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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 »


Ralph Thomas


Guy Elmes (original story), Guy Elmes (screenplay)

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Jordan ... Pinky
Oliver Tobias ... Foxy
David Niven ... Ivan
Elke Sommer ... Miss Pelham
Gloria Grahame ... Ma
Richard Johnson ... Inspector Watford
Michael Angelis Michael Angelis ... Pealer Bell
Dicken Ashworth ... Charlie the Chubb
Brian Croucher Brian Croucher ... Gregory Peck
Derek Deadman Derek Deadman ... Nobby Flowers
James Galloway James Galloway ... Aussie
Charlie Hawkins Charlie Hawkins ... Clint
Anthony Heaton Anthony Heaton ... Legs Eleven
Davy Kaye Davy Kaye ... Sid the Yid
Brian Protheroe 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) See more »

Also Known As:

The Big Scam See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


| (original)

Sound Mix:



See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Richard Johnson replaced George Baker. 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

A neat little film. Mainly to be noted as one of David Niven's last roles. And for featuring some interesting 'starter' roles by now well-known actors.
28 September 2016 | by SceneBySceneSee all my reviews

One of those lovely little films that would be more or less lost to the 21st-century viewer, were it not for the interest of certain Freeview TV channels, such as Talking Pictures, in broadcasting such gems.

Not a great film, it has to be said, but an opportunity to see the talented David Niven in what was sadly to be one of his last roles. Also catch the much-missed American actor Richard Jordan (whose portrayal of a terrifying killer in 1985's 'The Mean Season' has ever stayed in my memory) as the lead character. A charming - if not stretched - role for one of the leads of the film classic 'Logan's Run'.

There are a few crashing disappointments. The American actress of sultry 1940s/'50s film noir roles, Gloria Grahame, is criminally underused in the role of Richard Jordan's mother. And Elke Sommer's character ends up as nothing more than the role in which, unfortunately, she was always typecast: the token sexpot female. A waste of skills in both cases.

Re the musical score: there are a few inexplicable - & inappropriate to the scene - motifs in the incidental music that are redolent of a Benny Hill theme. Being a 'caper' movie does not also make it a farce! This badly judged feature might in fact have been more to with the film's director - Ralph Thomas - having had a film career that included directing a string of lightweight sex comedies such as two 'Carry On...' movies & the 'Doctor...' films. But in most scenes the score - by Stanley Myers, the composer of the entrancing 'Cavatina' theme tune from 'The Deer Hunter' - has moments of great perceptive interpretation of the storyline.

The film must also be noted for a few novitiate roles by now well-known actors: spot Alfred Molina in his second ever film role as a ferry port official; uncredited, too! And Duncan Preston (he of superb comedic roles in 'Dinnerladies' & 'Surgical Spirit') as a blink-and-you'll-miss-him policeman driver. Even John Rhys-Davies shows his future capacity to play a role with gravitas, in a small part as a solicitor.

Oliver Tobias takes a sizeable role, a charismatic man if ever there was one. And Joss Ackland has a cameo. The fact that Auckland's role as the prison warden is uncredited on the film's cast list surely must mean that he took the role for fun. What with David Niven's stature as an actor, especially as the 1st part of his superb & witty autobiography - "The Moon's a Balloon" - had recently hit the bestseller list, I should think several people got involved in the film just for a chance to act with the great man. In fact it would be nice to dream that lots of old film career friendships were consolidated in the making of this London-set film! The director Ralph Thomas had not made a film in five years when he made this 1979 movie; & it turned out to be the last film he made before retiring.

It is frankly preferable to gloss over the sad fact that this was to be the last film for too many of the actors. David Niven's quietly threatening & manipulative crime lord was one of his last film roles (and the last role he voiced himself after disease affected his voice). Plus this was the last film of Hugh Griffith. And Gloria Grahame only made a few more movies before passing away.

If you know London then the locations will be of interest to you. West London features heavily, as do central parts of the city. And I would even be so bold as to swear that I recognised the micro-house of Gloria Grahame's character, as the same split-level London house that was lived in by the character of Bodie (or was it Doyle?!) in TV's 'The Professionals'! I remember so well the trendy 1970s' house layout from watching the series reruns, because as a teenager I always used to daydream that my first flat would look like it! So, more fond memories...

A little 'find' on the Freeview TV schedule, well worth a perusal.

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