Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Favorite Movies about/set in the British Isles

Here are a few favorites (many are available in libraries or on Netflix):

David Macaulay's Building Big series (originally a WGBH/PBS series) - particularly tunnel and bridge - have a lot of interesting tidbits set in the British Isles.

A Man for All Seasons (1966) St. Thomas More - this one with Paul Scofield (and Orson Welles!) is much better than the later one with Charlton Heston.

Pride and Prejudice (BBC/A&E version with Colin Firth is the best) Jane Austen's classic, humorous and romantic tale of a British Family of the early 19th century whose mother's chief aim in life is to have her five daughters marry rich men. The book is delightful (many will find the book more accessible after watching the movie), but the movie is quite good even on its own.

Sense and Sensibility (the one with Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet is our favorite - actually I'm not sure if there is another option in this case). This is a long-time favorite in our family, though we've never yet tackled the book - this is even one of electroblogster's favorite movies. Something about the scenery and the language and the refined customes ...

The Scarlet Pimpernel (1980s version with Jane Seymour and Anthony Andrews is best, but there is a small amount of "mature" content to watch out for with children) based on the books by Baroness Orczy, the story is of English noblemen who risk life and limb to rescue aristocrats from certain death under the French Revolution's Reign of Terror. Naturally the book is better.

Into the Arms of Strangers A well-crafted documentary on the Kindertransport that saved 10,000 children from Nazi Germany by taking them away from their parents to live with families in England. Moving and interesting stories.

Rick Steves Best of Europe - his public TV travel shows are readily available on DVD and VHS (also can be found in many libraries). While some of his opinions (particularly regarding history, which will always have its controversies) might need to be taken with a grain of salt, on the whole we've found these to be nice introductions to history, culture, art, architecture, food and geography of many European countries. These shows are loaded with interesting facts and information. The England and Ireland ones are some of our favorites.

Some favorite Irish movies - Darby O'Gill and the Little People, The Quiet Man and The Secret of Roan Inish.

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