Simple question: what's the best London-set movie you've ever seen?
London's long been a location of choice for movie makers. Countless films have been set in the capital, from early Hitchcock classics to the latest Marvel action movies. The region's studio spaces are growing fast, promising a bright future. But what's the best movie ever made here?
We asked that question way back in 2010 and, from hundreds of votes, produced a strong list of must-see films. 13 years on, have our tastes changed? Have any newer films taken hold on the collective A-list? It's time to find out.
We asked for your nominations via Facebook and Twitter (multiple votes allowed), and here are the results.
The top 10
1. The Long Good Friday: 70
2. The Ladykillers: 39
3. Passport to Pimlico: 25
4. V for Vendetta: 21
5. An American Werewolf in London: 19
=6. Paddington 2: 16
=6. Mary Poppins: 16
8. Notting Hill: 14
9. Oliver!: 13
=10. My Fair Lady: 10
=10. Love Actually: 10
=10. Paddington: 10
The Long Good Friday starring Bob Hoskins is a stone cold classic. This superior gangster tale is set during a turning point in London, with regeneration and redevelopment poised to transform the capital. Famously, the movie posits an Olympic bid for East London, two and a half decades before it actually happened. It won our poll by a country mile, gaining more votes than the second- and third-place films combined. These were also long-standing classics, The Ladykillers (1955) and Passport to Pimlico (1949) — both from Ealing Studios. We have to look to number 4 for a 21st century film with V for Vendetta, an effective stab at adapting Alan Moore's graphic novel (not that he would have anything to do with it).
The Long Good Friday was also the comfortable winner when we ran the poll 12 years ago. We have some kind of consensus, then, that this really is the greatest of all London films, at least among the kinds of people who read Londonist and bother to respond to polls.
The rest of the top 10 shows some variation from 12 years ago, however. The strangest omission is Withnail & I. Last time round, it romped in at number 2. This time, it only attracted five votes. Meanwhile, only two films that didn't exist last time round make it into the top 10. Both contain the name of a north-westerly London terminus. Both are objectively and subjectively better than V for Vendetta.
And the other nominations
With 9 votes: Blow-up, Sherlock Holmes (2009), The Italian Job (1969)
With 7 votes: Battle of Britain, Legend, Pride, Shaun of the Dead
With 6 votes: 28 Days Later, Kingsman, The Lavender Hill Mob, The Plank
With 5 votes: 10 Rillington Place, A Fish Called Wanda, Alfie, Hue and Cry, Performance, Withnail & I
With 4 votes: James Bond (general), My Beautiful Launderette, Nil by Mouth, Quadrophenia, The King's Speech
With 3 votes: 84 Charing Cross Road, A Clockwork Orange, A Man for all Seasons, Cockneys Vs. Zombies, Daleks’ Invasion Earth 2150 A.D., Peeping Tom, The Small World of Sammy Lee, The Sweeney (2012), To Sir With Love
With 2 votes: A Muppet Christmas Carol, Fish Tank, Harry Potter (general), Hellraiser, Hope and Glory, Hot Fuzz, Last Christmas, London (Patrick Keiller), Made in Dagenham, Mission Impossible (general), Night and the City, Nuns on the Run, Peter Pan, Sliding Doors, Sunday Bloody Sunday, The 39 Steps, The Bank Job, The Blue Lamp, The Favourite, The Krays; Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy; Truly, Madly, Deeply, Up the Junction
With 1 vote: A Street Cat Named Bob, Absolute Beginners, Another Year, Attack the Block, Blackmail, Bridget Jones's Diary, Buster, I'll Sleep When I'm Dead, Finding Neverland, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Happy Go Lucky, High Rise, Jubilee, Last Night in Soho, Layer Cake, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, London has Fallen, Naked, Night of the Demon, Pool of London, Pressure, Reign of Fire, Shakespeare in Love, The Day the Earth Caught Fire, The Elephant Man, The Lady in the Van, The Football Factory, The Gentlemen, The Mummy Returns, The Servant, The Young Ones, Wonderland, Yardie