Best British Ensemble Casts

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The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box features a stellar cast which includes Martin Sheen, Lena Headey, Sam Neill, Ioan Gruffudd and Aneurin Barnard. To celebrate its release on DVD and digital platforms on the 27th October, we count down the best ensemble casts to grace a British film… 

The Adventurer: The Curse of the Midas Box (2014)

An all-star cast including Martin Sheen, Lena Headey, Sam Neill and Ioan Gruffudd feature in this family fantasy adventure, set in Victorian London as the steam age takes hold. Mariah Mundi (Aneurin Barnard) finds his life is turned upside down when his parents vanish and his younger brother is kidnapped. After an encounter with a charismatic stranger, Mundi follows a trail of clues to the majestic Prince Regent Hotel where he discovers a hidden realm of child-stealing monsters, deadly secrets and a long lost artefact with the potential to grant limitless power at a devastating supernatural cost…

Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
The Monty Python comedy crew, consisting of Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Michael Palin, were directed by Terry’s Gilliam and Jones in this first of three feature-length films (followed by Life of Brian in 1979 and 1983’s The Meaning of Life). A regular placement in many polls compiling the greatest films of all time, let alone comedies, the film is comprised of wholly new material in which King Arthur’s quest to find the Holy Grail is parodied.

A Fish Called Wanda (1988)
This heist-comedy film was co-written by John Cleese, who also took lead acting duties alongside Michael Palin, Jamie Lee Curtis and Kevin Kline (who won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role as ‘weapons-man’ Otto). The film follows London-based gangsters who haplessly plot a jewel heist, despite being a bunch of double-crossers. Naturally, where hilarious chaos ensued, this comedy wormed its way into hearts of audiences worldwide.

An Ideal Husband (1999)

Based on the Oscar Wilde play, this romantic comedy stars Jeremy Northam, Rupert Everett, Julianne Moore, Cate Blanchett and Minnie Driver in this tale of government minister Sir Robert Chiltern (Northam) who finds himself in hot water after an old acquaintance (Moore) threatens to uncover past misdeeds, throwing his perfect marriage into jeopardy. He enlists the help of old friend, philanderer Lord Goring (Everett) and the resulting social satire is arguably Wilde’s funniest play.

Gosford Park (2001)

Julian Fellowes cut his teeth on this Oscar-winning screenplay long before Downton Abbey, but the similarities are evident in this exquisite 1930’s murder mystery. Director Robert Altman uses the premise of a weekend away in the country to pick apart the hypocrisy and eccentricities of the British class system, and the whip-smart script is perfectly brought to life by a startlingly talented cast, headed up by Dames Maggie Smith and Helen Mirren, Michael Gambon, Clive Owen, Kristin Scott Thomas and Stephen Fry.

Love Actually (2003)

Love it or loathe it, this quintessentially British romantic comedy features an astounding number of British actors. The cast includes Hollywood A-listers Hugh Grant, Keira Knightley, Colin Firth, Emma Thompson, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Liam Neeson and Alan Rickman as well as Martine McCutcheon, Martin Freeman, Rowan Atkinson and Andew Lincoln- all of whom come together in a thoroughly romantic, hugely feel-good multi-strand story.

Nanny McPhee (2005)

Emma Thompson and Colin Firth star in this adaptation of Christianna Brand’s Nurse Matilda books. It follows the story of Mr. Cedric Brown (Firth) who has just lost his wife and is now left with his seven children who misbehave so much that all the nannies leave. Enlisting the help of Nanny McPhee (Thompson) a magical woman with special powers, the family begin to notice inexplicable and startling consequences. The cast also features stellar support from Angela Lansbury, Imelda Staunton and Kelly Macdonald.

Pride & Prejudice (2005)

Joe Wright’s adaptation of Jane Austen’s most famous work earned him a BAFTA for most promising newcomer and follows the trials and tribulations of the five Bennett sisters after two eligible bachelors move into town- Mr Darcy (Matthew MacFayden) and Mr Bingley (Simon Woods). The casting of the Bennett sisters reads like a who’s who of British acting talent- Keira Knightley, Rosamund Pike, Carey Mulligan, Jena Malone and Talulah Riley, and support is ably provided by Donald Sutherland, Brenda Blethyn and Dame Judi Dench.

Atonement (2007)

Arguably Joe Wright’s greatest film to date, this heartbreaking wartime drama based on Ian McEwan’s bestselling novel boasts a stellar cast, including James McAvoy, Keira Knightley, Saiorse Ronan, Benedict Cumberbatch and Vanessa Redgrave. When the budding romance between Cecilia Tallis (Knightley) and Robbie Turner (McAvoy) is cut brutally short following a lie told by Bryony Tallis (Ronan), the repercussions span several decades. Wright’s tackling of the novel’s twist ending is a particular masterstroke.

The Harry Potter Series (2001-2011)

JK Rowling’s record-breaking novels were adapted into eight blockbusters, and a key component the cream of British acting talent that were recruited to bring the wizarding world to life. The cast of universally loved (and sometimes loathed) witches and wizards included Michael Gambon, Dame Maggie Smith, Julie Walters, Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Helena Bonham-Carter, Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson and Warwick Davis, to name a few.

The Adventurer: Curse of the Midas Box is out on DVD and digital platforms on October 27th, courtesy of Signature Entertainment.

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Alton loves film. He is founder and Editor In Chief of BRWC.  Some of the films he loves are Rear Window, Superman 2, The Man With The Two Brains, Clockwise, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, Trading Places, Stir Crazy and Punch-Drunk Love.


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