In most lists which rank the ” ,” you’ll find a myriad of fantastic flicks from the in Cluessless, 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 — 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.
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
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
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 guys 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
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
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
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
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
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 round the twist 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
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 on finding a stack of cash in their forth flatmates bedroom — a long with his dead body — decide to get rid of the corpse and pocket the dough. Obviously, this does not work out as planned.
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.