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50 Greatest London Movies

Sherlock Holmes (2009)

The Movie: Sir Conan Doyle’s sleuth gets a post-modern update, with Robert Downey Jr playing a beefed-up version of Holmes.

Only In London: Shot in and around London (as well as Liverpool and Manchester), Ritchie’s London of yesteryear is a romantic place of heaving bosoms and ridiculously cool heroes.

Notting Hill (1999)

The Movie: Yeah, yeah, it’s from the same brain that wheedled out Love Actually , but Notting Hill is a funny, light-hearted fantasy romance that has its tongue pressed enough into its cheek just about enough.

Only In London: Notting Hill is one of London’s most multi-cultural hot spots, which means it’s odd that Curtis’ film doesn’t reflect that. Still, the area looks the best it ever has – though Portobello Road is where you’ll find Grant’s book shop.

From Hell (2001)

The Movie: The Hughes brothers adapt Alan Moore’s graphic novel, which attempts to solve the mystery of who Jack the Ripper really was.

Only In London: Opium dens, sympathetic prostitutes, law figures exposed as corrupt and nefarious – From Hell is an affecting and effective portrait of London in the late 1800s.

V For Vendetta (2005)

The Movie: Based on Alan Moore’s graphic novel, James McTeigue’s film is set in a future dystopian London where the British Government is run by fascists.

Only In London: Filming around Parliament and the Clock Tower, McTeigue and his crew were only allowed to shoot between midnight and 4am. Meanwhile, they could only stop traffic for four minutes at a time.

Bridget Joness Diary (2001)

The Movie: Renée Zellweger stars as the perpetually-single Bridget in this canny update of Pride & Prejudice.

Only In London: Visit Borough Market and you’ll easily spot Bridget’s little flat near the pub, not to mention the restaurant that's the setting for Firth and Grant's hilarious dust-up.

Bend It Like Beckham (2002)

The Movie: Two 18-year-old girls aspire to become professional footaball players in Gurinder Chadha’s gentle comedy.

Only In London: Chadha captures the city’s cultural diversity beautifully as Parminder Nagra rebels against her orthodox Sikh upbringing – with Hounslow providing the perfect suburban backdrop.

Happy-Go-Lucky (2008)

The Movie: Sally Hawkins is Poppy, a perpetually cheerful London schoolteacher whose positive outlook on life aggravates those around her.

Only In London: Perfect for drinking games, HGL ’s gal-about-town misadventures provide a veritable tour of London location, with Finsbury Park, Camden Lock, Regent's Park, Camden Market, Stroud Green, Tufnell Park and Lambeth all featured.

Oliver! (1968)

The Movie: Carol Reed’s classic musical in which young orphan Oliver (Mark Lester) falls in with a gang of street urchins who’ve been trained as pickpockets.

Only In London: The city’s a smoggy place filled with danger in this movie adaptation of Dickens’ novel – you definitely believe somebody like Fagin could live here.

An Education (2009)

The Movie: Sixties teen Jenny Mellor (Carey Mulligan) gets involved with a man twice her age in this frisky coming-of-ager.

Only In London: Young Jenny’s world is London at it’s leafy best, with her house found on Carbery Avenue, while the local shops at St John’s Parade were given a period twist for the ‘60s-set tale.

Closer (2004)

The Movie: Sultry drama from director Mike Nichols in which two couples’ love lives intertwine.

Only In London:
What’s London without its dark and glittering strip clubs? Yeah, nothing. More than merely that, Closer is also a look at true-grit Londoners – the ones who shove you out the way on the tube and walk like they’re on a mission to save the world.

28 Days Later (2002)

The Movie: Sci-fi horror from Danny Boyle in which an incurable virus sweeps the UK, transforming people into ravenous zombies.

Only In London: Trust us, it’s never this empty in London – not even at 4am when the clubbers are all tucked up in bed. Which makes the sight of a deserted central London all the creepier…

Josh Winning has worn a lot of hats over the years. Contributing Editor at Total Film, writer for SFX, and senior film writer at the Radio Times. Josh has also penned a novel about mysteries and monsters, is the co-host of a movie podcast, and has a library of pretty phenomenal stories from visiting some of the biggest TV and film sets in the world. He would also like you to know that he "lives for cat videos..." Don't we all, Josh. Don't we all.