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After running down some of the biggest blockbusters that used Liverpool as a body double for the likes of New York and Chicago, we thought that we would give you the run down of films that, as a Scouser, you just have to have seen.
From 1965 classics right the way through to 2017, the flicks keep coming.
The first flick from the Fab Four to make the list, Yellow Submarine, is a Pyschedlic masterpiece that celebrates its 50th Anniversary this year. This innovative animation would make the list at any time, but the fact that it is celebrating a birthday, and such a big one at that, means that we’ve given it top billing. There have been many special screenings of the 1968 cartoon classic throughout the city this year and we’re sure to be treated to many more, so keep those eyes peeled for a chance to see this on the big screen. You can do this by keeping up with our film guide that tells you about what is on the silver screen on Merseyside each month.
51st State – Formula 51
This is a must. Starring Samuel L. Jackson and Robert Carlyle, this is a 90s feast of chaos and comedy, fusing Hollywood action with British drama. Carlyle is outstanding once again, perfectly encapsulating British cinema from the 90s and early 2000s. He plays that loveably cheeky, yet totally misguided chap that we have known and loved since Full Monty, this time getting involved in drug deals that he simply can’t handle. We even get car chase through the city, but don’t worry your mind about the geography…it doesn’t quite add up. Just sit back and let the madness take over you.
Prepare. To. Cry. Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool is a must for the list for two reasons. 1: It’s a beautiful tale that will have you blubbering and laughing throughout. 2: It has just hit Netflix, making it super easy to catch for anyone with an account. Annette Benning clearly steals the show, but Jamie Bell and Julie Walters give us equally show-stopping performances as a Liverpudlian Son and Mother, more than convincingly. Check out our full review here.
Ken Loach has often been heralded as the workingman’s director. His last film, I, Daniel Blake, was a masterpiece that almost felt like a documentary. This kind of quality was foreshadowed in the 2010 thriller, Route Irish. A private security contractor in Iraq goes in search of answers, as he doesn’t accept the explanation of his friend’s death. This tense drama takes place almost entirely in Liverpool and even stars one of our own, John Bishop.
The second movie on the list that is based around The Beatles, Nowhere Boy tells the story of John Lennon, before he was John Lennon. Aaron Taylor-Johnson plays a young Lennon in a tale which circles around his adolescence, his relationship with his Aunt Mimi and his mother who re-entered his life at a crucial moment in his development. The film is a must-see for any Beatles fan, or any Scouser, as it shows us how one of our best became the man he was. Plus, Liverpool scrubs up pretty well on screen. This is another that is available on Netflix now.
An absolute classic, Educating Rita is woven into the film industry and pop culture through its iconic tale of a woman finishing her basic education at the age of 27. Julie Walters turns in another show stealing performance as a Scouser, a pre-curser to her naturalistic character in Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool. Educating Rita has been parodied by the likes of Family Guy amongst others, showing its status in the public consciousness, but nothing beats the original.
The 1965 musical from Gerry & The Pacemakers takes its name from the iconic Scouse sing-along that has almost become a lullaby in our city. Produced by Brian Epstein, the film also stars Cilla Black and makes for a wonderfully joyful breath of fresh air that is over 50 years old. A musical is a tough thing to do and one with as much longevity as this one, a rare thing, but Gerry & The Pacemakers do it effortlessly and to full, sing-along, toe tapping effect.
This 1985 Rom-Com is heart stoppingly beautiful and features two young women from Kirkby, who have fallen on hard times, come in to contact with two Russian sailors. And, from there, the rest is for you to discover as the film unravels. This is a working class love story that is just as romantic as any Hollywood film, and it’s all set, and shot, within our walls.
This isn’t exactly a Merseyside movie but it’s one that comes over to this side of the pond. Scouse boxer and Evertonian, Tony Bellew, plays Creed’s nemesis throughout the film. Creed comes over to face Bellew’s character, Pretty Ricky Conlan, and Liverpool is the backdrop. Not only does the film show off some of our greatest landmarks such as St. George’s Hall and the Liver Birds, but thousands of Everton fans were given the privilege of being extras as the crowd for the big, final fight.
Our final Fab Four film is Backbeat, another snippet from the John Lennon narrative, this time focussing on the early days of the icon and his relationship with “original” Beatles bassist, Stuart Sutliffe. Everyone knows about the Hamburg days that made the band what they ultimately became, and Backbeat gives us a real insight into what they may have been like. The film has since been transformed into a stage production, but there is something authentic about the Iain Softley directed 1994 flick that cannot be recreated.
There are, of course, many films shot on our shores and many more about the area. However, we feel that these are the must sees, the ones that either feature our region heavily, have had a massive impact or are just great Mersey movies. What are you favourites?
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