6.7/10
6,811
58 user 22 critic
This fact-based movie follows the life of the twin crime-lords in London's '60s underworld.

Director:

Peter Medak

Writer:

Philip Ridley
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 4 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Billie Whitelaw ... Violet Kray
Tom Bell ... Jack 'The Hat' McVitie
Gary Kemp ... Ronald Kray
Martin Kemp ... Reggie Kray
Susan Fleetwood ... Rose
Charlotte Cornwell Charlotte Cornwell ... May
Kate Hardie ... Frances
Avis Bunnage Avis Bunnage ... Helen
Alfred Lynch ... Charlie Kray
Gary Love ... Steve
Steven Berkoff ... George Cornell
Jimmy Jewel ... Cannonball Lee
Barbara Ferris ... Mrs. Lawson
Victor Spinetti ... Mr. Lawson
John McEnery ... Eddie Pellam
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Storyline

The life of a pair of twins (Ronald and Reginald Kray) who were born in London in 1934 and when they grew up became gangsters selling protection. Written by Michel Rudoy <mdrc@hp9000a1.uam.mx>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

When People are afraid of you, You can do anything. Remember that. See more »

Genres:

Biography | Crime | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

9 November 1990 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Kray fivérek See more »

Filming Locations:

Bermondsey, London, England, UK See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$2,060,847
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color (Technicolor)| Black and White (some footage)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Gary Kemp worked out so much to prepare for his role that he gained 20 pounds. See more »

Goofs

Modern 1980's cars can be seen in some shots, particularly when Frances is running down the street and in the long shot when she and Reg are kissing in the back garden. See more »

Quotes

Palendri: I love London - it's so wonderfully dirty. And The Beatles - I adore The Beatles. You know The Beatles?
Reggie Kray: No
Ronald Kray: I believe they know us.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The film's epilogue (which originally only explained the twins' prison sentences for their crimes) was updated on versions released for TV and video in 1995 to include an epitaph after Ronnie Kray's death that year. The same was done for Reggie, who died in 2000. See more »

Connections

Featured in The EE British Academy Film Awards (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Balling the Jack
Performed by Jimmy Jewel
Written by Chris Smith and Jim Burris (as James Burris)
Published by Frances Day and Hunter Ltd
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Pretty impressive film
11 July 2002 | by Bogey ManSee all my reviews

Peter Medak directed this film from the screenplay of Philip Ridley. Both have done great films like Romeo Is Bleeding (Medak) and Passion of Darkly Noon (Ridley) and The Krays is not an exception. It tells the story of real life Kray twins gangsters (Gary and Martin Kemp from Spandau Ballet) that kept England in horror in the middle of 1900's. They were born to normal family where their mother (Billie Whitelaw), a very strong female character, brought them up among a world that was filled with "useless men" and females that fought in difficult circumstances during war and poverty. When the twin brothers grew, they began to get power and finally they become very powerful and strong gangsters, who finally met their destiny.

This film is a depiction of power, greed and money and how it corrupts. "When people are afraid of you, you can do anything" says Ronnie Kray to his brother Reggie. The greediness and other forms of corruption - like revenge - become so strong that they finally destroy everything the brothers have reached. The theme is pretty much the same as in DePalma's Scarface and many other similar depictions of power and money. The last scene in The Krays is very powerful and important as it crystallizes the whole message of the film.

The film also tells about females and love. Love is also destroyed because other things become more important for Reggie, who has found a girlfriend. This film has also very powerful female characters, mainly the mother of brothers. She is very feminine and all the female characters seem to hate males in this movie, but that is perhaps all some males deserve in the film since all they seem to be able to do is getting drunk and fight and not help the females in any way.

Technically The Krays is a proof of Medak's talent as the photography is great and the film is very powerful in its elements. The part when mother Kray realizes what her boys do "for living" is very powerful and told with the very effective tools of cinema. Music is often effective and violence is off putting, as the attitudes and values of the movie's characters are, too. This film is very powerful as the aforementioned last scene is very sad and though provoking, and really underlines the final message of the film. I think the characters are somewhat too shallow occasionally and their acts are not fully explained all the time. That is also the case in another film written by Philip Ridley, The Passion of Darkly Noon. Mostly I'm irritated how Reggie treats his wife since there seems to be believable emotional relationship between the two. Also, the girl who plays Reggie's wife over-acts little in some scenes and it is irritating to watch as it is not as realistic and natural as possible. If the characters were little more natural and believable, this would be even greater piece of cinema.

The Krays is important piece of 90's cinema and very powerful depiction of different kinds of corruption that finally lead to destruction and death of dreams. I give this 8/10 and the film is recommended for those who appreciate films like Romeo is Bleeding and Scarface, for instance.


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