Brassed Off (1996)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Romance  |  23 May 1997 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 15,460 users   Metascore: 60/100
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The coal mine in a northern English village may be closing, which would also mean the end of the miners' brass band.



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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 10 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Peter Martin ...
Lill Roughley ...
Peter Gunn ...
Stephen Moore ...
Kenneth Colley ...
Greasley (as Ken Colley)
Olga Grahame ...
Mrs. Foggan


In existence for a hundred years, Grimley Colliery Brass band is as old as the mine. But the miners are now deciding whether to fight to keep the pit open, and the future for town and band looks bleak. Although the arrival of flugelhorn player Gloria injects some life into the players, and bandleader Danny continues to exhort them to continue in the national competition, frictions and pressures are all too evident. And who's side is Gloria actually on? Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

band | hope | colliery | miner | brass band | See All (90) »


Fed up with the system. Ticked off at the establishment. And mad about... each other.


Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

23 May 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Brassed Off!  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

£1,674,359 (UK) (15 November 1996)


$2,560,471 (USA) (8 August 1997)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Nearly twice as many coal mines closed during the two premierships of Harold Wilson (1964-70, 1974-76) than during Margaret Thatcher's premiership. More than 290 coal mines closed under Wilson, compared to about 160 under Thatcher. See more »


Mother 2: This isn't your main job, is it?
Phil: I'm a miner.
Mother 2: [incredulously] A miner?
Phil: You remember them, love? Dinosaurs, dodos, miners.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The beginning of the closing credits is headed by the silouhette of a trumpet. See more »


Referenced in Long Way Round (2004) See more »


The Floral Dance
Written by Katie Moss (as K. Moss)
Published by Warner Chappell Music Limited
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User Reviews

underground musical offering
7 March 1999 | by (Sydney, Australia) – See all my reviews

"The best thing about being working class is getting out of it" said a notable Australian Labor politician (Neville Wran, premier of NSW 1976-1986). The coal miners in "Brassed Off" thought so too, but found redundancy not what it was cracked up to be. At the start, pits are closing all over Britain, but the Grimley colliery in South Yorkshire is still open and making a profit. After a hard day's dirty work down the mine there's nought like a session with the band to blow out the dust. Let by total obsessive bandleader Danny (Peter Postlewaithe) the boys play a surprising range - Rodrigo's "Aranjuez" (we call it "orange juice" says Danny), Rossini's "William Tell" overture and lots of Elgar and other English sentimental favourites - "Jerusalem," "Danny Boy," "Colonel Bogey" and "All Things Bright and Beautiful."

Though possible closure is on the horizon, things are fairly cozy until pretty young Gloria (Tara Fitzgerald) walks in with a vintage obbligato cornet and asks to join. She's a woman (shock, horror!) but granddaughter of a former member and after a demonstration of her musical prowess is allowed in. Brooding young Andy (Ewan McGregor, unforgettable in "Trainspotting") has kissed the young lady years previously and falls for her again.

The band have their problems, especially Phil (Stephen Tompkinson) son of Danny the leader. Phil has an unfortunate gambling habit that keeps him broke and his family on the financial edge. In the background the future of the mine is becoming bleaker.

In the meantime Danny, who is developing a very bad cough, decides the band can make the national championships at the Albert Hall, and despite bailiffs, mendacious mine management, feral hospital matrons and British weather they get there.

This film in many ways is an update of the fine, well crafted "Ealing" comedy of the 1950s, celebrating the triumph of ordinary people over adverse circumstances, officialdom and middle class pretentiousness, through their own determination and talent. For the 90s the comedy has a harder edge and the political element more overt. At the end we are reminded of the hundreds of pits closed and 250,000 jobs lost in Britain between 1984 (the year of the great miners' strike) and 1994. But surely the filmmakers are not arguing the miners should still be down below. Global warming alone means coal has had its day. The real crime was the failure to invest in alternative employment and to allow the destruction of the communities which had grown up around the mines. The British State, which owned the mines for 40 years after World War Two, proved a harsher master than the old private owners, especially when the Bad Baroness herself, Margaret Thatcher, decided to sell.

On the strength of their performance here, the (mythical) Grimley band could easily turn professional, like the similarly displaced workers in "The Full Monty." Unlike "The Full Monty" the "Brassed Off" crowd don't step outside their mind-set - they are still chained to their working class attitudes and the future looks like happening without them. They escape from the working class to the underclass, clutching a year's salary most of them will soon be parted from. The traditional happy ending of the Ealing comedy is here only symbolic. Still, the miners' spirit shines through and you can't help admiring their grit. And the music's nice.

13 of 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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