you will usually need to show your ISIC or NUS card). Some cinemas offer cheaper tickets on a certain day of the week (for example, on Mondays) or at certain times of day (for example, before 5pm). If you are in London, you can become a student member of the National Film Theatre (NFT): for details, see: If you can use a video/DVD player, a cheaper way to watch films is to borrow videos or DVDs from a rental shop or from your local library, or maybe from a friend. Check the television programme schedules to see if there are any interesting films to watch at home.

If I buy a British DVD or video, will I be able to watch it in my own country?

To play a DVD, your DVD player needs to be able to recognise the region and the video format. There are two main video formats: NTSC and PAL; British DVDs use PAL. There are 6 main regions: 1 - US/Canada; 2 - UK/Europe/Japan/South Africa/Middle East; 3 - Asia; 4 - Australia/New Zealand; 5 - Russia/Africa/Mongolia; 6 - China.

Region 2 covers the following countries:
Albania, Andorra, Austria, Bahrain, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canary Islands, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, European Union, Faroe Islands, Finland, France, France, Georgia, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Greenland, Hungary, Iceland, Iran (Islamic Republic of) Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Latvia, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia (the Former Yugoslav Republic), Malta, Moldova, Principality of Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russian Federation, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Slovenia,South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Kingdom (Channel Islands), Vatican City State, Yemen, Yugoslavia

If you have a machine which can accept Region 2 DVDs and PAL video format, you should be able to watch British DVDs, whether bought in the UK or through the internet from a British supplier. Note that DVDs often contain special extra features such as sub-titles or background information which are not available on the video versions.

British videos are in VHS PAL video format. This can be seen in many countries, but not in France (SECAM format) or in North America, South America, Japan, Taiwan or Korea (NTSC format). It is possible to ask a company to convert VHS PAL videos into NTSC format if necessary (you may be able to find a company which will do this for you by searching the following: directory).

Where can I find out more about British films?

For information about British films, including video clips, see the Brit Movie site at
For the British Film Institute's list of the top 100 British films, see
For profiles of the most famous British actors and actresses, see:
To find out the basic details about any film, see the Internet Movies Database (IMDB) site at
The IMDB section that concentrates on films with a UK connection is at
Channel 4 guide to British films:
Film notes/vocabulary for learners of English (mostly American films):

Back to top


British films: Britain/Films
British music: Britain/Music
Arts in the UK: Life/Entertainment/London
Improving English listening skills: English/Listening

Home page: Home

Back to top

© UK Student Life 2002-2009

* Search this website ( or the web: