Slumdog Millionaire completes Barry Norman’s list of the 50 best ever British films

After thousands of suggestions from readers, Barry has awarded Danny Boyle's 2008 drama the final place on his list

Barry Norman recently asked you to help complete his list of the 50 best British films ever made and, after thousands of suggestions, RT’s resident film buff has decided that multi-Oscar-winner Slumdog Millionaire is the final movie to earn a place on the list.


Danny Boyle’s 2008 drama about a Mumbai teenager winning Who Wants to be a Millionaire? was Barry’s favourite of the Brit movies nominated by Radio Times readers and beat off competition from the likes of The Italian Job, Genevieve and Withnail & I.

More than 500 different titles were suggested and other films rated highly by RT readers included Brassed Off, Hobson’s Choice and Oliver.

“The response my list evoked has been both heartening and, frankly, astonishing,” said the veteran film critic.

“Equally astonishing is the fact that somehow you managed to find around 500 contenders to complete my list. Who would have thought there could be another 500 films worthy – at least in some people’s estimation – of a place in the best of British?”

Slumdog is one of only three films released in the last ten years to land a spot on Barry’s list, which is dominated by movies made in the mid-20th century.

But Barry said that the vintage of his selection was unimportant – he chose timeless films that “new generations of cinemagoers would want to watch in 20 years’ time.”

“Most are quite old films, but they all appeal to this generation of filmgoers as much as they did when they were first made,” he said.

“Films have got to have a good storyline, good screenplay, cast, director and support staff. If you’ve got all that you’ll have a good film, but not yet a great film. A great film will have a chemistry that affects the whole production and makes it even better than the sum of its parts.

“I wish I knew what it was – I would bottle it and make a fortune.”

Here is Barry’s list of his favourite 50 British films:


Barry Lyndon (1975)
Black Narcissus (1947)
The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
Brief Encounter (1945)
Chariots of Fire (1981)
A Clockwork Orange (1971)
The Cruel Sea (1952)
The Dam Busters (1954)
Dr No (1958)
Don’t Look Now (1973)
Dracula (1958)
Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)
The Full Monty (1997)
Gandhi (1982)
Get Carter (1971)
Gladiator (2000)
Great Expectations (1946)
Gregory’s Girl (1980)
Henry V (1944)
I Know Where I’m Going! (1945)
If… (1968)
The Ipcress File (1965)
Kes (1969)
Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)
The King’s Speech (2010)
The Lady Vanishes (1938)
The Ladykillers (1955)
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943)
Local Hero (1983)
The Long Good Friday (1979)
A Matter of Life and Death (1946)
Monty Python’s Life of Brian (1979)
Naked (1993)
The Railway Children (1970)
The Red Shoes (1948)
The Remains of the Day (1993)
Saturday Night and Sunday Morning (1960)
Secrets & Lies (1995)
Sense and Sensibility (1995)
The Servant (1963)
Shakespeare in Love (1998)
Skyfall (2012)
Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
The Third Man (1949)
The 39 Steps (1935)
This Sporting Life (1963)
Trainspotting (1995)
Whisky Galore! (1949)
Zulu (1963)