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Top 10 Stereotypically British Movie Characters

Written by Robin Brown ‘Ello Guv’Nor! Penny for the pictures? Welcome to WatchMojo UK and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 stereotypically British movie characters. For this list, we’ve looked at all the ultra-familiar British stereotypes we’ve come to expect in movies today. Special thanks to our user WordToTheWes for submitting the idea on our interactive suggestion tool: WatchMojo.comsuggest

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Top 10 Stereotypically British Movie Characters

‘Ello Guv’Nor! Penny for the pictures? Welcome to WatchMojo UK and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 stereotypically British movie characters.

For this list, we’ve looked at all the ultra-familiar British stereotypes we’ve come to expect in movies today.

#10: Self-Important Snob

Stick your nose in the air because you’re too important to care. These pretentious fellows often display an overwhelming and undeserved confidence in themselves, believing they are vastly superior to the rest of us. But, they usually get their comeuppance in the form of an embarrassing reality check. They’re often cast as the bad guys in Hollywood, but it’s a mistake to think that they’re all evil masterminds, when sometimes all they need is a level-headed friend.

#9: Self-Deprecating Realist

A stereotype seen in nearly every character Martin Freeman has ever played, and every interview Martin Freeman has ever given, this person is by no means a pushover and they’re fully stocked with sarcastic comments for almost every occasion. But they’re not after gold and glory, as all they really want is a stress-free and relaxing environment in which to while away their days… Without the hustle, bustle and busyness of life getting in the way. Is that really so much to ask?

#8: Raging Alcoholic

Withnail may demand booze but Trainspotting’s Begbie is the one throwing a beer glass and kicking a stranger right where it hurts. The Brits are famous for their pub and club culture, thanks in large part to various film characters at various stages of drunkenness. And these folk come in many forms. There’s the paralytic party-goer, the loud and obnoxious barfight-starter, and the not-so-social drinker who downs way too much way too soon, and spends most of their time looking for somewhere to be sick.

#7: Unpredictable Eccentric

Prone to wild gesticulations, long speeches and bizarre decisions, these exuberant misfits are always fun and exciting to watch. They perfectly encapsulate the British fascination with the odd and peculiar, and they’re usually found in a mentor or companion role to a far more conventional, relatable character. There are still a few examples of this mad hatter taking centre stage though, and they always have something inventive up their sleeves. If it’s crazy, kooky, brilliant or barmy, then it’s quintessentially British.

#6: Passive Aggressive Everyman

Avoiding direct confrontation, but adopting an unwillingness to change, this attitude frequently features in Edgar Wright’s Cornetto Trilogy. These characters are similar to the self-deprecating realist, but where the realist may drag down the mood with a snide comment or two, the everyman’s response is honest, down to Earth, sometimes pretty brutal and unintentionally hilarious. And their opinions aren’t centred on what’s wrong with themselves, but on what’s wrong with everyone else. This bitch got claws, British style.

#5: English Rose

When Jane Austen wrote “We are all fools in love”, she was definitely referring to this angelic archetype. The English rose is dainty and beautiful, she’s usually hoping for more fulfilling and interesting times than her typically tepid existence provides, and she’s often found swooning over some handsome but somehow out of reach feller. It’s not all sexist stereotyping, though. Modern interpretations have included men in this role, and we’ve also seen women take on a more independent and self-assured attitude. Elizabeth Bennet still sets the blueprint, though.

#4: Bumbling Bachelor

Hugh Grant has built a career on this character, smiling politely, seeming bashful and stealing hearts wherever he walks. Others have tried, but there’s simply no bettering the star of “Four Weddings”, “Notting Hill” and “About A Boy” - this entry should essentially read, “It’s Hugh Grant”. Seperate from the English rose thanks to his inherent social awkwardness and hopeless romantic endeavours, he doesn’t battle baddies and he’s not much of a hero, but he’s sweet and dedicated and the kind of guy you’d bring home to your parents. Just about.

#3: Brutal Bad Guy

When Guy Ritchie exploded onto the Hollywood scene with “Lock, Stock”, he brought with him a new wave of grungy gangster flicks, and a character now deeply ingrained into British film. Whether it’s hard man Vinnie Jones beating victims to a pulp or Alan Ford’s terrifying Brick Top laying down the law, this isn’t just your average villain - but a psychotic, sociopathic and merciless machine. And they’re extremely good at what they do, getting results most of the time because who, in their right mind, is really going to argue?

#2: Try-Hard Gangster

Another character whose popularity and precedence is also largely thanks to Guy Ritchie, this mid-level criminal just wants a decent pay day. Some early Jason Statham roles epitomise this weapon-wielding wannabe, while Danny Dyer also plays the geezer more often than most. There’s nothing especially bad about this likeable rogue and they often find themselves clashing with the real villains more than the police, but they aren’t knights in shining armour, either. They’ll rob you, but they won’t kill you. Not intentionally, anyway.

#1: Unassuming Underdog

Neville Longbottom making a stand, Sam Gamgee climbing a mountain, James Bowen busking with his cat and Robert Carlyle taking his kit off. Whether they’re a supporting role which steals the limelight, or they’re a good-hearted soul who's down on their luck, these are the ultimate feel-good characters. Embodying a can-do spirit whilst staying humble, the modest underdog in a difficult position reveals qualities we can all admire, and every Brit can be proud of. They’re not big, they’re not brash, but they are brilliant.

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