Hot Brits that stormed the silver screen

Some actresses remain seductively British, despite sweeping to stardom in Hollywood and beyond. Here’s our pick of five such stars from 60 years of cinema.

 

Keira Knightley – British understatement

Kohl-ringed eyes and a sweet smile, rather than overt sexuality and classical beauty, saw this British actress rise to fame in the early years of the new millennium. Her role as Elizabeth Bennet in the 2005 production of Pride and Prejudice cemented her quintessential English-ness. 

 

Catherine Zeta-Jones – From Wales with love

Zeta-Jones is known as much for being Welsh, and for marrying Michael Douglas, as she is for her screen roles, full lips and hourglass figure. She first came to fame through the British TV series, The Darling Buds of May, and has since starred in films ranging from The Mask of Zorro to America’s Sweethearts. 

 

Julie Christie – Sixties chic

For a brief period, Julie Christie epitomised London life in the Swinging Sixties, with her hippie-ish good looks and long – often tousled – blond hair. But perhaps the hippie dream was more than a passing fad for the Oscar-winning actress who, at the end of the 1970s, moved from Hollywood back to the UK… to live on a farm in Wales. 

 

Liz Taylor – Cool as they come

Yes, Dame Elizabeth Taylor had American parents, but she was born in Hampstead Garden Surburb in 1932 – and a more English area is hard to find. In our opinion, the violet-eyed beauty was also one of the most quintessentially ‘British’ of all actresses. Just listen to her clear-cut voice: as hard as diamonds. 

 

Audrey Hepburn – Elfin grace 

Another British actress born abroad (in Belgium, in 1929), Hepburn was the daughter of a wealthy English banker and a Dutch baroness. Privately educated in London, Hepburn later attended ballet school in the same city – giving her the grace of movement that so much characterised, along with her elfin face, her on-screen image.