6.2/10
3,861
40 user 42 critic

Once Upon a Time in the Midlands (2002)

Trailer
2:17 | Trailer

On Disc

at Amazon

After seeing his ex-girlfriend (Henderson) turn down a nationally televised marriage proposal, a small-time crook (Carlyle) returns to his hometown to try and win back her heart.

Director:

Shane Meadows
2 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Two twelve-year-old boys, Romeo and Gavin, undergo an extraordinary test of character and friendship when Morell, a naive but eccentric and dangerous stranger, comes between them. Morell ... See full summary »

Director: Shane Meadows
Stars: Martin Arrowsmith, Dave Blant, Darren Campbell
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

In a typical English working-class town, the juveniles have nothing more to do than hang around in gangs. One day, Alan Darcy, a highly motivated man with the same kind of youth experience,... See full summary »

Director: Shane Meadows
Stars: Bob Hoskins, Danny Nussbaum, Toby
Somers Town (2008)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A black-and-white study of a social environment in London, concentrating on a pair of unlikely new friends and the girl they both fancy.

Director: Shane Meadows
Stars: Piotr Jagiello, Ireneusz Czop, Perry Benson
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Rock roadie, Le Donk, has lived, loved and learned. Along the way, he's lost a classy girlfriend but gained a sidekick, Scorz-Ayz-Ee. He sets out to make Scorz a star with a little help from the Artic Monkeys.

Director: Shane Meadows
Stars: Paddy Considine, Dean Palinczuk, Olivia Colman
Small Time II (1996)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Follows a gang of small time crooks in an English town. Malc is in danger of losing his girlfriend Kate if he doesn't spend more time at home and the gang leader Jumbo looks like he is ... See full summary »

Director: Shane Meadows
Stars: Mat Hand, Dena Smiles, Shane Meadows
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  

The year is 1990, the rave scene has just entered England. The sound of the Stone roses lurks toward Shaun and the gang. This means that Woody and Lol are living in a domestic bliss, they are happy again. But this year will see huge changes in everyone. This is the year 1990. This is England.

Stars: Lyra Mae Thomas, Billy Braithwait, Chanel Cresswell
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

Shaun has just finished his final exams and he realizes he is no longer a kid. It's mid 80's England, and the gang are back, looking for a laugh, a job, and something that resembles a future.

Stars: Andrew Ellis, Andrew Shim, Chanel Cresswell
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A disaffected soldier returns to his hometown to get even with the thugs who brutalized his mentally-challenged brother years ago.

Director: Shane Meadows
Stars: Paddy Considine, Gary Stretch, Toby Kebbell
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

Christmas 1988. Soulmates, woody and Lol find themselves in exile from each other and the gang. Trying to understand the definition 'growing up', Shaun begins a course at College, that quickly takes the wrong turn.

Stars: Andrew Ellis, Andrew Shim, Chanel Cresswell
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Shane Meadows documents the reunion of iconic British band, The Stone Roses.

Director: Shane Meadows
Stars: Shane Meadows, Ian Brown, The Stone Roses
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A young boy becomes friends with a gang of skinheads. Friends soon become like family, and relationships will be pushed to the very limit.

Director: Shane Meadows
Stars: Thomas Turgoose, Stephen Graham, Jo Hartley
Face I (1997)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

In the face of demise in his values, a socialist in England decides to form a gang and rob banks for a living.

Director: Antonia Bird
Stars: Robert Carlyle, Ray Winstone, Steve Sweeney
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Carlyle ... Jimmy
Vanessa Feltz Vanessa Feltz ... Vanessa
Ricky Tomlinson ... Charlie
Kathy Burke ... Carol
Vicki Patterson Vicki Patterson ... Audience Guest
Shirley Henderson ... Shirley
Finn Atkins Finn Atkins ... Marlene
Kelly Thresher Kelly Thresher ... Donna
Rhys Ifans ... Dek
Andrew Shim ... Donut
Ryan Bruce Ryan Bruce ... Emerson
Eliot Otis Brown Walters ... Lake
Antony Strachan ... Jumbo
David McKay David McKay ... Dougy (as David Mckay)
James Cosmo ... Billy
Edit

Storyline

Originally from the Midlands, Jimmy is currently living in Glasgow eking out a living as a hapless petty crook. One day, he sees his old family and friends - including his older foster sister Carol, her boyfriend/his old buddy Charlie, Jimmy's ex-wife and Carol's best friend Shirley, and Jimmy's pre-teen daughter Marlene - on a television talk show, they baring their souls to a national audience. He has not seen any of them in years. Of note on the show, Shirley rejects the marriage proposal of her slightly awkward live-in boyfriend Dek. Jimmy sees her answer to Dek as a reason to head back to the Midlands to reunite with his past, especially with Shirley and Marlene. Dek, already humiliated, is less than thrilled to see Jimmy back in their lives. In the ensuing duel between Jimmy and Dek for Shirley and Marlene's affections, others get caught up in the crossfire. Meanwhile, three of Jimmy's equally hapless crook friends from Glasgow come looking for him, Jimmy who left them high and ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A tinned spaghetti western

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Official Sites:

Sony Pictures Classics

Country:

UK | Germany

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 September 2002 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Bilo jednom na srednjem zapadu See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

£1,950,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£129,920 (United Kingdom), 8 September 2002, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$29,527, 31 August 2003, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$171,830, 14 December 2003
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Dek (Rhys Ifans)drives a car with a vintage Welsh number plate from the late fifties, the letters which read "DEK". It was issued in Haverfordwest, the birthplace of Rhys Ifans. See more »

Quotes

Carol: Do you want to watch "Weakest Link"?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Special thanks to ... the People of Carlton and Gedling, Nottingham ... See more »

Connections

References The Right Stuff (1983) See more »

Soundtracks

Bar-B-Q
(1964)
Written by Larry Brown and Steve Cropper
Used by kind permission of Rondor Music London Ltd. on behalf of Irving Music Inc.
Performed by Wendy Rene
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products/Warner Strategic Marketing UK
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Almost, but not quite as good as it should have been
3 September 2002 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

When they appear on a daytime chat show, Dek surprises his girlfriend Shirley by proposing to her, only to have her say no. Shirley's ex and father of her daughter, Marlene, sees the show and leaves Glasgow with stolen money to try to reclaim her. His arrival in the one-horse town of Nottingham sparks a Western style stand off between Dek and Jimmy.

The third part in his trilogy is Meadow's most accessible film and his lightest in style. It is also likely to be FilmFour's swan-song now that it is packing up shop for good. The plot is basically a relationship drama but it is packed with enough nice touches to make it feel more than that. The mix of comedy and drama is good and the `tinned spaghetti western' feel to it manages to be clever and consistent without overpowering the film.

The story does dip in the final third however – the comedy dries up and the central drama between Jimmy, Dek and Shirley comes to the fore. The other characters vanish and the subplot (Jimmy being chased by his ex-gang) just seems to stop for 30 minutes. This dip is still OK but it did feel like it had nowhere to go and was just treading water to fill out the running time.

Apart from this dip the film has much to enjoy. The comedy is good and realistic for the setting. The many characters make for a family feel rather than a simple love triangle tale and the western music and spaghetti clichés are used well without being forced down your throat. The film does also rest on several really good performances.

Ifans is absolutely great – he manages to make Dek a cowardly clown but also very relateable and sympathetic. Add to this a good (if a little mousy) Henderson and a superb turn by Atkins and the main trio are brilliant. Carlyle doesn't work as well and his character is too obvious, changing when he has got his way etc, and doesn't grab attention in the way he can. Burke, Tomlinson and the various support cast are very funny but also very real. Cosmo is good and tough as always and gets plenty of surreal comedy (why do they keep stealing wholly inappropriate vehicles!?) and key a sharp eye out for a downright unusual cameo from comedy duo Vic Reeves and bob Mortimer.

Overall the parts don't all manage to come together but for the most part it is a great mix of comedy and drama carried off by some very good performances. However when the film focuses totally on the triangle at the centre it appears to run out of steam for a while and have little to do but wait for the final showdown.


6 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 40 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

IMDb Freedive: Watch Movies and TV Series for Free

Watch Hollywood hits and TV favorites for free with IMDb Freedive. Start streaming on IMDb and Fire TV devices today!

Start watching

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed