Drama


The Rains Came
This 1939 film was based on Louis Bromfield's novel about a series of disasters befalling a town in 1930s British India and how these shaped the hitherto empty and vacuous lives of the leading lights of this distant outpost of Empire. It is unusual in that it is essentially a disaster film but in an imperial setting.

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Rang De Basanti
The film is based around a British documentary filmmaker who is determined to make a film on Indian freedom fighters based on diary entries from her grandfather, a former officer of the British Indian Army. He had been a jailer of Indian freedom fighters and she convinces five young Indians to play the roles of those imprisoned men. The idealism of these heroes seeps into the lives of the young men as they are confronted by contemporary problems of modern India.

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Killing Heat / The Grass is Singing
Based on Doris Lessing's novel The Grass is Singing which sees a cosmopolitan having to deal with life on an isolated farm in Southern Rhodesia. The film visits complex interactions between ethnic divides and deep issues of the rights and wrongs of colonialism.

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The Tracker
Set in 1903, a survivor from the Boer War lands in colonial New Zealand and is promised a bounty to capture a Maori seafarer accused of killing a British soldier.

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Van Diemen's Land
Set in 1822, eight convicts escaped the brutal penal settlement of Macquarie Harbour. Led by ex-sailor and experienced navigator Robert Greenhill, the men fought against some of the world's harshest terrain in the unexplored wilderness of Van Diemen s Land in a desperate bid for freedom.

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Junoon
Set during the Indian Mutiny, this film follows the story of three women of an Anglo-Indian family who take refuge from the rebels with a local moneylender to whom they owe a debt and who, thus, has a vested interest in their survival. When they are discovered, their lives are spared as the rebel leader, Javed, wishes to make the youngest woman as his wife. The plot is further complicated when British forces return seeking vengeance for the mutiny.

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Anna and the King
Set in Siam at the end of the Nineteenth Century, this film tells the story of an English governess who needs to teach the family of the King. Although Siam was not a British colony, the empire features strongly in the story as it tries to tell the story of a kingdom trying to remain independent from colonial control through modernisation and education.

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East of Elephant Rock
A film that was inspired by the 1911 murder case by Ethel Proudlock that inspired Somerset Maugham to write The Letter. This film examines the problems of decolonisation and and the surrender of responsibility in that process.

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The Promise
A series that examines the dying days of the British Mandate in Palestine and the hopes and fears of the competing claims to this Promised Land.

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Grey Owl
A film set in the vast wilderness of Canada. A trapper realises the damage he is causing to his beloved environment. However, despite his important message, he has a secret that might derail everything that he is working for.

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The Proposition
A Captain tries to bring civilisation, peace and quiet to this Australian outback town by cutting corners. Will he get away with it.

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The Kitchen Toto
An orphaned boy is taken in by a police officer and his wife. However, there is little marital bliss in this English family transplanted to Kenya. And when the boy, Mwangi, is kidnapped by the Mau Mau, tensions are raised and loyalties are tested.

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The Last King of Scotland
A young Scottish doctor forms too close a relationship with the erratic and unpredictable Idi Amin. What lies in store due to this Faustian pact.

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The Wind that Shakes the Barley
Two brothers face the same situations and yet reach different conclusions about fighting the British in Ireland in the 1920s.

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The Mountains of the Moon
The tale of Burton and Speke's epic journey to discover the source of The Nile.

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The Flame Trees of Thika
A young girl and her family struggle to establish a plantation in East Africa.

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The Letter
The Murder of a Plantation Owner in Singapore causes quite a stir...

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Conduct Unbecoming
Honour and tradition find themselves to be a source of weakness as well as strength to a Cavalry Regiment in India.

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Something of Value
Two boyhood friends in Kenya find themselves fighting one another due to the colour of their skin.

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The Jewel in the Crown
This epic mini series based on Paul Scott's book sweeps across the last days of British rule in India.

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Staying On
This film takes off where the Jewel in the Crown left off. Two old Indian hands decide not to return back to England on Indian independence.

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The Drum
A young Rajah uses a drum to warn the British of treachery on the North West Frontier...

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The New World
A beautiful film looking at the arrival of the British in Virginia in the early seventeenth century

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Master and Commander
An authentic looking film based on a Patrick O'Brien Novel about a Royal Naval ship in the Napoleonic Wars duelling a French Man of War.

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Lagaan: Once upon a time in India
A game of cricket decides the tax burden of a village in India.

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River Queen
A woman and her child get caught up in the tensions between the Maoris and the New Zealand settlers.

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The Sundowners
A British family tries to start life afresh as sheep farmers in the outback...

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Shackleton
The remarkable story of Shackleton's expedition to the South Pole and the even more remarkable escape from disaster...

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A Passage to India
Based on the novel by E M Forster, this is the story of racism and supremacy in colonial India...

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The Last September
The final days of British rule in Ireland have a profound impact on this Anglo-Irish Protestant family...

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Mister Johnson
Set in Nigeria in 1923, Mr Johnson is a black African helping the British to work on a road project but with all sorts of unseen problems... An in depth review of the book and film and how it related to the real men on the ground can be read here

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Rabbit Proof Fence
After being forcibly moved into care, three aboriginal children trek hundreds of miles back home...

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White Mischief
Murder in colonial Kenya as some hedonistic settlers go too far...

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Exodus
Paul Newman plays an Jewish Freedom Fighter trying to establish the State of Israel...

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The Hill
One of Sean Connery's finest films. The Hill is part of the punishment regime in a British Army penal camp in North Africa. This is a very tense, provoking film...

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The Man from Snowy River
Australia provides the western backdrop for this story about a man who tries to save his ranch...

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Return to Snowy River
A worthy sequel that sees the hero to return to his ranch to find things not as he left them...

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Heat of the Sun
A police inspector in 1930s Kenya has a number of cases to solve in this mini series...

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Wah Wah
In the final days of the colony of Swaziland, a family has many problems of its own. Based on the family life of Richard E. Grant.

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The Chess Players
This 1977 film provides a metaphor for the dismemberment of the old India as two Zamindars pass so much time trying to outwit each other that they fail to notice the East India annexation of their Oudh in 1853... A truly remarkable film.

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Nowhere in Africa
This is a beautiful German film telling the story of Jewish emigrees escaping persecution in Germany for a second chance in British East Africa. But life is not going to be easy just because they are safe from the Nazis.

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Passion in Paradise
Based on the true story of the murder of Sir Harry Oakes in Bermuda during the Second World War. Based on the book by James Leasor.

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Diamond City
(1949) A diamond field is discovered in South Africa: how one man attempts to enforce law and order during the working of it is a story which has been used here to make the British equivalent of a Western. Saloon-bar brawls and Salvation Army meetings combine to make a lot of noise.
Cotton Mary
An Anglo-Indian nurse in Post-Colonial India tends to a sick baby but begins to displace the mother as the nurse attempts to become more British than the British.

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Adanggaman
Set in West Africa during the seventeenth century, King Adanggaman is trying to find slaves to sell to the European traders. However, one strong-willed young man is indignant when his family is butchered and his mother is seized. He attempts to rescue her but soon finds out that he is up against very powerful forces and motives.

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Barry Lyndon
This is Kubrick's masterful retelling of a Thackeray novel. Set during the Seven Years War, this film tells the story of an Irish social climber trying to make his way up the ranks of the English and Army establishments. A feat that he achieves with considerable difficulty but is in danger of squandering.

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O Jerusalem
An Israeli and a Palestinian Arab try to maintain their friendship in the dying days of the British mandate and in the heady but disturbing days following the declaration of the State of Israel. See a trailer on Palestine page.

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Rough Crossings
A dramatisation of the remarkable story of the Black Americans who fought for the British in the War of Independence only to be deserted in Newfoundland before being resettled in Sierra Leone.

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