A juvenile offender (Sir Tom Courtenay) at a tough reform school impresses its Governor (Sir Michael Redgrave) with his running ability and is encouraged to compete in an upcoming race, but faces ridicule from his peers.
Despite success on the field, a rising rugby star senses the emerging emptiness of his life as his inner angst begins to materialize through aggression and brutality, so he attempts to woo his landlady in hopes of finding reason to live.
Arthur, one of Britain's angry young men of the 1960s, is a hardworking factory worker who slaves all week at his mindless job for his modest wages. Come Saturday night, he's off to the pub for a loud and rowdy beer session. With him is Brenda, his girlfriend of the moment. Married to a fellow worker, she is nonetheless captivated by his rugged good looks and his devil-may-care attitude. Soon a new love interest Doreen enters and a week later, Brenda announces she's pregnant. She tells Arthur she needs money for an abortion, and Arthur promises to pay for it. By this time, his relationship with Doreen has ripened and Brenda, hearing of it, confronts him. He denies everything, but it's obvious that their affair is all but over.Written by
"Don't let the b******s grind you down!" The words which Arthur, the protagonist of Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, lives by. It is a powerful voice-over narration by Albert Finney which begins the film and introduces who his character is. The only problem is, he does not explain that this life motto - at least for him - means constant lying and a lack of consideration for women.
We know from the get-go that Arthur is all about rebellion, specifically against his elders and their sense of tradition and manners; this is why he lacks any. He is also not the brightest star in the sky, letting his alcoholism (which he denies) get the best of him early on in the story.
Arthur dreams big though. There is a great scene when he is fishing with his cousin talking about a new girl in his life Doreen, when he states "never bite unless the bait's good." If this is another part of his philosophy on life, it is curious as to why he goes for the older, married woman Brenda early on in the film. Perhaps he is learning since his relationship with Brenda comes back to bite him later in the story.
With scenes of Arthur working at the factory, this becomes a commentary on the working class in England, but the commentary is slightly confusing. A young working man is susceptible to fall into a lifestyle including womanizing and living life to one's own terms, yet other characters who are nothing like him work with Arthur at the factory as well. In fact, Brenda's husband works at the same factory and from what we see of him he is a loving father and generally caring person. Perhaps, then, this film is a commentary on the young adult in England rather than the entire working class.
This is clearly a "rebellion" movie which gets its point across with some strong voice-over work by Albert Finney, and while the acting is great and Arthur is a well-developed, detestable person, at some points the audience can't help but ask "so what?"
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