That’s the title of the Daily Telegraph film critic David Gritten’s article. It offers a wonderful opportunity to say, ‘what a load of tosh’. I can say that, because making a top ten list is subjective, and you can criticise other’s choices as much as you like.
How can David Gritten’s list not include, The Third Man. There’s also The Italian Job, The Ipcress File, The 39 Steps, and The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp to consider. Oh, and what about Ice Cold in Alex, or Henry V, and there’s Lord of the Rings. Cripes, the possible choices are huge. Barry Norman’s top 49 is HERE, and the British Film Institute’s top 100 is HERE.
Anyway, here’s my top ten British films of all time, in date order. [Film, date, director, my reasons]
- The 39 Steps, 1935, Alfred Hitchcock, black and white film, taught direction and superb scene on the Forth Rail Bridge
- A Matter of Life and Death, 1946, Powell and Pressburger, imaginative fantasy, great casting and excellent special effects
- Great Expectations, 1946, David Lean, a terrific story, beautifully filmed
- The Third Man, 1949, Carol Reed, my choice for top film, atmospheric, great acting, great musical score
- Kind Hearts and Cornets, 1949, Robert Hamer, a black comedy with an acting tour-de-force by Alec Guinness
- The Bridge on the River Kwai, 1957, David Lean, again a great story and superbly directed
- Dr Zhivago, 1965, David Lean, an unbeatable epic sad love story
- The IPCRESS File, 1965, Sidney J Furie, a gritty suspenseful spy drama
- The Railway Children, 1970, Lionel Jeffries, an enduringly popular adventure story
- Monty Python’s Life of Brian, 1979, Terry Jones, brilliant satirical comedy