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Best of the Best British RP or Upper Accents

The Upper British Accent, also known as Received Pronunciation, is a prestigious and elegant accent associated with the British upper class. It is often associated with a certain level of education, social status, and sophistication. Many actors aim to master this accent for their roles in film and television, and here are some examples of movies that showcase the Upper British Accent:


Pride and Prejudice (2005)

Movies with British Accents - Pride and Prejudice

"Pride and Prejudice" is a beloved period drama based on Jane Austen's classic novel. Set in 19th-century England, the story follows the spirited and independent Elizabeth Bennet as she navigates the societal expectations, class divisions, and romantic entanglements of her time. The film beautifully captures the manners, customs, and intricate relationships of the British upper class during the Regency era.


One of the notable aspects of "Pride and Prejudice" is the use of the British Received Pronunciation (RP) accent, commonly referred to as "BBC English" or "Queen's English." RP is associated with the educated and upper-class speakers in the United Kingdom and has been historically regarded as a standard accent in British media and formal settings.


In the film, the British RP accent is utilized by the majority of the cast, emphasizing the refined and polished nature of the characters. It adds an air of sophistication and elegance to the dialogues, enhancing the portrayal of the social hierarchy and etiquette of the time. The accent is particularly prominent in the performances of the Bennet family, Mr. Darcy, and other members of the upper-class society.


The British RP accent in "Pride and Prejudice" is skillfully portrayed by the talented cast, bringing authenticity to the characters and their interactions. Keira Knightley's portrayal of Elizabeth Bennet, the spirited and quick-witted protagonist, incorporates the nuances of RP while retaining her character's individuality and vivacity. Similarly, Matthew Macfadyen's Mr. Darcy presents a quintessential RP accent, reflecting the reserved and refined demeanor of the brooding gentleman.


The King's Speech (2010)

Movies with a British Accent - The King's Speech

"The King's Speech" is a compelling historical drama based on the true story of King George VI of Britain and his struggle with a stammer. Set in the 1930s, the film follows the journey of King George VI, known as Bertie, as he seeks the help of an unorthodox speech therapist, Lionel Logue, to overcome his speech impediment and deliver a pivotal radio address to the nation during a time of crisis.


One of the prominent elements in "The King's Speech" is the portrayal of the British Received Pronunciation (RP) accent, also known as "BBC English" or "Queen's English." RP was historically associated with the educated and upper-class speakers in Britain and served as a standard accent for public speaking and broadcasting. The film accurately reflects the language and accent of the time, highlighting the significance of vocal delivery and elocution in the royal and political spheres.


Colin Firth delivers a remarkable performance as King George VI, capturing the complexities of his character, including his struggle with speech and the emotional challenges he faces. Firth skillfully adopts the RP accent, impeccably portraying the mannerisms and cadence of speech expected of a British monarch. His nuanced portrayal brings authenticity and depth to the character, showcasing the power of the accent in conveying social status and authority.


Geoffrey Rush, who plays Lionel Logue, the speech therapist, provides a contrast with his Australian accent. This juxtaposition highlights the differences in social backgrounds and adds an additional layer of complexity to the relationship between Bertie and Lionel. Through their interactions, the film explores themes of class, communication, and personal growth, underscored by the nuances of their respective accents.


"The King's Speech" demonstrates how the British RP accent is not just a matter of linguistic correctness but a reflection of societal expectations and the challenges faced by individuals in positions of power. The film explores the pressure placed on King George VI to speak eloquently and commandingly as a symbol of strength and leadership. The RP accent serves as a marker of his struggle and eventual triumph over his stammer, symbolizing his personal growth and resilience.


The Young Victoria

Movies with a British Accent - The Young Victoria

"The Young Victoria" is a historical drama film that explores the early life and reign of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom. The movie focuses on Victoria's ascension to the throne at a young age, her tumultuous relationships, and her determination to assert her authority in a male-dominated society.


When it comes to accents, "The Young Victoria" predominantly features the British Received Pronunciation (RP) accent, commonly associated with the British upper class. The film accurately reflects the language and accent of the Victorian era, capturing the formality and sophistication of the time. The characters, particularly the aristocracy and members of the royal court, speak with the distinct RP accent, emphasizing their social standing and refinement.


Emily Blunt delivers a captivating performance as Queen Victoria, capturing both her vulnerability and strength. Blunt adeptly adopts the RP accent, showcasing Victoria's regal demeanor and eloquence. Her portrayal highlights the influence of the accent in conveying status, authority, and the expectations placed upon a monarch. The accent adds depth and authenticity to the character, enhancing the portrayal of Victoria's journey from a young and uncertain queen to a confident and respected ruler.


The film also features other accents, such as Scottish accents, to reflect the diversity of the United Kingdom. Characters like Prince Albert, portrayed by Rupert Friend, speak with a German accent to accurately represent his origin and differentiate him from the British characters. These accents contribute to the richness and authenticity of the film's portrayal of the Victorian era.


"The Young Victoria" showcases the importance of accents in historical dramas, as they help recreate the linguistic nuances and social dynamics of a specific time period. The RP accent, in particular, plays a significant role in conveying the elegance, etiquette, and societal expectations of the Victorian upper class. It adds depth to the characters and enriches the storytelling by immersing the audience in the historical context.


Elizabeth

Movies with a British Accent - Elizabeth

"Elizabeth" is a historical drama film that delves into the life and reign of Queen Elizabeth I of England. The movie depicts the tumultuous early years of Elizabeth's reign, as she navigates political intrigue, religious conflicts, and threats to her throne. It showcases her transformation from a young and inexperienced queen to a powerful and iconic figure in history.


When it comes to accents, "Elizabeth" primarily features British Received Pronunciation (RP), which is often associated with the British upper class. The characters in the film, including Queen Elizabeth I and the members of her court, speak with this accent, highlighting their noble status and educated backgrounds. The RP accent adds a sense of regality, sophistication, and authority to the characters, emphasizing their position in the aristocracy and the royal court.


Cate Blanchett delivers a mesmerizing performance as Queen Elizabeth I, capturing her complexities and inner strength. Blanchett adeptly adopts the RP accent, lending authenticity and credibility to her portrayal of the iconic monarch. Her command of the accent enhances the regal aura of Elizabeth, conveying her intelligence, wit, and resolve as she faces the challenges of her reign. The accent becomes an integral part of the character's identity and helps to create a compelling and believable portrayal.


The film also features other accents to represent different regions and social classes within England. For instance, characters from lower social strata or those associated with more rural areas may speak with accents reflecting their specific backgrounds. These accents serve to differentiate characters and highlight the social and cultural diversity of the time.


Elizabeth The Golden Age (2007)

"Elizabeth" is a historical drama film that delves into the life and reign of Queen Elizabeth I of England. The movie depicts the tumultuous early years of Elizabeth's reign, as she navigates political intrigue, religious conflicts, and threats to her throne. It showcases her transformation from a young and inexperienced queen to a powerful and iconic figure in history.


When it comes to accents, "Elizabeth" primarily features British Received Pronunciation (RP), which is often associated with the British upper class. The characters in the film, including Queen Elizabeth I and the members of her court, speak with this accent, highlighting their noble status and educated backgrounds. The RP accent adds a sense of regality, sophistication, and authority to the characters, emphasizing their position in the aristocracy and the royal court.


Cate Blanchett delivers a mesmerizing performance as Queen Elizabeth I, capturing her complexities and inner strength. Blanchett adeptly adopts the RP accent, lending authenticity and credibility to her portrayal of the iconic monarch. Her command of the accent enhances the regal aura of Elizabeth, conveying her intelligence, wit, and resolve as she faces the challenges of her reign. The accent becomes an integral part of the character's identity and helps to create a compelling and believable portrayal.


The film also features other accents to represent different regions and social classes within England. For instance, characters from lower social strata or those associated with more rural areas may speak with accents reflecting their specific backgrounds. These accents serve to differentiate characters and highlight the social and cultural diversity of the time.

In "Elizabeth," the use of accents contributes to the overall authenticity of the film's historical setting and characters. The RP accent, in particular, helps to immerse the audience in the world of the Tudor court and creates a sense of historical accuracy. It adds depth to the characters, distinguishing their societal roles and conveying the hierarchical structure of Elizabethan England.


Sense and Sensibility (1995)

Movies with a British Accent

"Sense and Sensibility" is a classic period drama based on Jane Austen's beloved novel of the same name. Set in 19th-century England, the story follows the Dashwood sisters, Elinor and Marianne, as they navigate the complexities of love, societal expectations, and personal growth.


When it comes to accents, "Sense and Sensibility" primarily features British Received Pronunciation (RP), which was commonly associated with the upper class during the time period. The characters, including the Dashwood sisters, their family, and the individuals they encounter in their social circles, speak with this refined accent. The use of RP accentuates the manners and etiquette prevalent in the story, emphasizing the polite and proper behavior expected from the characters.


The film showcases the talents of an ensemble cast, including Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet, and Alan Rickman, who bring their characters to life with skillful use of accents. Emma Thompson, who also wrote the screenplay, portrays Elinor Dashwood with a subtle and restrained RP accent. Her portrayal captures Elinor's intelligence, poise, and emotional depth, highlighting the character's sense of responsibility and resilience.


Kate Winslet, as Marianne Dashwood, contrasts Elinor's reserved demeanor with a more expressive and passionate portrayal. Winslet's accent retains the RP base but incorporates elements of a slightly more relaxed and natural delivery, reflecting Marianne's youthful spirit and emotional intensity.


Alan Rickman, in the role of Colonel Brandon, brings a distinctive depth to his character with his use of RP. His delivery embodies the dignity and wisdom of a mature gentleman, creating a captivating presence on screen.


The accents in "Sense and Sensibility" contribute to the authenticity and immersion of the film's period setting. They help transport the audience to the refined world of Regency-era England, where societal norms and class distinctions play a significant role in the characters' lives.


Catherine the Great (2019)

Movies with British Accent - Catherine the Great

"Catherine the Great" is a historical drama series that delves into the life and reign of Catherine II, the Empress of Russia during the late 18th century. The show explores Catherine's rise to power, her political intrigues, and her efforts to modernize and transform Russia into a prominent European power.


When it comes to accents, "Catherine the Great" features a range of accents, with the British Received Pronunciation (RP) being prominently used by the main characters. This choice of accent adds a touch of elegance and sophistication to the portrayal of the Russian imperial court, reflecting the influence and aspirations of the European aristocracy during that period.


Helen Mirren, who portrays Catherine the Great, skillfully adopts the RP accent to convey the Empress's regal demeanor, intelligence, and commanding presence. Mirren's performance captivates the audience as she navigates the complex political landscape of the Russian court, showcasing Catherine's wit, determination, and ambition.


In addition to RP, the series also incorporates other accents to represent the diversity of characters and cultural backgrounds within the Russian Empire. Russian accents are employed by various supporting characters, highlighting their native origin and emphasizing their connection to the Russian people.


The use of accents in "Catherine the Great" helps to bring historical authenticity to the storytelling. While the decision to utilize RP for the main characters may not reflect the actual accents of the historical figures, it enhances the audience's immersion in the period setting and provides a sense of familiarity associated with the British aristocracy.



Mary Queen of Scots (2018)

Movies with a British Accent - Mary Queen of Scots

"Mary Queen of Scots" is a historical drama film that explores the life and tumultuous reign of Mary Stuart, the Queen of Scotland, during the 16th century. The movie follows Mary's return to Scotland after the death of her first husband, her claim to the throne of England, and the political and religious conflicts that ensue.


When it comes to accents, "Mary Queen of Scots" showcases a variety of accents, with the British Received Pronunciation (RP) being predominantly used by the characters. The RP accent is employed to portray the English aristocracy and the royal court, reflecting the influence and prestige associated with the English monarchy during that era.


Saoirse Ronan, who portrays Mary Stuart, adeptly adopts the RP accent to convey the queen's regal presence, determination, and resilience. Ronan's performance captures the complexities of Mary's character, as she navigates the treacherous world of politics and power struggles, highlighting her strength and unwavering spirit.


In contrast, the Scottish characters in the film, including those loyal to Mary, often speak with Scottish accents. The use of Scottish accents serves to emphasize the characters' cultural heritage and connection to the Scottish people, contrasting with the English accents of the opposing factions.


The juxtaposition of accents in "Mary Queen of Scots" adds depth to the storytelling, representing the divide between the Scottish and English realms and the clash of their respective interests. The choice of accents helps to underscore the cultural and political tensions of the time, highlighting the struggles Mary faces in asserting her claim to the English throne.


If you're serious about improving your British upper-class accent, don't hesitate to seek additional help. Working with a personal accent coach can provide tailored guidance and feedback to help you refine your pronunciation and intonation. A professional coach can also help you develop a deeper understanding of the cultural nuances and historical context associated with this accent. With dedication and practice, you too can master the refined and elegant tones of the British upper class.





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