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British Classics

Tales of war and want, nerve and desire, flavoured with wit and rhythm from some of the greatest filmmakers ever assembled.

Comic books and potboilers, literature and memoir populate these stories from a nation whose land and language accommodates tellers from the world.

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Mogul MowgliMogul Mowgli

Drama202089 minsDirector: Bassam Tariq

Bassam Tariq’s visceral directorial debut, co-written with Riz Ahmed, finds a British-Pakistani rapper’s life spiralling out of control when, on the cusp of success, he succumbs to a debilitating illness.

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Black NarcissusBlack Narcissus

Drama1947101 minsDirector: Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger

Tensions grow when a group of nuns open a convent in the Himalayas in Powell and Pressburger’s remarkable melodrama, starring Deborah Kerr.

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Brief EncounterBrief Encounter

Romance194686 minsDirector: David Lean

Noël Coward’s tale of a love affair, thrillingly played out with tight British reserve.

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Burning an IllusionBurning an Illusion

Drama1982102 minsDirector: Menelik Shabazz

Menelik Shabazz’s pioneering first feature traces the emotional and political growth of a young black couple in Thatcher’s London.

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Blithe SpiritBlithe Spirit

Comedy194596 minsDirector: David Lean

A séance results in a man’s first wife returning from the dead in Noël Coward’s wonderful comedy.

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A Canterbury TaleA Canterbury Tale

War1944125 minsDirector: Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger

Powell and Pressburger's most personal film combines a Chaucer-inspired pilgrimage with a war-time celebration of English landscape and values to create a gem of British cinema.

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Distant Voices, Still LivesDistant Voices, Still Lives

Biopic198884 minsDirector: Terence Davies

Terence Davies' debut feature is a remarkable evocation of working-class family life in the 40s and 50s and a visionary exploration of memory.

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The Draughtsman's ContractThe Draughtsman's Contract

Period drama1982107 minsDirector: Peter Greenaway

Peter Greenaway became a director of international status with this witty, stylised, erotic country house murder mystery.

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The Elephant ManThe Elephant Man

Biopic1980124 minsDirector: David Lynch

David Lynch's moving true-life tale of the severely deformed Joseph Merrick and his rescue from the hell of a Victorian circus sideshow.

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The Four FeathersThe Four Feathers

Action and Adventure1939115 minsDirector: Zoltan Korda

Ambitiously mounted and shot in Technicolor, this is by far the best screen adaptation of the popular adventure story set during the Anglo-Sudan War.

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GenevieveGenevieve

Comedy195383 minsDirector: Henry Cornelius

Classic British comedy about two vintage automobile enthusiasts racing from Brighton to London.

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Great Expectations Great Expectations

Period drama1947118 minsDirector: David Lean

The first of David Lean’s two Dickens adaptations is one of the finest British literary interpretations and one of the most acclaimed of all British films.

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Green for DangerGreen for Danger

Medical drama194787 minsDirector: Sidney Gilliat

A series of murders at a wartime hospital are probed by an eccentric policeman.

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Hell Is a CityHell Is a City

Police drama196096 minsDirector: Val Guest

Punchy crime thriller with a realist streak as Stanley Baker pursues a fugitive through the streets of Manchester.

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Henry VHenry V

Historical drama1944131 minsDirector: Laurence Olivier

Laurence Olivier rouses an all-star cast and an imperiled nation with his magnificent adaptation of Shakespeare's warrior monarch.

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Ill Met by MoonlightIll Met by Moonlight

War1957100 minsDirector: Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger

Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s film of the daring WII raid to capture a German commander, with Dirk Bogarde and Marius Goring.

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The Ipcress FileThe Ipcress File

Crime1965108 minsDirector: Sidney J. Furie

The coolest spy of all – Michael Caine’s Harry Palmer – makes his brilliant big screen debut in this landmark British spy thriller.

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The Lady VanishesThe Lady Vanishes

Thriller193896 minsDirector: Alfred Hitchcock

An old woman disappears mysteriously on a busy train in Hitchcock’s delightful classic.

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The Life and Death of Colonel BlimpThe Life and Death of Colonel Blimp

War1943164 minsDirector: Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger

Powell and Pressburger’s masterpiece follows the rise and fall of a career soldier, from dashing and brave young officer in the Boer War to a pompous and old-fashioned Colonel by the time of World War Two.

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A Matter of Life and DeathA Matter of Life and Death

Fantasy1946104 minsDirector: Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger

Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s timeless romantic fantasy, with David Niven as an airman trapped between life and death.

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My Ain FolkMy Ain Folk

Drama197455 minsDirector: Bill Douglas

The second part of the revered Bill Douglas Trilogy follows Jamie as he ends up in a children’s home.

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My ChildhoodMy Childhood

Drama197346 minsDirector: Bill Douglas

The first part of Bill Douglas’ poetic and profoundly stirring autobiographical trilogy, about an eight-year-old boy growing up in a Scottish mining village in 1945.

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My Way HomeMy Way Home

Drama197972 minsDirector: Bill Douglas

Concluding his acclaimed Trilogy, Bill Douglas’ autobiographical film follows young Jamie as he’s conscripted in the RAF and finally feels at home.

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A Night to RememberA Night to Remember

Disaster1958123 minsDirector: Roy Ward Baker

Widely regarded as the finest film account of the sinking of the Titanic, this moving seafaring disaster tale will grip you from start to finish.

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Odd Man OutOdd Man Out

Crime1947116 minsDirector: Carol Reed

Wounded during a robbery, a gunman attempts to escape police in Carol Reed's moody Irish thriller, starring James Mason.

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Oliver TwistOliver Twist

Period drama1948116 minsDirector: David Lean

Arguably the essential Dickens adaptation, David Lean’s evocative portrayal of Victorian London in sooty black and white features Alec Guinness as a memorably sinister Fagin.

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Peeping TomPeeping Tom

Drama1960101 minsDirector: Michael Powell

Michael Powell’s dark, disturbing, once controversial tale of a shy camera technician who films women as he kills them is now rightly deemed a classic.

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The Red ShoesThe Red Shoes

Drama1948135 minsDirector: Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger

Moira Shearer’s ballerina is torn between love and her career in Powell and Pressburger’s hugely influential melodrama.

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Seance on a Wet AfternoonSeance on a Wet Afternoon

Crime1964111 minsDirector: Bryan Forbes

Bryan Forbes’ stylish psychological thriller about a medium who plans to kidnap a child and help the police solve the crime to bolster her reputation as a clairvoyant.

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Things to ComeThings to Come

Science Fiction193697 minsDirector: William Cameron Menzies

H.G. Wells' chilling vision of the future, which imagines the 20th Century as a near-endless war and struggle against tyranny, remains a key milestone in British science fiction.

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The 39 StepsThe 39 Steps

Thriller193583 minsDirector: Alfred Hitchcock

Sublime and suspenseful version of the popular John Buchan spy thriller from the master of suspense himself, Alfred Hitchcock.

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This Sporting LifeThis Sporting Life

Sport1963129 minsDirector: Lindsay Anderson

Lindsay Anderson’s fantastic first feature masterfully dissects the brutal life struggles of a rough-edged rugby footballer on and off the field.

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Tiger BayTiger Bay

Police drama1959113 minsDirector: J. Lee Thompson

A young girl witnesses a murder, befriending the killer and shielding him from the police.

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VictimVictim

Drama1961100 minsDirector: Basil Dearden

This thought-provoking classic stars Dirk Bogarde as a homosexual lawyer who risks his career to hunt down a blackmailer.

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The Way AheadThe Way Ahead

War1944115 minsDirector: Carol Reed

A stirring wartime drama about seven ordinary men who become a formidable fighting force.

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Whisky Galore!Whisky Galore!

Comedy194983 minsDirector: Alexander Mackendrick

Ealing's thirstiest comedy: "the longest unsponsored advertisement ever to reach cinema screens"?