Above Us The Earth (1977)
The Movie: Filmmaker Karl Francis breaks the cinema silence over the pit closures of the 1970s and ‘80s with this dramatic documentary, which focuses on the closure of the Ogilvie Colliery in Rhymney Valley.
The Awesome: Francis takes great care in tracking the different paths of those involved in the closures, from the union workers to the local leadership.
Welsh Reference: Like many Welsh films, this one revolves around mining – a prevailing symbol for Welsh working life.
Twin Town (1997)
The Movie: Comedy starring Rhys Ifans in his first major movie role. Along with real-life brother Llr Ifans, they're siblings who sniff glue, steal cars and smoke dope.
The Awesome: Rough and ready, this is a stellar, little-seen gem from the Welsh film industry. Rhys’ increasing renown should fix that.
Welsh Reference: The coffin of the twins’ father is respectfully covered with a Welsh flag.
The Proud Valley (1940)
The Movie: Unconventional drama in which an African American man working as a miner in Wales joins a male voice choir.
The Awesome: Depicting the harshness of life in the mines, this drama gets right down to street level and has an ending that will leave a sizeable lump in your throat.
Welsh Reference: More mining action...
The Movie: A 40 minute short film shot in black and white, David centres on former pitman Dafydd Rhys and how he helped rebuild the country’s economy after the second World War.
The Awesome: Though a spectacularly depressing thought, David ’s celebrations of post-war community reveal a loss of such values in modern society.
Welsh Reference: It's all in the title.
Hedd Wyn (1992)
The Movie: Anti-war epitaph helmed by Paul Turner, following the life and final days of poet Ellis Humphrey Evans (Huw Garmon), who was killed during the First World War.
The Awesome: With its stark cinematography and romantic poetry, Hedd Wyn is sumptuous and earth-shaking. No wonder it got nominated for an Oscar.
Welsh Reference: It’s a biopic of a real Welsh poet.
House Of America (1997)
The Movie: Drama set in the economically-parched area of South-West Wales, as a father-less family live in cash-strapped conditions. Things get worse when sibs Sid and Gwenny start swilling medication with booze.
The Awesome: As provocative as it is enthralling, the histrionic drama contained in Marc Evans’ film is shattering stuff.
Welsh Reference: More mining talk takes place when a mine opens near the brood’s home.
The Movie: Distributed by Paramount and directed by an American, but Zulu would never have come about without Welsh actor/producer Stanley Baker, who made the film through his new production company Diamond Films.
The Awesome: Deemed one of Michael Caine’s finest ever performances, while we voted Zulu the 34th best British movie ever made back in 2004.
Welsh Reference: The British 24th Regiment of Foot was credited as a Welsh regiment, though it wouldn’t actually become one until 1881.
Grand Slam (1978)
The Movie: Made-for-TV movie in which a Welsh rugby team head to Paris for the final match of the Five Nations rugby tournament. While there, a player seeks out an old lover from the war.
The Awesome: Hollywood hero Hugh Griffith heads up the comedy shenanigans - what more could you ask for?
Welsh Reference: Grand Slam harkens back to a time when Wales’ rugby team was at the peak of its playing ability. It won the Five Nations championship in '66, '67, '69, '71, '75, '76, '78 and '79. Since then the team have only won a further four times.
How Green Was My Valley (1941)
The Movie: Though US financed, and directed by John Ford, this is an interesting exploration of a Welsh family working at the turn of the 20th century in the South Wales Valleys.
The Awesome: Developments in the second World War meant that it was impossible to shoot in Wales, as 20th Century Fox had planned. So a 3,000 acre replica mining town in Malibu Canyon instead. Impressive.
Welsh Reference: The cast consisted of just one genuinely Welsh actor, Rhys Williams.
Human Traffic (1999)
The Movie: Indie movie from Justin Kerrigan starring John Simm as Jip, a young man crippled by sexual anxiety after a stream of less-than-great rolls in the hay.
The Awesome: Dealing in themes of alienation while mixing in observations of the Welsh drug culture, Human Traffic possesses an edgy, modern vibe that many Cymru films are accused of lacking.
Welsh Reference: The entire thing is an ode to contemporary Cardiff.
Only Two Can Play (1962)
The Movie: Based on Kingsley Amis’ novel That Uncertain Feeling , John Lewis (Peter Sellers) is a Welsh librarian who is torn between his wife and a beautiful new designer.
The Awesome: Peter Sellers is never anything other than awesome, here pulling off more dramatic material than he is best known for.
Welsh Reference: Only Two Can Play was shot in the coastal town of Swansea.
Milwr Bychan (1986)
The Movie: Drama following the fall-out when a Welsh solider accidentally kills an IRA gunman in self defence, is incarcerated by his own army and is charged with murder.
The Awesome: With its pressing, pared back aesthetics, Milwr Bychan addresses serious issues with an urgent, intimate cadence.
Welsh Reference: A fresh, fictional look at a real history that refuses to find any satisfactory conclusion.
Tiger Bay (1959)
The Movie: Celebrated crime drama revolving around the investigation into a murder that the daughter of a police officer witnessed.
The Awesome: Authentic footage of the street cultures of children and black people at that time are a priceless insight into a time long gone.
Welsh Reference: Thompson’s film was shot in the Tiger Bay district of Cardiff, as well as Newport.
The Last Days Of Dolwyn (1949)
The Movie: A Welshman who has been working in London returns to his home town, intending to flood the valley where he grew up. Needless to say, he’s met with angry opposition.
The Awesome: Russell Lloyd and Emlyn Williams’ ‘past and present collide’ storyline results in a ponderous, poignant portrait of Welsh life.
Welsh Reference: Richard Burton makes an early appearance (this is his film debut) before going onto international acclaim.
Un Nos Ola' Leuad (1991)
The Movie: Based on the 1961 novel One Moonlit Night , this Welsh language drama is set in a fictional town where issues of mental illness, sexuality and madness are explored.
The Awesome: Challenging and refusing to shy away from tough-to-stomach issues, this is desolate and impenitent stuff.
Welsh Reference: The film’s fictional quarry town is meant to represent actual-place Bethesda, Gwynedd.
The Citadel (1938)
The Movie: Another non-Wales funded film that nonetheless deals with a Welsh story. Scottish doctor Andrew Manson sets about treating Welsh miners for tuberculosis.
The Awesome: Nominated for four Oscars, Robert Donat delivers a fantastic performance as the lofty doctor, while King Vidor’s direction is as fantastic as anything he ever did.
Welsh Reference: A snapshot of Welsh society in the run up to World War II.
Gadael Lenin (1994)
The Movie: A group of Welsh teenagers on a school trip to Russia get separated from their custodian teachers and get lost in Germany.
The Awesome: Teens gone wild – Welsh style!
Welsh Reference: Uh, the main characters?
A Run For Your Money (1949)
The Movie: Fish-out-of-water comedy about two coal miners who visit London for the first time in their lives – and find it all a little confusing.
The Awesome: It’s an Ealing comedy, which means the laughs come accompanied with some quaint and timeless charm. Lovely.
Welsh Reference: The two miners come from the made-up town of Hafoduwchbenceubwllymarchogcoch, a cheeky joke about the vowel-stuffed names of Welsh locations.
The Englishman Who Went Up A Hill But Came Down A Mountain (1995)
The Movie: Drama following the arrival of two Englishmen in the fictional town of Ffynnon Garw, who measure the town’s local mountain and decide it’s actually 1,000ft too short to be classified as one.
The Awesome: Traditional Welsh melodies get upgraded to full-blown movie soundtrack orchestration. Not bad at all.
Welsh Reference: “I don't know what you call it in English, but in Welsh we call it a bethyngalw,” says a mechanic of a part he needs. ‘Bethyngalw’ actually just means ‘thingamajig’.
The Movie: One of the first ever home-grown Welsh horror films, this murder mystery follows a journalist who’s investigating the death of a trainee journo’s brother.
The Awesome: It’s been dubbed the Welsh answer to The Wicker Man .
Welsh Reference: Devil worship, witchcraft – all fine Welsh traits, no?
Solomon & Gaenor (1999)
The Movie: BAFTA- and Oscar-nominated drama about an orthodox Jew living in 1911 Wales who must hide his ethnicity in order to sell fabric door-to-door in South Wales Valleys.
The Awesome: Every scene in Solomon & Gaenor was filmed twice – once in English, and once in Welsh. There’s even some Yiddish chucked in for good measure.
Welsh Reference: Ion Gruffud’s in it – surely one of the most successful of Welsh exports.
Hang Up Your Brightest Colours (1973)
The Movie: Dramatic documentary revolving around the life and death of Irish Republican leader Michael Collins.
The Awesome: Welsh actor and filmmaker Kenneth Griffith fully inhabits his role as Collins in a documentary that is more of a pace-y monologue that sees him conversing with Winston Churchill and David Lloyd George.
Welsh Reference: Um, it was first aired on BBC1 Wales in 1993.
Very Annie Marie (2001)
The Movie: Sugary coming-of-ager set in South Wales about a 30-year-old woman who lives with an abusive father, who himself is recovering from a stroke.
The Awesome: The film’s depressing-sounding premise is really a springboard for a little musical action as our central young woman attempts to re-find her (singing) voice.
Welsh Reference: Young girl singing? How very Charlotte Church.