IMDb > High Hopes (1988)
High Hopes
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High Hopes (1988) More at IMDbPro »

High Hopes -- Slice-of-life look at a sweet working-class couple in London, Shirley and Cyril, his mother, who's aging quickly and becoming forgetful.


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7.4/10   1,982 votes »
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Mike Leigh (writer)
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Release Date:
24 February 1989 (USA) See more »
Slice-of-life look at a sweet working-class couple in London, Shirley and Cyril, his mother, who's aging quickly and becoming forgetful... See more » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
5 wins & 2 nominations See more »
(44 articles)
Cannes Check 2014: Mike Leigh's 'Mr. Turner'
 (From Hitfix. 10 May 2014, 6:18 PM, PDT)

Mike Leigh: actors and Mr Kipling cakes
 (From The Guardian - Film News. 18 January 2014, 4:05 PM, PST)

Arts preview 2014: star turns
 (From The Guardian - TV News. 31 December 2013, 11:00 PM, PST)

User Reviews:
sad, hilarious cross-section of England in the 1980's See more (16 total) »


  (in credits order)

Philip Davis ... Cyril Bender

Ruth Sheen ... Shirley
Edna Doré ... Mrs. Bender

Philip Jackson ... Martin Burke
Heather Tobias ... Valerie Burke

Lesley Manville ... Laetitia Boothe-Braine

David Bamber ... Rupert Boothe-Braine

Jason Watkins ... Wayne
Judith Scott ... Suzi
Cheryl Prime ... Martin's Girl Friend
Diane-Louise Jordan ... Chemist Shop Assistant
Linda Beckett ... Receptionist
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Directed by
Mike Leigh 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Mike Leigh  writer

Produced by
Simon Channing Williams .... producer
Victor Glynn .... producer
Original Music by
Andrew Dickson 
Cinematography by
Roger Pratt 
Film Editing by
Jon Gregory 
Production Design by
Diana Charnley 
Art Direction by
Andrew Rothschild 
Costume Design by
Lindy Hemming 
Makeup Department
Morag Ross .... makeup artist
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Howard Arundel .... first assistant director
Dom Shaw .... assistant director
Art Department
Robin Heinson .... stand-by painter
Sound Department
Steve Hancock .... studio sound technician
André Jacquemin .... sound recordist
Peter Joly .... dubbing editor
Peter Maxwell .... sound re-recording mixer
Billy McCarthy .... sound recordist
George Richards .... boom operator
Camera and Electrical Department
Graham Martyr .... clapper loader
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Debbie Scott .... assistant costume designer
Other crew
John Paul Chapple .... production executive
Britt Harrison .... production co-ordinator

Production CompaniesDistributors
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Additional Details

Also Known As:
112 min | USA:110 min
Color (Eastmancolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

Did You Know?

Rupert Boothe-Braine:Now... what made this country great was a place for everyone, and everyone in his place. And this is my place.See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in Mike Leigh in Conversation (2008) (V)See more »
Cosi fan tutteSee more »


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4 out of 4 people found the following review useful.
sad, hilarious cross-section of England in the 1980's, 27 November 2010
Author: Michael Neumann from United States

Mike Leigh's bittersweet social satire dissected with devastating accuracy (and a sometimes heartbreaking sense of humor) the widening gap between the haves and have-nots in Margaret Thatcher's England, moving from transparent criticism to crass parody to, finally, a touching plea on behalf of the elderly. It's a gray little film, giddy and depressing all at once, although often as funny (and just as striking) as hearing fingernails scraped down a blackboard. Leigh's cross-section of British society rings true even at its most exaggerated, and his ear for language, whether mumbled Cockney slang or nasal upper-class snobbery, is pitch perfect.

The film is essentially a showcase for some wonderfully defined characters: marginalized counterculture Marxists Cyril and Shirley; Cyril's ultra-neurotic middle-class sister and her vulgar salesman husband; an infirm old mum; a pair of callous upscale neighbors; and an odd, occasional houseguest named Wayne. The plotting is furtive: nothing much happens over the course of the film, giving the cast plenty of room to stretch out in their roles. The characters and story lines were created by the entire cast through extensive pre-production rehearsals, but the finished film is remarkably cohesive, with acting so natural it could easily be mistaken for improvisation if it weren't so well written. The result is a film of rare and genuine emotion: it's either the gloomiest comedy ever made or a tragedy with no shortage of laughs.

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