Top Ten Films #5: Withnail and I

Withnail and I

This week I’ll be revealing my top ten favourite films, posting one each day with a few paragraphs about what they mean to me. If anyone wishes to share their favourites I’d be happy to hear from you. Today is #5. 

5) Withnail & I (1987)

Withnail and IBruce Robinson’s 80s classic has gathered a massive cult following since its release, even spawning its own drinking game, though not one that is recommended if you want to survive the night!

Withnail & I is unusual in the respect there’s very little that actually happens. Two struggling actors in the 60s, fond of drugs but mostly alcohol, get away from London, have a weekend in the country then come back.  That’s it. Though it doesn’t sound exciting the genius of the film is more in what is said by the characters and, thankfully, the script is as superb as the acting. “We’ve gone on holiday by mistake,” “Lick 10% of the arses for me then” and “We want the finest wines available to humanity. We want them here and we want them now” are just a taste of the highly quotable script.

Out in the country Withnail and I (his name is open to debate amongst fans) find their friendship tested by their struggle to survive some hilarious encounters – ‘I’ facing a randy bull, Withnail going fishing armed with a shotgun and the arrival of Withnail’s gay uncle, Monty. Humour is found in abundance in the film with far too many memorable scenes and quotes to be listed here.

Drama isn’t overlooked either, particularly when Withnail and ‘I’ return to London with their friendship now at breaking point. A contemplative smoke with the local drug dealer, Danny, sees the group lamenting the end of the 60s but it is also symbolic of another ending, that of the friendship. The film closes with Withnail and ‘I’ going their separate ways. The final parting sees Withnail left alone to recite Shakespeare amidst heavy rainfall in a local park before heading home alone, umbrella in one hand, bottle of wine in the other. Each time I find myself wondering what becomes of him.

Top Ten so far:

5) Withnail & I (1987)

6) Predator (1987)

7) Battle Royale (2000)

8) Once Upon a Time in the West (1969)

9) House of Flying Daggers (2004)

10) Spirited Away (2001)

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Dave Brown

I was born in Barnsley, South Yorkshire, England and have always been a bookworm and enjoyed creative writing at school. In 1999 I created the Elencheran Chronicles and have been writing ever since. My first novel, Fezariu's Epiphany, was published in May 2011. When not writing I'm a lover of films, games, books and blogging. I live in Barnsley, with my wife, Donna, and our six cats - Kain, Razz, Buggles, Charlie, Bilbo and Frodo.
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