IMDb > Once Upon a Time in the Midlands (2002)
Once Upon a Time in the Midlands
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Once Upon a Time in the Midlands (2002) More at IMDbPro »

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Once Upon a Time in the Midlands -- 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.


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Paul Fraser (written by) and
Shane Meadows (written by)
View company contact information for Once Upon a Time in the Midlands on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
6 September 2002 (Ireland) See more »
A tinned spaghetti western
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. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
An entertaining enough blending of western-iconography and social realist melodrama See more (38 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Robert Carlyle ... Jimmy
Vanessa Feltz ... Vanessa

Ricky Tomlinson ... Charlie

Kathy Burke ... Carol
Vicki Patterson ... Audience Guest

Shirley Henderson ... Shirley
Finn Atkins ... Marlene
Kelly Thresher ... Donna

Rhys Ifans ... Dek
Andrew Shim ... Donut
Ryan Bruce ... Emerson

Eliot Otis Brown Walters ... Lake
Anthony Strachan ... Jumbo (as Antony Strachan)
David McKay ... Dougy (as David Mckay)

James Cosmo ... Billy
Vic Reeves ... Plonko the Clown
Bob Mortimer ... Kung-Fu Clown
Richard Garfoot ... Wrestling Clown
Justin Brady ... Eugene

Tony Nyland ... Big Al
Anthony Clarke ... YTS Dave
Ladene Hall ... Bingo Woman

Shane Meadows ... Bingo Caller
Paul Fraser ... Bingo Checker
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Laura Mansfield

Directed by
Shane Meadows 
Writing credits
Paul Fraser (written by) and
Shane Meadows (written by)

Produced by
Andrea Calderwood .... producer
Claire Hunt .... line producer
Hanno Huth .... executive producer
Louise Knight .... co-producer
Paul Trijbits .... executive producer
Paul Webster .... executive producer
James Wilson .... co-producer
Original Music by
John Lunn 
Cinematography by
Brian Tufano (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Peter Beston 
Trevor Waite 
Casting by
Julia Duff 
Production Design by
Crispian Sallis 
Art Direction by
Anthea Nelson 
Costume Design by
Robin Fraser-Paye  (as Robin Fraser Paye)
Makeup Department
Sharon Martin .... hair stylist
Sharon Martin .... makeup artist
Pebbles .... chief hair stylist
Pebbles .... chief makeup artist
Production Management
Peter McAleese .... executive in charge of production: FilmFour (as Peter Mcaleese)
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Ed Evennett .... third assistant director (as Edward Evennett)
Cherry Gould .... first assistant director
Toni Staples .... second assistant director
Olivia Lloyd .... second assistant director: additional photography (uncredited)
Art Department
James Conway .... carpenter
Paul Duff .... stand-by carpenter
Michael J. Eley .... construction manager
Andy Harris .... property master
Shula Harris .... art department assistant
Malcolm Keen .... stand-by painter (as Malcolm Keane)
Brian Lofthouse .... stand-by props
Mark McNeil .... dressing props (as Mark Mcneil)
Neil McVey .... dressing props (as Neil Mcvey)
Jeff Nolan .... carpenter
Tony Rycyk .... dressing props
Robert Smiley .... painter
Lucinda Sturgis .... production buyer
Nigel Turnbull .... painter
Steve Westley .... dressing props
Rhona Wilson .... assistant production buyer
Nik Hull .... props (uncredited)
Nik Hull .... stunt props (uncredited)
Sound Department
Bob Baker .... foley mixer
Michael A. Carter .... adr recordist (as Mike Carter)
Tony Cook .... boom operator
Paul Crichton .... adr recordist
Paul Hamblin .... sound re-recording mixer
Steve Haynes .... adr recordist
Stuart Hilliker .... assistant re-recording mixer
Catherine Hodgson .... supervising sound editor
Dave Humphries .... adr recordist
Gayle Learmonth .... sound assistant
Colin Nicolson .... sound recordist
Jason Swanscott .... foley artist
Rowena Wilkinson .... foley artist
Hilary Wyatt .... dialogue editor
James Seddon .... dolby consultant (uncredited)
Ruth Jenkins .... stunt double: Marlene
Vincent Keane .... stunt coordinator
Derek Lea .... stunt double: Dek
Tony Lucken .... stunt double: Dek
Wayne Ridal .... driving double
Nik Hull .... stunt rigger (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Stuart Barell .... second focus puller (as Stuart Barrell)
John Crawley .... studio lighting supervisor
Adrian Daley .... studio camera operator
Les Falla .... studio vision engineer
Françoise Higson .... clapper loader (as Francoise Higson)
Jo Irvine .... assistant camera
Adrian McCarthy .... camera grip (as Adrian Mccarthy)
Liam McGill .... gaffer (as Liam Mcgill)
Brian Mcgivern .... generator operator
Jem Morton .... additional grip
Gary Nolan .... electrician
Jennie Paddon .... clapper loader: second camera
Clive Pittman .... focus puller
Niki Roberton .... camera trainee (as Nikki Robertson)
Dean Rogers .... still photographer
Bob Shipsey .... additional photographer
Bob Shipsey .... second camera operator (as Robert Shipsey)
Ray Smithson .... studio electrician
Steve Symes .... studio camera operator
Martyn Welland .... electrician
David Weller .... stand-by rigger (as Dave Weller)
Iwan Williams .... best boy
Casting Department
Craig Stokes .... casting assistant
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Sophie Doncaster .... wardrobe supervisor
Ruth Kirton .... wardrobe assistant
Editorial Department
Stephen Barker .... post-production consultant
Martin Corbett .... first assistant editor
Matthew Derry .... video to film editorial: Computer Film Company
Julie Foster .... first assistant editor
John Heath .... color grader
Samantha Hollingdale .... telecine colorist (as Sam Hollingdale)
Tamsin Jeffrey .... conforming assistant editor
Katya Jezzard .... conforming assistant editor
Julian May .... second assistant editor
Gina Tornatore .... third assistant editor
Music Department
John Barclay .... musician: trumpet, London Metropolitan Orchestra
Mark Feltham .... musician: harmonica, London Metropolitan Orchestra
Liz Gallacher .... music supervisor
Paul Golding .... music mixer
Gary Kettel .... musician: percussion, London Metropolitan Orchestra
John Lunn .... conductor: London Metropolitan Orchestra and London Chamber Choir
Frank Ricotti .... musician: percussion, London Metropolitan Orchestra
Ian Thomas .... musician: percussion, London Metropolitan Orchestra
Jim Williams .... musician: guitars, London Metropolitan Orchestra
Transportation Department
Justin D. Clements .... facility driver (as Justin Clements)
Bob Gurney .... facility driver
Phil Hunt .... facility driver
Huw Jones .... rushes driver
Gary Mabley .... facility driver
Arthur Meadows .... unit driver
John Oxborough .... unit driver
Darren Saunders .... stand-by construction driver
Mark Simpson .... facility driver
Gary Sutch .... driver: camera truck
Stuart Whittaker .... unit driver
Derek McPhail .... unit driver (uncredited)
Other crew
Asim Aziz .... production runner
Kim Ballard .... production finance: FilmFour
Claire Berrie .... assistant: Robert Carlyle
Peter Carlton .... head of production: EMMI
James Clayton .... legal service: Olswang
Gillian Constable .... chaperone
Matt Curtis .... titles and captions design: AP
Luke Drummond .... video to film compositor: Computer Film Company
Emma Fowler .... production coordinator
Lola Gamester .... assistant to producers: Slate Films
Tarn Harper .... post-production accountant
Andrew Hildebrand .... business affairs: FilmFour
Steve Joberns .... auditor: AGN Shipleys
Rob Jones .... location manager
Sarah Louise Kay .... production accountant
Richard Knight .... assistant location manager
Sarah MacFarlane .... floor runner (as Sarah Macfarlane)
Peter Matthews .... laboratory liaison
David Mellor .... supervising accountant
Hugo Mellor .... production cashier
Anna Melly .... video to film transfer, Computer Film Company
Liz Miller .... unit publicist: Mcdonald & Rutter
Charles Moore .... legal service: Olswang
Joanna Nodwell .... head of video to film: Computer Film Company
Mick O'Reilly .... location assistant
John O'Sullivan .... insurance: Media Insurance Brokers
Vicki Patterson .... development executive: Slate Films
Andy Powell .... health and safety advisor
John Ross .... location assistant
Kate Rudge .... production runner
Yvonne Shorten .... tutor
Pamela Smart .... tutor
Geraldine Swayne .... video to film compositor: Computer Film Company
Steve Tizzard .... video to film compositor: Computer Film Company
Helen Tulley .... business affairs: FilmFour
Alex Usborne .... production executive: Film Counsil's New Cinema Fund
Angela Wharton .... script supervisor (as Angela Noakes Wharton)
Billy Wiz .... assistant coordinator
Allen Foster .... special thanks: Gedling Garage
Rachel Iyer .... special thanks
Susie Liggat .... special thanks
Freda Nightingale .... special thanks: Gedling Garage
Luke Randolph .... special thanks
Duncan Reid .... special thanks
Winifred Shore .... special thanks: Gedling Garage
Ian Smith .... special thanks: Carlton Junior Television Workshop
Steve Taylor .... special thanks: Gedling Garage
Giuliano Volpe .... special thanks: Gedling Garage
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
Rated R for language
104 min
Aspect Ratio:
2.35 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:

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 »
Dek:[a car is nicknamed "Baby"] I've killed Baby.See more »
Movie Connections:
References The Right Stuff (1983)See more »
Lady RoseSee more »


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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful.
An entertaining enough blending of western-iconography and social realist melodrama, 4 May 2008
Author: Graham Greene from United Kingdom

If the interviews and commentary-track on the Dead Man's Shoes DVD are anything to go by, even Meadows himself considers this film to be something of a failure; even going so far as to take up semi-retirement until Paddy Considine could talk him into making another film. As a result of Meadows' personal opinion, coupled with the critical notices at the time, I'd avoided the film under the allusion that it was an absolute cinematic disaster; a Brit-flick turkey completely devoid of merit!! As it happens, however, the film isn't all that bad, or at least, not as bad as I'd been led to believe by the director and the critics.

The story is simple, with Meadows and co-writer Paul Fraser playfully attempting juxtapose the conventions of the spaghetti western genre with the more traditional style of British storytelling favoured by the likes of Ken Loach and Mike Leigh. So, we have the usual western flourishes - the lone desperado riding into town, the fight between the two protagonists over the hand of a fair maiden and the big mid-narrative showdown at the local saloon - appearing alongside the more obvious British concerns like family-ties, shell-suits, day-time talk shows and bingo. The combination of the two forms isn't entirely successful, and it seems that the filmmakers aren't quite committed to the concept 100%, with certain parts of the film simply descending into the style of film-making usually reserved for an ITV social drama. The use of the widescreen "cinema-scope" photography works well, with Meadows lovingly referencing the films of Sergio Leone, most prominently in the scene in which Robert Carlisle's character Jimmy has an altercation with the bumbling Dek - brilliantly played by Rhys Ifans - at the auto-garage where he works. As well as that particular scene, there's also the big climactic face-off between the two characters, which is also perfectly handled by Meadows and his crew; with the director making great use of the frame and plenty of low-angles, whilst a crane shot rising above the houses as one of the characters drives off into the sunset is also a particularly nice touch (though it's a shame Meadows didn't go for close-up shots of the character's eyes, ala A Fistful of Dollars, but perhaps that would have been a little too much?).

Comic relief comes courtesy of Ricky Tomlinson and Kathy Burke in supporting roles, with both actors doing their usual trademark shtick to great effect (a scene in which Burke's character accidentally gets hit on the head with a projectile microphone is bound to generate more laughs that you'd probably expect!!). Carlisle and Shirley Henderson are both good in their pivotal roles, though for me it's Ifans who really impresses; managing to make his character likable and believable as he progresses through the film from meek-doormat into someone who is willing to fight for the family he loves. This is the second film I've seen, following Enduring Love in which Ifans hasn't seemed like a complete caricature (sort of like he did in Notting Hill and Human Nature), with both films showing his capacity to switch from sly humour to emotional drama within a single scene and furthering his metamorphosis into one of the UK's greatest actors.

Once Upon A Time... is by no means as impressive or inspiring as other films by Meadows, in particular A Room for Romeo Brass and Dead Man's Shoes, but it's enjoyable enough and charming in its own way, with Meadows and Fraser balancing an interesting story with an imaginative concept and a handful of strong performances.

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