Top 100 British Films of 20th Century: Early
in 1999, the
British Film Institute (BFI) produced a selection booklet and sent
copies to 1,000 people embracing all strands of the film, cinema and
television industries throughout the UK - producers, directors, writers,
actors, technicians, academics, exhibitors, distributors, executives
and critics. Participants were asked to consider (and vote for up to
100) 'culturally British' feature films, released in cinemas during
the 20th century, which they felt had made a strong and lasting impression
on the art form and the culture. Altogether, more than 25,700 votes
were cast, covering 820 different films. The final selection makes compulsive
reading. Descriptions were excerpted from the
BFI web site.
The BFI admitted:
The key to the BFI 100, though, is that it does provoke
an argument. Of course one person might urge that one title should
be included or another not. Of course, there may be films that are
not on this list which one could argue passionately merit a place...The
list is intended, and offered, as a starting-point for any discussion,
rather than as an end to one.
and Commentary About the Top 100 British Film Institute (BFI) Selections:
Note: The films that are marked with a yellow star are the films that "The Greatest Films"
site has selected as the "100
- The films spanned seven decades, from 1935 to 1998,
and the list accommodated the work of 70 film directors and much international
- The list contained no silent films. The earliest film
included was Hitchcock's The 39 Steps (1935) at #4. There was just one documentary
on the list: Fires Were Started (1943) - at # 89.
- Of the seven decades represented (1930s to 1990s),
the most represented decade was the 1960s, and the least represented was the 1930s. There were three from the 1930s; 16 from the 1940s; 10
from the 1950s; 26 from the 1960s; 10 from the 1970s; 18 from the
1980s; and 17 from the 1990s.
- David Lean directed six of the 100 films and co-directed
another, with Noel Coward: In Which We Serve (1942) at #92.
- The actor with the most included films to his credit
was Sir Alec Guinness, who appeared in nine films, three of them in
the top 10: Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Great
Expectations (1946), and Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949).
- Michael Caine and Julie Christie each starred in six
- Unsurprisingly, literary adaptations featured strongly
- ranging from Shakespeare and Dickens to Roddy Doyle and Irvine Welsh
- and the highbrow mixed easily with the low, as one favorite Carry
On was found on the list.