Costume dramas and slapstick comedies are among the British’s specialties, but they’re also adept at grim crime dramas. More than a few British-made or at least British-set crime films have appeared during the past few decades. Heist films, gangster flicks, and a slew of other genres can be found on the big screen. We’ve compiled a list of the best British crime flicks. There’s a lot of variety in the “crime” category. As a result, we’re focusing more on movies that are based on crime, rather than detective novels or mystery films that deal with crime. So, don’t hold your breath for a visit from Sherlock Holmes!
1. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)
When it comes to Sherlock Holmes movies, the two that starred Robert Downey Junior were directed by Guy Ritchie. In addition to “Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels,” he made his feature-film debut with “Stand and Deliver.” Despite the fact that no one involved was a household name at the time, the film was a breakout for a few actors, as well as filmmaker Ritchie.
2. Snatch (2000)
As a follow-up to his cult hit “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels,” Ritchie then released “Snatch.” After a modest appearance in Ritchie’s first picture, Jason Statham takes the starring role in this one as a gritty crime film about British lowlifes. And of course, “Snatch” was a major commercial hit because to Brad Pitt’s appearance in the film.
3. RocknRolla (2008)
It’s a Ritchie film, yes, but it’s the final one. In addition, he’s the current king of the British crime film genre. “RocknRolla” wasn’t a huge hit, but it had a great cast and crew. Because it’s a British crime thriller, it’s only natural that Mark Strong would be in it. However, two other possible James Bonds, Tom Hardy and Idris Elba, were also cast.
4. The Italian Job (1969)
We’re not talking about Mark Wahlberg and Charlize Theron’s slick, mediocre adaptation. The plot of this film had nothing to do with England at all. A squad of British criminals, commanded by Michael Caine in the original “Italian Job,” robbed an Italian car dealership in Italy.
5. A Fish Called Wand(1988)
In spite of the film’s reputation for humour, “A Fish Called Wanda” is a British crime movie. Yes, despite the fact that the film features Jamie Lee Curtis and Kevin Kline, the latter of whom earned an Oscar for his performance. There are also Monty Python’s John Cleese and Michael Palin, as well as the action taking place in England. A crime has been committed, and the majority of the primary characters are complicit in it.
6. Mickey Blue Eyes (1999)
During the ’90s, gangster comedies were a prominent genre. “Analyze This” and “Mickey Blue Eyes” were both available. Several actors from the “Godfather” series, including James Caan, were given new roles in both films. Hugh Grant acts as an auctioneer from England who is marrying into a crime family in New York City, where the film takes place. As far as we can tell, it’s a British criminal comedy.
7. The Bank Job (2008)
Isn’t Statham one of the first actors you think of when you hear “British crime film?” His demeanor is tough, he’s convincing as a villain, and he’s British to the core. “The Bank Job,” one of his numerous crime films, is based on an actual tale that isn’t widely known in the United States, but was a sensation in London in 1971.
8. The Ladykillers (1955)
Although Tom Hanks stars in the Coen Brothers’ version of “The Ladykillers,” it’s likely their least successful film. A BAFTA and an Oscar nomination for the original film’s screenplay make it a considerably superior film than the remake. It also featured a talented lead actor. Alec Guinness may not be as famous as Tom Hanks, but he’s certainly no slouch.
9. Layer Cake (2004)
Daniel Craig has appeared in a number of high-profile crime films, but he’s mainly played James Bond. When Matthew Vaughn made his directorial debut with “Layer Cake,” he was producing Ritchie’s first two films. Of course, everything had to do with London’s criminal underworld, as there was where he was most active. Kick-Ass” would be Vaughn’s breakout film as a director, and he would go on to direct many more.
10. Sexy Beast (2000)
In Ray Winstone’s mind, he was no longer involved in criminal activity. Ben Kingsley returned to his life at that point. Shockingly gloomy and depressing, “Sexy Beast” is exactly what you’d expect it to be. His acting as Don Logan was so compelling that Kingsley was nominated for an Oscar. Even for a criminal, Kingsley’s Don Logan is disgusting and unpredictable.
11. The Limey (1999)
Although it’s set in America, this film is full of British criminality. Actor Terence Stamp portrays a British criminal who travels to the United States to investigate the death of his daughter. Cockney rhyming slang is as British as it gets, and he uses it frequently. “Poor Cow,” which was set in the United Kingdom, was also utilized for flashbacks by Stephen Soderbergh.
12. The League of Gentleman (1960)
Never mind “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen,” which effectively ended the acting career of Sean Connery. A comic crime film based on a 1958 novel about a group of army veterans who plan to heist a bank. It was well-received and still enjoys a solid reputation among those who remember it. “
13. Get Carter (1971)
The British criminal film actor Michael Caine may have had the distinction prior to Statham. “The Italian Job,” for example, was a light-hearted flick. Even while “Get Carter” isn’t as much fun, it still has plenty of crime to offer. Sylvester Stallone would eventually play Carter, a character that is very different from Caine’s.
14. The Long Good Friday(1980)
Bob Hoskins had a long and varied career, and he had a lot of fun along the way. Besides, “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” and “Super Mario Bros.” are two of his most well-known films. The Long Good Friday” co-starred Helen Mirren, but it was his breakout role in the crime film that made him a household name. The British Film Institute ranked “The Long Good Friday” as the 21st-best British picture ever in 1999, making it a classic crime film as well.
15. The First Great Train Robbery (1978)
When it comes to British films, we’ll stick with “The First” (the American title deleted the “First”), because it’s the British title. Based on a novel by Michael Crichton, the film was written and directed by Crichton himself. In the ’70s, Sean Connery and Donald Sutherland are two of the most popular actors in the world.
After directing the original “Get Carter,” Mike Hodges went on to direct “Croupier” as his concluding feature. Despite its lack of commercial success, it was highly praised by critics in the United States. The film’s lead, an up-and-coming actor who was still waiting for his big break, received a lot of the attention. Clive Owen is the only one who comes to mind. To witness Owen’s first major role, try out “Croupier.”
17. Brighton Rock (1947)
Film adaptations of numerous of Graham Greene’s works, many of which deal with crime, have been made. “The Third Man,” which stars Orson Welles and is regarded as a noir classic, is one of the most popular of such films. This isn’t quite as good as “Brighton Rock,” but it does feature an impressive performance by Richard Attenborough as a teenage mobster.
18. The Hit (1984)
Even the evil guys have bad days, as the slogan of “The Hit” implies. As evidenced by this film, written and directed by Stephen Frears In addition to Stamp, John Hurt and a young Tim Roth also appear on this list. One can only assume that Wes Anderson isn’t the only one.
19. The Lavender Hill Mob (1951)
In “A Fish Called Wanda,” John Cleese was behind Charles Crichton, even though he was 78 years old at the time, since “The Lavender Hill Mob” had such an impact on it. Although this Alec Guinness film is popular in the United States, it is considered a classic in the United Kingdom. The film was nominated for a BAFTA for Best British Film and ranked 17th on the BFI’s list of Britain’s Best Films.
20. Legend (2015)
It’s always risky to play two characters in the same movie. Occasionally, though, it works. Like when you’re filming a movie about two people who are identical twins. This is the case with “Legend,” which is about the Kray twins, two notorious British criminals. Tom Hardy is the actor who plays both characters, and he does so admirably.