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Brassed Off (1996)

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

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Stephen Tompkinson ...
...
...
Jim
Peter Martin ...
Ernie
...
Vera
...
Ida
...
Lill Roughley ...
Rita
...
Simmo
Stephen Moore ...
McKenzie
...
Greasley (as Ken Colley)
Olga Grahame ...
Mrs. Foggan
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Storyline

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 (91) »

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

23 May 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Brassed Off!  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

£1,674,359 (UK) (15 November 1996)

Gross:

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

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was set during a period in the early 1990s when the miners put up very little resistance to a wave of pit closures, in contrast to the year-long strike undertaken in 1984-85. This demoralization of the militant miners was the basis behind the idea of being "brassed off". See more »

Quotes

Halifax Judge: [Ernie takes the trophy anyway] Hang on, he refused it!
Ernie: Don't talk so damn soft.
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Crazy Credits

Person With Most Credits - Trevor Jones See more »

Connections

Referenced in That Mitchell and Webb Look: Episode #2.3 (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

Clog Dance
Composed by John Marcangelo (as Marcangelo)
Published by Aviation 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.


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