London and Its Inhabitants: Five Atmospheric Films

Every country has a very distinct film industry. For example, typical characters and awesome visual effects are characteristic of American films. British films are charming in their own way with British humour, good manners, and men in suits. And all of these are set against the gloomy London backdrop.

Here are five film reviews about London for fans of British culture. If you’re learning English, watch them in the original with subtitles. Enjoy the accent and enrich your vocabulary.

1. The Gentlemen (2019)

IMDb Rating: 7.8

Genre: crime, comedy, action

Recommended for: fans of intricate criminal plots

The film is directed by Guy Ritchie, one of the best British directors. And it is rated high for the cast of British actors that everyone loves including the admirable Matthew McConaughey (Interstellar) and Hugh Grant (every iconic British film). The cinematography and dialogues perfectly match the quality of the cast.

An American drug lord running a criminal empire in the UK wants to sell it and retire. As soon as he decides to do it, a journalist comes to visit him and offers him to buy a crime drama script. What does it have to do with blackmail and Russian gangsters? Find out in this film.

2. Skyfall (2012)

IMDb Rating: 7.8

Genre: action, thriller, adventure

Recommended for: fans of James Bond films and spy stories.

James Bond is a British secret agent. The same Agent 007 who came from the books and whom everyone recognises from the films. An authentic English gentleman who loves expensive alcohol and cars and beautiful women.

It ranks as one of the best films of the Bond franchise. Agent 007 saves his boss and the entire MI6 organisation he works for. Everything about it is British, from the costumes to the popular song by Adele. As a typical Bond film, Skyfall is packed with badass fights that take place in London.

3. Love Actually (2003)

IMDb Rating: 7.6

Genre: romance, comedy, drama

Recommended for: fans of romantic comedies and Christmas atmosphere

Almost all of the UK’s best actors are here including Martin Freeman, who played Watson in the Sherlock TV series, Keira Knightley, known for her role of Elizabeth Swann from Pirates of the Caribbean, and Alan Rickman, who played Professor Snape in Harry Potter.

The plot consists of nine stories that happen on Christmas Eve. In each story, the characters fall in love, realise something important for themselves and joke in their inimitable British way. Emotions might make you want to cry but with happiness, as this is a film with a happy ending. Its light-heartedness is perfect for spending a romantic evening with your sweetheart.

4. Paddington (2014)

IMDb Rating: 7.3

Genre: comedy, family, adventure

Recommended for: kids and kidults because of innocent humour and a cute bear. Adults will enjoy London views and appreciate timeless family values.

A classic British story based on a book and TV show. Paddington Bear comes to London. He has dreamed all his life of being part of a British family. In his dreams, the British are polite. He wants to learn manners from them but ends up having an adventure and learning how to survive in a crowded London.

5. Dorian Gray (2009)

IMDb Rating: 6.2

Genre: fantasy, thriller, drama

Recommended for: if you love classic British literature and 19th-century England

A screen adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s novel The Portrait of Dorian Gray. This novel is the most popular Wilde’s work. The action takes place in the 19th century. It shows us the very country we imagine when we hear about Great Britain — rainy, foggy, and gloomy.

Dorian Gray arrives in London where he begins to hang out with Lord Wotton. He promotes the idea that one should live for self-indulgence. The young man decides to devote his life to pleasures. Bargaining with the Devil, he receives eternal youth and beauty. In return, a portrait of Dorian Gray will age and suffer sins instead of him.


Films about London are imbued with British spirit not only because they offer views of London. Everything about them is English, from the timid dialogues to the jokes that aren’t for everyone. Select your favourite genre, free your evening and transport yourself to foggy London.

FAQs about British Films

Who are the best British directors?

If you like psychological thrillers, watch Alfred Hitchcock.

If you are a fan of detective stories with an action-packed plot and unexpected twists and turns, go for Guy Ritchie’s films.

If you are obsessed with special effects and action, Ridley Scott’s films are just for you.

Who are the best British actors?

Charlie Hunnam is one of them. He starred in The Gentlemen.

Sherlock TV series has brought fame to Benedict Cumberbatch, but he has many other good films. It is worth watching The Imitation Game and Third Star, to name a few.

The classic English gentlemen are Hugh Grant, Daniel Craig, and Luke Evans. You can find films with them online. Watch them to enjoy the British accent and manners.

What are British classic films?

In addition to the previously mentioned Dorian Gray, you can watch Jane Eyre (2011). Beautiful Victorian costumes and a moving love story will touch your soul.

If you like detective stories, watch Murder on the Orient Express (2017). This is a screen adaptation of the famous book by Agatha Christie. The director of this film is a famous British filmmaker Kenneth Branagh.

Drama fans have a lot to choose from too. My Cousin Rachel (2017) is a heartbreaking story about how, after the death of his adoptive father, the main character falls in love with his widowed stepmother. The film is based on the novel of the same name by Daphne du Maurier.