Last Updated: November 5th
You don’t have to travel across the pond to enjoy the best the Brits have to offer when it comes to film because Netflix is bringing the drama, the action, and ample amounts of that famed British sarcasm stateside. The streaming platform’s got a wealth of English faves to choose from. Guy Ritchie comedies, historical dramas, sweeping romances, and of course, Hugh Grant, all make an appearance on this list. Good luck choosing which film to binge first!
Run Time: 93 min | IMDb: 8.1/10
Danny Boyle’s black comedy crime film has become a cult classic and made it on plenty “best movies” lists over the years. Ewan McGregor plays Mark Renton, an unemployed heroin addict who shares a flat with his equally unimpressive friends, Spud, Sick Boy, Franco, and Tommy. The group parties together constantly, doing drugs, getting into fights, and committing petty crimes before Renton attempts to get clean only to return home to make a drug deal that could set him up with a clean slate. It’s darkly comedic, with some ridiculous twists thrown in, but the core of the story is surprisingly emotional.
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)
Run Time: 107 min | IMDb: 8.2/10
Guy Ritchie and Matthew Vaughn pair up for this British comedy about a group of friends who become entangled in a turf war of sorts after a card game gone wrong. Eddy (Nick Moran) is a card shark who buys into a high stake game hosted by a mob boss named Harry. The game is rigged, and Eddy and his friends soon owe hundreds of thousands of dollars to the gang. To score the cash, they decide to rob a rival gang, who in turn have stolen money and weed from some local cannabis suppliers. Eventually, all of this thieving leads to shootouts and brawls over money, drugs, and two antique shotguns. Ritchie put himself and Jason Statham on the map with this one, patenting a fast-action, quick-witted type of storytelling that works well here and is a hell of a lot of fun to watch.
Theory of Everything (2014)
Run Time: 123 min | IMDb: 7.7/10
Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones star in this biographical drama about the famous physicist Stephen Hawking and his wife, Jane. The two met at university with Hawking just beginning work on his theory of back holes before he was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease, which severely limited his motion and ability to speak. Despite the setback, Jane married Stephen, taking care of him and helping him achieve some his greatest feats. The film gives a much-needed look at the woman behind the man, the toll the disease took on their relationship, and the strength of Hawking to persevere in spite of it all.
Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)
Run Time: 117 min | IMDb: 7.1/10
A Hugh Grant-starring rom-com, this one sees the witty British playboy wrestle with the unwelcome realization that he may have finally found love over the course of five social occasions. The epiphany upends his comfortable bachelorhood and amuses his family and friends, but Grant’s character fights the inevitable at every turn, giving us plenty of humor and sexual tension to keep things interesting.
Layer Cake (2004)
Run Time: 105 min | IMDb: 7.3/10
Daniel Craig and Sienna Miller star in this fast-paced crime drama from Matthew Vaughn. Craig plays a London-based drug dealer known simply as XXXX. His plans to retire from crime are interrupted when he’s given two impossible tasks by his boss: to recover a kidnapped woman and to sell some dirty pills stolen from a Serbian war lord. XXXX must navigate betrayals and criminal hierarchies to keep himself and his crew alive.
About A Boy (2002)
Run Time: 101 min | IMDb: 7.1/10
Hugh Grant and a baby Nicholas Hoult star in this adaptation of the classic Nick Hornby novel. Grant plays Will, a free-wheeling wealthy Brit who avoids responsibility, gets by on his family inheritance, and seduces single mothers by pretending to have a young son of his own. When he befriends a kid named Marcus (Hoult) his life changes in strange and hilarious ways. Grant is his sarcastically charming self and Hoult shares a surprising amount of chemistry with him despite his young age.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
Run Time: 91 min | IMDb: 8.3/10
Even if you’ve never seen any of the Monty Python films, you most certainly know of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It’s been quoted, memed, gif-ed, and idolized by comedy fans for generations. At its core, it’s a parody of the legends of King Arthur and his knights. It’s stocked with an impressive cast — John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Terry Gilliam, etc — and it’s full of eccentric characters, bizarre adventures, and gut-bustingly funny jokes. Think failed Trojan Rabbits, modern-day murder investigations, animated monsters, and musical numbers. Intellectual midgets everywhere will love it.
Run Time: 85 min | IMDb: 7.1/10
Tom Hardy stars in this one-man masterpiece which serves as an intimate portrait into the worst day of a person’s life. Hardy plays Locke, a construction foreman preparing for the largest concrete pour in British history. The night before the big job, he receives word that a woman he had an affair with has gone into labor early. He decides to drive to London to be with her for the birth and over the course of the two-hour journey, makes some life-changing calls to his wife, his children, and his boss. Hardy is brilliant in this, a good thing since the success of the film rests solely on his performance.
The King’s Speech (2010)
Run Time: 118 min | IMDb: 8/10
Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, and Helena Bonham Carter star in this British period flick that follows the impromptu and unexpected ascension of King George VI. Firth plays the king in question, a man thrust into a leadership role while trying to overcome a career-impeding stutter and break free from the shadow of his older brother. Rush plays an Australian speech therapist tasked with helping the king overcome his stutter, and his unorthodox methods cause a stir among the royal household. Firth is terrific as always, and watching both him and Rush bounce off each other makes up the best this film has to offer.
About Time (2013)
Run Time: 123 min | IMDb: 7.8/10
Rachel McAdams and Domhnall Gleeson star in this quintessentially British romantic comedy about a young man who discovers he can travel through time and uses his gift to change his life. Gleeson plays Tim, an affable guy who, on his 21st birthday, learns the men in his family inherit a rare gift — they can travel through time. Tim uses this gift to improve his love life, with varying results, and to spend more time with his ailing father (played perfectly by Bill Nighy). McAdams plays Tim’s love interest, Mary. Is it strange that she’s in yet another romantic time travel flick, sure? But her chemistry with Gleeson and the British humor on display make this an enjoyable watch.