21 user 14 critic

Brimstone & Treacle (1982)

A strange young man has a sinister effect on the family of a middle-aged writer.


Richard Loncraine


Dennis Potter (play), Dennis Potter (screenplay)
1 win & 2 nominations. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Sting ... Martin Taylor
Denholm Elliott ... Tom Bates
Joan Plowright ... Norma Bates
Suzanna Hamilton ... Patricia Bates
Benjamin Whitrow ... Businessman
Dudley Sutton ... Stroller
Mary MacLeod ... Valerie Holdsworth
Tim Preece Tim Preece ... Clergyman
Elizabeth Bradley Elizabeth Bradley ... Woman Passer By
Hugh Walters Hugh Walters ... Man
Christopher Fairbanks Christopher Fairbanks ... Drunk


This is a modern gothic tale about the evil that men do and the price that must be paid to make things right. This movie is a remake of Brimstone and Treacle (1976), which included Denholm Elliott in its original cast as Mr. Tom Bates. This movie also included an incredibly cool soundtrack of songs by artists like The Go-Go's, The Police, Squeeze, and an irreverently stylish 1930s little diddy called "Spread a Little Happiness", performed by Sting by himself. Written by Gerry Kissell <repdetect@yahoo.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

daughter | guilt | remake | invalid | sex | See All (27) »


An intriguing fantasy of angelic innocence and devilish passion.


Drama | Thriller


R | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Denholm Elliott played Mr. Tom Bates in this movie and Brimstone and Treacle (1987). See more »


Tom Bates: Miss Holdsworth, raise your skirt please.
See more »

Crazy Credits

End credits are listed on turning pages of a book. See more »


Featured in Zomergasten: Episode #10.5 (1997) See more »


We Got the Beat
Written by Charlotte Caffey
Performed by The Go-Go's
See more »

User Reviews

Disturbing yet engrossing film
16 September 2007 | by tresdodgeSee all my reviews

A middle class commuter belt couple Mr Bates (Denholm Elliot) and Mrs Bates (Joan Plowright) are duped into taking a charming young man Martin(Sting)into their house to help care for their catatonic daughter (Suzanna Hamilton). Martin claims to have been close to their daughter before an accident left her unable to communicate. As the film progresses the couple mistakenly start to trust Martin and dark family secrets are revealed.

Originally a stage play written by Dennis Potter the film is in turn engrossing, disturbing and claustrophobic. Denholm Elliot is as ever brilliant as the lonely and disturbed father figure, Sting puts in a good performance as a strange and demonic young man, Joan Plowright is very good as the maternal and naive housewife.

The two slight let downs for me were the music which I did'nt feel fitted in well with the film and the main fantasy sequence which did'nt stand the test of time well.

Other than that the film held my attention throughout, the direction by Richard Loncraine was extremely capable, all in all an intriguing and idiosyncratic piece which is well worth a watch.

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Release Date:

12 November 1982 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Brimstone See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »

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