The Best of London's Most Iconic Films

London is a city captured throughout the ages in literature, paintings, and now in cinema. Its historic buildings, famous monuments and striking skyline have all set the scene for some of British cinema's most iconic moments.

Oliver Twist (1948)

David Lean's gritty take on Dickens' most famous novel shows a decaying London far removed from the vibrant technicolour of the musical version. Alec Guinness' transformation into Fagin is matched by the film's recreation of key locations from the East End to London Bridge; all of which were filmed inside Pinewood studios.

James Bond films (from 1962)

London has always set the scene for Britain's most famous celluloid spy. But in recent years the capital has taken a starring role, most notably in The World Is Not Enough with Pierce Brosnan's unforgettable speedboat chase down the Thames to the Millennium Dome. And with a gun-toting, suited Daniel Craig spotted in full flight around London’s streets recently, it looks as though the capital is set to feature prominently in the upcoming release, Skyfall.

Hard Day's Night (1964)

The Beatles may have inadvertently pioneered both the music video and the mockumentary genre in this comedy about the Fab Four travelling from Liverpool to play a London concert. Taking in a whole host of locations from Paddington Station to the Hammersmith Odeon, Ringo even manages to get himself lost all the way out in Twickenham – where he dives into the Turk's Head pub!

Alfie (1966)
During the Swinging Sixties, London was a hotbed of artistic creativity, fashion and style. But this was a film which depicted the city with a gritty realism, and through Michael Caine’s young, care-free protagonist, explored some important gender and social issues. As the narrative unfolds, Alfie begins to realise the consequences of his lifestyle and decides to change, only to be confounded in the film’s memorable final scene, filmed on Waterloo Bridge.

Sherlock Holmes films (from 1970)

Sherlock Holmes is a franchise which virtually guarantees success: from Basil Rathbone to Robert Downey Junior. The continued popularity of the character and his mysteries is one reason why his residence at 221b Baker Street is still one of London's biggest tourist attractions.

Notting Hill (1999)

The unashamedly sentimental romantic comedy sees Julia Roberts as a Hollywood film star who falls in love with bookshop owner Hugh Grant, all set in – you guessed it – Notting Hill. The numerous street scenes filmed on location popularised the idea of Notting Hill being the place to be in 1990s London.

Harry Potter films (from 2001)

The most successful movie franchise in history boasts a cavalcade of British film stars. But the magical tale of a young boy who becomes a wizard begins humbly at King's Cross station. The amazing scene where Harry discovers a hidden “Platform nine-and-three-quarters” had tourists flocking to the station, and a signpost to the platform was added – so that even Muggles would be able to find it!

The King's Speech (2010)

The surprise success of this low key royal drama earned Colin Firth the attention – and the accolades – that he had deserved for so long. His performance as a stammering George VI was matched by the sumptuous scenery and the dingy urban apartments. From Logue's consultancy room in Elephant and Castle to Regent's Park and Lancaster House (standing in for Buckingham Palace), the King's Speech offered a visually broad sweep of 1930s London.

From the everyday to the extraordinary, the urban to the fantastical; London has set the scene for countless cinematic moments that have defined every era of the cinema.

This article is brought to you by the Berkelely, one of the most iconic 5 star hotels in London.


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