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The Italian Job Tops the List of Greatest British Films of All Time

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By Richard Jenkins

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The Italian Job has been named the greatest British film ever made.

A survey of 2,000 Brits put Peter Collinson’s stylish 1969 crime caper in top spot – with fans fondly remembering its famous Mini Cooper chases and cliffhanger ending.

The film tells the story of a gang of English crooks who plot to rob $4million worth of gold bullion from under the noses of the mob and the police in Turin.

Sir Michael Caine, who played lead character Charlie Croker in the family favourite, also walked away with the title of best British actor in the same poll.

The study was commissioned by Vue Entertainment to celebrate the re-launch of the iconic Vue Leicester Square cinema, first opened in 1938.

Other titles appearing in the list include striptease comedy-drama The Full Monty, which came in second, and Richard Curtis’ romance Love Actually, which took fourth place, behind another Sir Michael Caine classic, Zulu, in third.

Vue Entertainment’s Film Content Manager Dean Cross said: “The Italian Job is a testament to the quality of British film-making – a moment when the best of the best came together to create cinema magic.

“There are bigger productions on the list, starring bigger stars, but Michael Caine’s gravitas as an actor, and the iconic scenes of The Italian Job put it ahead of the competition. A worthy winner.”

As well as being crowned best British film, The Italian Job was also given the award for Most Iconic Scene in a British film, for Michael Caine’s ‘You’re only supposed to blow the bloody doors off!” gaffe.

Sir Anthony Hopkins, who achieved widespread acclaim for his portrayal of serial killer Hannibal Lecter in 1991’s Silence of the Lambs, was named the second best British actor ever, followed by Sir Sean Connery, the late Alan Rickman and Dame Judi Dench.

Connery was however able to sleuth his way to the top position in a poll of best Bonds, tailed by Sir Roger Moore and Daniel Craig.

Heading behind the camera, Sir Alfred Hitchcock took the director’s chair in a tally of best British directors, followed by Alien director Ridley Scott.

Hitchcock’s adaptation of The 39 Steps appeared in 14th place on the best British films list.

Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting, which ranked in fifth, shot to top of the pops when it came to Best British Soundtracks, followed by Billy Elliot and Goldfinger.

Brits watch an average of four films a month and estimate that a third of their favourite movies were made on British soil.

Thirty per cent feel a sense of pride when a British film does well in awards season, but just one in eight make a notable effort to try and watch British-made films.

And in typical self-deprecating fashion, Brits voted the UK as the second greatest nation for film production, behind America.

Anna Smith, President of the UK Critics’ Circle, said: “These results are a fascinating reflection of British culture over the decades, beginning with epic war film Zulu in 1964, when real-life battles were still fresh in many audience members’ minds.”

“Popular 70s and 80s cinema was arguably dominated by Hollywood, but British film is back with a bang in the 90s, with The Full Monty and Trainspotting.

“Both films helped define an exciting era in British culture, launching many talents onto the worldwide scene, including Trainspotting director Danny Boyle and actor Robert Carlyle, who can take special credit for appearing in both films.

“Love Actually is a festive favourite with many, but as for me, I choose Trainspotting.”

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THE TOP 50 BRITISH FILMS
1. The Italian Job
2. The Full Monty
3. Zulu
4. Love, Actually
5. Trainspotting
6. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
7. Four Weddings and a Funeral
8. The Bridge on the River Kwai
9. Monty Python’s Life of Brian
10. Billy Elliot
11. Lawrence of Arabia
12. The Railway Children
13. Shaun of the Dead
14. The 39 Steps
15. The King’s Speech
16. The Dam Busters
17. Slumdog Millionaire
18. Skyfall
19. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
20. A Clockwork Orange
21. 28 Days Later
22. Notting Hill
23. The Third Man
24. Hot Fuzz
25. Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
26. Chariots of Fire
27. 2001: A Space Odyssey
28. This is England
29. The Ladykillers
30. The Wicker Man
31. Gandhi
32. Get Carter
33. Withnail & I
34. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
35. The Theory of Everything
36. Goldfinger
37. Local Hero
38. Kind Hearts and Coronets
39. Kes
40. Scum
41. Lawrence of Arabia
42. Bend it Like Beckham
43. Snatch
44. The Long Good Friday
45. Sense and Sensibility
46. Carry on Doctor
47. Carry on Camping
48. A Fish Called Wanda
49. Dr. No
50. A Hard Day’s Night
THE TOP 10 BRITISH ACTORS OF ALL TIME
1. Michael Caine
2. Anthony Hopkins
3. Sean Connery
4. Alan Rickman
5. Sir Ian McKellen
6. Dame Judi Dench
7. Dame Maggie Smith
8. Laurence Olivier
9. Alec Guinness
10. Helen Mirren
THE TOP 10 BRITISH DIRECTORS OF ALL TIME
1. Alfred Hitchcock
2. Ridley Scott
3. Richard Attenborough
4. Danny Boyle
5. Ken Loach
6. Christopher Nolan
7. Mike Leigh
8. Sam Mendes
9. Steve McQueen
10. Ken Russell

ENDS

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