lottery films

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Over the years, National Lottery-funded films have won an astonishing 14 Oscars and 32 BAFTAs! This year, twelve such supported feature films are being screened at the 60th London Film Festival (5-16 Oct), securing both the coveted Opening and Closing Night Galas.

The British Film Institute uses National Lottery funds to develop and support original UK filmmakers and films, and to increase the audiences who can enjoy them. The King’s Speech, Gosford Park, Billy Elliot and The Last King of Scotland were all made with the help of National Lottery money.

The BFI Film Fund mission is supporting distinctive emerging filmmakers; films of cultural significance; projects that takes risks; and those that recognise the quality of difference. There is a constant push towards a more inclusive and representative film culture, and diversity is increasingly at the heart of BFI Film Fund decisions.

Films the BFI has awarded production funding to recently include:

The Girl with All the Gifts – a smart and original take on the post-apocalyptic zombie film. Director: Colm McCarthy Cast: Glenn Close, Paddy Considine, Gemma Arterton, Sennia Nanua.

Lean on Pete – 15-year-old Charley embarks on a perilous journey in search of his long lost aunt and a possible home, his sole companion, the stolen racehorse ‘Lean on Pete’. Director: Andrew Haigh Cast: Charley Plummer, Travis Fimmel, Chloë Sevigny, Steve Buscemi.

Free Fire – Director Ben Wheatley takes on the American crime movie, and steps up the action with an arms deal that goes spectacularly and explosively wrong. Director: Ben Wheatley Cast: Sharlto Copley, Armie Hammer, Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy, Jack Reynor, Sam Riley.

A United Kingdom – a powerful romantic drama telling the remarkable true story of the 1948 marriage between the King of Bechuanaland and an office clerk from London. Their relationship was opposed by everyone, but love conquers all. Director: Amma Asante Cast: David Oyelowo (Selma), Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl).

I, Daniel Blake – winner of the prestigious Palme d’Or, Cannes. Almost 50 years after Loach’s Cathy Come Home, the director returns to looking at issues of deprivation in modern Britain. Director: Ken Loach Cast: Dave Johns, Hayley Squires.

National Lottery-funded films have won an astonishing 14 Oscars and 31 BAFTAs.

The National Lottery has been changing the lives of winners and supporting good causes across the UK since 1994. In that time, there have been more than 5,700 new millionaires created and by playing The National Lottery you raise £30 M Million for good causes every week.

Over the years, National Lottery-funded films have won an astonishing 14 Oscars and 32 BAFTAs! This year, twelve such supported feature films are being screened at the 60th London Film Festival (5-16 Oct), securing both the coveted Opening and Closing Night Galas.

Top 10 Lottery Films

Playing the lottery may seem like an everyday act, but it has enthralled screenwriters & directors for over 90 years. Not all lottery-themed films managed to hit the jackpot with critics & audiences, but more than a few made their mark on cinema history.

We countdown movies with a lottery twist, from the regrettable to a few real winners.

10. Lottery Ticket (2010)

Bow Wow, Ice Cube, T-Pain, Mike Epps… the cast of Lottery Ticket has more rappers than 8 Mile, but lacks its purpose. Bow Wow plays Kevin, down on his luck and living with his grandma in the projects. He buys a lottery ticket and wins $370 million, but the lottery office is closed for the Fourth of July weekend. Can he keep his newfound wealth a secret from his friends and enemies for the next three days?

9. Lucky Numbers (2000)

Nora Ephron was responsible for some of cinema’s greatest moments with movies like When Harry Met Sally…, Sleepless in Seattle, and You’ve Got Mail. But even the greats can misstep every now and again. In Lucky Numbers, Russ (John Travolta) is a financially-struggling weatherman for a local Pennsylvania TV station. His friend Gig (Tim Roth) convinces him to rig the Pennsylvania Lottery with the help of Crystal (Lisa Kudrow), a model who picks the winning lottery numbers on TV. A seasoned director and a star-studded cast couldn’t save this film. Maybe the film needed Meg Ryan.

8. Lucky (2011)

What if a serial killer won the lottery? Ben is your average guy: he works a steady office job, is in love with one of his co-workers, and just won a $36 million jackpot. Oh, and he also kills young blonde women that resemble the object of his affections. What could possibly go wrong? Colin Hanks, Ari Graynor, and Jeffrey Tambor star in this intriguing, but ultimately uneven black comedy.

7. All About the Benjamins (2002)

Ice Cube, Mike Epps, and Bow Wow must love a lottery-themed movie script, because eight years prior to Lottery Ticket, they were lighting up movie screens as the cast of All About the Benjamins. Tyson Bucum (Ice Cube), a disillusioned bounty hunter, teams up with Reggie (Mike Epps), a con artist, to pursue a group of diamond thieves and a winning lottery ticket. It’s not Academy Award-winning, but it sure is entertaining.

6. Mr. Sardonicus (1961)

William Castle, a true B-movie legend, produced and directed this unique horror gem. The story centres on Sardonicus, a man who robs his father’s grave in order to retrieve a winning lottery ticket and the misfortune that event has on him and others. The film is notable for the use of a gimmick called the “Punishment Poll”, in which the audience decided the fate of one of the characters onscreen.

5. Welcome to Me (2014)

The divine Kristin Wiig plays Alice Krieg, a woman with borderline personality disorder who spends all her time watching talk shows and buying lottery tickets. Alice then wins $86 million in the California Lottery, goes off her medication, and decides to buy her own talk show for $15 million. The show starts out abysmally, but will Alice eventually find her audience and get lucky twice?

4. It Could Happen to You (1994)

Nicolas Cage, Bridget Fonda, and Rosie Perez star in this classic ’90s romantic comedy. Charlie Lang, a NYC police officer, goes to a diner and finds out he doesn’t have enough cash for a tip. He shows Yvonne, the waitress, a lottery ticket and says he’ll split any winnings with her. The ticket ends up being worth $4 million and Charlie decides to keep his word. Unfortunately, his wife Muriel is not so keen on this arrangement. Drama, friendship, new love, and beautiful scenes of New York ensue.

3. Waking Ned (1998)

In a small Irish village, after Ned Devine wins the Irish Lotto, he dies of shock with the lottery ticket still in his hand. The villagers find out and decide to trick the National Lottery into thinking that Ned Devine is alive so they can claim his winnings. The film won several awards and director Kirk Jones was nominated for a BAFTA.

2. Le Million (1931)

With the advent of talkies, movie studios around the world wanted their films to sing. Musicals were all the rage and this French film directed by René Clair is a true gem of the era. The film follows Michel, an artist who wins the Dutch lottery. After remembering that he left the ticket in his jacket pocket, he asks his fiancée Beatrice where she has put the jacket. When he finds out she gave the jacket away, the two of them go on a frantic, musically-infused chase to find the ticket. Along the way, they encounter all of society’s sorts including criminals and opera divas. The film is now part of the Criterion Collection.

1. Greed (1924)

Unfortunately, as is the case with many pictures from the silent era, much of Erich von Stroheim’s Greed has been lost or destroyed. Von Stroheim fought tooth and nail with MGM who made several cuts to his production, editing the film down from its original cut of eight hours to its official release of two hours and twenty minutes. Rick Schmidlin, a film preservationist, combined existing footage with still photographs to try to recreate as much as possible. The production was screened in film festivals and shown on Turner Entertainment in 1999 to unanimous critical acclaim. The film is based on the novel McTeague and revolves around three characters: John McTeague, Marcus Schouler, and Trina. McTeague is an unlicensed dentist, Schouler is his friend, and Trina starts out as Schouler’s cousin and love interest. McTeague soon falls in love with Trina and asks Schouler for permission to court her. McTeague and Trina marry and soon after Trina finds out she has won $5,000 in the lottery. Jealousy, murder, and mayhem ensue leading to a final scene in the unforgiving terrain of Death Valley.

We countdown movies with a lottery twist, from the regrettable to a few real winners.