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The Falls (1980)

 -  Drama | Sci-Fi  -  1980 (UK)
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 910 users  
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The planet has been affected by a mysterious occurrence known as the Violent Unknown Event, or V.U.E. It has caused immortality and disability. Victims have learned new and peculiar ... See full summary »



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Title: The Falls (1980)

The Falls (1980) on IMDb 7.5/10

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Westley
Aad Wirtz
Michael Murray
Lorna Poulter
Patricia Carr
Adam Leys ...
Mary Howard
Sheila Canfield ...
Evelyn Owen
Hilary Thompson ...
Carole Meyer
Monica Hyde
Colleen Thomas
Neil Hopkins
Dewi Thomas


The planet has been affected by a mysterious occurrence known as the Violent Unknown Event, or V.U.E. It has caused immortality and disability. Victims have learned new and peculiar languages. Some firmly believe in the responsibility of birds. In this three-hour film, ninety-two biographies are presented of victims whose surnames begin with the letters F A L L. Presented in the mock documentary style of 'Water Wrackets' and 'Dear Phone', this is the culmination of the first period of Greenaway's work. It refers to shorts such as 'A Walk Through H' and 'Vertical Features Remake', and forwards to the likes of 'Drowning by Numbers' (there is reference to the three generations of Cissie Colpitts). Michael Nyman's sound-track is memorable; he later remade the 'Bird List Song' (which features in a variety of forms), as 'Hands 2 Take' with arty British band the Flying Lizards (best known for their minimal version of 'Money (that's what I want)'. Written by D.Giddings <>

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Drama | Sci-Fi


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Release Date:

1980 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

The Falls  »

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Did You Know?


The recurrences of the number 92 throughout the film (the number of VUE victims, the number of artificial languages, etc.) was partly intended as a homage to composer 'Cage, John''s "Indeterminacy," which Greenaway believed contained 92 stories. Cage later informed the director that there were only 90 sections and was much amused by Greenaway's error. See more »


References The Raven (1963) See more »

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User Reviews

Sterne meets Python meets PBS
7 January 2003 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

"The Falls" is an extraordinary piece of work. Nothing else comes close. The biographies of 92 victims of the "VUE" ("Violent Unexplained Event") whose surnames begin with the letters f-a-l-l, Greenaway's film is a mixture of the encyclopedic, the sinister, the silly and the plain mad. At 3h30, mad as Monty Python and as rambling as Laurence Sterne, shot and narrated in public television documentary-style, "The Falls" is designed to be exhaustive and wear you out; Greenaway himself has on occasion stated that nothing forces you to sit through, and that the film might actually work better if you just dip into it at random - "browse" was the word he used.

When I saw it, there were only myself and two other friends still in the cinema by the time the lights came up. All three of us were absolutely delighted, exhilarated in the manner of kids coming back from the Science Museum. Words like "mesmeric", "entrancing" and "fascinating" were used to discuss it afterwards, as well as "plain daft" (meant as a compliment, of course.)

Not sure if you'll enjoy "The Falls." It depends on what you want from your filmed entertainment, I guess. If you don't really think cinema should do anything other than tell stories that are easy on the brain, don't bother. If you love lists, however, and think intellectual challenge is entertaining, on the other hand, you're in for a treat.

One final note - whoever thought of recommending "Titanic" to fans of "The Falls" is obviously on some really heavy drug I've never heard about. What is it, and what other side effects does it have?

19 of 26 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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