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The Parole Officer [DVD] [2001]

Steve Coogan , Lena Headey , John Duigan    Suitable for 15 years and over   DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
Price: 4.21 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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The Parole Officer [DVD] [2001] + A Cock And Bull Story [DVD] [2006] + Cruise of the Gods [DVD] [2002]
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Product details

  • Actors: Steve Coogan, Lena Headey, Emma Gilmour, Susan Jane Tanner, Iain Mitchell
  • Directors: John Duigan
  • Writers: Steve Coogan, Henry Normal
  • Producers: Andrew Macdonald, Callum McDougall, Duncan Kenworthy
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: None
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Audio Description: None
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Universal Pictures UK
  • DVD Release Date: 18 Mar 2002
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005Y415
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 12,686 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



Although there are one or two belly laughs along the way, for the most part The Parole Officer gets by on the pleasantly old-fashioned charm of a latter-day Ealing comedy. And despite a handful of gross-out moments (involving a roller coaster at Blackpool, a severed head and a wasp) most of the humour comes from the interaction of a good ensemble cast.

It’s the first big-screen vehicle for Steve Coogan, who plays the titular officer as a watered-down, more likeable version of his most famous creation, Alan Partridge. After being set up by a corrupt detective Coogan’s hapless Simon Garden--in fact always identified as a Probation Officer, so presumably the film’s title is an attempt to attract a transatlantic audience--must recruit a motley gang of his ex-con clients to plan and execute a bank robbery in Manchester. Indeed, one of the film’s principal attractions is its affectionate use of that city centre as a setting instead of the more usual seedy London locations of most British caper-comedies.

Coogan’s gang are a familiarly dysfunctional bunch, redeemed by sympathetic performances from, notably, Om Puri as irascible serial bigamist George and the young Emma Williams as serial car thief Kirsty. Not enough effort goes into fleshing out the characters, though, and in particular Lena Headey as Coogan’s policewoman girlfriend is far too thinly sketched to seem convincing. However, much fun is had by all as the team bond, bicker and construct, A Team-style, the tools they need for the big heist. The bank raid itself is the film’s highlight and features a surprising deus ex machina appearance from a very distinguished guest star.

If The Parole Officer never stretches to the sublime heights (or psychological depths) of I’m Alan Partridge, it does play out in a brisk 90 minutes like an extended episode of Coogan’s Run; which is to say it’s got plenty of easygoing charm even if it never pushes any boundaries.

On the DVD: the handful of extra features include a surprisingly serious commentary from Coogan, cowriter Henry Normal, director John Duigan and producer Duncan Kenworthy. More interesting is the handful of deleted scenes, in which we find that some precious character development was sacrificed in the interests of pace (as well as a couple of perfectly good jokes). There's a 22-minute featurette, which isn't really a "making of" but just a series of interviews with the principal cast, plus the trailer and Atomic Kitten's "Eternal Flame" video. The picture is a good anamorphic (16:9) ratio with Dolby 5.1 sound. --Mark Walker

Product Description

United Kingdom released, PAL/Region 2 DVD: LANGUAGES: English ( Dolby Digital 5.1 ), English ( Subtitles ), WIDESCREEN (1.85:1), SPECIAL FEATURES: Commentary, Deleted Scenes, Featurette, Interactive Menu, Music Video, Scene Access, Trailer(s), SYNOPSIS: British television comic Steve Coogan made his first bid for a big-screen career in this comedy, in which he plays Simon Garden, a singularly inept parole officer who has not had terribly good luck with his clients -- after many years on the job, only three of the former prisoners he's been looking after have avoided returning to a life of crime. Garden is transferred from his post in Blackpool to a new assignment in Manchester, and it isn't long before he finds himself in hot water. Garden happened to be on hand when Burton (Stephen Dellane), a crooked cop, murdered a drug dealer with whom he had been involved in a cocaine deal. Realizing he's in trouble, Burton rearranges the evidence so that Garden looks like the killer. A surveillance camera captured Burton's crime on tape, and now Garden must get his hands on the tape in order to clear his name. However, Burton has cleverly stashed the tape in a top security bank vault to keep it away from Garden, so the parole officer must stage a break-in to collect the evidence -- and he chooses as his accomplices George (Om Puri), Jeff (Steven Waddington), and Colin (Ben Miller), the three parolees who've stayed out of trouble until now. The Parole Officer also features Emma Williams as a former associate of Burton's who ends up helping out Garden, and cameos from Omar Sharif and Jenny Agutter.
SCREENED/AWARDED AT: BAFTA Awards, ...Parole Officer

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quality Comedy 21 Jun 2004
You'd think that a man, who has just been punched on the nose by 2 scary looking guys and is trying to make a dramatic escape from the top of a roof, would do a bit more than say, "Augh...that hurt!" However, that's what makes it funny.
"The Parole Officer" is a nice little package of a comedy regarding the efforts of a somewhat quirky yet kind-hearted guy who decides to retrieve the evidence for a murder at all costs. The film displays everyday morality, and Steve Coogan performs marvallously well here - "I saw a man strangle a human being!...Well, an accountant."
This film is worth your money and time to watch. The great thing about is that it is not something typically British that is set in London, y'know, those stereotypes of Hugh Grant, etc.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By J Bate
This film is one from my childhood, and soon, just for the hell of it, i'm going to my local HMV to buy it, whether its 3.00 or 8.00 I dont care, I need to show my appreciation to Steve Coogan and Ben Miller and who ever else is in it, because I love it so much I cant tell you.
The plot is quick moving, very witty and pure. The character of Simon Garden is a known one, we have all met him lets face it. His accomplaces are all hilarious in they're own way, whether its George in his indian accent, "He Means a computer Virus, he's taking the Piss!" or Geoff the big bloke who knocks people out with one punch. They are all well formed and are so real.
i ust love this film, It might not be for all but I had to bump the stars up to show that I bloody love it, and always have since we watched it on NTL's "Front Row" in around 2003, those were the days.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How Good Was The Best Film Ever? 25 Aug 2003
Format:VHS Tape
My older brother came home one day after a visit to the cinema. He said to me 'I've seen the best film ever, even better than Toy Story Two!' (lol) So he recieved the DVD of The Parole Officer for his birthday and together we witnesed the greatest film ever made.
The story takes place in Manchester where we meet the hero, Simon Garden (Steve Coogan) working as a parole officer. Simon is a hilarious character who manages to muck up every move me makes. Simon somehow finds himself in a spot of trouble when he is accused of a murder he didnt commit. The only proof of his innocence is a security video - but the tape is locked inside a bank vault. He gathers his ex-clients who have all succeeded in breaking their way out of crime and are conquering the businness world. Asking for their help in breaking into a bank was a difficult move for Simon, but as he explains his situation they eventually agree to help. This is no easy task for master criminals,for a bunch of losers, it's a mission impossible!
This film is for audiences of all ages that will make u laugh and cry ( with more laughter! hehe ). It's packed with stunts, action, romance and loads of laughter! Thankyou for reading my review.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Largely underrated comedy 28 Sep 2007
From the tone of some of the negative reviews, there's no pleasing some people. 'The Parole Officer' is exactly what it looks like, a quirky and professional vehicle for Steve Coogan. His pedantic and klutzy parole officer Simon Garden is a fine creation, not as toe-curlingly embarrassing as the great Alan Partridge but more appealing. (Coogan actually looks handsome from time to time.) The comedy isn't exactly subtle, but I wouldn't have wanted to lose the gloriously bad-taste moment when Coogan is taken on a rollercoaster by one of his former clients and ends up repeatedly puking into the face of the angelic little girl sitting behind him.

The supporting cast more than take care of business, with Stephen Dillane as a sleazebag detective and Lena Headey as a rather implausibly gorgeous policewoman. It's a fine pizza movie without pretensions to being anything more.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 stars - great british comedy 3 Jan 2006
By Mr. D. A. Cure VINE VOICE
If you like Partrdige or Coogans run, you'll like this. If you like good English comedy films such as The Full Monty or Jonny English, then you'll love this, as its one of the best Ive seen in the last few years. The plot is basically a social worker who see's the good in others and has to fight his former employer over possession of a video tape that will send him to jail where he belongs. Its a great cast and a fantastic script, and Coogan is on top form, so buy it now while its on such a great offer!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious clean cut comedy 15 Feb 2002
Format:VHS Tape
Any steve cougan fan will love this film, although it is not as funny as perhaps Naked Gun or the Airplane trilogy, it is witty and clever with a sweet little story line.
There are lots of Alan Partridge type jokes and dry humour to be had - and of course there's the roller coaster scene. You can but chuckle!
Been waiting for the release of this little film for ages and I'm gonna buy it straight away - suggest you do the same.
It's great it's funny and it's British. Be proud, be very proud!
Mark Reynolds
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic 14 Mar 2002
This is the only film i have ever seen that i am able to watch over again and again and still have the same reaction, it just gets better and better every time.
Coogan is hilarious as always, Lena Headley is gorgeous and brilliant, and the supporting characters are excellent, especially east is east's OM Puri as George.
The funniest bit is the rollercoaster scene, but more than that the comedy is witty and clever, it is a script that is well written and directed.
It looks like such a great film to have made, there is a truly horrible villain that you can't wait to be brought down and most importantly it leaves you with the warm fuzzy feeling that you love from the movies.
In short, i can't recommend it enough.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Below par Coogan
A very weak and insipid comedy, with few laughs and an extremely annoying 50s retro soundtrack a la Ealing..... Read more
Published 20 days ago by Martin Daly
3.0 out of 5 stars Abit scratched :/
Having only just watched the DVD i found it was a bit scratched which made it jump in a few places. Thought it was a quick delivery and packaged well.
Published 2 months ago by carly erting-haynes
5.0 out of 5 stars Very funny
I think this movie is brilliant and has been overlooked in the past. Great cast,well written and just really good fun movie .
Published 2 months ago by Mrs. C. Sherriffs
5.0 out of 5 stars Hilarious
Very very funny. Do not normally think of Steve Coogan being a heart throb, but there is a little bit of romance in this as well as a good romp. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Miss
5.0 out of 5 stars worth a look
This film is worth watching it is funny in bits and steve coogan is good as the parole officer good fun for the family
Published 13 months ago by Keith O'Donnell
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent film
A family favourite we can watch this film again and again and again and again. A story you don't get tired of and see more each time you watch it.
Published 14 months ago by Fred
5.0 out of 5 stars Great fun
Saw this film when I was much younger and was first exposure to Mr Coogan.
Some very funny bits in it. Worth watching.
Published 20 months ago by M. E. Barker
4.0 out of 5 stars Bags of fun - one of the better Brit coms.
There are plenty of laughs to be had in this charming little movie. The script is fresh from the word go; it bounces around the right side of funny and Coogan's comedic dexterity... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Mr. S. Storey
3.0 out of 5 stars Good British fun
This was good fun with an undemanding plot, as long as you suspend belief. The characters were stereotyped but their frailties made you care what happened to them. Read more
Published 24 months ago by specialK
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Fun Movie
This is NOT Dr Strangelove or Battleship Potempkin.

It's a good old-fashioned comedy/crime romp - more in the mould of Some Like It Hot than anything else... Read more
Published on 11 Dec 2011 by David Fuller
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