The Beatles, Mick Jagger, and the fictional group the Commitments were among the performers honored this week when the British Film Institute released its list of the 100 favorite British flicks of the 20th century.“Performance,” the 1970 movie directed by Nicholas Roeg and Donald Cammell and starring Jagger as a retired rock star who harbors a gangster on the run, was number 48 on the BFI list, which was compiled by 1,000 British film industry types, including producers, directors, distributors, and critics. The Beatles’ 1964 mock rockumentary, “A Hard Day’s Night,” was named the 88th favorite British film, as the Richard Lester-helmed flick profiled the Fab Four running amok in London at the height of U.K. Beatlemania. Michelangelo Antonioni’s “Blowup” was at 60 on the BFI list, and the 1966 film about a swinging fashion photographer who stumbles onto a murder scene features a notable appearance by the Yardbirds, with both Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page on guitars,
capping off a performance of “Stroll On” by demolishing their instruments. But the highest ranking film featuring a musical group was Alan Parker’s 1991 flick, “The Commitments,” which was chosen at number 38 and tells the story of a group of Dubliners whose love of ’60s soul music leads them to form an R&B revue band. Other films making the cut include “The Third Man” at number 1, “Lawrence of Arabia” at number 3, “Trainspotting” at number 10, “The Full Monty” at number 25, and “Monty Python’s Life of Brian” at number 28. For the complete list of the British Film Institute’s Favorite Films of the 20th Century, be sure check out the BFI’s official Web site (www.bfi.org.uk).
— David Basham