10 Best British Crime Movies

Friday, February 11 by Anwar Jefferson-George

When you're looking for a way to spice up your cinema experience, these 10 best British crime movies can really add some much needed punch to your repertoire. Everyone's entitled to their own opinions of course, but we think that if you're into the crime and gangster genres, you'll definitely find something to like here.

  1. "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" (1998) – Highly regarded as Guy Ritchie's original claim to fame, this British crime story tracks four friends trying to pay half a million pounds they gave up in a card game. Their only choice is to rob some robbers who are planning to rob some drug dealers. A great final scene ties many complicated plot lines together flawlessly.
  2. "Snatch" (2000) – Another cult favorite from Ritchie, "Snatch" includes a spread of characters from every conceivable walk of underworld life. Arms dealers, caravan-selling gypsies and brutal bounty hunters all throw down in the search for a stolen diamond. Innovative camerawork and an awesome score, this film goes into a healthy, violent examination of karmic British crime circumstance.
  3. "Mona Lisa" (1986) – When a petty criminal gets a swank gig as a driver for a high class prostitute, they form a gradual friendship. His boss wants him to spy on her and dig up some dirt on one of her regular clients, but he eventually helps her find a friend from her abused past, with a violent reunion ahead.
  4. "Get Carter" (1971) – Michael Cane gives a stunning performance as a London mobster whose brother's death prompts a bloody return to Newcastle. This British crime film was actually bashed for it's insane characters and vicious violence when it was initially released, earning it a definite spot here.
  5. "The Wrong Arm of the Law" (1963) – Peter Sellers stuns as Pearly Gates, the mastermind who pulls underworld strings, with a French couturier as a front. He is forced to team up with a rival crook, Nervous O'Toole, to stop their takings being cut by an upstart gang of policeman impersonators bent on robbery. Hilarious results follow.
  6. "The Crew" (2008) – A small time truck thief is torn between his loyalty to his heist crew, his need to take care of his wife and son, and his desire to keep himself and his friends away from the world of more serious British crime. A sleeper hit, this take on the Kevin Sampson novel "Outlaws" blasts its way through Liverpool with heart.
  7. "Layer Cake" (2004) – Before Daniel Craig ever saved or snuffed out a life, Bond-style, he rose through the layers of the London criminal scene in "Layer Cake". Following a two bit British cocaine dealer who gets roped into searching for a missing girl even as he sells one million hits of stolen ecstasy, this movie is built on cinematic style.
  8. "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead" (2004) – An ex con has to return to London if he's to figure out why his brother killed himself. His old crime boss urges him to just leave town after he finishes the business of burying his dead sibling, but there's little chance of that, and bloody revenge is soon to follow.
  9. "The Ladykillers" (1955) -  A hilarious take on what happens when the seedier element of society is forced to interact with the more regular citizenry, this follows Alec Guinness as a British master thief who rents out a boarding house room as he plans his next big job. The only hitch is that Mrs. Wilberforce, the pensioner landlady, believes that Guinness is on the up-and-up, so he and his crime buddies have to pretend that they're a string quintet. The quality of the original dark comedy blows the not-so-stunning 2004 remake right out of the water.
  10. "Performance" (1970) – Mick Jagger's film debut has gone on to achieve a cult status far beyond the original poor reception it received. A violent East London enforcer disobeys his boss's instructions and is forced to go on the run from the law and his colleagues, with rowdy results nonetheless.
Do you like this story?