134 user 85 critic

The Long Good Friday (1980)

An up-and-coming gangster is tested by the insurgence of an unknown, very powerful threat.




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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »


Cast overview, first billed only:
Leo Dolan ...
Irish Youth
Patti Love ...
Derek Thompson ...
Bryan Marshall ...
Ruby Head ...
Harold's Mother
Charles Cork ...
Olivier Pierre ...
1st Irishman
2nd Irishman
Dave King ...


Harold, a prosperous English gangster, is about to close a lucrative new deal when bombs start showing up in very inconvenient places. A mysterious syndicate is trying to muscle in on his action, and Harold wants to know who they are. He finds out soon enough, and bloody mayhem ensues. Written by Marty Cassady <martyc@bev.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


What should have been the greatest day of Harold's life suddenly becomes the longest. See more »


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

2 April 1982 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Crni petak za gangstere  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Barrie Keeffe's first draft of the script was written in just three days, with the final version including contributions from Bob Hoskins, John MacKenzie, and Producer Barry Hanson. Living in a Greenwich flat at the time, Keeffe could see the derelict Docklands from his window, and his ideas entwined following a chance meeting with an Irish Republican in a pub. Gangsters against terrorism soon became a going concern. See more »


The last shot of the swimming pool being drained is actually water coming in, but shown in reverse. See more »


[first lines]
Colin: Two large Bushmills, please, darlin'.
See more »


Featured in The EE British Academy Film Awards (2014) See more »

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User Reviews

1970's Gangsters - London style.
25 January 2011 | by See all my reviews

This film opens with several disjointed scenes that leaves the viewer a little breathless and confused: A chauffeur murdered in his car, two men counting cash in a suitcase who are subsequently murdered, a man being knifed in a swimming club and a car bomb exploding outside of a church. We are able to catch up as the story slowly reveals itself but this one does require some viewer participation. While a very intelligent and well scripted film, the action is intense, the body count high and the violence more graphic than is usual for a British film of its era.

The central character in this crime drama is Harold Shand, a highly successful East End gangster who has just returned to London after a business trip to the U.S. Upon his return he finds his mob under attack, several of his employees killed and his organization the target of an unknown foe. Meanwhile he's trying to put together a semi-legit real estate deal, with American Mafia participation. Harold has to keep his American friends from getting nervous with an all out war going on and get to the bottom of whatever has gone wrong while he was away.

Harold is aided in all of this by the classiest moll ever: Victoria. She's beautiful, educated, well-mannered and high class (she brags that she went to school with Princess Anne). Her cool as ice exterior is quit the contrast to the crude thug, Harold, who fancies himself a businessman and hobnobs with politicians and legitimate entrepreneurs but is really only a tough Cockney hood (or 'ood as they say). Victoria tries to handle the Americans while Harold and his mob round up the usual suspects in an attempt to find out where the heat is coming from. Harold is at once a ruthless brute and a lovable and vulnerable little man and by the end of the movie it's easy to find yourself falling for him. He actually has real affection for his crew and treats them as family. This may leave him exposed as, like most movie gangsters, his arrogance and belief in his own invincibility are what will bring him down.

Bob Hoskins, in his first starring role, plays Harold in a performance that conjures up images of other little big men of the silver screen like Edward G. Robinson or James Cagney in some of their great gangster roles. While not as well known as his award winning role in the under appreciated "Mona Lisa", it is the one that put Hoskins on the map. Victoria is played by Helen Mirren and it's hard to take your eye off of her in all of her scenes. Helen was a very good looking girl in her day and was already an established star (having survived her role in "Caligula"). Eddie Constantine, Europe's favorite American, plays the American mafioso and a young Pierce Brosnan, in his first movie, plays an IRA killer.

The plot is a bit complex with a lot of characters to keep track of and the almost incomprehensible Cockney accents and slang are hard to follow (subtitles are helpful for non-Brits). But the story moves along smartly, the direction is very good and the lighting and photography excellent. This film is well done from its start to its memorable conclusion and is highly recommended.

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