IMDb > The Secret Policeman's Ball (1979) (TV)

The Secret Policeman's Ball (1979) (TV) More at IMDbPro »

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The Secret Policeman's Ball -- Trailer for the boxed set of these comedy concerts


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Billy Connolly (writer)
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Release Date:
June 1980 (UK) See more »
A series of benefit concerts to raise money for Amnesty International. Performances include comedy skits... See more » | Add synopsis »
User Reviews:
Uneven but funny... See more (5 total) »


Paul Abrahams ... Himself (Piano Player)

Rowan Atkinson ... Various Roles
Chris Beetles ... Beetles and Buckman
Mike Brearley ... Himself

Eleanor Bron ... Various Roles
Rob Buckman ... Beetles and Buckman
Ken Campbell ... Himself
Suzanne Church ... Herself

John Cleese ... Himself - Various Roles

Billy Connolly ... Himself

Peter Cook ... Various Roles
Anna Ford ... Herself
Clive James ... Himself
Clive Jenkins ... Himself

Sylvester McCoy ... Himself

Michael Palin ... Various Roles

David Rappaport ... Himself / Various Roles
Tom Robinson ... Himself
Marcel Steiner ... Himself

Pete Townshend ... Himself
John Williams ... Himself

Terry Jones ... Himself / Various Roles (uncredited)

Directed by
Roger Graef 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Billy Connolly  writer

Produced by
John Cleese .... producer (uncredited)
Cinematography by
Pascoe MacFarlaine 
Clive Tickner 
Ernest Vincze 
Camera and Electrical Department
Trevor Brooker .... camera assistant
Other crew
John Cleese .... stage director


Additional Details

Also Known As:
Portugal:94 min | UK:94 min (theatrical version) | UK:60 min (TV premiere)
Sound Mix:
Australia:PG | UK:AA (theatrical rating) | UK:15 (video rating)

Did You Know?

The film's opening credits declare that the stage production was slightly directed by John Cleese. When Cleese agreed to direct the show, he asked that his billing read "slightly directed by John Cleese".See more »
Schoolmaster:All right, quiet. Ainsley. Babcock. Bland. Carthorse. Dint. Ellsworth-Beast Major. Ellsworth-Beast Minor. Fiat. German. Havenut. Haemoglobin. Jones M. Jones N. Kosygin. Loudhailer. Mattock. Nancyboy-Potter. Nibble.
Schoolmaster:I have a detention book. Orifice. Plectrum. Poise. Sediment. Soda. Taah. Taah? Under-Manager. Wicket. Williams-Wicket. Williams-Witcherley. Witcherley-Wicket. Witcherley-Williams. And Witcherley-Williams. Wocket. Zob. Hmmm, absent. All right, your essays...
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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful.
Uneven but funny..., 5 December 2009
Author: planktonrules from Bradenton, Florida

This film is on the same disk as PLEASURE AT HER MAJESTY'S--and both are benefit performances by various British comics on behalf of Amnesty International. Unlike PLEASURE, however, THE SECRET POLICEMAN'S BALL has the addition of a few musical performances--which, in my opinion, detract from the comedy--though I am sure some will love seeing and hearing them. Like PLEASURE, this film is of rather grainy quality and does not have any captioning of any sort--a definite minus for non-Brits and those who are hard of hearing (and I was screwed because I fall in both categories). Seeing a restored and captioned version would be wonderful, but as far as I know is not possible--especially since this DVD is part of a set that was just released.

As far as the comedy goes, it's a mixed bag. Some of the skits (particularly the ones written by the Pythons) were great and I did enjoy some of Peter Cooke's bits as well. New to the show was Rowan Atkinson, and sadly, his bits were among the worst on the show. However, he was still quite young and the more recent Amnesty International performances have been fantastic. Plus, he was excellent in filling in for Eric Idle in "The Old Codger Skit"--the best thing in the show. Other great Python bits that were recycled include the Cheese Shop and a Python-like skit that opened the show with Cooke and Cleese. But, for every very good bit, there seemed to be a flat one. Perhaps some of this is because Americans like myself are less familiar with the other comics and I had less of an emotional investment in their acts. Part of this also was because some things just weren't funny or the dialog was so hard to follow (without captions) that it was futile--particularly the long and deliberately rapid Shakespeare bit (which, to me, was the worst thing in the show--very tedious indeed). Still, for fans of British comedy, this is an excellent little stroll down memory lane--and worth seeing despite my reservations. And, it's a great deal better than the first film--especially since this film concentrated solely on the performances and not the unnecessary backstage action.

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