Tuesday 5 February 2013

Which are the 'great' British films?.....

What's the best film of all time? Everyone will have a different perspective, but any list of top films is always a good excuse for a debate on which is the best and when the golden period of movies was.

Barry Norman, film critic, has identified his top 50 British films of all time in today's Telegraph, and I'm pleased that The Ipcress File has made it into his list (which isn't ordered, but just a collection of the best 50 in his opinion). It, along with the Saltzman-produced Bond films of the mid-sixties, helped generate a great wave of classic home-spun cinema for a decade or more.

The Ipcress File it is not the only spy film in his list (he includes Skyfall, which is one of the few modern films Norman has listed, along with The Third Man). But the recent Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy - which I thought was excellent - didn't make it, nor did The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. Interestingly, Norman's left the last place, number 50, up to his readers to determine.

Any film list is always going to be contentious. What do you think has been missed out from the list? What espionage greats aren't in the list but should be? What doesn't justify it's place on the list?



  1. That's actually a fairly solid list. I went expecting to have to stick up for This Sporting Life, Long Good Friday, and Local Hero, but they're all on there. The big omission to me looks like A Hard Day's Night, or any Richard Lester film, really.

    The 39 Steps is another classic espionage film that's on the list. It's really the one where Hitchcock came into his own.

    1. Absolutely right! I must have missed that one going through the list.

  2. I consider the late Alexander Walker (Evening Standard) to be a superior critic to Barry Norman. Some books are better than their film versions. Ipcress File and The Spy Who Came in from the Cold are two examples. I would have included one other Bond films: From Russia With Love or Goldfinger.