British Drama Films

British drama is best known for Shakespeare

British drama films are a popular film topic as most still see much of drama worldwide as an English development. A development given to the English by way of the Romans, drama has become an institutional for the 'mother land' much in the same way that the United States is known for their big-budget action films. In fact, much of England's culture is dedicated to British drama as many auditoriums, theaters and schools are dedicated to the art of the craft.

A Brief History of British Drama

For England, drama films are the direct result of a rich theater past.

During the English Renaissance, theater began to have a heavy hand in English culture. Plays became much the 'hip' social custom and their performance became a highly sought craft. After this time period, Britain saw its greatest dramatic star: Shakespeare. The famous writer of 39 plays, Shakespeare is as much a part of Britain's dramatic history as the genre itself. In fact, the two are often considered one and the same. Other playwrights developed during the same time period including Ben Jonson and John Webster, but none grew to Shakespeare's height. Some of the most popular British drama films out there are renditions of Shakespeare plays.

The Interegnum period of British history saw the close of the theater. Though this was meant to end the impure craft, the Intergnum only helped to develop British drama more. During the Restoration, comedy came to England and fewer plays of this nature were written. The Victorian era furthered the halt of drama with dramatists of the time dealing with farce comedy and trying to combine the two. It was not until the postmodern time period that drama made a substantial impact in England again.

Due to numerous ups and downs in the economy of Britain, much of their film industry has ebbed and flowed. Developing out of Britain's rich dramatic culture, filmmakers like Michael Powell came about. Britain's entry into the film arena was stalled, learning techniques from other flourishing countries like France's surrealist constructionists and the United States. Britain also spent a period of time trying to make low cost films in order to become known in film. Alfred Hitchcock largely brought England to the forefront of production, which was later quickened after World War II. Dramatic film during this period became the mark of England. To this day, Britain is known in cinema for a combination of their dramas and their 'quicker' comedies.

British Drama Films

Over the years, popular British drama films have included:

  • One Day
  • The 7th Dawn
  • Angel
  • 9 Songs
  • The Edge of Love
  • Dandhi
  • Pride and Prejudice
  • Hamlet
  • Another Man's Prison
  • Felicia's Journey
  • Sapphire
  • Intimacy
  • Eyes Wide Shut
  • The American Prisoner
  • Slumdog Millionare
  • Oliver Twist
  • The Girl with a Pearl Earring
  • Cotton Mary
  • The Assassination of Trotsky
  • The Phantom of the Opera
  • Count Five and Die
  • Antonio's Breakfast
  • Atonement
  • The Stretford Wives
  • Baby Love
  • The Bank Holiday
  • The Garden
  • Incendiary
  • Snow Cake
  • Revolver
  • Petulia
  • The Queen
  • The Crying Game
  • Bad Company
  • Dangerous Parking
  • My Summer Love
  • Bent
  • The Devil Is a Woman
  • Woman in Love
  • The Hours
  • The Governess
  • The Black Tent
  • The Birthday Present
  • I Know Where I'm Going
  • Young Adam
  • The Black Balloon
  • Velvet Goldmine


Drama from England is generally based around one of three themes or developments:

  1. Works that come from books like Pride and Prejudice
  2. Works from plays or operas like Hamlet and King Leer
  3. Character driven films nearing suspense like those from 50's classic movie maker Alfred Hitchcock

England has made a large mark in all of these areas.

A Final Thought

British drama is a refined art that the country itself is proud of. To many, it is what the Brits are best known for. However, to others, British drama is too difficult to follow. Find out whether you love or hate British drama by renting and watching a few of their best films listed above!

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British Drama Films