The Observer Film Quarterly's best British films of the last 25 years

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1.
Trainspotting (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
Renton, deeply immersed in the Edinburgh drug scene, tries to clean up and get out, despite the allure of the drugs and influence of friends. (94 mins.)
Director: Danny Boyle
 
2.
Withnail & I (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
London, 1969 - two 'resting' (unemployed and unemployable) actors, Withnail and Marwood, fed up with damp... (107 mins.)
Director: Bruce Robinson
 
3.
Secrets & Lies (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A successful black woman discovers that her birth mother is a lower-class white woman, but the woman denies it. As emotions run high, everyone's secrets are exposed. (136 mins.)
Director: Mike Leigh
 
4.
Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
The second film in Terence Davies's autobiographical series ('Trilogy', 'The Long Day Closes') is an... (85 mins.)
Director: Terence Davies
 
5.
My Beautiful Laundrette (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
An ambitious Asian Briton and his white lover strive for success and hope, when they open up a glamorous laundromat. (97 mins.)
Director: Stephen Frears
 
6.
Nil by Mouth (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
The family of Raymond, his wife Val and her brother Billy live in working-class London district. Also... (128 mins.)
Director: Gary Oldman
 
7.
Sexy Beast (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Brutal gangster Don Logan recruits "retired" safecracker Gal for one last job, but it goes badly for both of them. (89 mins.)
Director: Jonathan Glazer
 
8.
Ratcatcher (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Glasgow, summer, 1973. Dustmen are striking; bags of garbage add to the blight of council flats and a fetid canal... (94 mins.)
Director: Lynne Ramsay
 
9.
Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A Mumbai teen reflects on his upbringing in the slums when he is accused of cheating on the Indian Version of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" (120 mins.)
 
10.
Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Over the course of five social occasions, a committed bachelor must consider the notion that he may have discovered love. (117 mins.)
Director: Mike Newell
 
11.
Touching the Void (2003 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
The true story of two climbers and their perilous journey up the west face of Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes in 1985. (106 mins.)
Director: Kevin Macdonald
 
12.
Hope and Glory (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A semi-autobiographical project by John Boorman about a nine year old boy called Bill as he grows up in London during the blitz of World War 2... (113 mins.)
Director: John Boorman
 
13.
Control (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A profile of Ian Curtis, the enigmatic singer of Joy Division whose personal, professional, and romantic troubles led him to commit suicide at the age of 23. (122 mins.)
Director: Anton Corbijn
 
14.
Naked (1993)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Parallel tales of two sexually obsessed men, one hurting and annoying women physically and mentally, one wandering around the city talking to strangers and experiencing dimensions of life. (126 mins.)
Director: Mike Leigh
 
15.
Under the Skin (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
Although married and pregnant Rose has always been Mother's favorite, it is younger sister Iris whose life is shaken up by Mother's death... (82 mins.)
Director: Carine Adler
 
16.
Hunger (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Irish republican Bobby Sands leads the inmates of a Northern Irish prison in a hunger strike. (96 mins.)
Director: Steve McQueen
 
17.
This Is England (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A young boy becomes friends with a gang of skinheads. Friends soon become like family, and relationships will be pushed to the very limit. (101 mins.)
Director: Shane Meadows
 
18.
Shaun of the Dead (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A man decides to turn his moribund life around by winning back his ex-girlfriend, reconciling his relationship with his mother, and dealing with an entire community that has returned from the dead to eat the living. (99 mins.)
Director: Edgar Wright
 
19.
Dead Man's Shoes (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A disaffected soldier returns to his hometown to get even with the thugs who brutalized his mentally-challenged brother years ago. (90 mins.)
Director: Shane Meadows
 
20.
Red Road (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Jackie works as a CCTV operator. Each day she watches over a small part of the world, protecting the people living their lives under her gaze. One day a man appears on her monitor, a man she thought she would never see again, a man she never wanted to see again. Now she has no choice, she is compelled to confront him. (113 mins.)
Director: Andrea Arnold
 
21.
Riff-Raff (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
The story of Stevie, a construction worker, and his girlfriend, an unemployed pop singer, serves to... (95 mins.)
Director: Ken Loach
 
22.
Man on Wire (2008 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A look at tightrope walker Philippe Petit's daring, but illegal, high-wire routine performed between New York City's World Trade Center's twin towers in 1974, what some consider, "the artistic crime of the century." (94 mins.)
Director: James Marsh
 
23.
My Summer of Love (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
In the Yorkshire countryside, working-class tomboy Mona meets the exotic, pampered Tamsin. Over the summer season, the two young women discover they have much to teach one another, and much to explore together. (86 mins.)
 
24.
24 Hour Party People (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
In 1976, Tony Wilson sets up Factory Records and brings Manchester's music to the world. (117 mins.)
 
25.
The English Patient (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
At the close of WWII, a young nurse tends to a badly-burned plane crash victim. His past is shown in flashbacks, revealing an involvement in a fateful love affair. (162 mins.)