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Movies for an English State of Mind

My last question for books reaped untold riches. So now....how about some movie suggestions to set the scene for England? No need to suggest Rick's - we've seen them all several times over.)

Posted by
12544 posts

Doc Martin. Not a movie but a series from BBc, shown on PBS. great scenery, lots os quirky humor. It is set in a small seaside village in Cornwall.

Posted by
8959 posts

For something contemporary check out the comedy The Trip; available on Netflix streaming. Also the WWII era slice of life movie Hope & Glory is one of my all-time favorites. Also do a YouTube search for "Great British Railway Journeys BBC"

Posted by
1829 posts

Other TV series with a police/detective theme - Lewis (Oxford) and Midsomer Murders (Chilterns). An older police series Wycliffe (Cornwall) or a current one New Tricks (mostly in London). Here is a list of others old and new from the BBC America shop http://www.bbcamericashop.com/dvd/mystery-and-suspense/ They don't have one of my all time favourites - Taggart (Scotland and infamous for its high body count!) and it can't be because it is not a BBC production because, apart from New Tricks, the above aren't either. PS why can't I use the word "selection" in my first paragraph, it defaults to "ion"???

Posted by
1891 posts

I mentioned the book 84 Charing Cross Road but was also a great movie with Ann Bancroft, can still picture her sitting over typewriter, cigarette dangling drinking scotch and writing to the director of the bookstore in London. I tried to watch series based on James Herriot but could not understand accent. Also a great favorite, Mrs. Miniver.

Posted by
214 posts

This movie will set the scene history wise for you, Anne of the Thousand Days with Richard Burton. very well done movie.

Posted by
1020 posts

Some of my favorites: Four Weddings and a Funeral - Hugh Grant, Andie MacDowell Saving Grace - Craig Ferguson Pride and Prejudice - A&E miniseries - Collin Firth Sense and Sensibility - Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant
Calendar Girls - Helen Mirren

Posted by
662 posts

Such wonderful suggestions thus far. I'm sure, before this has train has stopped that someone will likely mentioned perhaps my favorite - The Remains of the Day w/Sir Anthony Hopkins and Miss Emma Thompson. A proper British film based on the wonderful book by Japanese born British author, Kazuo Ishiguro. :-)

Posted by
662 posts

Or, perhaps The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain - the most recent version with Hugh Grant. Sigh...but I am not going to Wales. Still....so charming!

Posted by
2799 posts

P.S. to Linda of Kent, for some reason the word s e l e c t causes problems and is not allowed. Only if you put in spaces like I did.

Posted by
187 posts

A few series: Rosemary & Thyme, The Royal Bodyguard, Pie in the Sky & Call the Midwife. And 3 online sources for ordering lots of British movies & series. acornonline.com, collectablesdirect.com & bbcamericashop.com

Posted by
662 posts

I'm in movie heaven. Thank you, everyone for all your wonderful contributions of new and old films and movies. It is quite a list! Susan, Waking Ned Devine is nearly one of my all-time favorites. I adore it and certainly has me yearning to go to Ireland - a future trip, I hope.

Posted by
3142 posts

Kay , English films are an art form unto themselves , so here are some winners : As Keith suggests " Kind Hearts and Coronets " Of all the Ealing comedies of the forties and fifties ,this is the classic about a disenfranchised young man who sets out to murder eight members of a family in order to succeed to a title .. Some of the greatest humor ever written, dry , dry wit that only the English are capable of . " The Entertainer " Sir Laurance Olivier's portrayal of Archie Rice , a broken down music hall performer in the mid-fifties , a role unlike any he has ever done. " Trio , Quartet , and Encore " . These three films in a box set are collections of dramatized short stories by W. Somerset Maugham . They are region 2 PAL but will play on your computer , though not on American TV . about thirty dollars from Amazon , these are well worth it, Myy favorite story is " The Verger " . A good example of a " Kitchen Sink " neo -realist film of the sixties is " The L-Shaped room " with Leslie Caron . And last but not least , Dennis Potter's monumental drama made in the seventies , " Pennies from Heaven " The tale of Arthur Parker , a sheet music salesman in depression era England with dreams that are never fulfilled with staggering performances by Bob Hoskins and Cheryl Campbell , this is the original nine hour series and not the eviscerated two hour 1981 Hollywood film . Needless to say , I could go on forever !! Enjoy !

Posted by
3142 posts

Sorry , I couldn't resist , two more greats by director David Lean : " Hobson's Choice " , A touching comedy about a Manchester shoe shop owner and his strong willed daughter who marries the illiterate boot-hand and sets about his education . Expertly played by Charles Laughton , Brenda de Banzie and John Mills . " Brief Encounter ", Leslie Howard and Celia Johnson as train passengers who fall in love and ..... well you will just have to watch it ( make sure you have at least two boxes of kleenex ) .

Posted by
623 posts

One of my favorite English films is "Secrets and Lies" (1996), which takes the viewer into the daily lives of working class and middle class people. No stately homes or sweeping political/social statements. It's my favorite of Director Mike Leigh's films, but I've yet to see several of the others. And posting this has reminded me to go to my Netflix account and look for more Mike Leigh films, so thanks for asking the question!

Posted by
2638 posts

You can watch Doc Martin and Midsome Murders on YouTube. I love the show Coronation Street, our PBS doesn't show it here,so I watch it on YouTube three times a week.

Posted by
2788 posts

Separate Lies, Tom Wilkinson, Emily Watson, 2005. A wealthy English couple and the perfect marriage...for awhile. Scenes of London and the Buckinghamshire country house and countryside. Agree with Tex; Four Weddings and a Funeral. Love the churches they get married in, the little inn Hugh Grant and Andie McDowell have their first night in, "The Boatman", and the London and English countryside scenery. "The Boatman" was actually two different inns. Used for the exterior shots was The Kings Arms, High Street, Amersham, Buckinghamshire, England. Used for the interior of The Boatman was The Crown Hotel, High Street, Amersham, Buckinghamshire. For any of you who fancy staying in one of these inns.

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3142 posts

Keith , Hello ! As a great fan of British cinema since my youth ( don't ask ) I would always tape these films whenever I had the chance . While some of them can be obtained in the US , a great many are available from Amazon UK . While they won't play on region 1 NTSC equipment US , I have had good luck playing them on the computer . Other fine films like the original " Last Holiday " with Alec Guiness and Kay Walsh are available from them . Also some of the work of the late screenwriter Jack Rosenthal is obtainable this way. His 1985 film , " The Chain " about seven people simultaneously moving house while representing the seven deadly sins is priceless!!

Posted by
2876 posts

They're fairly recent, and you've probably seen them all, but I have to put a word in for these 3 excellent films: The King's Speech The Queen An Education

Posted by
8054 posts

"Land Girls" a BBC 5 part series on Netflix. So good. Poirot and Miss Marple on PBS or Netflix. Waking Ned Devine All Creatures Great and Small mentioned above (re: James Herriot) is one of my all time favorites. Don't know where you can find it now though. The original "Upstairs/Downstairs" on Netflix Pride & Prejudice with Keira Knightley

Posted by
8054 posts

LOVE Rosemary & Thyme and Call the Midwife How about Elizabeth I with Helen Mirren...

Posted by
5574 posts

There are some other TV shows--Faulty Towers, Monty Python, Good Neighbors, Keeping up Appearances, As Time Goes By. And for Scotland, The Monarch of the Glen. (Which is a good, but very different book as well.) And what about Dr. Who? It may not be today England, but it's "some" days England. ; ) One of my favorite moves is Local Hero. It is more Scottish though than English. Another BBC series would be Smiley's People. I think that the series was better than the movie, but obviously, the movie is faster. The books are wonderful...Tinker Tailor, Soldier, Spy, The Honorable Schoolboy and Smiley's People make up the trilogy. Of course, not all of the action is in the UK. A very recent move that I really enjoyed was Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. Pam

Posted by
662 posts

Thank you, everyone, for sharing your passion for British (and neighboring countries) movies. I had no idea there would be so many. Much appreciated!

Posted by
3696 posts

Kay..lots of great movies here. Also check in the archives as I posted a question about General European movies a few years ago and remember there were tons of British, some which might not be here. Always some great ideas and I have found some of my favorite movies/tv shows from here. And, I am sure if a British tv fan you watched the premier of Season 3 Downton Abbey last night!

Posted by
2788 posts

Yes! Watched Downton Abbey last night! Fabulous! And before it, our local PBS station ran a program, "Secrets of Highclere Castle", which was very interesting, about the history of the house and its present owners: http://www.pbs.org/programs/secrets-manor-house/ Most excellent. If you can catch this program on your local PBS station, don't miss it. (At the end of the show, PBS station indicated that this is a series, "Secrets of The Manor House", and the next program will be on Hampton Court.) I'd definitely add it to this list as a wonderful program to watch for "an English State of Mind".

Posted by
1829 posts

If you want to get into an English state of mind why not listen to BBC radio on your computer. Among the BBC stations are "Radio 4" and "Radio 4 extra" which are speech stations with plays, comedy shows, book readings, serials, news programmes, documentaries etc. Link to their schedules for this week. http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/programmes/schedules/fm http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4extra/programmes/schedules/this_week PS - some of the comedy shows on 4 extra (which specialises in broadcasting the BBC back catalogue) are pretty old and sound their age!

Posted by
375 posts

To add to the TV series list, I liked Foyle's War, about a detective in Hastings during World War II.

Posted by
8054 posts

Rebecca, thanks for the info on "Secrets of the Manor House". I didn't know about it and really appreciate you posting it. D.D., oh my gosh yes, love Foyle's War...

Posted by
6367 posts

One more of my favorite movies is "Shadowlands" with Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger. I didn't see it listed but maybe I missed it. It has wonderful views of the countryside and Oxford. True story about C.S. Lewis and Joy Gresham.

Posted by
1207 posts

"Truly,Madly,Deeply" Starring Juliet Stevenson and Alan Rickman, directed by the late director Anthony Minghella...he was the originator of Doc Martin. Also "Love Actually" and "Nottinghill". These all let you feel like you live in London.

Posted by
5757 posts

Definitely Love Actually and Shadowlands. Or a few mystery and cop series such as Judge John Deed, George Gentley, MI-5, Waking The Dead, Blue Murder and Murphy's Law.

Posted by
662 posts

What a great answers have come forth from this posting. I thank all of you - and all those who provided answers to similar questions previously (I checked the archives!).

Posted by
991 posts

Gosh, I have so many favourites. In addition to most of those already mentioned there is Doc Martin:The Movies, Murder in Suburbia, Blowdry, The Full Monty, & Brassed off. Maybe Iron Lady. TV series I also like Vera, Whitechaple, Pie in the Sky, Cloud Street and there is nothing quite like AbFab or Little Britain. Have you watched The Islands of Britain..Martin Clunes presenting.

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448 posts

Someone has probably already mentioned this but it bears repeating since this film came out in 2012 and is highly regarded: The Deep Blue Sea. It depicts England during its post World War II period when things have still not gotten back to normal. Ebert's highly positive review of this film mentions how he visited London in the early 1960s and there were still bombed areas that had not undergone reconstruction. Fortunately that has changed.

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662 posts

My list keeps growing and growing and growing. Wallace and Gromit is such a good suggestion for anyone taking kids (not that adults don't enjoy the show). I visited their website and just an FYI...60 giant Gromits will be unleashed in the town of Bristol beginning July 1. The fibreglass mutts will be decorated by artists and left on display for 10 weeks.

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3696 posts

I have often wondered where certain scenes were filmed and there is a site called Internet Movie Data Base which will give you that information. You have to go to Movies-Advanced Search-Title-drop down box to Filming Locations. Lots of fun.