62 user 197 critic

The Angels' Share (2012)

R | | Comedy, Crime, Drama | 1 June 2012 (UK)
2:17 | Trailer
Narrowly avoiding jail, new dad Robbie vows to turn over a new leaf. A visit to a whisky distillery inspires him and his mates to seek a way out of their hopeless lives.


Ken Loach


Paul Laverty (screenplay)
7 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »


Cast overview, first billed only:
Paul Brannigan ... Robbie
Siobhan Reilly ... Leonie
John Henshaw John Henshaw ... Harry
Gary Maitland Gary Maitland ... Albert
William Ruane ... Rhino
Jasmin Riggins ... Mo (as Jasmine Riggins)
Scott Dymond Scott Dymond ... Willy
Scott Kyle ... Clancy
Neil Leiper Neil Leiper ... Sniper
James Casey ... Dougie
Caz Dunlop Caz Dunlop ... Caz
Gilbert Martin Gilbert Martin ... Matt
Stewart Preston Stewart Preston ... Sheriff
Vincent Friell ... Procurator Fiscal
Kirstin Murray Kirstin Murray ... Defence Lawyer
Learn more

More Like This 

Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Eric, a football fanatic postman whose life is descending into crisis, receives some life coaching from the famously philosophical Eric Cantona.

Director: Ken Loach
Stars: Steve Evets, Eric Cantona, Stephanie Bishop
Jimmy's Hall (2014)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

During the Depression, Jimmy Gralton returns home to Ireland after ten years of exile in America. Seeing the levels of poverty and oppression, the activist in him reawakens and he looks to re-open the dance hall that led to his deportation.

Director: Ken Loach
Stars: Barry Ward, Francis Magee, Aileen Henry
Sweet Sixteen I (2002)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Determined to have a normal family life once his mother gets out of prison, a Scottish teenager from a tough background sets out to raise the money for a home.

Director: Ken Loach
Stars: Martin Compston, Michelle Coulter, Annmarie Fulton
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

After being fired from her job, Angie teams up with her flatmate to find employment for immigrants.

Director: Ken Loach
Stars: Kierston Wareing, Juliet Ellis, Leslaw Zurek
Route Irish (2010)
Action | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

The story of a private security contractor in Iraq who rejected the official explanation of his friend's death and sets out to discover the truth.

Director: Ken Loach
Stars: Mark Womack, Andrea Lowe, John Bishop
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Against the backdrop of the Irish War of Independence, two brothers fight a guerrilla war against British forces.

Director: Ken Loach
Stars: Cillian Murphy, Pádraic Delaney, Liam Cunningham
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

After having suffered a heart-attack, a 59-year-old carpenter must fight the bureaucratic forces of the system in order to receive Employment and Support Allowance.

Directors: Ken Loach, Laura Obiols
Stars: Dave Johns, Hayley Squires, Sharon Percy
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Two thirtysomethings, unemployed former alcoholic Joe and community health worker Sarah, start a romantic relationship in the one of the toughest Glasgow neighbourhoods.

Director: Ken Loach
Stars: Peter Mullan, Louise Goodall, Gary Lewis
Documentary | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A documentary on how the spirit of unity, which buoyed Britain during the war years, carried through to create a vision of a fairer, united society.

Director: Ken Loach
Stars: Winston Churchill, Clement Attlee, Tony Benn
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Five Yorkshiremen try to survive after the British Rail is bought out by a private company.

Director: Ken Loach
Stars: Dean Andrews, Thomas Craig, Joe Duttine
Ae Fond Kiss (2004)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Sparks fly in Glasgow's south side when a young Asian man enters into a relationship with a Caucasian woman.

Director: Ken Loach
Stars: Atta Yaqub, Eva Birthistle, Ahmad Riaz
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Two Latina sisters work as cleaners in a downtown office building, and fight for the right to unionize.

Director: Ken Loach
Stars: Pilar Padilla, Adrien Brody, Elpidia Carrillo




This bitter sweet comedy follows protagonist Robbie as he sneaks into the maternity hospital to visit his young girlfriend Leonie and hold his newborn son Luke for the first time. Overwhelmed by the moment, he swears that Luke will not have the same tragic life he has had. Escaping a prison sentence by the skin of his teeth, he's given one last chance......While serving a community service order, he meets Rhino, Albert and Mo who, like him, find it impossible to find work because of their criminal records. Little did Robbie imagine how turning to drink might change their lives - not cheap fortified wine, but the best malt whiskies in the world. Will it be 'slopping out' for the next twenty years, or a new future with 'Uisge Beatha' the 'Water of Life?' Only the angels know........ Written by Rebecca O'Brien, producer

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Four friends. One mission. Lots of spirit. See more »


Comedy | Crime | Drama


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Ken Loach described this film as a fable. Despite its grounding in the very real privations of working class Glasgow, its heist plot is more than a little fanciful. See more »


When Harry is discussing Robbie's life of crime with him, he says that Robbie wouldn't want to miss his son growing up. This is discussed before the child is born. Later, when Luke (Robbie's son) is born, it is clear that no one knew that he would be a boy before the event. See more »


[Last lines]
Leonie: You're a scamp, Robbie Emmerson. From the first day I saw you.
See more »

Alternate Versions

UK cinema- and DVD versions have eight uses of the strongest profanity removed in order to obtain a 15 classification. The Blu-ray is uncut and rated 18. See more »


References The Sound of Music (1965) See more »


Some Chords
Performed by Deadmau5
Licensed courtesy of Virgin Records Limited
Written by Deadmau5 (as Joel Zimmerman)
Published by EMI Music Publishing Limited
See more »

User Reviews

A strange mix
11 January 2014 | by daveyboy-1See all my reviews

'Never judge a book by it's cover' is a line used roughly halfway through this relatively benign recent effort from British directing stalwart Ken Loach. This is a maxim to keep in mind if approaching Angel's Share with the poster's main advertising soundbite 'Scotland's answer to The Full Monty' as a trusted precursor. Like wine or whisky tasting itself, much of a film's effect is to do with the aftertaste, and it is only in the closing third of the film that the aforementioned tagline could bolster a challenge to be relevant at all, as Angel's Share, upon full viewing, provides an awkward mixture of traditional 'Loachian' working-class realism with lovable-rogue, schadenfreude comedy.

There is much to like and take away from Angel's Share, including great dialogue, brilliant comedy and memorable characters. The problem is that these elements span what feels like two films fighting each other to exist in one, with neither sitting comfortably together or allowing the viewer to solidify a perspective to settle on in terms of their relation to the main characters. It could certainly be argued that this should precisely be the case for the parts of the film which reflect how ambiguously and inconsistently characters in real life can behave, but when Loach suddenly wants to do good on that tagline, all that comes before betrays the impish, happy-go-lucky final third that is well written yet foreboded by scenes not dissimilar from the violence in films like Sweet Sixteen. Imagine some of the generic, heart-warming, feel-good comedy scenes in The Full Monty interspersed with gang beatings and attempted grievous bodily harm and you can imagine the failed dichotomy displayed during Angel's Share.

This disharmony in tone, however, is pleasingly the only main fault of the film, which can certainly be included as another of Loach's great accomplishments. Taken on a scene-by-scene basis, both the characters and the actors portraying them are addictively watchable, as they blunder and plunder as worst and best they can in the context of their worlds. The theme, born from the meaning of the title itself, is subtly explored and comes wonderfully full circle as that aftertaste at the end is about to kick in. There is honest drama amongst the frivolous escapading, much coming via the standout performance by John Henshaw as the poor guy charged with overseeing the group's community service tasks. It also includes the only known example to me of the use of '(I'm Gonna Be)' 500 Miles by The Proclaimers where the lyrics actually fit the context of the story as opposed to simply occupying a clip because they are Scottish (other stereotypes do exist, however, such as Irn Bru and kilt wearing, though these also exist in logical situations even if they may grate some at the front end).

Loach's style is never compromised as regards to the way the film is shot, even if it strays in tone come the end of the story. Glasgow is shown rather than shown off, with barely an establishing shot in sight, helping to bring the viewer down to the level at which the characters themselves exist at - drab interiors, hostile alleyways, rundown tenement areas, etc. It is when the group set off on their daring 'heist' that the beautiful shots of the Highlands offer a sensible contrast as a visual metaphor - the job at hand providing faint hope of starting afresh (even though it is still a crime they are intending to commit). An awful, almost ten-minute tour of the whiskey distillery makes you feel like you've wandered into the filming of a tour itself rather than still watching a film, but is subsequently saved by the attempted pilfering of the 'Holy Grail' of whiskies - perfectly paced and ramped up with tension. In fact the crux of the story is so well crafted it almost makes you forget how little reason you should have to root for the success of the group's plan in the first place.

Intentionally ambiguous yet jarringly inconsistent, Angel's Share succeeds in delivering an entertaining and memorable mixture of comedy and drama. Just ignore that tagline, and watch out for the aftertaste . . .

6 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 62 user reviews »


Frequently Asked Questions

See more »


Official Sites:

Official site [Japan]


UK | France | Belgium | Italy



Release Date:

1 June 2012 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

La part des anges See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$18,837, 14 April 2013

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series

Recently Viewed