Trainspotting voted best British film of the past 60 years in HMV’s national survey to mark the Diamond Jubilee
28th May, 2012 “Danny Boyle’s acclaimed 1996 film Trainspotting has been voted the best British film of the past sixty years in a major survey of film fans and the wider British public"
The cult movie topped the poll with a 6.00% share of the vote (equivalent to just under 1,500 of the 24,000 votes cast in this category). The 1996 British comedy drama was directed by Danny Boyle based on the novel of the same name by Irvine Welsh, and stars Ewan McGregor as Renton – part of a group of heroin addicts in a late 1980s economically depressed area of Edinburgh. The film has been previously been ranked 10th by the British Film Institute (BFI) in its list of the top 100 British films of all time, while in 2004 it was voted the best Scottish film of all time in a public poll.
The month-long poll, hosted by HMV to mark the Diamond Jubilee, met with a remarkable response from the British public, with a total of 54,545 votes cast across the best film and also the best albums category, which the retailer also surveyed (split approx 24,000 for films and 30,000 for albums). In arguably one of the largest ever surveys of its kind – driven primarily by social media, people were able to select their favourites by using a simple but innovative voting app on the retailer’s Facebook page that could also be accessed via the url www.hmv.com/jubilee.
In second and fourth spots respectively in the poll were Monty Python and the Holy Grail and Monty Python’s Life of Brian – which, together, accounted for just over 10% of all the film votes cast, making it the most popular film franchise in the top 60. Harry Potter also featured strongly, with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, the final instalment in the 8-part series, at no.3 and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban at no.7. Together, the two films account for nearly 8.5% - or just over 2,000 of the 24,000 film votes cast, to underline the dedication of the Harry Potter fanbase.
Also featured in the top 10 were two masterpieces from renowned American director Stanley Kubrick, A Clockwork Orange at no.5, which was released to great controversy in 1971 but to lasting effect, and the acclaimed 2001: A Space Odyssey, which was made in England and came out in 1968. Combined with Kubrick’s other film in the top 60 – Dr. Strangelove, Kubrick has, like Boyle (Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionaire at no.15 and 28 Days Later at no. 21), three films in the top 60 – accounting for a tenth of the overall film vote.
The rest of the top 10 features The Italian Job at no.8 – arguably the film that most encapsulates the Sixties era, zombie-com Shaun Of The Dead (the film’s star – Simon Pegg also pops up at no.12 with Hot Fuzz) and, appropriately, perhaps, in this Diamond Jubilee year, the multi-award winning The King’s Speech, starring Colin Firth as King George VI.
Just outside of the top 10 are more British iconic films, including rom-com Love Actually – the first of two Richard Curtis-directed films, at no.11 (the other is Four Weddings and a Funeral at no.22), Goldfinger – the highest rated Bond film at no.13 (Dr. No comes in at no.32); Billy Elliot (no.14); The Great Escape, which is the highest-ranking war movie, at no.15; Snatch – the first of two Guy Ritchie-directed movies in the top 20 films (the other is Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels at no.20); Quadrophenia at no.18; and Bridget Jones’ Diary at no.19.
The most popular British actors in the top 60, each with four films, were Colin Firth (Love Actually, The King’s Speech, Bridget Jones’ Diary and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy), Hugh Grant (Love Actually, Bridget Jones’ Diary, Four Weddings and a Funeral and Notting Hill) and Michael Caine (The Italian Job, Alfie, Get Carter and Zulu). Alec Guinness and John Cleese each had three films on the list.
The most popular decade for films in the survey was the Noughties, accounting for nearly a third –18 of the 60 titles, ahead of the 1960s with 13. Next came the Seventies with 8 films and the Eighties with 7, followed by the 1990s with 6, our current decade 2010+ with 5 and the 1950s, when QEII first acceded to the throne, with 3.
HMV’s Gennaro Castaldo, comments: “The beginning of Elizabeth II’s reign, and the bright new future it represented, didn’t just coincide with a flowering of British popular culture, it helped to provide the very spark that lit the touch-paper for an explosion in music and film talent. Since then, the Queen has presided over the richest period of cultural achievement in our nation’s history, so it’s only right that her Diamond Jubilee, which ironically also encapsulates sixty years of the official charts, should be a period when we reflect on the greatest British albums and films of the past six decades.”
Full list of top 60 British Films of the past 60 years
1. Trainspotting (6.00%)
2. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (5.48%)
3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two (4.79%)
4. Monty Python’s Life Of Brian (4.78%)
5. A Clockwork Orange (4.37%)
6. 2001: A Space Odyssey (4.29%)
7. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (3.69%)
8. The Italian Job (3.11%)
9. Shaun Of The Dead (2.95%)
10. The Kings Speech (2.66%)
11. Love Actually (2.34%)
12. Hot Fuzz (2.27%)
13. Goldfinger (2.26%)
14. Billy Elliot (2.24%)
15. Slumdog Millionaire (2.22%)
16. The Great Escape (2.18%)
17. Snatch (2.18%)
18. Quadrophenia (1.98%)
19. Bridget Jones’ Diary (1.92%)
20. Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1.92%)
21. 28 Days Later (1.85%)
22. Four Weddings and a Funeral (1.83%)
23. This is England (1.81%)
24. Lawrence of Arabia (1.80%)
25. Dr. Strangelove (1.74%)
26. The Full Monty (1.66%)
27. Notting Hill (1.64%)
28. Withnail and I (1.62%)
29. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1.37%)
30. The Wicker Man (1.17%)
32. Dr. No
33. A Fish Called Wanda
35. The Inbetweeners Movie
36. Chariots of Fire
37. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
39. Sexy Beast
41. Four Lions
43. Get Carter
45. The Ladykillers
46. The Dambusters
47. Battle of Britain
49. A Room with a View
50. Brassed Off
51. Gregory's Girl
53. East is East
54. Dead Man’s Shoes
56. Layer Cake
57. The Long Good Friday
58. The Railway Children
59. Human Traffic
60. Don't Look Now
Regional Splits & Demographics
Regional voting patterns
Trainspotting scored well across the whole country, though it did particularly well in London, the North East and Scotland, of course.
London / South East
Withnail and I is the third-ranked film, despite not breaking the top 20 in the overall poll.
Hot Fuzz was the top movie in the South West.
Monty Python’s The Life of Brian was the top choice with Shaun of the Dead a close second.
East of England
The top two films were The Italian Job and Shaun of the Dead.
The Full Monty, which was set in Sheffield, of course, also featured strongly in the top 10.
The top films were Trainspotting and Monty Python’s Life of Brian, with Hot Fuzz coming in third.
The Italian Job came in as third-favourite after Trainspotting and A Clockwork Orange.
Liverpool / Merseyside
Interestingly, Harry Potter: Deathly Hallows – Part 2 and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban were the two highest ranked films.
The film voting was a real mix, with both Love Actually and Notting Hill making the top 5, suggesting the Welsh do like a nice romantic comedy.
It was Trainspotting all the way – unsurprisingly given the film is set in Edinburgh, though the Python films were hugely popular also.
Of the 54,545 votes received in total for the survey (approx 30,000 for albums and 24,000 for film), 63% were from male participants and only 37% were female – perhaps reflecting the profile of social media users when it comes to entertainment content.
Just over a third of all the voters were aged 24 or under, while over half were 34 or less. Put in a nice, symmetrical way, 53% of the voters were aged below 35. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, given the profile of social media, just over 8% of voters were aged 55 and over, and if more from this category had participated it’s likely that a greater number of albums and films from the Sixties and Seventies would have fared a little more strongly in the overall vote.
10.8% under 18/ 23.1 % 18 to 24/ 18.9% 25 to 34/ 23.9% 35 to 44/ 14.2% 45 to 54/ 8.3% aged 55+
HMV and the Diamond Jubilee ‘Best of British’ campaign
Leading entertainment retail specialist HMV launched the online survey to celebrate the remarkable achievements in British film and music presided over by The Queen during her sixty-year reign.
HMV, which itself has a heritage stretching back more than 100 years, invited customers and the wider public to use a special voting app on its facebook page www.hmv.com/jubilee to put forward their choice of the greatest British albums and films of the past six decades. The app, which was developed by HMV’s digital and social media agency – MMK Media, features hmv’s Nipper mascot cloaked in a Union flag in ‘Britannia’ style in its design.
The national poll is part of a wider ‘Britain/Music is GREAT’ Industry initiative that, in this special Olympic and Jubilee year, seeks to highlight the far-reaching achievements and contribution of British culture and music www.facebook.com/MusicisGREATBritain.
Many of the titles featured in the poll are being highlighted to customers in a summer-long ‘Best of Britain’ instore/online DVD and CD campaign, often at 2 for £10 pricing designed to inspire the public to revisit titles they’ve not listened to or watched for a long time, or, in the case of younger consumers, to perhaps enjoy them for the very first time. The campaign is being supported with window/instore displays across the 240-strong chain in the last week of May and first week of June, when, in homage to The Queen, HMV advertising will also feature a specially adapted version of the famous ‘dog & trumpet’ trademark logo, that will see a Corgi stand in for HMV’s canine mascot – Nipper.
HMV will also engage with movie posters via social media, where iconic parts of each movie in the top 10, such as Trainspotting, are taken and turned into minimalist posters that can be posted alongside a brief description of the film on HMV’s facebook page and Pinterest site across the week.
Gennaro Castaldo, HMV Press & PR
email@example.com / +44 (0)20 7432 2033 / +44 (0)7801 194 139
Notes to Editors
Trainspotting is a 1996 British comedy drama directed by Danny Boyle based on the novel of the same name by Irvine Welsh. The movie, which grossed $72m and is available on DVD/blu-ray through C4 films/Spirit, follows a group of heroin addicts in a late 1980s economically depressed area of Edinburgh and their passage through life. The film stars Ewan McGregor as Renton, Ewen Bremner as Spud, Jonny Lee Miller as Sick Boy, Kevin McKidd as Tommy, Kelly MacDonald as Diane and Robert Carlyle as the fearsome Begbie. The film also features the novel’s author Irvine Welsh as Mikey Forrester, a hapless drug dealer, in a cameo performance. The Academy-nominated screenplay by John Hodge was adapted from Welsh’s novel. Beyond drug addition, other concurrent themes in the film include the exploration of the urban poverty and squalor in ‘culturally rich’ Edinburgh. The film has been ranked 10th by the British Film Institute (BFI) in its list of the top 100 British films of all time. In 2004 the film was voted best Scottish film of all time in a public poll.
Participants were able to vote via an innovative voting app on HMV’s Facebook page that could also be accessed via the www.hmv.com/jubilee. Voters were able to select from a ‘longlist’ of sixty albums and films picked by HMV staff in an earlier internal poll, or they could nominate their own favourite in each category by entering a choice in the box marker ‘other’. On average most people voted in both categories, though some chose to vote in one of them only. People could only visit the site once to register their vote. A total number of 54,545 votes were cast across the two album and film categories (split approx 30,000 for albums & 24,000 for films).