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Films Made in Yorkshire: Ten Recommendations

Updated on August 21, 2015

A great selection of movies made in Yorkshire

Being a loyal Yorkshire woman, I have felt it was my absolute duty over the years to watch every film produced in the county.

And it goes without saying that I feel they are all totally brilliant. (I know, I would say that).

But below, I have chosen my top ten.They range from drama and mystery to humour and tragedy - so we truly have a great selection here.

You'll be interested to know though, that similarly to just about any other useful invention (the pudding, Smarties, chips, tennis racquets, cat's eyes and Def Leppard to name but a few) film was invented in Yorkshire. In Leeds. True.

It's also true that the inventor was a Frenchman (not necessarily his fault) and also that he mysteriously disappeared (in America) before he could patent his cinematic camera, but the fact remains that the first moving pictures were taken in Leeds.What do you think to my choices? Have you have any to add? Let me know in the comments section below.


From the Yorkshire Dales

Many films from God's Own County are bittersweet. This is a perfect example. This fabulous movie is based on a true story and features a group of middle-aged women who have an unconventional approach to raising money for charity.

It features some of the best loved - and most talented - British actors. If that wasn't enough it's set in the glorious Dales area. The plot is somewhat unusual to say the least - see below - but fact really can be stranger than fiction.

Calendar Girls
Calendar Girls

Yes, the twelve ladies decide that they will have more success raising money for the local hospital by creating a nude calendar - using themselves as models.

As you can imagine, the film is hilarious.There are one or two 'tissue moments' though because like most British (and especially Yorkshire) films it's bittersweet. Don't worry, you won't see nudity. It's terribly tasteful and delightfully funny.


Blokes in birthday suits

I really like to think that it's a total coincidence that my first two films from God's Own County have the theme of nudity. I have to say that I never really noticed that this was a feature back home in Yorkshire.I guess Freud would have fun.

There is another similarity with the previous film too in that it features a group of people trying to create a good situation from a bad one. Watch for tissue moments when various social issues are highlighted but also a lot (and I mean a LOT) of laughs besides.

Full Monty, The
Full Monty, The

A group of men have become unemployed due to the demise of the steel industry in Sheffield.

Like the ladies above, they see that one solution to their financial problems would also be to get their kit off - but in public.There are some incredibly touching moments in this film concerning issues that I can attest to being real problems in the area at the time. But there are brilliantly funny scenes. I thought that the Sheffield accent might be challenging for non-tykes but I'm told not.


Even if you hate football...

... although for American readers, I should say 'soccer'. I've never liked the game (much to my other half's disgust and amazement) but despite that,I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, filmed in Leeds and Scarborough. (Scarborough was disguised as Brighton).

This is a real-life story and concentrates on one short period of time in the 1960s in Yorkshire. I promise, you don't need to know anything about the game, about England or about Yorkshire to enjoy this brilliant - and often very funny - film.

The Damned United
The Damned United

Brian Clough was a tough and determined bloke. He started his career as a professional football player but an injury eventually prevented him from playing.

He loved the game - and knew it well - so moved into management.I remember when I was a kid he was largely disliked for his egotistical and bombastic approach but he certainly achieved results. But he made a lot of enemies along the way. A superb film with brilliant acting.


From my hometown

This film from the sixties has now become a true classic. It was filmed in Barnsley and most of the actors and extras were local people. This gives it an enormous authenticity. It was the first film I'd ever seen that strongly featured the (somewhat unique) Barnsley accent.

It can be a little harrowing but nevertheless it's a true-to-life drama and I can vouch for the fact that the characters are very typical of the time and the area. I suppose you could call it a 'kitchen sink drama' due to its realism.

Kes (The Criterion Collection)
Kes (The Criterion Collection)

This film was a huge award winner and was classed as one of the top ten British movies of the twentieth century.

It tells the story of a young boy from an ordinary working family and how he 'befriends' a wild kestrel (hence the name).The simple fact that it was directed by Ken Loach says a great deal about this film.You'll meet strange (but authentic) characters, see rough Yorkshire school life and yes,you'll need to keep the tissues close at hand.


Brass band

I've mentioned tissue moments with quite a lot of these films already but this one sets me off as soon as the opening credit start to roll. Like the others, it's hilariously funny but set against a dark and unsettling background - the chaos of the Yorkshire coalfields.

It tackles such subjects as mass unemployment, strikes, marital breakups, family strife and even attempted suicide and yet it's remarkably funny and uplifting. How on earth can that be? Well, that's the beauty - and genius - of Yorkshire films.

Brassed Off
Brassed Off

The music in this film absolutely knocks me out. Of course, being from Yorkshire, brass band music is hard wired into my DNA somehow but even if you don't have this advantage, you'll find the music is magnificent.Reviewers sometimes speak of this as being 'light-hearted' or 'a romance' but that's far from being the case.

But it is entirely entertaining, moving and incredibly funny. That Yorkshire humour strikes again...


Fun and games in Scarborough

This features some incredible actors. The plot is stunning, the humour is brilliant and to put the icing on the cake,we have fabulous music too. This is set in the seaside town of Scarborough and deals with hopes and dreams.

One or two people have said to me that the characters are just little unbelievable but in Yorkshire, that's absolutely not the case. These people are so real. Everything about this film is tremendous and I'm pleased to recommend it wholeheartedly. Read on.

Little Voice
Little Voice

Simply brilliant. Little Voice is the withdrawn and shy teenaged daughter of a widowed woman - a woman who is determined to have a good time out in the clubs and pubs of Scarborough.

She's what my mum used to call 'no better than she ought to be'.When Little Voice's mum starts a relationship with a small-time theatrical agent, they think that their ship has come in when they realise that Little Voice is an incredible and powerful singer. But will she perform and lead them all away from their sordid lives?


A mystery in Harrogate.

Harrogate - if you don't know it - is a totally gorgeous spa town in North Yorkshire. I lived there for a spell in the 1970s and absolutely loved its fine architecture. its floral gardens and its complete sense of genteel history and elegance. That's where this film is based.

To add to the visual delight, it is set in the 1920s so we have wonderful clothes and classic cars. What's more, it's based on the real-life story of novelist Agatha Christie's real disappearance when she was encountering marital problems. Found in Harrogate, she claimed amnesia.


I have never bought the amnesia theory. I have read a fabulous memoir by Agatha Christie, written before her famous disappearance, and she was a strong, spirited and highly intelligent woman.

When she realised that her husband was having an affair, she wouldn't have gone to pieces.She would have planned and plotted -immaculately. This film explores a very plausible theory about the truth of her ten day disappearance.


Posh and perfect

This brilliant film is the first of two on this list written by the wonderful Alan Bennett. Born in Leeds, one of the marks of his genius is his portrayal of thoroughly true-to-life poshness and pretensions. He understand social niceties and social climbing to a T.

This film, which was made in and around Ilkley, is so typical of the in, outs and machinations of those wishing to climb the all-important social ladder. With a truly fabulous cast, this is hugely entertaining.

A Private Function
A Private Function

This film is set within a couple of years of the end of the Second World War. Food was still rationed at that time - in fact,it was right through until the mid-fifties.

But this doesn't hold back the inhabitants of a 'small northern town'.When I tell you that the marvellous Maggie Smith stars in this movie, with a Python (of the Monty variety) and a pig (of the real variety) you get some idea of the ensuing mayhem you can expect in the brilliantly written and acted film.


Just a Yorkshire school

This is Alan Bennett film number two and is actually very different to the previous one that you see above. Like Kes it also largely features a school but again,the two are very different in both era and type. This time we are in the nineteen eighties.

Filmed in Sheffield, Halifax and Elland, this movie was originally an incredibly successful stage play. It's another example of Alan Bennett at his best (although he always seems to be 'at his best') especially with his insights into the human condition.

The History Boys
The History Boys

Typically of Yorkshire film, we have great music, splendid acting and a truly brilliant script. The movie is about a bunch of English schoolboys who are being coached for their university entrance exams.

It's every teacher's goal to get pupils into Oxford or Cambridge University and this is what we see here. A delightfully eccentric schoolteacher imparts his somewhat unconventional wit and wisdom to teenagers who are just starting out in life. So very good.


Controversially hilarious

I wasn't sure whether to add this film to the list. That's not because it isn't brilliant - it is - and it had me in complete tears of laughter. No, it's the subject that some people might find objectionable in this Sheffield-based film.

But it reminds me of Mel Brooks who would make really funny films about Hitler and the Second World War by saying that to send something up makes it less frightening or horrifying. It's black humour that's for sure, but if that's something you enjoy, you'll love this.

Four Lions
Four Lions

I really couldn't choose which of the films on this page is the funniest but I suspect that this would be high on the list. It tells about a bunch of Yorkshire Jihadi suicide bombers.

I know, that shouldn't be funny but even the very concept appeals to my sense of humour.It's totally idiotic, highly amusing and momentarily grim. It received rave reviews when it was released in England. Is it for you?


© 2014 Jackie Jackson

Comments or suggestions

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    • BritFlorida profile imageAUTHOR

      Jackie Jackson 

      4 years ago from Fort Lauderdale

      @Merrci: Thank you! The funny thing is that after I'd written it, I realised that every film had a comedy aspect. I don't know what that says about Yorkshire :)

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 

      4 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      Looks like I'd better get watching some movies! It's a good variety too, isn't it? The movies must be that much better knowing they were from Yorkshire. Enjoyed reading this.


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