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Starter for 10 (2006)

PG-13  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Romance  |  9 March 2007 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.8/10 from 16,055 users   Metascore: 69/100
Reviews: 66 user | 70 critic | 25 from Metacritic.com

Set in 1985, working-class student Brian Jackson (McAvoy) navigates his first year at Bristol University.



(novel), (screenplay)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Joseph Friend ...
James Gaddas ...
Robert Cawsey ...
University Challenge Competitor
Rasmus Hardiker ...
University Challenge Competitor
Joe Van Moyland ...
Hippy at the Party


In 1985, against the backdrop of Thatcherism, Brian Jackson enrolls in the University of Bristol, a scholarship boy from seaside Essex with a love of knowledge for its own sake and a childhood spent watching "University Challenge," a college quiz show. At Bristol he tries out for the Challenge team and falls under the spell of Alice, a lovely blond with an extensive sexual past. He's smitten, and he carelessly manages to hurt the feelings of Rebecca Epstein, a friend whose politics and wit he admires. The Challenge finale is coming up; maybe Brian can redeem himself and still avoid being a prat. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sexual content, language and a scene of drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:




Release Date:

9 March 2007 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A nagy kvízválasztó  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

£207,345 (UK) (10 November 2006)


$210,128 (USA) (23 March 2007)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Some of the cast appeared in the revived series of "Doctor Who". James McAvoy was rumored to take over from David Tennant as the Eleventh Doctor. But, Matt Smith was cast. See more »


Lucy incorrectly gives the source of the quote "To err is human" as Alexander Pope's "An Essay on Man." The quote actually originates from Pope's earlier work, "An Essay on Criticism." See more »


Julie Jackson: The people that really care about you don't mind if you make mistakes.
See more »


Referenced in University Challenge: The Story So Far (2006) See more »


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User Reviews

Some young British up and comings in a pleasant film
22 December 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Starter for 10" is a 2006 British film set in 1985 about a working class young man, Brian Jackson (James McAvoy) who attends Bristol University on scholarship and is accepted on the team of "University Challenge," a televised college quiz show. He's crazy for a hot blonde on the team, Alice (Alice Eve). After a disastrous post-Christmas visit to her house when his penchant for movie quotes gets him in trouble, he spends New Year's Eve with another girl, the more grounded and politically active Rebecca Epstein (Rebecca Hall) -- but when he wishes her Happy New Year, he calls her Alice. He has a habit of blowing it, and the best is yet to come.

I actually sought out this film because I am a huge fan of Benedict Cumberbatch. Here, Cumberbatch plays the fastidious nerdy head of the College Quiz team (even though they keep losing), and he's hilarious. When he gets into a fight with one of Brian's friends from home, the guy punches him, and Cumberbatch's response is to start flapping his hands on him as if he's shaking out a dishtowel.

The acting in this film is very good, and it's interesting to see that all these young people have come up together. Cumberbatch and Eve are in the upcoming Star Trek; Rebecca Hall and Cumberbatch starred in the miniseries "Parade's End," and McAvoy, of course, has had a marvelous career, making a splash in films right around the time this film was released. The supporting cast is led by the wonderful Lindsay Duncan and Charles Dance as Alice's parents, and Catherine Tate as Brian's mother.

While "Starter for 10" is a little predictable, it has a nice quality about it and gives one a feel for university life, leaving home, meeting new people, and the adjustments that need to be made.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Any films in which the 'girly' girl wins, over a rival? new_akkount
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how did he cheat? pandorathwaite
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