Best: Shaun Of The Dead (2004)
Was there ever anything more British than zombies invading a pub? Oh alright, probably, but in Edgar Wright’s capable hands, this zany zombie revision, sliced through with unmistakable Brit wit and transplanting the cast of Spaced to the big screen, is a solid gold winner.
Launching Simon Pegg and Nick Frost into international stardom, the duo are at their most drily comical here – a double act for our culture savvy modern world. Altogether now: “Fuck-a-doodle-do!”
Worst: Mr. Beans Holiday (2007)
The teddy bear loving simpleton somehow gets himself a passport and decides it’s time to get out of England for a bit of a vacation. Inspired in name alone by Monsieur Hulot’s Holiday , this follow-up to the first Bean movie (which hit screens in 1995) is tired and a little bit tragic.
Jacques Tati is a clear influence, though Rowan Atkinson’s bumbling, daft hero can’t hope to hit the humorous high notes of his French inspiration.
Best: Withnail And I (1987)
Richard E. Graaaahnt takes on perhaps his most famous role to date, and blows it out of the water. In every. Single. Scene. The debut of director Bruce Robinson, Withnail And I is screamingly funny, a semi-autobiographical rehash of the helmer’s booze-addled youth.
Grant’s on spiffing form here, his Withnail spouting so many roll-off-the-tongue lines (“I feel like a pig shat in my head” … “I want something’s flesh”) it’s no small wonder that nigh on two plus decades later he’s still yet to top it.
Worst: St Trinians (2007)
Rupert Everett, Colin Firth and Lena Headey all attempt to inject a bit of, um, class into this sixth Trinian’s film, which is the first in almost 20 years. Really, they should have left it well alone.
With Everett staggering about in Camilla Parker Bowles-inspired drag, and Firth doing his usual blundering routine, this is about as entertaining as watching drunk girls trip out of St Trinian’s club nights and vomiting on the pavement.
Best: Get Carter (1971)
Grim and bleak, Michael Caine’s titular anti-hero is an unremittingly malevolent SOB. Meaner than you remember the first time around, he’s the London gangster who skips up to Newcastle to investigate when his brother gets offed.
Spouting all the great lines (not to mention bedding all the women), Caine’s Carter is a horrible, unrelenting bastard who doesn’t blink when it comes to spilling a little of the red stuff. Still, we can’t help but love to hate him. Classic.
Worst: Straightheads (2007)
Gillian Anderson and Danny Dyer get down and dirty in a film so stuffed with shock-baiting nuggets that it comes out the other side and becomes hysterical. Anderson gets her pillows out, Dyer polishes his helmet, and there’s a bit of an uncomfortable moment with a rifle.
Rape revenge flicks seem to be a dime a dozen now, but while director Dan Reed presents a suitably harrowing rape, the revenge part is sadly undercooked.
Best: The Third Man (1949)
An unqualified masterpiece, The Third Man is not only a brilliantly-crafted spin on American noir, but also a fascinating insight into war-time mentalities. Filming in bombed-out Vienna, the film looks fantastic, with Robert Krasker’s cinematography filling rain-drenched streets with doom.
Death infuses the entire film, but it’s the lively set-pieces that it’s most renowned for. That, and Orson Welles’ towering performance, most impressive in the now infamous cuckoo clock speech. Pure class.
Worst: Lesbian Vampire Killers (2009)
Dreadful title. Dreadful story. Dreadful jokes. Criminally unfunny, Gavin & Stacy co-stars James Corden and Matthew Horne head up this campy Hammer horror wannabe, which sees their backpacking buddies heading into the country for a break, only to come across a brood of lesbian vampires.
Stereotypical tripe - for Corden and Horne, the joke’s on them.
Best: Brief Encounter (1945)
If this was remade in the modern day, it would no doubt be re-titled One Night Stand , and feature a rather more erotic encounter between its two leads. Instead, this ‘40s tale is prim and proper, but still manages to capture the breathless romanticism of two strangers who meet and fall in love at a train platform.
It was nominated for three Oscars, but sadly lost out to American melodrama and awards-sweeper The Best Years Of Our Lives.
Worst: Honest (2000)
“I know where it’s at!” crooned girl group All Saints back when they were hot stuff in the ‘90s. Clearly, where it’s at ain’t here. Jumping on the British mob flick bandwagon that Lock, Stock made en vogue , three of the foursome get down with the ’60s as sisters who decide to rob a bank.
The girls lay themselves literally bare with this one, but that’s no reason to hit the video shop and root around in the bargain bin for it. Honestly, don’t bother.
Best: Lawrence Of Arabia (1962)
Grand, sweeping epic spear-headed by a never better Peter O’Toole as the titular camel-rider. He plays real-life T.E. Lawrence, whose loyalty to the British military is tested during combat.
O’Toole is only one part of a fantastic crew that also includes Alec Guinness, Omar Sharif, score writer Maurice Jarre and director David Lean. Fittingly, it won seven Oscars.
Worst: Revolution (1985)
About as involving as a Mills & Boon novel, this lushly-lensed by emotionally devoid drama has been compared by some critics to a museum – it’s stuffed with historical fact, but sadly clinical in delivery.
Al Pacino plays Tom Dobb, a New Yorker who gets roped into the American Revolution when his son is recruited. Epic in scale, but about as deep as a tea cup.
Best: Trainspotting (1996)
Danny Boyle’s sophomore feature film remains a stomach-testing acid trip of zany visuals, horrific hallucinations and lived-in performances.
Upon its release, it gave British cinema a much-needed boot up the backside, and launched Ewan McGregor’s career as go-to-Scotsman for anything involving a) drama b) charm and c) stripping off. All the British films since have tried to match it – few have come close.
Worst: Spiceworld: The Movie (1997)
More girl group action, with Posh, Ginger, Baby, Scary and Sporty getting their own big screen outing. They obviously had the whole of Britain behind them, as Alan Cumming, Stephen Fry, Bob Hoskins and, uhh, Michael Barrymore all pitch up for on-screen support.
Shame there’s no plot, and the girls probably should have either a) watched a movie before shooting this or b) had some acting lessons. They obviously don’t know what we want, what we really, really want.
Best: The Crying Game (1992)
Admit it, did you see it coming? Really? Don’t worry, we won’t spoil this movie’s queasy climax, but trust us when we say it’s one of the finest, most surreal twists ever pulled off in cinema – thanks in no small part to Jaye Davidson’s stellar turn as the troubled Dil.
Neil Jordan won an Oscar for his Crying Game script, which follows a British soldier who is kidnapped by IRA terrorists. But that’s the only beginning in a tale that charts themes of death, sexuality and betrayal with pin precision.
Worst: Splitting Heirs (1993)
So bad it’s not even received a British DVD release, despite making it onto disc in America, this pseudo Monty Python reunion stars John Cleese and Eric Idle alongside Catherine Zeta-Jones and Rick Moranis, but is pivotally short on laughs.
“The central plot sinks the whole enterprise,” says critic Roger Ebert. “Where's the humour in things turning out the way they ought to?” We’re right there with you, Rodge.
Best: Zulu (1964)
Caine’s back, this time dumping the deadend gangster routine for a plumy Brit as Lieutenant Bromhead in Cy Endfield’s rousing re-enactment of the 1879 battle of Rorke’s Drift. Made on a jaw-dropping budget of just $2m, clever camerawork steps in to trick us into thinking that 250 soldiers is actually thousands.
It starts out slow, with chatty scenes lulling us into a false sense of security before the devastating battle scenes commence. Michael Bay eat your heart out.
Worst: Fat Slags (2004)
Adapted from the Viz comic strip, this is officially one of the worst movies ever made according to the IMDb, where it has wallowed in the website’s Bottom 100 list ever since its release.
Geri Halliwell, Anthony Head, Naomi Campbell and Dolph Lundgren all make appearances as the titular slags become celebrities after leaving their hometown of Fulchester (geddit?). Insipid nonsense.
Best: Black Narcissus (1947)
Nuns on the run! Except, it’s all a bit murkier than that, as Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s lavish classic proves with its themes of femininity and faith literally gone mad.
Nunsploitaton has always been a bit of a daft, campy ham, but here it’s a thing of abject beauty, as Sister Ruth (Kathleen Byron) gives in to the temptations of the flesh atop a Himalaya convent that used to house an old general’s concubines. Majestic and terrifying.
Worst: Rita, Sue And Bob Too! (1986)
Alan Clarke’s sex comedy is firmly embedded in the ‘80s (just check out the shudder-worthy hairdos), and follows the risqué story of married man Bob, who embarks on a series of filthy flings with two schoolgirls.
Despite some decent observations, Clarke’s film is mostly just cheap, tacky, exploitative stuff.
Best: Shakespeare In Love (1998)
Silly but undeniably entertaining historical romp that should cause chaos in history classes for years to come as Joseph Fiennes plays the tortured playwright, whose love for rich old Gwynie inspires him to write Romeo And Juliet.
Considering all the romcom-campery and A-list frumpery going on, we should hate it (if only for the fact that it led to Gwyneth Paltrow’s Oscar-winning meltdown). But we just can’t. At least Judi Dench deserved her golden baldie.
Worst: Confessions Of A Window Cleaner (1974)
The Confessions movie series continues in typically cheesy form, a prime example of the trashy ‘70s sex comedy, which aimed solely to get the male protagonist into a series of saucy situations with numerous women.
Here, Robin Askwith returns as the horny rogue, whose day job as a window cleaner lands him in all manner of trouble. If this is really what window cleaners get up to, why aren’t there more of them in the world?
Best: Brazil (1985)
Orwellian in style, infused with Terry Gilliam’s now trademark wacky visuals, Brazil is an odd, deliciously dark fantasy that’s as inventive as it is baffling.
Set in a future retrotopia, it sees bureaucrat Sam Lowry attempting to correct a mistake that led to a man’s wrongful imprisonment, only to be hunted by the state. Twisted and twisting, it remains Gilliam’s masterpiece.
Worst: Revolver (2005)
After the wreckage of Swept Away, Guy Ritchie struggles to find his feet again, and his return to the crime genre is nowhere near as good as he must've hoped it would be. Though visually it’s as sharp as a Paul Smith suit, Revolver falls down with the overly convoluted storyline that is more labyrinthine than is necessary.
Watch the more recent RocknRolla instead. Or Sherlock Holmes…
Best: Passport To Pimlico (1949)
Up there as one of the best of the Ealing comedies, Passport To Pimlico revels in its completely barmy premise, and maxes it to the limit in search of guffaws. The plot follows the wartime residents of London’s Pimlico, who discover that their little district is really a part of Burgundy.
Of course, this means they’re not restricted by English law any longer, so rations are out and extravagance is back in. Outrageously funny, Pimlico is all the more hysterical because it plays out its nutty premise with faultless comi-logic.
Worst: Love, Honour And Obey (2000)
Amateurish crime caper starring Johnny Lee Miller as a courier who attempts to get into Ray Winstone’s North London gang. Johnny’s a bit of an idiot, though, and inadvertently kicks off a turf war with a South London mob led by Sean Pertwee.
Directors Dominic Anciano and Ray Burdis aim for drama-infused laughs, but the result is a bit of a soggy mess.
Best: A Clockwork Orange (1971)
Kubrick’s violence-drenched masterpiece is an off-the-wall patience tester that some adore, others abhor. There’s no denying its power, though. Adapted from Anthony Burgess’ novel, it’s dated, sure, but the pop art production and stylised fight scenes hold up remarkably well.
Then, of course, there’s Malcolm McDowell as Alex, who spouts poetic prose in English-Russian, and revels in destruction. Harrowing and thought-provoking.
Worst: Sex Lives Of The Potato Men (2004)
No, sadly not a raunchy Toy Story spin-off starring Mr Potato Head and chums, but a ‘comedy’ outing with chumps Johnny Vegas and Mackenzie Crook. They’re the potato men, spud-delivering nobodies whose sexcapades we’re expected to be interested in.
The banter’s as fresh as last year’s left-over mash, while the cast – all drafted in from The Office and League Of Gentleman – have near nothing to do but recite dreary dialogue. Smutty rubbish.
Best: Life Of Brian (1979)
Controversial upon its release thanks to its shameless plundering of religious themes and ideas, Life Of Brian took any criticism in its stride – even boasting of its exile from various countries with posters declaring ‘So funny it was banned in Norway!’ etc.
And we believe them. Life Of Brian is a hoot, cleverly diverting the story of the birth of Jesus down an absurd path that has the saviour’s Jewish neighbour Brian being mistaken for the Messiah. Back in 2000, we conducted a survey to find the funniest film of all time – take a wild guess which came top of the pile…