7.1/10
17,346
134 user 51 critic

Brassed Off (1996)

Trailer
1:42 | Trailer

On Disc

at Amazon

The coal mine in a northern English village may be closing, which would also mean the end of the miners' brass band.

Director:

Mark Herman

Writer:

Mark Herman
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 10 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Pete Postlethwaite ... Danny
Tara Fitzgerald ... Gloria
Ewan McGregor ... Andy
Stephen Tompkinson ... Phil
Jim Carter ... Harry
Philip Jackson ... Jim
Peter Martin ... Ernie
Sue Johnston ... Vera
Mary Healey ... Ida
Melanie Hill ... Sandra
Lill Roughley Lill Roughley ... Rita
Peter Gunn ... Simmo
Stephen Moore Stephen Moore ... McKenzie
Kenneth Colley ... Greasley (as Ken Colley)
Olga Grahame ... Mrs. Foggan
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Storyline

In existence for a hundred years, Grimley Colliery Brass band is as old as the mine. But the miners are now deciding whether to fight to keep the pit open, and the future for town and band looks bleak. Although the arrival of flugelhorn player Gloria injects some life into the players, and bandleader Danny continues to exhort them to continue in the national competition, frictions and pressures are all too evident. And who's side is Gloria actually on? Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Fed up with the system. Ticked off at the establishment. And mad about... each other.

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 May 1997 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Brassed Off! See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend:

£1,674,359 (United Kingdom), 15 November 1996

Opening Weekend USA:

$52,534, 26 May 1997, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$2,560,471, 10 August 1997
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

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

Trivia

During the Goldthorpe mock funeral of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 2013, the procession float included a sign saying "I am Coco the Scab", which is a reference to the clown in the film. See more »

Goofs

When Gloria is playing the Concerto de Aranjuez, the second measure after the Flugelhorn comes in, she plays a note with the second valve that should be played with the first valve. The written note is a B-flat for Flugelhorn (concert A-Flat). Playing with the second valve would produce a B natural, a half step higher. See more »

Quotes

Danny: The truth is, I thought it mattered - I thought that music mattered. But does it bollocks? Not compared to how people matter.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The beginning of the closing credits is headed by the silouhette of a trumpet. See more »

Alternate Versions

The British release does not have the dictionary definitions at the start or end of the film. These were added to the American release to introduce the US audience to British slang. The end of the film has the same information, but just as normal text. See more »

Connections

References The Hustler (1961) See more »

Soundtracks

Clog Dance
Composed by John Marcangelo (as Marcangelo)
Published by Aviation Music Limited
See more »

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User Reviews

 
underground musical offering
7 March 1999 | by Philby-3See all my reviews

"The best thing about being working class is getting out of it" said a notable Australian Labor politician (Neville Wran, premier of NSW 1976-1986). The coal miners in "Brassed Off" thought so too, but found redundancy not what it was cracked up to be. At the start, pits are closing all over Britain, but the Grimley colliery in South Yorkshire is still open and making a profit. After a hard day's dirty work down the mine there's nought like a session with the band to blow out the dust. Let by total obsessive bandleader Danny (Peter Postlewaithe) the boys play a surprising range - Rodrigo's "Aranjuez" (we call it "orange juice" says Danny), Rossini's "William Tell" overture and lots of Elgar and other English sentimental favourites - "Jerusalem," "Danny Boy," "Colonel Bogey" and "All Things Bright and Beautiful."

Though possible closure is on the horizon, things are fairly cozy until pretty young Gloria (Tara Fitzgerald) walks in with a vintage obbligato cornet and asks to join. She's a woman (shock, horror!) but granddaughter of a former member and after a demonstration of her musical prowess is allowed in. Brooding young Andy (Ewan McGregor, unforgettable in "Trainspotting") has kissed the young lady years previously and falls for her again.

The band have their problems, especially Phil (Stephen Tompkinson) son of Danny the leader. Phil has an unfortunate gambling habit that keeps him broke and his family on the financial edge. In the background the future of the mine is becoming bleaker.

In the meantime Danny, who is developing a very bad cough, decides the band can make the national championships at the Albert Hall, and despite bailiffs, mendacious mine management, feral hospital matrons and British weather they get there.

This film in many ways is an update of the fine, well crafted "Ealing" comedy of the 1950s, celebrating the triumph of ordinary people over adverse circumstances, officialdom and middle class pretentiousness, through their own determination and talent. For the 90s the comedy has a harder edge and the political element more overt. At the end we are reminded of the hundreds of pits closed and 250,000 jobs lost in Britain between 1984 (the year of the great miners' strike) and 1994. But surely the filmmakers are not arguing the miners should still be down below. Global warming alone means coal has had its day. The real crime was the failure to invest in alternative employment and to allow the destruction of the communities which had grown up around the mines. The British State, which owned the mines for 40 years after World War Two, proved a harsher master than the old private owners, especially when the Bad Baroness herself, Margaret Thatcher, decided to sell.

On the strength of their performance here, the (mythical) Grimley band could easily turn professional, like the similarly displaced workers in "The Full Monty." Unlike "The Full Monty" the "Brassed Off" crowd don't step outside their mind-set - they are still chained to their working class attitudes and the future looks like happening without them. They escape from the working class to the underclass, clutching a year's salary most of them will soon be parted from. The traditional happy ending of the Ealing comedy is here only symbolic. Still, the miners' spirit shines through and you can't help admiring their grit. And the music's nice.


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