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Once Upon a Time in the Midlands (2002)

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After seeing his ex-girlfriend (Henderson) turn down a nationally televised marriage proposal, a small-time crook (Carlyle) returns to his hometown to try and win back her heart.


1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Vanessa Feltz ...
Vicki Patterson ...
Audience Guest
Finn Atkins ...
Kelly Thresher ...
Ryan Bruce ...
Anthony Strachan ...
Jumbo (as Antony Strachan)
David McKay ...
Dougy (as David Mckay)


Originally from the Midlands, Jimmy is currently living in Glasgow eking out a living as a hapless petty crook. One day, he sees his old family and friends - including his older foster sister Carol, her boyfriend/his old buddy Charlie, Jimmy's ex-wife and Carol's best friend Shirley, and Jimmy's pre-teen daughter Marlene - on a television talk show, they baring their souls to a national audience. He has not seen any of them in years. Of note on the show, Shirley rejects the marriage proposal of her slightly awkward live-in boyfriend Dek. Jimmy sees her answer to Dek as a reason to head back to the Midlands to reunite with his past, especially with Shirley and Marlene. Dek, already humiliated, is less than thrilled to see Jimmy back in their lives. In the ensuing duel between Jimmy and Dek for Shirley and Marlene's affections, others get caught up in the crossfire. Meanwhile, three of Jimmy's equally hapless crook friends from Glasgow come looking for him, Jimmy who left them high and ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


A tinned spaghetti western


Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

6 September 2002 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Bilo jednom na srednjem zapadu  »

Box Office


£1,950,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£129,920 (UK) (6 September 2002)


$171,830 (USA) (12 December 2003)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


When Dek (Rhys Ifans) finds out that Jimmy (Robert Carlyle), is back in town, he proclaims to Carol: "He's only your foster brother! He could have Hannibal Lecter's DNA for all we know! Rhys Ifans went on to portray Grutas, Hannibal Lecter's nemesis, in Hannibal Rising (2007). See more »


Charlie: My wife and I had an argument over whether or not I should have a vasectomy so we said we'd let the kids decide. I lost 13 - 12.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Special thanks to ... the People of Carlton and Gedling, Nottingham ... See more »


References Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) See more »


Feels Like I'm in Love
Written by Ray Dorset
Published by Sony/ATV Music Publishing Ltd/Associated Music International Ltd.
Performed by Kelly Marie
Courtesy of Eliot M. Cohen of Satellite Music Ltd.
See more »

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User Reviews

Engaging and funny but short on surprises.
21 September 2002 | by (London, England) – See all my reviews

Brilliantly observed comic scenes of working class domestic life, reminiscent of Caroline Aherne's superb 'Royle Family' sitcom, provide the backdrop for an engaging comedy-drama. All the main actors turn in typically excellent, albeit unsurprising performances: Robert Carlyle does a variation on his Scottish psycho-crim (see 'Trainspotting'), Ricky Tomlinson plays another genial but feckless Scouser (see 'The Royle Family') and Kathy Burke does her no-nonsense council-house Cockney routine (see Kathy Burke). By far the best of the ensemble is Rhys Ifans as Dek. Dek is the most rounded of the comic characters, all of whom are neatly sketched out, not just by dialogue, but by carefully chosen background details. Look out for the hub caps and model car collection in Dek's house and the cases of 'Pot Noodle' in Charlie's loo (which also serves as his office). Assured direction, a well-paced script and some very funny jokes make for a satisfying if somewhat predictable watch.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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