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As with literature, there's no getting around the influence of the British on world cinema, whether in the realm of directors (Alfred Hitchcock, for starters) or stars (from Charles Chaplin to others too numerous to mention). Originally somewhat insular, with the occasional breakout export, it exploded as a major global hub in the 1960s thanks to new generations of gritty realists, experimentalists and prestige costume-drama makers whose legacies remain lively today.

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