There’s nothing quite like a good feel good film. In this top 10, we check out great British feel good films including A Fish Called Wanda, Hot Fuzz and Withnail and I.
Withnail And I (Robinson, 1987)
Bruce Robinson’s Withnail and I overcomes its squalid setting and murky bleakness thanks to a sizzling script that sees two alcoholic out-of-work actors head to the country for some relaxation and, of course, more booze. Richard E. Grant is terrific, his inebriated anger both moving and hysterically funny. In fact, I’d go as far to say Grant’s Withnail represents my favourite movie drunk of all time. What’s incredible is the actor is teetotal in real life.
Monty Python And The Holy Grail (Gillian/Jones, 1975)
One of the great British comedy films of all time, the Monty Python team’s “Holy Grail” is a delightful journey into the absurd courtesy of a comedy troupe at the height of its powers. Quotable, re-watchable, and seemingly timeless in its power to amuse and entertain, Monty Python and the Holy Grail is patently one of the most perfect feel good British films.
Clockwise (Morahan, 1985)
An underrated gem starring John Cleese, the Monty Python actor is at his high-energy best as a head teacher trekking across country to frantically get to a teachers’ conference. This wonderful farce is both heartwarming and funny.
Kind Hearts And Coronets (Hamer, 1949)
A classic Ealing comedy, Kind Hearts and Coronets is distinguished by its dark cunning as a man murders his way up the family line to earn the dukedome he so relishes. It’s also memorable for the ensemble performances of Alec Guinness who turns up in no less than nine roles.
Brassed Off (Herman, 1996)
Inspired by the loss of jobs due to pit closures, Brassed Off’s defining qualities come from the community of redundant staff, their family and friends, as they rise above the hardship through their love of music. Even if you’re not a brass music fan, there’s some wonderful musical moments, especially the performance of Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez which is incredibly moving.
Hot Fuzz (Wright, 2007)
Simon Pegg and Nick Frost’s take on the American buddy cop comedy movie is a delightful rural romp from the team that gave us Shaun of the Dead. It’s deliciously laugh-out-loud funny and boasts the charms of its two lovable leads.
A Fish Called Wanda (Crichton, 1988)
A delightful cast at the top of their game (including two of the Monty Python team), a playful crime caper plot, and a wonderfully funny script that sparkles with witty dialogue, A Fish Called Wanda is an endearing British comedy classic.
Bridget Jones’ Diary (Maguire, 2001)
Perhaps unfairly known as a “chick flick”, Bridget Jones’ Diary deserves far more credit. A nuanced, witty and charming comedy featuring one of cinema’s most lovable female characters from the pen of novelist Helen Fielding, Sharon Maguire’s film captures the anxieties of modern living in an endearing and funny way.
The Full Monty (Cattaneo, 1997)
Borne out of economic chaos, disenchantment and anger, The Full Monty is a great example of British cinema’s ability to tackle dark subject matter through comedy. The cast, notably the film’s star Robert Carlyle, are great; engaging, unique, recognisable. Their journey pulls at the heartstrings and amuses in equal measure as the music, which includes “You Sexy Thing” by Hot Chocolate, provides a memorable soundtrack to proceedings. There’s a great sense of anticipation throughout, which increases the angst and underlines this group’s terrific chemistry, as we build towards their ultimate goal – to do the “full Monty”!
Death At A Funeral (Oz, 2007)
This ensemble black comedy directed by Frank Oz provides feel good sparkle as a result of its terrific collection of characters, brought together by the family patriarch’s death. Various domestic politics arise to drive a wedge between brothers, sisters, mums, dads, granddads and other significant others as the funeral degenerates into farce. Lively and energetic throughout, Death At A Funeral is a genuinely funny film with plenty of wholesome heart.
Over to you: what are your fave feel good British films?
Written and Compiled by Dan Stephens
See Also: 25 Films To Make You Happy