5 of the best movies about British universities

British universities take the leading positions among top universities over the world.

Hence, many people are interested to learn more about students’ lives in Great Britain. Probably, the best way to see how the education process goes there is by watching a movie. Consider watching films reviewed below to get a better understanding of British schooling culture.


An Education (2009)

An Education is a drama movie based on a memoir of the same name by Lynn Barber, a British journalist. The screenplay was written by Nick Hornby and the film was directed by Lone Scherfig. In 2010, An Education was nominated for three Academy Awards, such as Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Actress.

The movie tells the story of a 16-year-old girl Jenny Mellor (played by Carey Mulligan) who lives with her parents in a London suburb. Her father wants her to be accepted into Oxford, as he wishes his daughter to have a better life than him. The film shows that both studying at Oxford and entering this university are quite difficult. All the students are required to be well-prepared to write an excellent personal statement and pass exams. Jenny is a bright and naturally gifted schoolgirl who has all the chances to apply for the top-rated university. But the problem is that she gets the target of a sophisticated seduction by 35-year-old David Goldman. And this takes place in the early 1960s…

An Education is a very romantic and wonderfully entertaining movie. An incredible performance from Carey Mulligan and an exciting plot make it worth watching.


The History Boys (2006)

The History Boys is an engaging British comedy-drama movie that was adapted by Alan Bennett from his award-winning play of the same name. It got an Olivier Award for Best New Play in 2005 and Tony Award for Best Play in 2006. The History Boys was filmed in Watford schools and directed by Nicholas Hytner.

This movie tells the story of a group of young men living in 1980s Britain and studying at Cutlers’ Grammar School. They all are gifted and have a will to get the chance of being accepted to Oxford and Cambridge. Their highly professional teachers are trying to prepare smart young people for the upcoming entrance exams. The boys absorb the facts and figures given by intellectually enthusiastic teachers but the Headmaster is not satisfied with them. So he decides to sign on the young Irwin to polish their knowledge and give boys the best chance for preparation. And it makes them learn something about life…


The Oxford Murders (2008)

This is a British-Spanish drama film adapted from the novel of the same name by Guillermo Martínez, Argentine mathematician and writer, and directed by Álex de la Iglesia. The Oxford Murders stars John Hurt, Elijah Wood, Leonor Watling, and Julie Cox.

The movie tells a story of American math student Martin who transfers to Oxford University as he hopes to persuade renowned philosopher Arthur Seldom to oversee his thesis. But suddenly, the murder of Martin’s landlady puts them into a mathematical mystery. They start working together to stop a potential series of murders at Oxford University seemingly linked by mathematical symbols. Martin and Seldom are trying to use mathematical theories to deal with an “unsolvable” math problem and find the killer. The plot of The Oxford Murders seems to be quite deep as it twists your mind into understanding what’s really going on.


The Theory of Everything (2014)

This biographical romantic drama film was directed by James Marsh and adapted by Anthony McCarten from the memoir Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen written by Jane Hawking in 2007. The movie stars Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Charlie Cox, and many other great actors.

The Theory of Everything is set at the University of Cambridge and tells the story of its student and future theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking who falls in love with beautiful fellow collegian Jane Wilde. Being only at the age of 21, Hawking learns that he has a motor neuron disease. But despite this horrible illness, he starts an ambitious study of time. With Jane at his side, Stephen breaks new ground in science and achieves more than either could imagine.


Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001)

This is a fantasy movie that everybody must watch. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was directed by Chris Columbus, produced by David Heyman, and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. It is based on J. K. Rowling’s novel of the same name released in 1997. This extremely popular movie stars Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson in the main roles.

The film tells the story of Harry Potter’s first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry where he unexpectedly discovers that he is a famous wizard. If you want to feel the atmosphere of Oxford University, this is a perfect movie to watch as the most important Harry Potter locations were filmed there.


Author’s bio

Paul Calderon is an academic coach and freelance essay writer. Paul is a big fan of cinematography and an amateur screenplay writer. As it’s related to his work, he loves movies about education. Paul believes that films may be a great source of inspiration for students to work hard and then enjoy their college life.