The Best London Stuff On Amazon Prime

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By M@ Last edited 6 months ago
The Best London Stuff On Amazon Prime

In this series, we take a look at the London-set TV shows and films to enjoy on various streaming platforms. We continue with Amazon Prime.

Amazon Prime is something of an oddity. Subscribers get plenty of good content (especially films and Amazon original TV) as part of their subscription, but still have to pay a rental fee for the lion's share of the movies and almost all third-party TV.

We've broken this article into two halves: included in subscription, and not-included.

Note: streaming services add and remove content all the time. We will try to keep these articles up to date, but always check with the service for the latest details.

Included with your sub

Crime and drama

Legend stars Tom Hardy and Tom Hardy as the Kray twins. This 2015 film is a pretty decent take on a familiar story, this time told from the point of view of Reggie's girlfriend Frances (Emily Browning). London plays a large part in the film, from the opening skyline shot of 50s London with Bankside and Battersea power stations smoking away, to the East End back streets and Rivoli ballroom scenes. Primers might like to compare this with Rise of the Krays, also released in 2015, though to much lesser acclaim.

The dysfunctional elements of London society are also examined in Ben Wheatley's High-Rise (2016). In this slick JG Ballard adaptation, Tom Hiddleston plays a doctor who moves to a brutalist west London tower block. Civil war soon breaks out between the various floors, with plenty of violence, sex and dog eating.

John Le Carre's 1974 novel Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy was published around the same time as Ballard's High Rise, but made it to the big screen five years earlier (2011). Much of the action takes place in London, as a bunch of spies hunt down a Soviet double agent. It's a classy if at-times-confusing affair, starring every famous male actor you've ever heard of.

Ripper Street is one of the few London-set TV shows that is available free to subscribers of Amazon Prime. That's because Amazon underwrote the filming of seasons three through five, after taking over from the BBC. The Whitechapel-based police drama begins in the aftermath of the Ripper crimes, and continues over the five seasons into the turn of the 20th century. This is a hugely enjoyable series, well acted and portrayed, though we'd love to have seen a few more location shoots.

Royal helping

London and royalty are inescapably entwined. Amazon doesn't have anything original like Netflix's The Crown, but you can enjoy a handful of films. London-set The King's Speech (2010) sees Colin Firth as a stammering George VI and the show-stealing Geoffrey Rush as his speech therapist. A good, solid film that won't disappoint. Royal fans can also treat themselves to Young Victoria (2009), with Emily Blunt has Her Majesty, and Rupert Friend as Albert.

Comedy

As you might expect from a film by one half of Adam and Joe (the latter), Attack the Block (2011) draws on many genres and cultural references in a heady mix of horror, sci-fi and comedy. The film sees an angry, bitey troop of aliens (above) invade the now-demolished Heygate Estate. Its residents form an uneasy alliance to ward off the beasties. Great fun.

Mike Leigh's Happy-Go-Lucky (2008) offers a star turn from Sally Hawkins as bubbly London teacher Poppy. The capital — especially Camden Town — play a big role, but the film is perhaps most memorable for the menacing driving instructor, played with devastating believability by Eddie Marsan.

Four Lions (2010) brings Chris Morris's brand of surreal, biting satire to the big screen. The film follows a bunch of inept, wannabe jihadis as they plan an attack on the London Marathon.

For rental

The following list is not comprehensive, but reflects films we think are definitely worth seeing (plus London Has Fallen). All can be rented for no more than £2.50.

28 Days Later: Danny Boyle's masterful (at least the first half) zombie flick, particularly noted for its opening scenes in a deserted London. Underrated sequel 28 Weeks Later is also available, and just as Londony.

An American Werewolf In London: At turns funny and then truly frightening, this 1981 horror flick has dated somewhat, but is still worth watching if only for scenes at Tottenham Court Road tube station.

Blow Up: Michelangelo Antonioni's much admired 1966 film about a David Baliey-esque photographer who thinks he's captured a murder on film. Includes plenty of London shots. In a not dissimilar vein, the 1968 film Performance starring Mick Jagger is also available.

Brick Lane: Decent adaptation of Monica Ali's novel about a young Bangladeshi woman trapped in an oppressive relationship in the East End.

Bridget Jones's Diary: The much-loved rom-com draws heavily on London, particularly Borough Market. The two sequels are also available.

Children of Men: It hardly comes more dystopian than a future London where nobody can have children. Look out for a memorable scene inside a revamped Battersea Power Station (complete with flying pig).

Frenzy: Perhaps Hitchcock's most Londony film, and one of his last, sees a serial killer hanging out in Covent Garden Market.

London Has Fallen: Shockingly naff action adventure in which terrorists take over every street, train station and garden shed in the capital. Worth watching if you enjoy shouting words of mockery at your screen. It's free on Netflix, if you'd rather not pay.

Long Good Friday: Classic Bob Hoskins gangster film which plays with the idea of an Olympic bid on derelict East London land two decades before it actually happened. Hoskins's Mona Lisa is also available.

Mary Poppins: Like this needs a description.

My Beautiful Laundrette: Acclaimed 1986 drama tackling the homophobia and racism bubbling away with the soap suds in a 1980s south London laundrette. Director Stephen Frears's later London drama Dirty Pretty Things (2003) is also superb.

Oliver!: Where would this list be without a bit of Dickens? The cracking 1969 musical version is available to stream, along with David Lean's 1948 adaptation and Roman Polanski's 2005 effort.

Passport to Pimlico: Likeable Ealing Comedy about a Pimlico community that declares independence from the rest of the UK. Sure to give people ideas as Brexit negotiations hot up. Look out for other Ealing classics on Amazon, such as the Lavender Hill Mob and the Ladykillers (set in King's Cross).

Shaun of the Dead: Comedy zombie romp from Simon Pegg. A good laugh if (dare we say it?) slightly over-rated.

Sherlock Holmes: It pales beside the contemporary Cumberbatch TV show, but Guy Ritchie's 2009 movie with Robert Downey Jr at the centre is still a decent and original outing for the detective. Sequel A Game of Shadows (2011) is also available, but you're better off spending your readies on Mr Holmes (2015), Ian McKellen's take on an aged, retired Sherlock set in 1947 (though not London).

Somers Town: Shane Meadows's black and white comedy-drama set in the backstreets between Euston and King's Cross.

Also in this series

London shows on Netflix

Last Updated 04 April 2017