ByHeather Snowden, writer at
Lover of bad puns, nostalgic feels and all things Winona. Email: [email protected] Tweet: @heathbetweetin
Heather Snowden

In most lists which rank the "Top Movies of the '90s," you'll find a myriad of fantastic flicks from the teen queens reigning supreme in Clueless, She's All That and Cruel Intentions, to hard-hitting classics like Pulp Fiction and Goodfellas. And, while I am more than 100% in for all of the above, I can't help but feel there are a bunch of fantastic British films from the '90s which don't quite get the leg-up they deserve.

So, from bonkers Brits flappin' around in fields to Hugh Grant's hair flappin' around in a city — and a lot of excellent car chases, northern strippers and Vinnie Jones-themed things in between — here's the starter pack you need to delve in to the best '90s cinema Britain has to offer.

1. Trainspotting

Year: 1996

Heroin, underage school-girls, babies crawling on ceilings, Ewan McGregor crawling into "The Worst Toilet In Scotland" and a human called Spud. Based on a novel by Irvine Welsh, Trainspotting is as visceral as it is vomit-inducing, but boy is it a good watch.

2. Four Weddings and a Funeral

Year: 1994

Worth watching for Kristin Scott Thomas's strong wardrobe game alone, Four Weddings and a Funeral is a tale of Hugh Grant being the dorky, unlucky Englishman he is in most movies. It's romantic, it's cute and it's very, very funny.

3. Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels

Year: 1998

I feel like you've only got to ask yourself one question before you stick this movie straight in your eye-holes: Do you want to see Vinnie Jones going full-blown rage monster and repeatedly smash a guy's head with a car door in a move which gives American History X's curb stomp a run for its money?

Yes, of course you do.

4. The Full Monty

Year: 1997

What do a bunch of unemployed, fat, thin, hairy, dorky, hilarious and completely hopeless northern guys do when they can't find work for love nor money? Start a male striptease act, what else? Move over Magic Mike, these guys know where it's at.

5. The Witches

Year: 1990

Yes, it stars majestic American queen Anjelica Huston, but this Roald Dahl adaptation is set in Buckinghamshire and thus, 'tis British enough. This movie is best consumed at a young, tender age, when the de-masking scene still delivers a strong enough punch to haunt you into adulthood.

6. Nil By Mouth

Year: 1997

Written and directed by Gary Oldman and starring Ray Winstone, Nil by Mouth is as London as it gets. From drugs to domestic violence, this movie features everything you'd expect from a really raw, totally uncompromising, gritty British drama.

7. Notting Hill

Year: 1999

There goes Hugh Grant again, being all "flopsie" and falling off fences, screaming "whoopsi-daisy," as Boyzone's Ronan Keating plays away in the background. Not only has this movie spawned some pretty major tourist attractions in London, but it introduced us to Grant's flatmate Spike — and that, guys, is reason enough.

8. Truly Madly Deeply

Year: 1990

Kind of like Ghost, but with Alan Rickman and not really like Ghost at all. Rickman's character comes back from the dead to be with his living partner, but drives her completely mad by doing, well, annoying stuff like turning the heating on full blast and inviting all his ghost mates over. This is a funny one and, as you can imagine, also totally heartbreaking.

9. Shallow Grave

Year: 1994

Danny Boyle's (Trainspotting, the good Steve Jobs movie, Slumdog Millionaire) cinematic directorial debut was this award-winning, low-budget beaut' starring Ewan McGregor. A dark comedy set in Glasgow and revolving around three flatmates who, upon on finding a stack of cash in their forth flatmate's bedroom (along with his dead body), decide to get rid of the corpse and pocket the dough. Obviously, this does not work out as planned.

10. Naked

Year: 1993

The end is nigh for Johnny in this bleak but very stylish dark comedy by Mike Leigh. Convinced the world is coming to an end, all hope of a brighter future seems lost — an angle which is very timely in its post-Thatcher Britain — for this down-trodden dude musing the meaning of life.

Also worth watching: The Crying Game, Shakespeare in Love, Shallow Grave, Brassed Off and Shopping.

How many of these '90s British films have you seen?


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