Screen Two (1985–2002)
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The Grass Arena 

The Grass Arena is a biopic based on the autobiography of John Healy. Raised in an ultra religious family, with an abusive father, young Johnny soon learns that he has to learn to defend ... See full summary »

Director:

Gillies MacKinnon

Writers:

Frank Deasy, John Healy (autobiography)
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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Mark Rylance ... John Healy
Pete Postlethwaite ... The Dipper
Lynsey Baxter ... Madalena
Marian McLoughlin ... Mrs. Healy
Billy Boyle Billy Boyle ... Mr. Healy
Andrew Dicks Andrew Dicks ... Young John Healy
Nick Dawney Nick Dawney ... Young Terry Healy (as Nick Dawnay)
Simon Napper Simon Napper ... Terry Healy
John Garrett John Garrett ... Albert
Brian Hall ... George
Gerard Horan ... The Sham
Clive Russell ... Mac
Louis Mellis Louis Mellis ... Jock
Anna Keaveney Anna Keaveney ... Liverpool Lil
Paddy Joyce Paddy Joyce ... Kelly
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Storyline

The Grass Arena is a biopic based on the autobiography of John Healy. Raised in an ultra religious family, with an abusive father, young Johnny soon learns that he has to learn to defend himself. He takes up boxing, but soon falls victim to alcoholism. His boxing career over, John takes to the Grass Arena (the park) where he lives with other alcoholics. Things only get worse, until he learns about the game of chess. Written by Blair Stannard <stannard@sonetis.com>

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Genres:

Drama

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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 January 1992 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

BBC Films See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Stereo

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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User Reviews

A Truly Harrowing Film
31 March 2001 | by Profess AbronsiSee all my reviews

A young, succesful boxer is given the ultimatum; give up alcohol, or a boxing career. As he chooses the latter, he settles down to a new 'life', among the down-and-outs of his local park. The brutality of this existence is brought home to the viewer on several occasions, as John (the main character) is both witness to, and the victim of several particularly violent assaults. During a brief spell in prison, he learns to play chess - which leads to a form of spiritual awakening. He walks away from "The Grass Arena", and competes in chess tournaments. Depressing in places, but ultimately inspiring and compelling, it shows us how we can all triumph over seemingly insurmountable odds.


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