Top 10 British Action Movies

Credits: Richard Bush Sean Harris
Written by Alex Wyse Ladies and gentlemen, strap in. Welcome to WatchMojo UK and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 British action movies. For this list, we’ll be considering any action film whose country of origin is considered to be the United Kingdom, meaning the majority of its creative input must originate from the British Isles. This means joint efforts between the UK and other countries are also fair game. We’ll also be sticking to one entry per franchise. Special thanks to our users Luke Murphy and MikeMJPMUNCH for submitting the idea on our interactive suggestion tool: WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Top 10 British Action Movies


Ladies and gentlemen, strap in. Welcome to WatchMojo UK and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 British action movies.

For this list, we’ll be considering any action film whose country of origin is considered to be the United Kingdom, meaning the majority of its creative input must originate from the British Isles. This means joint efforts between the UK and other countries are also fair game. We’ll also be sticking to one entry per franchise.

#10: “Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels” (1998)

The feature film debut from famed director Guy Ritchie, “Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels” is about as British as it gets. Following a group of small-time criminals who get in over their heads after a botched card game, the film is brimming with dry British humour, colourful characters, and sporadic bursts of violent action. Sure, it’s not quite as action-heavy as other entries on this list, but Ritchie’s kinetic personality shines from behind the camera, serving as a great appetiser for the other hits he’d go on to helm.

#9: “Hot Fuzz” (2007)

The second instalment in Edgar Wright’s Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy, “Hot Fuzz” is both a loving send-up to the action genre and a fantastic action movie in its own right. Filmed from a script overflowing with witty dialogue, clever callbacks and, most importantly, explosive action, Hot Fuzz deconstructs the action genre and puts the pieces back together in an extremely satisfying package. Benefitting from Wright’s energetic direction and sharp writing, it is both one of the best action and comedy movies of the past decade.

#8: “Dredd” (2012)

After patiently waiting for a worthy Judge Dredd adaptation, fans of the character were finally treated to just that in 2012’s ultra-violent take on the 2000 A.D. character. Following Judge Dredd as he attempts to put a stop to nefarious crime lord Ma-Ma and her rapidly spreading Slo-Mo drug, “Dredd” is dripping with over-the-top action, gorgeous visuals and wince-inducing gore. The use of Slo-Mo in particular results in some of the most brutal yet oddly mesmerizing scenes of violence ever put to film.

#7: “Baby Driver” (2017)

Despite what it may look like on the surface, Edgar Wright’s “Baby Driver” is British in pretty much everything but its setting. Written, directed and produced by British talent, the movie centres on its eponymous getaway driver Baby, who’s desperate to abandon his life of crime in order to run away with his newfound sweetheart. Choreographed to a retro soundtrack and boasting an incredibly smart script, it’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen. It’s essentially one big series of car chases with a surprising amount of brains to match its brawn.

#6: “’71” (2014)

After finding himself stranded in Ireland during one of the most volatile periods in the country’s history, British soldier Gary Hook is forced to evade the various extremist factions associated with the IRA as he attempts to escape the country in one piece. Less loud and bombastic than other entries on this list, “’71” trades in car chases and explosions for foot chases and shootouts, making the action feel uncomfortably personal and at times almost unbearably tense.

#5: “The Italian Job” (1969)

A quintessential British classic, this action-comedy caper sees Michael Caine’s Charlie Croker and his motley crew of career criminals steal $4 million dollars in gold by causing a mass traffic jam in the middle of Turin. Using a colourful set of Mini Coopers as their vehicles of choice, the cars are heavily featured in the film’s action sequences, which still hold up almost half a century later. Blending pulse-pounding action with dry British humour, “The Italian Job” has proven to be a truly iconic movie, with some equally iconic lines to match.

#4: “Kingsman: The Secret Service” (2014)

Bringing back the dream team of screenwriter Jane Goldman and director Matthew Vaughn, who previously worked together on the likes of “Kick Ass” and “X-Men: First Class”, “Kingsman” is a brilliantly fun spy movie that takes affectionate jabs at the Bond franchise while pushing the boundaries. Following lovable delinquent Eggsy, who’s recruited into a top-secret spy organisation, “Kingsman” is loud, bombastic and at times outrageous. Intentionally subversive and provocative, the movie also contains some of the most ridiculously over-the-top action sequences in recent memory.

#3: “Get Carter” (1971)

Starring Michael Caine as vicious gangster Jack Carter, this British action-thriller sees our lead character travel back to his hometown after learning of his brother’s untimely death. Convinced his death was no accident, Jack follows a suspicious trail of breadcrumbs, eventually embarking on a campaign of vengeance that leaves plenty of chaos and devastation in its wake. At times thrilling and at times haunting, beneath the blood-soaked surface of “Get Carter” lies a cautionary tale of the price of revenge.

#2: “The Dark Knight” (2008)

Despite its status as one of the most critically and commercially successful blockbuster films of all time, you might be surprised to learn that the majority of this film’s creative heft hailed from the British Isles. Tense, smart and expertly crafted in every sense, there’s a reason it’s already considered a modern classic. Engaging on every level, the movie perfectly weaves together Bruce Wayne’s war on crime with his philosophical war with Heath Ledger’s Joker, resulting in a movie bursting at the seams with intense action, intelligent themes and fascinating characters.

Before we get to our final pick, here are some honourable mentions:

“Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World” (2010)

“Zulu” (1964)

“Dunkirk” (2017)

#1: “Skyfall” (2012)

Upon its release, the 23rd Bond film was hailed by many as the best in the series, and it’s not hard to see why. Following 007 as he attempts to thwart the revenge plot of disgraced MI6 member Raoul Silva, Skyfall has one of the most memorably creepy villains in the series’ history. Whether Bond is engaging in a rooftop motorcycle chase, chasing enemies through the London Underground or defending his isolated estate from invaders, Skyfall is non-stop thrills, blending the Bond franchise’s trademark action with some surprisingly emotional gut-punch moments.
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