The Leaders

Words by Lewis Butler

From the King of slapstick Charlie Chaplin, to the Master of tension Alfred Hitchcock. Britain has produced some legends of film. It isn’t really denied that Britain once ran the film industry and to some degree, largely still does, but our big directors do often high-tail it over to Hollywood.

Ridley Scott, the master behind ‘Alien’, ‘Gladiator’ and this summer’s ‘Prometheus’, is regarded as one of the best.  Also, the late Tony Scott (Ridley’s brother) the man behind ‘Enemy of the State, True Romance’ and ‘Top Gun’, created action films which never let up in pace and have always had a touch of humour to them, films which could be enjoyed by the hard core film enthusiast or just the nonchalant cinema goer.

Christopher Nolan, director of some of the highest grossing filmsof the previous five years, as well as this summer, is held with great esteem among many critics and viewers a like. Sam Mendes, who is perhaps best known for creating an ‘American Beauty’ a film which is rated as number ninety-six in Empires’ greatest films of all time, quite a high achievement and quite a good film.

More recently three of the big blockbusters that came out this summer were all directed by Brits. They were; ‘Prometheus’, ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ and the all-out amazing spectacle which you’d have to be a bitter person not to like, ‘The Expendables 2’, directed by Simon West,  who is from just up the road from my little town in Hertfordshire.

Britain is also host to many decent British Directors, such as Simon West and Shane Meadows’ whose film, ‘This is England’ which I got around to watching this summer, and thoroughly enjoyed. The genius of Edgar Wright, Kenneth Branagh, Joe Wright, and Stephen Daldry are just a handful of British directors who have made films which are successful across the world.

England also has some great screenwriters and Britain, London itself, has featured in many films often being used as a backdrop throughout film, as an inspiration, with British landmarks, often being the centrepiece of films.

Warner Bros. have just recently purchased the famous Leavesden Studios,  located in Hertfordshire, where ‘Harry Potter’, ‘Bond’ and ‘Batman’, among so many others were filmed. WB are claiming it as their hub for European exploration, perhaps attracting new British directors who may not have made it by starting out west.

I’ll finish by saying if one were to stroll through Empire’s one hundred greatest films; at least fifteen of them are going to be British Directors. So Britain has and still is enjoying some phenomenal films.


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