The Long Good Friday 1980

director: John MacKenzie  



Great Britain

Alternative Titles

  • Racket



Everyone seemed certain that the British cinema was at best moribund in 1980-81, and then came along The Long Good Friday to prove that it was still capable of turning out a film which most cinema-goers wanted to see - and that hadn't happened in a very long while. Its original distributor planned to extract the more violent scenes and sell it direct to television, but the producer and director managed to interest Hand Made Films who had made Monty Python's Life Of Brian. They bought it, showing it successfully at the Edinburgh and London Film Festivals. There was still no indication that it would be welcomed so warmly, but after enthusiastic notices it began to play to packed houses from the day of release. The reason surely is that it is a fast-moving, intricate thriller, galvanised by Bob Hoskins' performance in the leading role - and Hoskins must be the most convincing gang boss ever to appear in a British film. It is on one Good Friday that things start to go wrong for him - and it turns out to be a very nasty Easter, as those close to him are mown down or blown up. He is powerful enough to fight back, but we, if not he, are increasingly unsure who he can trust; and again we, if not he, are increasingly aware that his adversaries are bigger than he is. Those around him include his upper-class girlfriend (Helen Mirren), his scar-faced hit man 'Razors' (P.H. Moriarty), the sweet-looking young Jeff (Derek Thompson), a crooked local councillor (Bryan Marshall) and a decidedly bent and highly placed cop (Dave King). Barrie Keeffe, well-known as a dramatist, wrote the screenplay, with dialogue so seemingly accurate that we may be persuaded into thinking that such events are happening all the time in London without our knowing it - especially as London, and particularly its now deserted dockland, are so effectively used by the director John MacKenzie.

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Distributor Thorn EMI
Catalogue Number TVA 900306 2
Release Series
Release Date November 1981
Printed Classification
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