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Old 17th March 2017, 12:19 AM   #1
angrysoba
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Best movies about British history?

What are the best movies on British history?

These are movies that I may be able to recommend to university students taking a course on British culture as an elective subject.

I understand that movies such as Braveheart and maybe The Patriot are very inaccurate, but I am looking for movies of two particular kinds:

Those about British history in general (including the British Empire), and perhaps biopics of the kings and queens.

Here are a few possibilities:

Elizabeth (Gwyneth Paltrow)
Madness of King George
The King's Speech

Also,
The Man Who Would be King (fiction, yes, but enjoyable)
Wind That Shakes the Barley (for Ireland)

Do you recommend any others, or would you warn off any of my choices so far?
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"Evolution and Ethics" T.H. Huxley (1893)
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Old 17th March 2017, 12:29 AM   #2
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Some of these will be a bit epic, but off the top of my head
Gandhi.
A Man For All Seasons
Mrs Brown



Sent from my Nexus 9 using Tapatalk
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Old 17th March 2017, 12:38 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Worm View Post
Some of these will be a bit epic, but off the top of my head
Gandhi.
A Man For All Seasons
Mrs Brown



Sent from my Nexus 9 using Tapatalk
Thanks! Good ideas.
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"Evolution and Ethics" T.H. Huxley (1893)
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Old 17th March 2017, 01:07 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
What are the best movies on British history?

These are movies that I may be able to recommend to university students taking a course on British culture as an elective subject.

I understand that movies such as Braveheart and maybe The Patriot are very inaccurate, but I am looking for movies of two particular kinds:

Those about British history in general (including the British Empire), and perhaps biopics of the kings and queens.

Here are a few possibilities:

Elizabeth (Gwyneth Paltrow)
Madness of King George
The King's Speech

Also,
The Man Who Would be King (fiction, yes, but enjoyable)
Wind That Shakes the Barley (for Ireland)

Do you recommend any others, or would you warn off any of my choices so far?
Ah yes, "British culture". What's that when it's at home. I'd hate to have to convey the essence of anything so impenetrable as British culture, if only that the class divide makes it well nigh impossible to make generalizations.

Forget about culture. Think more about values and other characteristics that are more or less shared, correction, paid lip service to, across the social spectrum, seen best when under pressure.

If I had to name one, it would be doggedness in pursuit of what is instinctively perceived as the decent and upright thing to do.

Film? Braveheart? You have to be kidding (recalling the defenestration tendencies of that ruthless Anglo-Norman (not true-blue English!) monarch, King Edward ("Longshanks") to say nothing of ordering his archers to fell the charging Scots and Irish, knowing his own front-line foot-soldiers would also get skewered).

For doggedness under fire, one could do a lot worse than show "The Battle of Britain. Ask whether "dogged" Air Chief Marshall Sir Hugh ("Stuffy") Dowding was really the man for the job, or just lucky to have had Spitfires and a fast-dwindling number of fearless, chummy pilots at his disposal....

Ah yes: chumminess and informality, those essential factors in social inter-class cohesion, less in evidence these days but not extinct. Add those to the list of hard-to-pin-down "cultural" traits.
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Old 17th March 2017, 02:44 AM   #5
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Can't believe I didn't mention The Up series of documentaries. Revisiting a group of children every 7 years from 1964 to 2012

One that occurs to me, but is perhaps a bit specific, is an animated movie called 'Great' about Isambard Kingdom Brunel that we watched in history lessons at school.

https://bobgodfreyfilms.com/great/

Pride
Withnail & I
Trainspotting

Britain is probably better represented on TV to be honest. There are some cracking documentary series that give insight.
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Old 17th March 2017, 04:45 AM   #6
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Warriors (Peter Cosminsky)
Bloody Sunday (the Michael Greengrass one)
Contact (the Alan Clarke one)
Dog Soldiers
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Old 17th March 2017, 05:31 AM   #7
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Month Python's Holy Grail.








Sorry......
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Old 17th March 2017, 05:32 AM   #8
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"Whisky Galore", based on a real ship wreck during WW2 and the fate of its cargo of whisky.
"Zulu". Pretty accurate and I love when the soldiers sing Men of Harlech in response to the impi.
"Edge of the World", not factual but a good movie about the end of a way of life in the Western Isles, filmed around about the time Saint Kilda was evacuated.
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Old 17th March 2017, 05:38 AM   #9
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Carry on at your convenience.
I'm all rights Jack.
Battle of Britain
Zulu
Waterloo
The Ladykillers
Hobsons Choice
Went the day well
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Old 17th March 2017, 05:39 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
Month Python's Holy Grail.








Sorry......
The Meaning of Life is more apt to the OP.

Young Victoria and/or the Victoria BBC series.
HBO did a series of shows on Churchill during WWII which are on Netflix or Amazon.

Most of the following take liberties with accuracy.
Lawrence of Arabia
Breaker Morant
The Madness of King George
A Man for All Seasons
The Lion in Winter

Some non-historical:
Brassed Off
Trainspotting
A Hard Days Night
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Old 17th March 2017, 05:56 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by meccanoman View Post
For doggedness under fire, one could do a lot worse than show "The Battle of Britain. Ask whether "dogged" Air Chief Marshall Sir Hugh ("Stuffy") Dowding was really the man for the job, or just lucky to have had Spitfires and a fast-dwindling number of fearless, chummy pilots at his disposal....
Not a bad film, and made with real Spitfires, Hurricanes, Heinkel 111's and ME-109's (actually later model Spanish versions).
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Old 17th March 2017, 10:58 AM   #12
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Zulu has been recommended, and it is among my favorite movies, and as Hollywood goes it is more accurate than most. Still, it isn't really accurate about the details at all, though it does a marvelous job of the overall feel and the general tenor of the battle.
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Old 17th March 2017, 11:42 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Garrette View Post
Zulu has been recommended, and it is among my favorite movies, and as Hollywood goes it is more accurate than most. Still, it isn't really accurate about the details at all, though it does a marvelous job of the overall feel and the general tenor of the battle.
I thought of Zulu but, while it is the quintessential British war movie, I don't know that it really says much about British history or culture in general.

(I suppose The Bridge on the River Kwai is right out?)

Perhaps a classic tale from Bitish myth: Excalibur or Robin Hood: Men in Tights? (Actually, the Errol Flynn Robin Hood might not be a bad idea!)
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Old 17th March 2017, 11:45 AM   #14
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The Blackadder documentary series.
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Old 17th March 2017, 11:52 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
Elizabeth (Gwyneth Paltrow)
Don't you mean Cate Blanchett?
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Old 17th March 2017, 11:53 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
Do you recommend any others, or would you warn off any of my choices so far?
Excalibur.
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Old 17th March 2017, 11:57 AM   #17
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The Lion in Winter

This signature is intended to irritate people.
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Old 17th March 2017, 12:10 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by lionking View Post
Month Python's Holy Grail.

Sorry......
I remember seeing some interview with a historian, and according to him, of all the "King Arthur" movies, Holy Grail may actually be the most realistic. Why? Because it showed people's living standards more accurately... problems with disease, the divide between rich and poor, etc.
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Old 17th March 2017, 12:16 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Segnosaur View Post
I remember seeing some interview with a historian, and according to him, of all the "King Arthur" movies, Holy Grail may actually be the most realistic. Why? Because it showed people's living standards more accurately... problems with disease, the divide between rich and poor, etc.
An historian, eh? Maybe the middle ages aren't his specialty.
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Old 17th March 2017, 12:21 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by angrysoba View Post
What are the best movies on British history?
How about Belle? Supposedly based (very loosely) on a true story about a woman who's father was part of an upper-class family, and her mother was a slave, so she was sort of 'stuck' between the 2 classes... she ended up living with the wealthy family, but is still treated differently than the other family members.

Deals with several issues... class differences in 1700s Britain, race relations, and the Zong Massacre.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belle_(2013_film)

You could also try the movie Hysteria, a movie set in Victorian-era Britain during some of their most important scientific discoveries.

The invention of the vibrator.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hysteria_(2011_film)
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Old 17th March 2017, 12:24 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Argumemnon View Post
Quote:
I remember seeing some interview with a historian, and according to him, of all the "King Arthur" movies, Holy Grail may actually be the most realistic. Why? Because it showed people's living standards more accurately... problems with disease, the divide between rich and poor, etc.
An historian, eh? Maybe the middle ages aren't his specialty.
I don't think he was saying it was particularly accurate... I think he was just saying it was more accurate than (for example) Excalibur. Yes, Holy Grail had the killer bunny and other types of nonsense, but Excalibur had its own share of the supernatural, and (if I remember correctly) didn't bother showing the plight of the lower classes at all.
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Old 17th March 2017, 01:33 PM   #22
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Two mini-series from the seventies- Elizabeth R and The Six Wives of Henry VIII.
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Old 17th March 2017, 02:57 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Argumemnon View Post
Don't you mean Cate Blanchett?
Do you prefer that version? Very well then.
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"Evolution and Ethics" T.H. Huxley (1893)
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Old 17th March 2017, 02:59 PM   #24
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Churchill: The Hollywood Years.

But on a serious note, see the YouTube channel History Buffs - nothing but reviews of historical films & their accuracy or lack of same
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Old 17th March 2017, 03:58 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Beady View Post
The Lion in Winter
+1
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Old 17th March 2017, 11:15 PM   #26
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Her majesty Mrs brown is one I enjoyed.
https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/mrs_brown
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0119280/?ref_=nv_sr_2
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Old 17th March 2017, 11:28 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Argumemnon View Post
An historian, eh? Maybe the middle ages aren't his specialty.
Terry Jones actually is a historian specialising in the Middle Ages. The society depicted in Holy Grail is clearly not accurate, but in a lot of ways is more accurate than most portrayals of the period.
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Old 18th March 2017, 12:43 AM   #28
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Zulu.

Fantastic film.

"Fire at will!"

"Well that's very nice of him"

The singing of Men of Harlech brings a tear to my eye every time.
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Old 18th March 2017, 01:30 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by megaresp View Post
Churchill: The Hollywood Years.

But on a serious note, see the YouTube channel History Buffs - nothing but reviews of historical films & their accuracy or lack of same
This! I can't wait for him to do The Last Of The Mohicans. As a United Empire Loyalist decendent, I loved his destruction if The Patriot. Now that I have a son with first nation blood, the history of the first inhabitants of the Americas has new meaning. History Buffs did a great job with Dances With Wolves recently, and really opened my eyes to the Dakota pipeline subject, which I had mostly brushed off until now (defeatist attitude).
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Old 18th March 2017, 03:38 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Bouncing Bettys View Post
History Buffs did a great job with Dances With Wolves recently...

I loved that one too. I loved his take on Apollo 13 even more </nerdgasm>.

I enjoy it most of all when he is so enthusiastic about a film he will point out various historical inaccurasies, and then basically say we should overlook them for this movie because he loves the film so much

Seriously OP, go check this guy's YouTube channel. It contains a wealth of historical movies, including many British ones (the guy is English). And you get his own research into the period, where he points out what's right, wrong, changed and possible reasons for doing so. This is a resource you can use, rather than a mere list.

Now I'm on my desktop computer, I can post a link for you: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgg...BQHIiPmOxezeWA
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Old 18th March 2017, 03:53 AM   #31
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I came in here with some documentary recommendations but then realized you actually meant "movies" why bro? Look up Hitch's evisceration of The King's Speech, it's *********** sad. Also **** Donald Trump I can't end sentences with the word sad anymore ****
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Old 18th March 2017, 04:24 AM   #32
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To get a culture perspective and a bit of history, even if not 100% accurate.

Docudramas:

Culloden (1964), The War Game (1965).

Historical fiction: Kidnapped (various versions).

Comedy:

Any of the Ealing Comedies--they often provide great detail on the social mores of the time. More recently : Local Hero (deals with North Sea oil boom-type problems), Brassed Off and The Full Monty covering loss of jobs, poverty issues after the major upheavals of the 70s and 80s. The Carry-On series can be a bit naff but might still be useful in portraying a vision of a declining Britain post-Empire.

The war:

Almost too many to choose from - heyday probably 40s, 50s and 60s for dealing with WWII and its attendant social issues. Some propaganda like Went The Day Well, In Which We Serve, but others more subtle. Ice Cold In Alex, The Colditz Story, Amethyst Incident, Dunkirk, engrossing stuff as well as providing a good quote of stiff upper lips.

And there are any number of TV series which can provide a great deal of useful information.
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Old 18th March 2017, 04:28 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by Joey McGee View Post
I came in here with some documentary recommendations but then realized you actually meant "movies" why bro? ...
I wrote something up about ethnic hagiographies, national myth-building and so on, but decided "meh." Not quite an area skepticism is comfortable with yet.
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Old 18th March 2017, 06:02 AM   #34
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Years ago the bbc did a 13 parter called the devil's crown which is available for download if you know where to look, a great cast and am told by those who know better very faithful to the history.
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Old 18th March 2017, 06:29 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by Joey McGee View Post
I came in here with some documentary recommendations but then realized you actually meant "movies" why bro? Look up Hitch's evisceration of The King's Speech, it's *********** sad. Also **** Donald Trump I can't end sentences with the word sad anymore ****
Heh heh! Trump stole your act! Sad.

Anyway, let me know the documentary recommendations. I chose movies because there is more of a chance that autonomous learners will view them. But if I have some really good students maybe some of them will go the extra mile.
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"Evolution and Ethics" T.H. Huxley (1893)
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Old 18th March 2017, 12:43 PM   #36
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There's a recent 3?-part mini-series called The Story of England, where archaeologists guide the citizens of a Midlands village as they literally dig into their community's history. They dig in their own backyards, discovering all kinds of artifacts that, iirc, go back to pre-Roman, and finding tangible evidence why many of their folk bear Scandinavian - root surnames. Really fascinating. On DVD.

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Old 18th March 2017, 01:17 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by Beady View Post
There's a recent 3?-part mini-series called The Story of England, where archaeologists guide the citizens of a Midlands village as they literally dig into their community's history. They dig in their own backyards, discovering all kinds of artifacts that, iirc, go back to pre-Roman, and finding tangible evidence why many of their folk bear Scandinavian - root surnames. Really fascinating. On DVD.

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Er, how did they get the surnames of folk who lived in Britain before the arrival of the Romans? Before that time there was no written language in Britain, so what kind of record of surnames - Scandinavian or otherwise - could have been left for archaeologists to discover?

I personally doubt whether there was a Scandinavian presence in Britain prior to the Viking invasions post-Roman withdrawal. Where's the archaeological evidence that says otherwise, e.g longboat burials?

Who introduced Britain's pre-Roman copper and tin mining? Surely not the Scandinavians, in the absence of evidence they had interest or unique expertise in that area...
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Old 18th March 2017, 01:29 PM   #38
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The first Wicker Man movie - travel to the Isle of Wight and you'll see it is pretty much a documentary.
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Old 18th March 2017, 01:30 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by meccanoman View Post
Er, how did they get the surnames of folk who lived in Britain before the arrival of the Romans? Before that time there was no written language in Britain, so what kind of record of surnames - Scandinavian or otherwise - could have been left for archaeologists to discover?

I personally doubt whether there was a Scandinavian presence in Britain prior to the Viking invasions post-Roman withdrawal. Where's the archaeological evidence that says otherwise, e.g longboat burials?

Who introduced Britain's pre-Roman copper and tin mining? Surely not the Scandinavians, in the absence of evidence they had interest or unique expertise in that area...
Oh for crying out loud. I was writing a quick description, not a college thesis. Does that invalidate the actual documentary?

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Old 18th March 2017, 03:19 PM   #40
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The Long and the Short and the Tall
Zulu
Get Carter (underworld crime)
Room At the Top (kitchen sink)
The History Boys
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