A Liquorice-All-Sorts-style list of British cinema recommended alongside the more widely known and more widely acclaimed likes of Lawrence of Arabia, Trainspotting, Secrets & Lies, Dr No, Get Carter, A Matter of Life & Death, etc.
The international edge of British cinema: Cul de Sac (dir. Roman Polanski, 1966)
Any fans of the Bourne trilogy should most certainly take a trip back to 1973 for one of the great originals of the “Eurothriller” genre, Day of the Jackal (dir. Fred Zinnemann). Avoid Hollywood’s 1997 remake The Jackal at all costs.
Terry Gilliam’s fruitful first departure from the Monty Python canon, Jabberwocky (1977), features an almost unrivaled cast of British character actors and comedy greats of the 1960s and ‘70s. It is also amongst the most gruesome and ridiculous products of Gilliam’s twisted brain.
Stephen Frears’ introspective cat-and-mouse gangster thriller The Hit (1984) is the perfect B-side to the likes of Get Carter and The Long Good Friday and a must-see for fans of John Hurt, Tim Roth, Terrence Stamp and Barry Humphries.
Peter Greenaway and Jean-Paul Gautier’s rugged mash-up of the Dutch masters, Francis Bacon, Christopher Wren and the London underworld: The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover (dir. Peter Greenaway, 1989)
One hopes that Four Lions (dir. Chris Morris, 2010) might pave the way for brighter, more innovative comedy and progressive filmmaking in the UK. For the time being, Four Lions is unparalleled as the cutting edge of British comedy and feels very much like the 21st Century equivalent of The Life of Brian.