The Brits have always excelled in the thriller genre. Maybe it is because of the horrible weather that never ceases or because they feel repressed living under a monarch. Or maybe it is just the consequences of living with such dire teeth, hygiene and food. Whatever it is, it has them be extremely prolific in producing thrillers for almost an entire century now. So here is a list of seven British thrillers that will definitely leave you on the edge of your seat.
"Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy"
Despite only being released last year this slow and taut thriller has already established itself as one of the best British films of the decade. Having been nominated for a plethora of awards at the 2012 BAFTA and OSCARS ceremonies the adaptation of John Le Carre's novel was placed at the top of a number of publications top films of the year. Gary Oldman's Smiley searches for a mole deep in the heart of British Intelligence and it only becomes clear who the villain of the film until its very climax. A scintillating watch.
"The Third Man"
Orson Welles is rightly remembered as a filmmaking genius but it is often forgotten that the boy could act his socks off too. And there is no movie that showcases his talents more succinctly that "The Third Man." Joseph Cotton's search through a war torn Vienna for Harry Lime is filled with mystery and intrigue and one of cinemas greatest ever accomplishments. Pretty good when you consider that the male director was called Carol too.
"A Clockwork Orange"
Stanley Kubrick's 1971 thriller was pulled from distribution at the directors own request after a series of copy-cat crimes evolved upon its release. Malcom McDowell's Alex is the epitome of a future society that has gone wrong and is now populated with murderers and rapists. Candid and unique filmmaking of the highest order.
"The 39 Steps"
Alfred Hitchcock is the name that is most synonymous with the thriller genre. Yet almost all of the work which propelled him to this position was produced in Hollywood but before his emigration the rotund auteur produced maybe his most thrilling piece of film. "The 39 Steps" uses many of the techniques Hitchcock would later utilize to a greater extent in the US with the director even remaking the film later in his career.
"The Spy Who Came In From The Cold"
This mid 60s spy thriller was produced in response to the popularity of the Bond films with Richard Burton's agent, Alec Leemas, actually being as suave and sophisticated as Connery's Bond. Adapted from another John Le Carre novel the film is expertly directed by Martin Ritt, with its twist and turns likely to make you feel drunk. In a good way.
David Hemmings fashion photographer accidently stumbles upon an apparent murder and it is his photos which become vital evidence and thrust him into the epicenter of the crime. "Blow-Up" has been labeled as one of the most important British films of all time despite its Italian director. An arty mystery thriller.
"The Long Good Friday"
Bob Hoskins single handily attempts to stave off the IRA in John Mackenzies intriguing and patient thriller. Released during a period when the problems between England and Ireland were at their most fraught the film managed to capture the mood of the nation. It also features a young version of the most attractive Grandma in cinema, Helen Mirren.