From Peter Sellers to Monty Python to Stewart Lee, the UK has a rich history of comedy. In addition to hours upon hours of classic sketches and sitcom episodes, the British comedy community has spawned some of the funniest movies ever made. Ranging from mainstream romcoms to biting satires, a lot of Britain’s greatest cinematic output has been in the comedy genre. Some have even become international crossover hits, like Edgar Wright’s Cornetto movies.
Britain’s comedy movies haven’t all been timeless classics, but for every crass Carry On entry, there’s a dark, visionary masterpiece like Bruce Robinson’s underrated gem Withnail & I.
Bruce Robinson’s pitch-black comedy masterpiece Withnail & I sees two unemployed actors – “I,” a neurotic wreck played by Paul McGann, and Withnail, a carefree wino played by Richard E. Grant – taking a spontaneous trip to Withnail’s gay uncle’s country house.
Richard Griffiths, best known as Vernon Dursley from the Harry Potter movies, gives an unforgettable supporting performance as Uncle Monty.
Guy Ritchie’s directorial debut, Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, is a British take on a Pulp Fiction-esque darkly comic interconnected crime anthology movie.
The director assembled a stellar ensemble cast filled with hilarious performances by actors like Jason Statham and Vinnie Jones. He later followed up Lock, Stock with the similarly brilliant Snatch and RocknRolla.
The challenging premise of Four Lions is very on-brand for Brass Eye’s Chris Morris, whose no-holds-barred style of satire has drawn as much praise as it has controversy. Riz Ahmed stars as a young radicalized man who plots a terrorist attack at the London Marathon.
The movie gets a lot of dark laughs out of crossing the real threat of terrorism with the bumbling ineptness of Frank Drebin, while also digging to the root of a lot of the issues at hand.