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A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square (1979)

| Comedy, Crime | 1979 (UK)
Pinky is released from prison and has decided to go straight from now on, but accidentally getting himself a job as a maintenance man at a large bank, gives him a lot of undue attention ... See full summary »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
... Pinky
Oliver Tobias ... Foxy
... Ivan
... Miss Pelham
... Ma
... Inspector Watford
Michael Angelis ... Pealer Bell
... Charlie the Chubb
Brian Croucher ... Gregory Peck
Derek Deadman ... Nobby Flowers
James Galloway ... Aussie
Charlie Hawkins ... Clint
Anthony Heaton ... Legs Eleven
Davy Kaye ... Sid the Yid
Brian Protheroe ... Stan the Spinner


Pinky is released from prison and has decided to go straight from now on, but accidentally getting himself a job as a maintenance man at a large bank, gives him a lot of undue attention from Ivan the Terrible, the local hoodlum. By using Pinky, Ivan hopes to rob the bank, and Pinky starts to liken to the idea of going back to his old ways. Written by Graeme Huggan <hia95gh@sheffield.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Based on one of the biggest robberies in London


Comedy | Crime


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Release Date:

1979 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

The Big Scam  »

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Technical Specs


| (original)

Sound Mix:


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Did You Know?


Final film of Director Ralph Thomas. See more »


In an early panning shot, we see an Arab passenger get out of a 1976 Cadillac Seville sedan outside the A&P Bank. These cars were never available as RHD, so a front-seat passenger, dressed as chauffeur, gets out and opens the O/S door. This is a farcical set-up, as he should have exited the front N/S (LH) door, and opened the rear N/S door for his passenger, avoiding the risk of following traffic-absurd!.. See more »

Crazy Credits



Referenced in Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession (2004) See more »


A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square
Music by Manning Sherwin
Lyrics by Eric Maschwitz
See more »

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User Reviews

Great fun!
12 April 2005 | by See all my reviews

Delightful! It never pretends to be a masterpiece, but it's a mini-gem of late-Seventies British comedy. Given that the producers wanted to sell it abroad, it stars an American (the late character actor Richard Jordan), but at least he isn't the usual dull Hollywood hunk type. Surrounding him is the cream of British character acting talent, led by a wonderfully waspish and superior David Niven.

Niven's Ivan the Terrible naturally gets the best one liners and all the best reaction shots. He also manages to be surprisingly menacing and intimidatingly dangerous. The moment in the snooker club when he drops the charming facade and threatens Richard Jordan will come as a shock to those viewers who think of Niven as being only a light drawing-room comedy star. He is filled with genuine power and ruthlessness as we see all at once how Ivan earned his nickname. All the more surprising given how ill Niven was at the time. Shortly after filming this production he lost his powers of speech to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (known as Lou Gehrig's disease). This is the last picture Niven made where you can hear his own voice, being dubbed thereafter by the comic impressionist Sid Little.

Alongside him you can spot numerous familiar faces from Seventies cinema and television. Elke Sommer (flashing her breasts in true Seventies era politically incorrect bimbo mode), Oliver Tobias, Michael Angelis, Brian Croucher, Richard Johnson, John Rhys-Davies, Davy Kaye etc, etc. Davy Kaye gets one of the biggest laughs as he holds up a security guard caught making a phone call to the old UK analogue vinyl telephone music service Dial-A-Disc. "Who you ringing?!....Bloody Dial-A-Disc! You gormless git!"

Great shots of London street locations; making the film a period patina time capsule of red phone boxes with chunky round-dial manual handsets, black cabs driven by "Cor blimey, gov!" cockneys, and ladies and gents modelling all manner of deeply dodgy late-Seventies retro leisure-wear and hair styles.

Highly entertaining, quaintly dated in its fashions and attitudes, and the stuff of late night cult viewing. Perfect to watch at midnight after the pubs have shut; if you're of a certain age, are feeling a touch nostalgic; and have always wanted to see David Niven swanning about inside a branch of McDonalds, silently intimidating an American via the deployment of a retractable telescope!

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