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Breaking Glass
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21 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

Example of the post punk era in England

Author: Ambbrit from Canada
26 October 2004

I have watched this movie and although it is dated and low budget there is much more to this movie than "A low budget post punk Star is born!" There is the main story about a rebellious anti-establishment singer "Kate" played by Hazel O Connor who in order to "make it" has to give up control of her music and is forced on to the record company "bandwagon". This results in her losing the bands manager "Danny" (brilliantly played by Phil Daniels)who feels he is losing control of the band! But more than this, the movie is an accurate reflection of the post-punk anti-establishment feeling in England which I lived through at the time. The lyrics of Hazel's songs depict this and still have something to say today regarding Government and establishment control! However, the greatest irony is the climax of the movie where Kate (Hazel O Connor) is singing the song "Eighth day" as a protest against the establishment when she herself is having to "fit in to the establishment" to perform the song. Well worth another look!

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17 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

One of the best kept secrets in British cinema history. A classic.

Author: Graham Ellison from United Kingdom
5 April 2007

Breaking Glass is an excellent movie which has suffered from neglect and wholly inaccurate political associations. This movie was written and made in 1978 and 1979 and released in 1980. Therefore it couldn't possibly be: "A truly excellent portrayal of 80s Britain".Nor does it depict life in: "Thatcher's Britain".

In fact Breaking Glass depicts Callaghan's Britain, which was characterised by a deplorable catalogue of industrial disputes, strikes, high unemployment, and collapsing public services during the winter of 1978-9, dubbed the 'Winter of Discontent'.

What this movie is, is one of the best kept secrets in British cinema history. And although Hazel O'Connor enjoys second billing to Phil Daniels who had just done Quadrophenia to great acclaim, she is one of the greatest talents we've ever produced. Indeed, Hazel shines as the real star throughout, possibly drawing on her own personal experiences growing up in Coventry following the break-up of her parent's marriage, which lead to her running away to Europe at the age of 16.

I saw this film in the cinema the week it was released in the UK and I was stunned by both Hazel's singing and acting talent as well as that of the saxophonist superbly played (and dubbed) by Jonathan Pryce. That solo is a classic all on its own. Every feeling I felt at the time whilst watching this stark portrayal of human nature and the workings of the music industry has stayed with me until today.

In many ways Breaking Glass suffers from being too current. All stories of social history work best when set in the past. Quadrophenia worked because it spoke of a previous period of disruptive British history - 20 years in the past. Also, there was already an undercurrent of opposition to Thatcher, but the country the Conservatives inherited from Labour on 4th May 1979 was a wreck. So it was perhaps convenient for some to use it as a metaphor for the greed and excess that was in fact still yet to come.

See this movie and enjoy it for what it is: a landmark in British Cinema history and a brilliant one-off performance from everyone involved. And catch Hazel on the net, where she sells much of her music, and live on stage where she's still gigging.

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13 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

One of the great fall and decline of rock star films!

Author: sphinx-7 from Brattleboro Vermont USA
28 November 2001

I first saw the film when it landed on US cable a year after it came out. It blew my little head away, I was only 16 and it was the first new wave music I'd heard, having been a strictly folky, classical kid growing up. The music mesmerized me, as did Hazel O'Connor's amazing look and charismatic vocal performances, and Phil Daniels' tough but soft Cockney manager just stole my heart. But I think my favorite character was Jonathan Pryce's drugged out sax player. He was so out of place in the band and so harmless and pathetic, he just begged for sympathy. Favorite scenes, the performance when the lights went out, and the love scene on the train.

Okay, so the movie isn't the Rose! But it was really excellent for its limited budget and for its portrayal of the Britain of the early 80's, exploding with rebellious youth, looking for a way out of the dole queue. I went to Britain only a couple of years later and found the movie to have been very reflective of the atmosphere I found when I was there.

If you get a chance to, see it. It is a great movie, with some wonderful performances, and the music will blow you away.

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11 out of 13 people found the following review useful:


Author: fcjh from New York, New York
11 January 2000

I first saw "Breaking Glass" in 1980, and thought that it would be one of the "Movie Classics". This film is a great look into the music industry with a great cast of performers. This is one film that should be in the collection of everyone and any one that wants to get into the music industry. I can't wait for it to be available on DVD.

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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Early musical influence of mine

Author: Nikolai Braswell (nikolai082700) from United States
30 September 2006

It's almost impossible for me to be objective about this film. I first saw it in 1981 as a 12 year old drummer with stars in my eyes. I immediately begged my dad to get me the soundtrack on vinyl and was off memorizing the entire album. It is, by far, one of my favorite movies of all time. The story is decent, the acting is good, and the music is absolutely in tune with the period. The depiction of the music industry with it's main players often exploiting every new trend, sound and artist until it and they are completely exhausted is spot-on. What truly makes this film is the music. Each track is a perfect reflection of Kate's (Hazel O'Connor) journey and is pretty darn catchy to boot. (You'll be humming "Big Brother" for days.) I highly recommend this film, as have others in the forum, for anyone aspiring to be a musician for a living. It is a brilliant parable of having and maintaining control of your art and destiny.

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7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

A timely warning ....

Author: welshNick from United Kingdom
10 September 2005

Breaking Glass is a film that everyone aspiring to be in the music industry should see more than once. It is a very dark tale about the way a record company manipulates a singer to do things their way and to make as much money out of her as possible. Looking at some of today's 'search for a star' style TV shows on both in the UK and abroad I am always reminded of this film. Though not an expert on the subject, the winners of these shows tend to have one very big initial hit and then its downhill from there. This film predates these shows though the effect seems the same. After getting rid of her manager, played quite brilliantly by Phil Daniels, slowly but surely the record company changes her lyrics puts her on stimulants and she is eventually totally burnt out. You potential stars of tomorrow.... WATCH THIS AND BEWARE !!!

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Under Seen Underrated Amazing

Author: elliott78212 from United States
8 June 2012

I haven't seen this movie in a few years catching it once on late night TV here in the states but I actually saw it multiple times in theaters here and later on HBO its awesome. Hazel O'Connor is amazing her voice, her acting are spot on, the lyrics to every song have great meaning from the radical anti racist Blackman, to the Anti Machine 8th day which looking back was way ahead of its time, to the incredibly touching torch song Will You. Every aspect of this production was a statement on the 80's, the Corporate Music Industry, and most of all our materialism and racism it was so much more than it appears on the service it is for me the Quintessential movie of the 80's. Fueled by good direction, a wonderfully competent supporting cast and powerful music a must see.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Great time capsule

Author: sigmus61 from SLO, CA
7 May 2012

Here it is, 2012, and I just watched Breaking Glass, though I actually recognize a couple of the songs (possible I was listening to the movie at another time in my life).

This movie, cheesy and spunky and rough around the edges, but what a fun time I had watching it. The music transported me back to when I was fresh out of high school, in the Navy, going to clubs in NY, Chicago, Orlando and Seattle with my buds and listening to this style of music everywhere. How I love the punk and post-punk era. Some of the best music was came from the UK during this time.

The movie was the perfect anecdote for artistic exploitation amidst unrest, racism and rampant abuse by authorities. I loved the emotion and terror of the scene with the rioting skinheads and Kate singing Blackman.

Still the best scenes were reserved for the performances (dubbed, but who cares). I was overwhelmed by the performance of Eigth Day. Superb in every way.

I just can't believe it took me this long to see it!

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6 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

Post-Punk Hangover after the Winter of Discontent.

Author: JmesBond from England
9 September 1999

Very much a political commentary on the disenfranchisement of youth and accurately summing up the feelings of the under 20s at that time, if not the reality.

The film was made just after the nation had suffered 'The Winter of Discontent' the final humiliation of the disastrous socialist government that had destroyed the aspirations and job prospects of a generation. This also led to the famous election of the far-right Thatcher government at the same time, but, they had not been in office for long enough to affect the approach of the film.

I saw the film at the time it was first shown, and being a punk and having a father that was a trade union leader at the time, much of what was portrayed in the film was familiar to me.

Although the film was very much trying to be a 'grim Northern realism' film for the 80s (and set in the south at that!), it was pure fantasy - things were never that bad, and it's easy to get depressed about situations that are portrayed as every-day occurrences that either never happened or were rare. The scenes of race riots are particularly overstated.

The music of the film, however, is it's strongest area. It is absolutely of its time, and completely representative. It is so classic that "In the beginning..." was being played in a country pub that I was in only last week (9/99) nearly 20 years later. What followed was 'New Wave' with 'Duran Duran' and others - what a disaster!

Given the slow degradation of the main character over the duration of the film, it is interesting to see what happened the the actress who played her (Hazel O'Connor) in real life. Life imitating art?

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3 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

Fantastic Film

Author: Ron Scott ( from United Kingdom
6 January 2007

One of my best films ever, maybe because i was well into the punk scene in the late 70s and went to many of hazels concerts, but the film was a good story line and very good acting by hazel and a up and coming Phil Daniels not sure about his latest project Eastenders !! excellent performance by lots of unknown actors who if you keep your eyes peeled will see them in many of the UK soaps today exp: Carver out of the Bill, the more i watch it the more of them i spot, well if you have not seen it yet have a night in with the video, don't forget to dig out the safety pin for your nose and heavy black eye makeup and shave your head Mochanian style....Enjoy

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