BFI Top 100 British films

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In 1999, the British Film Institute surveyed 1,000 people from the world of British film and television to produce a list of the greatest British films of the 20th century. Voters were asked to choose up to 100 films that were "culturally British".[1]

List breakdown[edit]

  • The 1960s head the list with 26 films of merit for the decade. Four films made the list from each of the years 1949, 1963, and 1996. The earliest film selected was The 39 Steps (1935), and only two other 1930s films made the list.
  • David Lean is the most represented director on the list, with six films, three of which were placed in the top five and four in the top eleven. Michael Powell followed with five entries, although he co-directed four of them with Emeric Pressburger as part of the Powell and Pressburger ("The Archers") filmmaking partnership. John Schlesinger also directed four, while Alexander Mackendrick and Tony Richardson each had three. Ealing Studios produced seven films on the list between 1949 and 1955.
  • Alec Guinness is the most represented actor, with nine films, three of which being in supporting roles. Michael Caine is the most represented living actor, starring in seven films.
  • Julie Christie is the most represented actress, with six films on the list.

Top 10[edit]

Rank Title Year Director
1 The Third Man 1949 Carol Reed
2 Brief Encounter 1945 David Lean
3 Lawrence of Arabia 1962 David Lean
4 The 39 Steps 1935 Alfred Hitchcock
5 Great Expectations 1946 David Lean
6 Kind Hearts and Coronets 1949 Robert Hamer
7 Kes 1969 Ken Loach
8 Don't Look Now 1973 Nicolas Roeg
9 The Red Shoes 1948 Powell and Pressburger
10 Trainspotting 1996 Danny Boyle

See also[edit]


  1. ^ BBC. 23 September 1999. Entertainment: Best 100 British films – full list. Accessed 30 January 2014.