The 10 essential films of Stanley Baker

Stanley Baker in Val Guest's 1960 thriller Hell Is a City.Welsh born actor Stanley Baker didn’t live to see his 50th birthday, but he left an impressive body of work. Like his friend Richard Burton, he escaped life as a coalminer for acting after a chance sighting in a school play by the casting director of Ealing Studios led to Baker’s first role in the 1943 war drama, Undercover. His rugged physique and hard grace meant he was most often cast as the tough guy in crime movies and spearheaded the evolution of the British film criminal from the gentlemen thief to more ruthless figures, often working-class, in films such Hell Drivers (1957), Joseph Losey’s The Criminal and Peter Yate’s 1967 heist film, Robbery.

Last weekend he would have been 88, were he still alive. To mark his career, I have a piece on the British Film Institute site looking at his 10 essential films. You can read it in full here.

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3 Responses

  1. Matthew Hewitt

    Good list, but I’d have taken ‘Yesterday’s Enemy’ over The Guns of Navarone’ or ‘Zulu’. The former is overlong and stagey, despite having good moments and nice performances and the latter just isn’t my cup of tea at all (despite again, having a very strong cast).

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Matthew.
    There were quite a few films I considered adding to the list. The heist film Prize of Arms was another possible contender. I included The Guns Of Navarone because it Baker’s first big international role. Zulu has to be on the list, regardless of what one thinks about it. It was a box office hit, it was the first film Baker helped produce and he was the top billed star.

  3. Had he been alive today he would have most probably got a knighthood by now for his devotion to acting and the films he was in and made

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