British Cult Films: Our Top 10 Picks

by Olivia Mannix

British cinema is a wonderful thing and has blessed us with films that are based around everything from music to fashion, history, hobbies and more. Are you into comedy or something that packs a bit of punch? Whatever the verdict is, sit back and relax as we run through some of our favourite British cult films.

Trainspotting (1996)

Let’s start off with a bang. One word – Trainspotting. One of the biggest British cult films which was, and continues to be, a global success. This black comedy crime film is directed by Danny Boyle and has the ability to make you experience almost every emotion in just 1 hour and 35 minutes. Follow the story of the very real drug culture that existed in the UK back in the 1980s and experience the style, music and relationships that lived within this culture. 

Nowhere Boy (2009)

Nowhere Boy is a film based around the adolescence of John Lennon. Making a statement about John Lennon’s personality, this cult classic follows the rebellious teenage years of Lennon as he worked his way up to becoming one of The Beatles. Immerse yourself in the real-life relationships Lennon was a part of, the problems that he faced, his friendships and the things he loved so dearly – with one of them arguably being the most important of all, music. 

Quadrophenia (1979)

Set against the soundtrack of The Who’s 1973 album “Quadrophenia”, the legend, Phil Daniels, plays Jimmy, a working-class Mod, who hates his job and is tired of his family life. He leads a double life and at night, he comes alive. Discover the life of a Mod – who parties with the all-nighters and enjoys his days with his scooter-riding friends. Another cult classic, that is a must-watch, especially for fans of The Who.

Submarine (2010)

A Film 4 classic which back in 2010, well and truly won our hearts. Directed by the incredible Richard Ayoade, this coming-of-age comedy-drama will have you hooked on the story of 15-year-old Oliver Tate. With a stunning soundtrack created by Arctic Monkeys’ frontman, Alex Turner, the film follows Oliver on his mission to lose his virginity and to eliminate the flame between his mother and an ex-lover who has moved in next door. A stellar film that is guaranteed to lift your mood.

This Is England (2006)

Step into the skinhead world, found in England in the early 1980s. This British drama is an absolute gem, showing off the skinhead subculture that so many young people were a part of. Dubbed as one of the best films to come out of Britain, this incredible story follows Shaun as he earns the respect of the local skinheads when he stands up to their teasing. He becomes part of the gang and enjoys hanging out with his new friends. As the story unfolds, it becomes clear that ’s not all just plain sailing with the gang… 

Awaydays (2009)

Here we have the ultimate football-fueled crime drama, directed by Pat Holden. Based on the 1998 Kevin Sampson novel, Awaydays follows the life of young middle-class men, as they enter into a group of football hooligans – AKA The Pack. Immerse yourself in the history of football hooliganism and terrace culture, as casuals fashion sits at the forefront of this incredible film. Sex, drugs, rock n’ roll, fashion, football, and fighting.

24 Hour Party People (2002)

This iconic comedy-drama focuses on Manchester’s music community which was prominent from the late 1970s, right into the 1990s. The film follows Tony Wilson, an ambitious but frustrated local TV news reporter looking for a way to make his mark. The Sex Pistols performed a life-changing concert and Wilson persuades his station to televise one of their performances. Based on the true story, 24 Hour Party People dives into the world of Factory Records and the incredible Manchester music culture. 

Shaun Of The Dead (2004)

If you look a bit of gore, this one’s for you! Starring the incredible Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, this comical horror has gone down in British film history. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be caught up in a zombie apocalypse? Well, Shaun Of The Dead gives you a good idea. The film follows two friends who are caught in an apocalyptic zombie uprising. There are zombies everywhere as they attempt to take refuge in a local pub. Sounds about right to us…

Filth (2013)

Another black comedy film that has gone down in history, with a similar feel to Trainspotting. This may be because they were both originally novels written by literature genius, Irvine Welsh. If you are hungry for a bit of murder mystery, Filth is a great pick. As a drug-addled, manipulative misanthrope begins to experience severe hallucinations, he tries to solve the murder of a student. The plot will have you hooked as you watch a revolting character’s drug-fueled journey unfold.

A Clockwork Orange (1971)

One of the original British cult classics is Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange. A story jam-packed with twists and turns, promising to leave you on the edge of your seat. Follow the life of a psychopathic delinquent, imprisoned for murder and rape. In an effort to reduce his sentence, he volunteers for an experimental therapy conducted by the government, but it goes off track… One of the most popular British cult classics that you just have to watch.

So, there you have it! Some of our favourite British cult films. Which one is your top pick? 

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