The United Kingdom has had a significant film industry for over a century. While film production reached an all-time high in 1936, the 'golden age' of British cinema is usually thought to have occurred in the 1940s, during which the directors David Lean, Michael Powell, and Carol Reed produced their most highly acclaimed work. Many British actors have achieved international fame and critical success, including Michael Caine, Sean Connery and Kate Winslet. Some of the films with the largest ever box office returns have been made in the United Kingdom, including the two highest-grossing film series (Harry Potter and James Bond). The identity of the British industry, and its relationship with Hollywood, has been the subject of debate. The history of film production in Britain has often been affected by attempts to compete with the American industry. The career of the producer Alexander Korda was marked by this objective, the Rank Organisation attempted to do so in the 1940s, and Goldcrest in the 1980s. Numerous British-born directors, including Alfred Hitchcock and Ridley Scott, and performers, such as Charlie Chaplin and Cary Grant, have achieved success primarily through their work in the United States.
In 2009 British films grossed around $2 billion worldwide and achieved a market share of around 7% globally and 17% in the United Kingdom. UK box-office takings totalled £1.1 billion in 2012, with 172.5 million admissions. The British Film Institute has produced a poll ranking what they consider to be the 100 greatest British films of all time, the BFI Top 100 British films. The annual British Academy Film Awards hosted by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts are the British equivalent of the Oscars.