Best of British: 60 things that make Britain great

Imagine you're cut off in a far-off land. What longings would be uppermost in your mind? Here we celebrate those aspects of life that make our islands distinct and beguiling.

32. Film


From the comic assault on the aristocracy in Kind Hearts and Coronets to a different kind of retirement in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, from 400,000 extras in Gandhi to a doomed romance in Brief Encounter, in films epic and intimate, the British film industry has led the world in every kind of discipline. Our actors have always been acknowledged as the very best, but, thanks to films such as the ‘Harry Potter’ series, our technicians and special-effects craftsmen have finally been recognised for their essential and talented contributions. There’s a lot to celebrate this year with Eddie Redmayne’s Oscar triumph, BBC Films marking 25 successful years and the latest Bond film—will Spectre follow in the record-breaking footsteps of Skyfall, the highest grossing British film ever?

‘I think cinema, movies and magic have always been closely associated.
The very earliest people who made films were magicians
(Francis Ford Coppola)

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