some favourite British movies

by maddox-richard | created - 18 Feb 2012 | updated - 04 Dec 2016 | Public

Some favourite British movies, pre-'65 era. Perhaps old-fashioned and of their time (so not to everyone's taste), yet in some ways quite modern and worth watching now more than ever. Not for nostalgia but as an enquiry into national identity. Though mostly 'fantastic', not realist, I find these films richer than the kitchen sink type (59-) and as entertaining as the Bond-style actioners (62-). If you can recommend similar movies I'd be most grateful.

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1. The 39 Steps (1935)

Not Rated | 86 min | Mystery, Thriller

7.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A man in London tries to help a counterespionage agent. But when the agent is killed and the man stands accused, he must go on the run to both save himself and also stop a spy ring which is trying to steal top secret information.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Robert Donat, Madeleine Carroll, Lucie Mannheim, Godfrey Tearle

Votes: 43,377

2. The Lady Vanishes (1938)

Not Rated | 96 min | Mystery, Thriller

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

While traveling in continental Europe, a rich young playgirl realizes that an elderly lady seems to have disappeared from the train.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Margaret Lockwood, Michael Redgrave, Paul Lukas, May Whitty

Votes: 39,151

3. Went the Day Well? (1942)

Approved | 92 min | Thriller, War

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

An English village is occupied by disguised German paratroopers as an advance post for a planned invasion.

Director: Alberto Cavalcanti | Stars: Leslie Banks, C.V. France, Valerie Taylor, Marie Lohr

Votes: 2,597 | Gross: $0.02M

4. A Canterbury Tale (1944)

Not Rated | 124 min | Comedy, Drama, Mystery

7.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Three modern day pilgrims investigate a bizarre crime in a small town on the way to Canterbury.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger | Stars: Eric Portman, Sheila Sim, Dennis Price, John Sweet

Votes: 4,087

5. 'I Know Where I'm Going!' (1945)

Not Rated | 91 min | Drama, Romance

7.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A young Englishwoman goes to the Hebrides to marry her older, wealthier fiancé. When the weather keeps them separated on different islands, she begins to have second thoughts.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger | Stars: Wendy Hiller, Roger Livesey, George Carney, Walter Hudd

Votes: 6,478

6. Stairway to Heaven (1946)

PG | 104 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy

8.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A British wartime aviator who cheats death must argue for his life before a celestial court.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger | Stars: David Niven, Kim Hunter, Robert Coote, Kathleen Byron

Votes: 15,165

7. Black Narcissus (1947)

Not Rated | 101 min | Drama

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

After opening a convent in the Himalayas, five nuns encounter conflict and tension - both with the natives and also within their own group - as they attempt to adapt to their remote, exotic surroundings.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger | Stars: Deborah Kerr, David Farrar, Flora Robson, Jenny Laird

Votes: 17,306

8. The Fallen Idol (1948)

Not Rated | 95 min | Drama, Film-Noir, Mystery

7.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
88 Metascore

A butler working in a foreign embassy in London falls under suspicion when his wife accidentally falls to her death, the only witness being an impressionable young boy.

Director: Carol Reed | Stars: Ralph Richardson, Michèle Morgan, Sonia Dresdel, Bobby Henrey

Votes: 6,205 | Gross: $0.06M

9. Hour of Glory (1949)

Not Rated | 106 min | Drama, Romance, Thriller

7.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

As the Germans drop explosive booby-traps on Britain in 1943, the embittered expert who'll have to disarm them fights a private battle with alcohol.

Directors: Michael Powell, Emeric Pressburger | Stars: David Farrar, Jack Hawkins, Kathleen Byron, Leslie Banks

Votes: 1,540

10. Night and the City (1950)

Not Rated | 96 min | Crime, Film-Noir, Mystery

8.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A small-time grifter and nightclub tout takes advantage of some fortuitous circumstances and tries to become a big-time player as a wrestling promoter.

Director: Jules Dassin | Stars: Richard Widmark, Gene Tierney, Googie Withers, Hugh Marlowe

Votes: 9,335

11. The Browning Version (1951)

Approved | 90 min | Drama

8.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Forced to retire from an English public school, an unpopular professor must confront his failure as a teacher and husband.

Director: Anthony Asquith | Stars: Michael Redgrave, Jean Kent, Nigel Patrick, Wilfrid Hyde-White

Votes: 3,601

12. Crash of Silence (1952)

Approved | 93 min | Drama

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Mandy Garland was born deaf and has been mute for all of her life. Her parents believe she is able to speak if she can only be taught and enroll her with a special teacher.

Director: Alexander Mackendrick | Stars: Phyllis Calvert, Jack Hawkins, Terence Morgan, Godfrey Tearle

Votes: 473

13. A Boy Ten Feet Tall (1963)

118 min | Adventure

7.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Ten year old Sammy travels 4500 miles on his own from the Suez Canal to Durban, South Africa.

Director: Alexander Mackendrick | Stars: Edward G. Robinson, Fergus McClelland, Constance Cummings, Harry H. Corbett

Votes: 406

14. The Lodger (1927)

Not Rated | 68 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

7.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A landlady suspects her new lodger is the madman killing women in London.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: June Tripp, Ivor Novello, Marie Ault, Arthur Chesney

Votes: 7,910

15. The Edge of the World (1937)

Passed | 74 min | Drama, History, Romance

7.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A way of life is dying on an Outer Hebridean island fishing port, but some of the inhabitants resist evacuating to the mainland.

Director: Michael Powell | Stars: Niall MacGinnis, Belle Chrystall, John Laurie, Eric Berry

Votes: 1,370

16. The Spy in Black (1939)

77 min | Thriller, War

7.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A German submarine is sent to the Orkney Isles in 1917 to sink the British fleet.

Director: Michael Powell | Stars: Conrad Veidt, Valerie Hobson, Sebastian Shaw, Marius Goring

Votes: 1,488

17. It Always Rains on Sunday (1947)

Approved | 92 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

7.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

An escaped convict tries to hide out at his former lover's house, but she has since married and is reluctant to help him.

Director: Robert Hamer | Stars: Googie Withers, Jack Warner, John McCallum, Edward Chapman

Votes: 973 | Gross: $0.01M

18. Whisky Galore (1949)

Approved | 80 min | Comedy, Crime

7.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Scottish islanders try to plunder 50,000 cases of whisky from a stranded ship.

Director: Alexander Mackendrick | Stars: Basil Radford, Joan Greenwood, Catherine Lacey, Bruce Seton

Votes: 3,951

19. The Hidden Room (1949)

Approved | 96 min | Crime, Film-Noir, Thriller

7.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Clive Riordan plans a devilish revenge against his wife's lover.

Director: Edward Dmytryk | Stars: Robert Newton, Sally Gray, Phil Brown, Naunton Wayne

Votes: 1,191

20. High and Dry (1954)

Passed | 92 min | Comedy

7.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

An American businessman in Scotland is conned into shipping a valuable load of cargo to a Scottish island via a coal powered boat.

Director: Alexander Mackendrick | Stars: Paul Douglas, Alex Mackenzie, James Copeland, Abe Barker

Votes: 902

21. Hell Drivers (1957)

Approved | 91 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

7.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Ex-con trucker tries to expose his boss's rackets.

Director: Cy Endfield | Stars: Stanley Baker, Herbert Lom, Peggy Cummins, Patrick McGoohan

Votes: 2,101

22. Yesterday's Enemy (1959)

95 min | War, Drama

7.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

In WW2, during the Japanese invasion of Burma, the lost remnant of a British Army Brigade HQ, led by the ruthless captain Alan Langford, escapes through the jungle toward the British lines.

Director: Val Guest | Stars: Stanley Baker, Guy Rolfe, Leo McKern, Gordon Jackson

Votes: 413

23. The Innocents (1961)

Not Rated | 100 min | Horror

7.9
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A young governess for two children becomes convinced that the house and grounds are haunted.

Director: Jack Clayton | Stars: Deborah Kerr, Peter Wyngarde, Megs Jenkins, Michael Redgrave

Votes: 21,560