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Doing Time (1979)
"Porridge" (original title)

 |  Comedy, Crime  |  10 August 1979 (UK)
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 1,392 users  
Reviews: 16 user | 2 critic

This prison comedy is based on the popular British television series of the same name. Long time Slade prison inmate Fletcher is ordered by Grouty to arrange a football match between the ... See full summary »

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Title: Doing Time (1979)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Brian Wilde ...
...
...
Bainbridge
Geoffrey Bayldon ...
Governor
Christopher Godwin ...
Beal
Barrie Rutter ...
Oakes
Daniel Peacock ...
Rudge
...
Ken Jones ...
Philip Locke ...
...
Dines (as Gordon Kaye in closing credits)
Oliver Smith ...
McMillan
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Storyline

This prison comedy is based on the popular British television series of the same name. Long time Slade prison inmate Fletcher is ordered by Grouty to arrange a football match between the prisoners and an all-star celebrity team. Fletcher is unaware that the match is only a diversion so that an escape can take place. When Fletcher and his cell mate Lennie stumble on the escape, they are taken along, and find themselves having to break back into prison to avoid getting into trouble. Written by measham

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Fletcher's inside story - even funnier as a film.

Genres:

Comedy | Crime

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

10 August 1979 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Doing Time  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The officers and prisoners played by Julian Holloway, Christopher Godwin, Barrie Rutter and Daniel Peacock were new characters created for the film. See more »

Goofs

Godber declares that the model aircraft he's constructing is a Spitfire, but it's clearly a P51 Mustang. See more »

Quotes

Samson: Oi, Fletcher.
Harry Grout: There'll be something for you in your Christmas stocking, Fletcher.
Fletcher: Oh, thank you sir. I'll look forward to that, sir.
See more »

Connections

References Within These Walls (1974) See more »

Soundtracks

Sweet Sweet Sweet
(uncredited)
Written by Colin Stewart, Paul Stewart and Robert Freeman
Performed by Plain Sailing
Courtesy of Chrysalis Records
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Porridge; A good healthy diet of wit and intelligence, leaving you full and satisfied.
20 October 2006 | by (An English Shire.) – See all my reviews

England was writhe with crime, in the cinematic sense, toward the end of the decade that had brought us Glitter Rock and Punk Rock. Toward the end of the Seventies and with the crossover into the Eighties, prison movies were to include the brutal Scum (1979), the Houdini exploits of McVicar (1980), and not forgetting the vicious ladies known as Scrubbers (1983), these Made In Britain misfits are amongst the serious and uncompromising hardcore collection of the riffraff prison underclass of that time.

This era's theme of imprisonment had also been the subject of light relief and comic substance, to the happy go lucky tune of life's misplaced souls that were doing Porridge, (as the movies American title suggests Doing Time): the English term for being imprisoned, you were "Banged to Rights" you were "Doing Time" and "Doing Porridge".

Nineteen seventy-four saw the release of British comedy sitcom Porridge; written by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, this later turned into the spin-off movie of the same name. Fundamentally an extension of the early seventies comedy show, we have the enduring and ever wistful Norman Stanley Fletcher, with his unforgiving contempt for authority and the establishment alike. The two writers here have not deviated from his original persona; a charm and charisma that transcends from television play and onto the movie screen, with his wise old owl intellect that knows best and never throws caution to the wind. Though the script is the classic all-round family entertainment variety, the actual storyline is somewhat basic and considering the genre here, apt.

Richard Beckinsale (1947 - 1979), as Lennie Godber, father to the beautiful Kate Beckinsale, born 1973, of Underworld (2003) and Van Helsing (2004), fame sadly passed away shortly after the making of Porridge, of a heart attack. While too young, his legacy has been passed on through his daughter, he would have been extremely proud to have seen her accomplishments. The world of light entertainment would never be quite what it was without him. Porridge is awash with the best of British, such as Fulton Mackay (1922 - 1987), Brian Wilde, Derek Deadman, Ken Jones and of course the greatest modern English comedy writer and actor the late Ronnie Barker (1929 - 2005).

This extension of the small screen had to have direction that was capable of retaining the attention span of an audience used to only the weekly half hour shows. The big screen adaptation is classic British cinema; the titters and chuckles among the theatregoers is only contagious. Humour abound, with its pessimistic and anti-establishment overtones that, while nonconformist, only reminds these prisoners of their individual plight. Here we see the pecking order of the hierarchy that are the building blocks of any modern day society. With its top dog Grouty, with his bodyguards Samson and Delilah, then there are the gofers, the go for this and go for that, the illiterates and we have the young and naive first offender Rudge, played here by Daniel Peacock, for example. In between this, we have the officers, just as misfit and imprisoned, though physiologically, as their jailbird counterparts. All bound together by a very wonderfully sharp and intelligent script, bringing about the adage sarcasm is the lowest from of wit, well this is not sarcastic humour, nor is this toilet humour, this is well written and thought out superlative comical fun. Any wonder then that during 1980 Porridge had won the Evening Standard British Film Award for Best Comedy.


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