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Top 10 Greatest British Movie Characters Of All Time

VO: RiB
Written by Sean Harris From claymation classics to drug-addicted degenerates. Welcome to WatchMojo UK and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 greatest British movie characters of all time! For this list, we’re celebrating some of cinema’s most memorable, most iconic and most entertaining big-screen fictional characters. All of today’s entries specifically hail from the UK, with references made to their British backgrounds within the films in which they feature. So, Brit characters played by non-Brit actors count; non-Brit roles played by British actors, don’t. Special thanks to our users ninou78 and mac121mr0 for submitting the idea on our interactive suggestion tool: WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Top 10 Greatest British Movie Characters Of All Time


From claymation classics to drug-addicted degenerates. Welcome to WatchMojo UK and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 greatest British movie characters of all time!

For this list, we’re celebrating some of cinema’s most memorable, most iconic and most entertaining big-screen fictional characters. All of today’s entries specifically hail from the UK, with references made to their British backgrounds within the films in which they feature. So, Brit characters played by non-Brit actors count; non-Brit roles played by British actors, don’t.

#10: Austin Powers
The “Austin Powers” Series (1997-2002)

Although today’s opener was built on a lorry-load of easy British stereotypes, the finished product is actually something to be quite proud of. Canadian comic Mike Myers created Austin Powers for “Saturday Night Live” in the ‘90s, and the James Bond parody became pretty popular. The first feature film hit screens in ‘97, leading to some equally groovy sequels. While the likes of Johnny English and Eggsy have also given glorious alternatives to typical Brit spies, Austin’s our man today.

#9: Billy Elliot
“Billy Elliot” (2000)

As the title character from a multi-award winning British drama, Billy Elliot became an overnight icon when this film was released at the start of the century. An eleven-year-old living in a working class household in the mid-80s, he develops an unexpected talent for dance – but Billy’s ballet goes against his father’s expectations. The part proved an exemplary debut role for English actor Jamie Bell, and the story has since been adapted into an acclaimed musical, running for 12 years on the West End. The soundtrack is a stonker, too.

#8: Wallace & Gromit
“Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit” (2005)

Having earned their place in the public eye with a series of short films in the ‘90s, these unconventional animated heroes fronted their first feature-length in 2005, with “The Curse of the Were-Rabbit”. Storylines typically revolve around Wallace’s latest invention, which usually goes wrong, leaving Gromit to begrudgingly clear up the mess. Created by the innovative animator Nick Park, Wallace & Gromit are stop motion stalwarts, and undisputed national treasures.

#7: Mary Poppins
“Mary Poppins” (1964)

Though on the surface an archetypal English nanny, Mary Poppins is far from the typical governess. We can thank the writer P. L. Travers for putting Poppins onto paper, but the character is probably best known through the 1964 Disney film adaptation, starring Julie Andrews. Mary floats into Edwardian London to care for the Banks children and, as we come to see, her magical methods inspire an unforgettable adventure. Another character adapted for the stage as well, she’s a cherished memory from many a childhood.

#6: Alex DeLarge
“A Clockwork Orange” (1971)

From Disney to dystopia, and a sharp change in tone for one of cinema’s most infamous sociopaths. As the central figure in Stanley Kubrick’s “A Clockwork Orange”, Alex DeLarge proved a definitive role for Brit actor Malcolm McDowell. Originally created by Anthony Burgess, of course, Alex leads his droogs on their brutal endeavour to rob, rape and terrorise a long list of victims. His story unfolds in a near-future society, and plays out with a classical soundtrack ringing in our ears. All in, Alex is a frightening but unforgettable figure.

#5: Bridget Jones
The “Bridget Jones” Series (2001-16)

As a 30-something, single woman living in London, Bridget might’ve become swamped by the mundanity of modern life. But, thanks in large part to her famous habit for keeping a diary, she becomes the unlikely voice for a generation. Played by Renée Zellweger and adapted from Helen Fielding’s original novels, the character juggles work, romance, fashion, fads and friends – all while maintaining an uncanny attraction to awkward situations. From big pants to book launches, she’s rom-com royalty and a cultural queen.

#4: Mark Renton
The “Trainspotting” Series (1996-2017)

To a film considered one of Britain’s cult classics, and a story stacked with standout roles – but Mark ‘Rent Boy’ Renton is the most memorable of the lot. A heroin junkie who tries to turn his life around, despite his unpredictable friends, we follow Mark through all manner of illegal highs and inconceivable lows. And as much as he tries to reform, the spectre of addiction shadows everything he does. A breakout role for Ewan McGregor, the actor revisited the part for “T2” in 2017, scoring widespread praise more than two decades after the first film.

#3: Shaun Riley
“Shaun of the Dead” (2004)

Armed with a cricket bat and unwavering optimism, Shaun steps onto our podium having survived one of film’s finest zombie invasions. When ‘Z Day’ strikes, he’s on the verge of changing his life for the better. But, before he can tackle the tick-list on the fridge, the Living Dead descend onto London. An everyman in the apocalypse, Shaun is easily one of Simon Pegg’s best performances, and a guiding light for British comedy – even if his record collection is a little suspect.

#2: Harry Potter
The “Harry Potter” Series (2001-11)

Given the massive popularity of the books, film-version Harry might’ve buckled under the immense expectation – but the boy wizard swiftly became a big-screen hero, too. Unaware of his magical make-up until his eleventh birthday, Harry endured most of his childhood at his inhospitable aunt and uncle’s house, in Surrey. But he left all that behind to go through the barrier of Platform 9 ¾, headed for Hogwarts. Eight films later, and Daniel Radcliffe’s Potter is probably one of the most recognisable movie characters on the planet.

#1: James Bond
The “James Bond” Series (1962-)

Cue the fast cars, quick catchphrases and unrivalled combat skills. James Bond has been a standard-bearer for the British action hero for decades, beating all types of baddie since the early 1960s. A role undertaken by a string of high-profile actors, the super spy is suave, sophisticated, and he’s never short of a stylish suit. Every Bond movie carries a unique level of excitement, and the development of the character always draws attention – especially in later films. A behemoth of British culture, 007 is today’s number one.

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