7.4/10
5,138
29 user 30 critic

Prick Up Your Ears (1987)

This film is the story of the spectacular life and violent death of British playwright Joe Orton. In his teens, Orton is befriended by the older, more reserved Kenneth Halliwell, and while ... See full summary »

Director:

Stephen Frears

Writers:

John Lahr (based on the biography by), Alan Bennett (screenplay)

On Disc

at Amazon

Gary Oldman Through the Years

Take a look back at Gary Oldman's movie career in photos.

See more Gary

Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 5 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Track 29 (1988)
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

A doctor's wife tires of his obsession with model trains, and spends her days wondering about the son she gave up for adoption at birth. While eating at a roadside café, she encounters a ... See full summary »

Director: Nicolas Roeg
Stars: Theresa Russell, Gary Oldman, Christopher Lloyd
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Sammy and Rosie are an unconventional middle-class London married couple. They live in the midst of inner-city chaos, surround themselves with intellectual street people, and sleep with ... See full summary »

Director: Stephen Frears
Stars: Shashi Kapoor, Claire Bloom, Frances Barber
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

An aimless young man, Johnny, is sent prison. He entrusts his beloved dog, Evie, to the care of his former lover and best friend, Frank. When he gets out of prison, he has to face ... See full summary »

Director: Colin Gregg
Stars: Alan Bates, Max Wall, Liz Smith
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

An ambitious Pakistani Briton and his white boyfriend strive for success and hope when they open a glamorous laundromat.

Director: Stephen Frears
Stars: Saeed Jaffrey, Roshan Seth, Daniel Day-Lewis
Remembrance (1982)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

A group of Devonport-based Royal Navy ratings, due to sail to America for a six-month NATO exercise, go out on the town on their last night in port, hitting Plymouth's notorious Union ... See full summary »

Director: Colin Gregg
Stars: Roger Adamson, John Altman, Dawn Archibald
Sid and Nancy (1986)
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

The relationship between Sid Vicious, bassist for British punk group The Sex Pistols, and his girlfriend Nancy Spungen is portrayed.

Director: Alex Cox
Stars: Gary Oldman, Chloe Webb, David Hayman
Chattahoochee (1989)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

In 1955 Florida, a Korean vet has a breakdown and is incarcerated in a "maximum security" mental health prison, where patients are abused.

Director: Mick Jackson
Stars: Gary Oldman, Dennis Hopper, Frances McDormand
Dylan Thomas (1991)
Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  
Director: David Drury
Stars: Uma Thurman, Gary Oldman, Devon Scott
Victim (1961)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The death of a young man leads to the discovery of a blackmail plot against a number of gay men in 1960s London.

Director: Basil Dearden
Stars: Dirk Bogarde, Sylvia Syms, Dennis Price
Transfixed (2001)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

Bo is a transexual prostitute in Brussels who left home after being abused by her father. She's now in an abusive relationship with a neighbor and suspected by the police in a series of ... See full summary »

Director: Francis Girod
Stars: Richard Bohringer, Robinson Stévenin, Stéphane Metzger
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

The life and death of the legendary Ludwig van Beethoven. Besides all the work he is known for, the composer once wrote a famous love letter to a nameless beloved, and the movie tries to ... See full summary »

Director: Bernard Rose
Stars: Gary Oldman, Jeroen Krabbé, Isabella Rossellini
Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

A fictionalized account of what may have happened when John Lennon and Brian Epstein went on holiday together to Spain in 1963.

Director: Christopher Munch
Stars: David Angus, Ian Hart, Stephanie Pack
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Gary Oldman ... Joe Orton
Alfred Molina ... Kenneth Halliwell
Vanessa Redgrave ... Peggy Ramsay
Wallace Shawn ... John Lahr
Lindsay Duncan ... Anthea Lahr
Julie Walters ... Elsie Orton
James Grant James Grant ... William Orton
Frances Barber ... Leonie Orton
Janet Dale Janet Dale ... Mrs Sugden
Dave Atkins Dave Atkins ... Mr Sugden
Margaret Tyzack ... Madame Lambert
Eric Richard ... Education Officer
William Job William Job ... RADA Chairman
Rosalind Knight Rosalind Knight ... RADA Judge
Angus MacKay Angus MacKay ... RADA Judge
Edit

Storyline

This film is the story of the spectacular life and violent death of British playwright Joe Orton. In his teens, Orton is befriended by the older, more reserved Kenneth Halliwell, and while the two begin a relationship, it's fairly obvious that it's not all about sex. Orton loves the dangers of bath-houses and liaisons in public restrooms; Halliwell, not as charming or attractive as Orton, doesn't fare so well in those environs. While both long to become writers, it is Orton who achieves fame - his plays "Entertaining Mr. Sloane" and "Loot" become huge hits in London of the sixties, and he's even commissioned to write a screenplay for the Beatles. But Orton's success takes him farther from Halliwell, whose response ended both his life and the life of the up-and-coming playwright. Written by Gary Dickerson <slug@mail.utexas.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

They shared everything - except success.

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 May 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Das stürmische Leben des Joe Orton See more »

Edit

Box Office

Gross USA:

$1,654,743
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The title is a naughty pun ("Prick" having both standard and off-color denotations and "Ears" being an anagram for the British spelling of a vulgar anatomical descriptor). See more »

Goofs

When Joe's agent first meets him in 1964, she asks him how he's been supporting himself. He tells her he's on public assistance, getting £3.10 per week. But new pence weren't introduced until 1971. See more »

Quotes

[Orton is having his portrait painted, naked]
Joe Orton: When I die I want people to say, 'He was the most perfectly developed playwright of his day.'
See more »


Soundtracks

Vivat Regina
(uncredited)
Music by Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
If they could have been traditionally married, they could have been traditionally divorced
26 October 2015 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Before writing this I saw an interview with Kenneth Williams best known as being part of the Carry On troupe. He gave some interesting insights into Joe Orton and Kenneth Halliwell. As a gay man himself Williams experienced and felt the same things in the days before sodomy laws were repealed in the United Kingdom, considerably before they were in the USA. The pressures of living as a couple increased exponentially especially a May/August couple as Orton and Halliwell were.

Joe Orton whose work I'd like to see and is curiously unavailable is played by Gary Oldman and we see him as a young writer befriended and mentored by Kenneth Halliwell who is older and played by Alfred Molina. Williams says that in his opinion there is no doubt the influence that Halliwell had on Orton's work. But they were two very different types of personality and probably were fated to come apart. Especially when Halliwell who mentored Orton was not finding any success with his own writing. In the end it destroyed them.

Great Britain had some strict sodomy laws as Oscar Wilde was living testimony to. Gay artists however got different treatments depending on who their patrons were. Oscar Wilde and the Orton/Halliwell duo in their respective generations were treated one way. But Noel Coward moved at the highest levels of British society and he had a Teflon like immunity from what befell the other three.

The film is told in flashback with Vanessa Redgrave as Orton's agent telling his biographer Wallace Shawn what the two were about individually and separately. Both Oldman and Molina were brilliant.

I can't help thinking that if they could have been traditionally married back then, they could also have been traditionally divorced when the love faded. That certainly would have been better all around.

But then we would not have had this fascinating tragedy.


5 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 29 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed