Lashana Lynch and Alisha Weir in Matilda the Musical

Discover the Best British Movies on Netflix

Netflix’s British movies collection is a buffet of cinematic delights from across the pond. Where else can you travel from the foggy streets of Victorian London to the raucous pubs of modern-day Manchester, all while nestled in your favorite armchair?

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It’s a collection that showcases Britain’s talent for pairing gray skies with even grayer humor. These films serve tea with a side of stiff upper lip, making us wonder: do the British ever have a bad hair day, or do they simply have hats for such occasions? 

Each flick is a testament to the isles’ prowess in storytelling—full of sharp wit, sharper accents, and the occasional inexplicably sharp-toothed creature lurking in the Thames. By the end of your binge, you might find yourself uttering “blimey” unironically and considering umbrellas as acceptable fashion accessories. So, if you fancy a bit of the U.K. without the pesky rain, this collection is your virtual passport.

The King’s Speech (2010)

Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush in 'The Kings Speech'
(Momentum Pictures/Paramount Pictures)

The King’s Speech chronicles King George VI’s (Colin Firth) foray into the world of public speaking despite his stammer, and dare I say, it’s a royal pain for the poor bloke. But every cloud has its silver lining: enter the charmingly unorthodox speech therapist Lionel Logue. Together, they embark on a heartwarming journey of self-discovery.

The King’s Speech is a historical drama that offers viewers a side of British royalty rarely seen—vulnerable, human, and occasionally perplexed by modern technology. Set against the looming backdrop of World War II, this film serves up a decadent visual feast with splendid period costumes.

The Prestige (2006)

David Bowie as Nikolai Tesla stands on a bridge in "The Prestige"
(Buena Vista Pictures Distribution/Warner Bros. Pictures)

In true Christopher Nolan formThe Prestige—based on British author Christopher Priest’s novel of the same name—twists a simple rabbit-out-of-hat trick into a complex game of cinematic 4D chess. Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale don dapper waistcoats and engage in a fascinating war of wits, wills, and sleight of hand as we delve into the shadowy, brooding realm of Victorian magicians.

As the plot develops, Nolan astutely reminds us that the three acts of any magic trick are the “Pledge,” “Turn,” and “Prestige.” In addition to the late David Bowie as Nikola Tesla, the cast includes Michael Caine, Scarlett Johansson, Rebecca Hall, and Andy Serkis.

Heart of Stone (2023)

Gal Gadot in Heart of Stone

Heart of Stone, the latest spy thriller from Netflix and British director Tom Harper, is a mixed bag. On the one hand, it has all the ingredients of a classic popcorn flick: a glamorous female lead, exotic locations, and over-the-top action sequences. On the other hand, it’s also incredibly derivative, with a plot that borrows liberally from other films in the genre.

It’s clear early on who the traitor is, and the twists and turns that follow are all telegraphed well in advance. As a result, the film never really builds any suspense. Despite its flaws, Heart of Stone is still a watchable film. Gadot is charismatic and likable in the lead role, and the supporting cast is solid. The film’s production values are also high, with stunning visuals and a polished look.

Matilda the Musical (2022)

Lashana Lynch as Miss Honey in 'Roald Dahl's Matilda the Musical'

This musical version of Roald Dahl’s classic children’s book, Matilda, wins over moviegoers of all ages. Emma Thompson shines as the devious Miss Trunchbull, the cruel headmistress of Matilda’s school. Thompson devours the scenery with such gusto that her performance becomes the film’s highlight. Alisha Weir is also excellent as Matilda, the intelligent and telekinetic young girl who stands up to Miss Trunchbull and her cronies.

Prepare to have your brain serenaded by the film’s musical numbers, including the catchy tunes “Naughty” and “When I Grow Up.” These melodies will infiltrate your mind and set up camp, leaving you humming along involuntarily. So, if you’re in the mood for a film that will tickle your funny bone, tug at your heartstrings, and have you belting out tunes, look no further than Matilda the Musical.

Paddington 2 (2017)

Paddington looking at a pop-up book of London (StudioCanal)

Paddington 2—the sequel that dares to ask the question: can a bear with a penchant for marmalade truly outshine his cinematic debut? Paddington, our furry expatriate from Darkest Peru, embarks on an adventure in London that is stickier than his favorite sandwich. In a tale brimming with charm, whimsy, and enough visual gags to make even the staunchest of British guards crack a smile, our beloved bear finds himself wrongfully accused and on a quest to clear his name. 

But fret not, for what the film offers in tension, it more than compensates for with Hugh Grant’s delightfully over-the-top performance as the infamous actor, Phoenix Buchanan. Paddington 2 is a treat for both children and adults and is widely regarded as one of the greatest films of all time. Just ask Nicolas Cage and Pedro Pascal.

The Strays (2023)

Ashley Madekwe in 'The Strays' (Image: Netflix)

In this psychological horror film, a biracial upper-class woman named Neve (Ashley Madekwe) lives the good life with her family. However, Neve’s affluent life as a local socialite and the deputy headmistress of a private school is threatened when her tumultuous past comes back to haunt her.

The Strays is a solid film dealing with race, social status, and identity issues. Director Nathaniel Martello-White does an excellent job of building tension and anxiety throughout the film, though it is not without its flaws. The plot is sometimes predictable, and the film’s ending is ambiguous. Despite this, The Strays is still an enjoyable movie. It’s a disturbing and thought-provoking story that will linger with you for a long time after you watch it.

The Queen (2006)

Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II in 'The Queen'

In the wake of Diana’s untimely death, The Queen, Helen Mirren’s Masterclass in Regal Resting Face, offers a fascinating glimpse behind the scenes of the enigmatic world of the British monarchy. Directed by Stephen Frears, our titular Queen Elizabeth II, portrayed with a finesse that only Dame Mirren can muster, finds herself caught in a storm of public sentiment and private duty. 

As the nation mourns, the crown weighs heavy, and one can’t help but ponder if it’s adorned with more than just jewels. Meanwhile, Michael Sheen’s Tony Blair is the young Prime Minister surfing the tides of popular sentiment. The film expertly navigates the delicate swing between the stoic monarchy and a changing Britain among Buckingham Palace’s lush vistas and echoing halls.

The Wonder (2022)

Florence Pugh in 'The Wonder'

Directed by Sebastián Lelio, The Wonder is a slow-burning but rewarding film. It tells the story of Lib Wright (Florence Pugh), an English nurse sent to a remote Irish village to investigate the case of Anna O’Donnell (Kíla Lord Cassidy), a young girl who has miraculously survived without food for months.

After spending more time with Anna and the locals, Lib reconsiders her earlier skepticism of the girl’s assertions. The film delves into discussions of religion, science, and the extraordinary potential of the human mind. Just be warned: The Wonder is not a happy film. It’s a dark and disturbing film that will leave you feeling unsettled. But that’s part of what makes it so good.

Four Lions (2010)

Bomb on bird scene in 'Four Lions'
(Optimum Releasing)

Four Lions is the kind of dark comedy that tiptoes on the edge of audacity and leaves one wondering, “Should I be laughing at this?” Directed by Chris Morris, a man who’s no stranger to provocative satire, the film invites us to the world of four would-be jihadists from the U.K. Yet, rather than being menacing figures of terror, they’re more reminiscent of characters from a slapstick sitcom, albeit with a slightly more explosive penchant. 

Their plots are ambitious, but their execution of said plots? A group of toddlers would likely orchestrate a more coordinated tea party. The film’s genius lies in its humor and ability to humanize and demystify a subject typically enveloped in grim headlines. It makes a daring leap, using comedy to explore the grey areas of extremism, and lands with a resonant thud between laughter and thoughtfulness. 

The Take (2016)

Idris Elba in 'The Take' (Image: High Top Releasing)
(High Top Releasing)

This pulsating action-thriller stars Idris Elba as a rough-around-the-edges CIA agent whose job description appears to be “save Paris, look good doing it.” He’s thrust into partnership with a pickpocket, played by Richard Madden, who, in an ironic twist, steals more than just wallets—he somewhat pilfers the show. 

As bullets fly and explosions dazzle, one can’t help but wonder if the City of Love’s insurance premiums skyrocketed post-production. The Take‘s English director, James Watkins, gives us a thriller that’s as gritty as it is glossy, melding fast-paced chases with the scenic charm of Paris, making us yearn for a baguette.

(featured image: Netflix)

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Image of Faith Katunga
Faith Katunga
Faith is a freelance journalist with an insatiable curiosity for all aspects of current events, from the global economy and fashion to pop culture and travel. She watches an absurd number of cat videos on Instagram when not reading or writing about what is going on in the world. Faith has written for several publications, including We Got This Covered, Italy Magazine, TheTravel, etc., and holds a master's degree in Fashion Culture and Management.