6.7/10
6,973
58 user 22 critic

The Krays (1990)

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 »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Essex Boys (2000)
Crime | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

The film is based loosely around events in December 1995 that culminated in the murders of three drug dealers in Rettendon, Essex, UK. On 6th December Patrick Tate, Craig Rolfe and Tony ... See full summary »

Director: Terry Winsor
Stars: Charlie Creed-Miles, Sean Bean, Gareth Milne
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5/10 X  

Ronnie and Reggie Kray remain two of the most infamous criminals in British history. Legends to many, their fame was built on a fearsome reputation and almost mythical celebrity-like status, but who were the real Kray twins?

Director: Chris Matthews
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5/10 X  

Two brothers unleash a psychotic reign of terror on their journey to build an empire of unprecedented power in the British Mafia.

Director: Zackary Adler
Stars: Matt Vael, Simon Cotton, Kevin Leslie
Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.4/10 X  

Simon Cotton as Ronnie Kray and Kevin Leslie as Reggie Kray, picks up the story of the infamous Firm as the sanity of the two brothers bring uncertainties to their business plans . now with... See full summary »

Director: Zackary Adler
Stars: Adrian Bouchet, Anita Dobson, Phil Dunster
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Chronicles the rise and fall of a prominent, and particularly ruthless English gangster.

Director: Paul McGuigan
Stars: Malcolm McDowell, David Thewlis, Paul Bettany
Crime | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

In 1950s England, slow-witted Derek Bentley (Christopher Eccleston) falls in with a group of petty criminals led by Chris Craig (Paul Reynolds), a teenager with a fondness for American ... See full summary »

Director: Peter Medak
Stars: Tom Courtenay, Christopher Eccleston, Eileen Atkins
Scum (1979)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

An uncompromising story of life in a British juvenile offender institution in the 70's.

Director: Alan Clarke
Stars: Ray Winstone, Mick Ford, Julian Firth
Drama | Musical
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

La Voix Humaine is a concerto for soprano and orchestra, centering on the break-up of a relationship by telephone.

Director: Peter Medak
Stars: Julia Migenes
McVicar (1980)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

'John McVicar' was a London Bad Boy. He graduated to armed bank robbery and was Britain's "Public Enemy No. 1". He was captured and put into a high security prison. Will even the highest ... See full summary »

Director: Tom Clegg
Stars: Roger Daltrey, Adam Faith, Cheryl Campbell
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Realistic story of working class Yorkshire life. Two schoolgirls have a sexual fling with a married man. Serious and light-hearted by turns.

Director: Alan Clarke
Stars: Siobhan Finneran, Michelle Holmes, George Costigan
Edit

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
Edit

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 »
Edit

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 »

Edit

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 »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The real Reggie Kray suggested that Patsy Kensit read for the role of his wife Frances, but she declined. The part was later played by Kate Hardie. See more »

Goofs

When Reggie and Frances are talking in the garden of their mum's house, it can be clearly seen that one of the neighbours houses has UPVC double glazed windows. These did not exist in 1960s. See more »

Quotes

Eddie Pellam: It's Cornell.
Charlie Pellam: Oh, what does he want? I thought he wasn't supposed to leave his coffin when the sun was up.
[Cornell storms into the scrapyard office, clutching a newspaper]
George Cornell: Those Kray brothers are getting on my tits.
[Charlie sends the secretary out]
Charlie Pellam: You know, Cornell, it's amazing you can walk at all with your foot in your mouth so much.
[Cornell throws his newspaper onto the desk. A photo of the Krays is on it with the titles "Krays join crime fight" and "Businessmen aid charity boxing night"]
George Cornell: ...
[...]
See more »

Alternate Versions

The infamous 'Chelsea Smile' scene was reduced in the UK cinema version but was later restored fully uncut for video releases after 2002. See more »

Connections

Referenced in St George's Day (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

Bittersweet
Written by Chris Rea
Published by Warner Chappels Music
By Arrangement with Chappell Music Ltd.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
It's aged well but should be better known.
10 November 2010 | by tim-764-291856See all my reviews

I saw this British crime biography in the cinema 20 years ago, on its release. I'd not seen it since, until getting it on DVD.

It was striking then how perfectly cast the Kemp brothers were, as the violent twins. Core members of the 1980's pop group Spandau Ballet, it was an eye-opener that they had another string to their bow and in contrast to their fresh pop image.

The film's aged well. Martin Kemp (Reggie Kray) kept up his acting career with popular soap operas (Eastenders) though I'm not sure what Gary (Ronnie Kray) has done since. They both have a slimy sort of adhesion as blood brothers and as the gangsters they both compel - and appal.

Billie Whitelaw's performance as their strong, iron-lady of a mother, Violet, who held the family together through the blitz and rationing, was always held in high esteem. The Kray men of that era come across as weak, ducking active war service and work, which embittered Violet, her mother and her sisters.

Thus, she had such high hopes for her twin boys. Bearing comparison to Margaret Wycherly's 'Ma' in the 1949 James Cagney crime thriller, 'White Heat' the bond becomes above all else. The apron strings are bullet proof, it would seem. Having somewhat grown up myself in the interim between viewings, I saw more into Kate Hardie's character who played Reggie's wife, Frances. Cast under a long shadow, below the 'Firm', Reggie's brother and certainly far below Violet, poor Frances, who annoyed me twenty years ago with her frightened whimpering excels at going from pretty girl-next-door, to trophy wife and then to tragic doormat.

Ronnie Kray's homosexuality, understandably back in the early-mid 1960's (and illegal) was cause of much of the ridicule and angst they endured from their enemies. Even back in 1990, it seemed daringly fresh to have this as part of the storyline, with scenes to match.

The film's direction and look cannot fail to be compared these days to Martin Scorsese, or, how he would have done it. This looks British; that grey-brown that these days would be digitally sourced. The acres of dull patterned wallpaper in front living rooms. The big Jaguar cars. The sun never shines in the East London street scenes, those streets seemingly familiar to Brits everywhere.

The dialogue at times seems naff and obvious, other times spot-on. Violence, when it comes is near-graphic, but maybe not up there with the barely watchable scenes of say, Scorsese's Goodfellas. I'd like to have seen more action - adding to its 115 minutes with more of the 'everyday' crime and racketeering and how they held down their much feared reputation. We do get a couple of brilliantly played nasty guys - Stephen Berkoff and Tom Bell are as despicable as any - and who have vengeance played upon them by the twins. We get no tip-offs and thus, no raids and no police. Some chase scenes might have been nice!

As a drama that reads more like a psychological profile than a straight crime thriller, then it's rarely been bettered, on either side of the Atlantic. Had it been made in the mould of the latter, then it might be better known and better remembered. I still like it, as it is, as much as I did twenty years ago.


14 of 18 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 58 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed