David Lean

Despite directing only 16 films over his long career, David Lean is regarded as one of the greats of British cinema, and his films have come to exemplify a certain type of ‘Britishness’.

While best known for his sweeping, Oscar-winning epics (he received two Academy Awards for best director), the intimate character dramas he made in the UK at the start of his career rank among his very best works.

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Brief EncounterBrief Encounter

Romance194586 minsDirector: David Lean

Noël Coward’s tale of a love affair, thrillingly played out with tight British reserve.

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Blithe SpiritBlithe Spirit

Comedy194596 minsDirector: David Lean

A séance results in a man’s first wife returning from the dead in Noël Coward’s wonderful comedy.

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In Which We ServeIn Which We Serve

War1942114 minsDirector: David Lean

Noel Coward and David Lean direct this affecting drama of a Royal Navy crew recalling their lives in flashback, as their ship sinks.

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Crime1950115 minsDirector: David Lean

David Lean’s film of an infamous 19th-century crime of passion stars his then-wife Ann Todd as the society lady on trial for murdering her lover.

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The Passionate FriendsThe Passionate Friends

Romance194991 minsDirector: David Lean

David Lean’s other, lesser known film about a love triangle spent too long in Brief Encounter’s shadow, but is now regarded as a fine, gripping drama.

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Great Expectations Great Expectations

Period drama1947118 minsDirector: David Lean

The first of David Lean’s two Dickens adaptations is one of the finest British literary interpretations and one of the most acclaimed of all British films.

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Oliver TwistOliver Twist

Period drama1948116 minsDirector: David Lean

Arguably the essential Dickens adaptation, David Lean’s evocative portrayal of Victorian London in sooty black and white features Alec Guinness as a memorably sinister Fagin.