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Once Upon a Time in the Midlands (2002)

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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 »

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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 ... Marlene
Kelly Thresher Kelly Thresher ... Donna
Rhys Ifans ... Dek
Andrew Shim ... Donut
Ryan Bruce Ryan Bruce ... Emerson
Eliot Otis Brown Walters ... Lake
Antony Strachan Antony Strachan ... Jumbo
David McKay David McKay ... Dougy (as David Mckay)
James Cosmo ... Billy
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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 »
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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 »

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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 »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Dek (Rhys Ifans) finds out that Jimmy (Robert Carlyle) is back in town, he proclaims to Carol: "He's only your foster brother! He could have Hannibal Lecter's DNA for all we know!" Rhys Ifans went on to portray Grutas, Hannibal Lecter's nemesis, in Hannibal Rising (2007). See more »

Quotes

Dek: I'm nothing like Jimmy.
Marlene: Jimmy left. You're leaving. What's the difference?
Dek: I don't want to go.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

References The Weakest Link (2000) 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 »

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User Reviews

Not Meadow's best.
13 November 2004 | by jonathan_leySee all my reviews

Firstly, let me say how much I like Shane Meadow's work (particularly 'A Room For Romeo Brass'). However 'Once Upon a Time in The Midlands' is, in my opinion, his weakest work to date. That's not to say it isn't a good film, it is, but somewhere along the line the Meadow's formula went wrong. It smacks of too much development, something Meadows complained about himself, almost as if Film Four wanted to bottle the distinctive spirit of his earlier work, mass produce it and sell it to the widest audience possible. The characters end up as caricatures and whereas previous Meadows films examined the wonderful humanity and quiet dignity inherent in everyday life this one ends up in danger of being patronising to its subjects. The title and tag line are great but I wonder if they weren't thought up before the actual story and at the expense of the film. I personally found the Western elements a little superfluous, the deluge of famous faces distracting (what on Earth are Reeves and Mortimer doing as clowns?!), and the Glasgow gangsters subplot unnecessary. Once these elements fall by the wayside however, as they do in the second half, the film settles down into telling a decent little story. The central love triangle comes to the fore and we actually begin to connect with the characters. All the performances are good but special mention must go to young Finn Atkins who is outstanding. If this is your first taste of Meadows then don't be put off, just know that there are better films in his back catelogue than this. The 2 disc DVD is worth investing in though as the extras include Shane's World and a really nice documentary on the film's promotional tour.


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