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4.4 out of 5 stars
The Likely Lads [VHS] [1976]
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 11 January 2011
Okay, let's be brutal - this is never going to challenge 'The Godfather' for Best Movie Of The Seventies. Actually, it may not make it into a Seventies' Top 100... even if we stipulate a 'Must Include At Least One Soft-Focus, Dewy-Eyed Shot Of Tyneside' clause in the selection criteria. But there's something bleakly compelling that arises from the pathos and despair of the lads' encroaching mid-life crises that makes The Likely Lads withstand many, many repeat viewings.

More than that, though, it's a time capsule allowing viewers of a certain age, a certain social class and a certain geographical disposition ('north of Watf**d') a wincingly nostalgic wallow in everything that was simultaneously glorious and godawful about mid-70's Britain. Today's under-16's should be made to watch it on a perpetual loop until they reject their iPhones in disgust and all start trading pithy quips in broad Geordie. "This is what used to pass for entertainment," we'll tell them, "before Ant and Dec went and ruined everything forever."

They'll thank us eventually.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on 1 March 2001
For a short period in the early/mid 1970s there was a boom in spin-off cinema features from popular British television series - a tradition which had developed much earlier with radio series such as Inspector Hornleigh before the Second World War. Most of these spin-off films were unfairly maligned by critics at the time (as indeed were the Carry On films). The Likely Lads (from 1964 BBC series The Likely Lads and 1970s sequel Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads) is a prime example of this little celebrated phenomenon. Central to the story is writers Clement and La Frenais' strong and likeable characterisations of Bob and Terry and their bonding with the changing Tyneside landscape - Bob, now an upwardly mobile surveyor, married to Thelma and settling down with a mortgage on the Elm Lodge Housing Estate. By contrast, Terry, divorced, carefree, living in a high-rise council flat chasing after au pair girls.. The one liners crackle thick and fast and the observational commentary, as with the series, is spot on. The characters benefit from the opening out of storyline enabled by the cinema format. Best line from Bob: 'In the chocolate box of life the top layer has already gone and someone's pinched the orange cream from the bottom'. Highly recommended for fans and those that have never seen the series alike.
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46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
on 25 February 2006
Curiously, despite the assertion on the box, this DVD doesn't contain ALL the surviving episodes. There is another one, "The Other Side of the Fence", which was screened by UK Gold last year, featuring Anneke Wills. In this episode, Bob is promoted from the workshop into the management side of the company (hence the title). If UK Gold had the episode (and presumably acquired it from the BBC), then how is it that the BBC themselves seem to be unaware of it? Releasing a DVD containing supposedly ALL the surviving episodes, while omitting ONE, strikes me as somewhat daft.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A big screen outing for likely lads Rodney Bewes and James Bolam, it's a spin off from the popular TV shows that the two made in the 60's and 70's. It's directed by Michael Tuchner and written by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais.

Plot sees lifelong friends Bob Ferris (Bewes) and Terry Collier (Bolam) finding that times are a changing very fast. When the street where they grew up starts to be demolished, the pair feel the pangs of nostalgia more than most, even bringing the onset of a sort of mid-life crisis. Bob has to face life in the normality of a marriage to the no nonsense Thelma (Brigit Forsyth), and Terry, recently divorced, takes on a new girlfriend whilst firmly ensconced at his parents high rise flat. When Thelma sees that Terry, once the bane of her relationship with Bob, is going steady and happy with Christina (Mary Tamm), she plans a caravan holiday for the four of them....Which surely will not go as planned?

Although taking the title of the first show that ran on British TV between 1964 and 1966, this film spin off is closer in tone to the sequel show, Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads? During the 70's, Britain was awash with situation comedies, many of which had the obligatory film spin off. Sadly, very few of them were any good, bogged down by trying to extend a half hour comedy formula into three times the running time. The Likely Lads movie is one of the rare successes, mainly because the writers were so in tune with the times, they were able to plant the much loved characters in the 70's time frame and involve the comedy as such. Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads? Always carried an air of melancholy about it, but the comedy was still rich and prominent, so it be with this film version.

Bewes and Bolam were an excellent partnership, where Bob is a snob in waiting, borderline henpecked one at that, Terry is the slob, the boozy cynic always dragging Bob back to reality. But their bond is born from the days of hard drinking and chasing women, they hanker for those days again, it's almost as if they refuse to accept they are getting a bit too long in the tooth for such antics now. Here in the film, Clement and La Frenais play on this with much reward, you see, the modern world has not just caught them up, it's also winning the race between them. The answer is simple, take a holiday. But of course this too will be one for the miserablists to bemoan, it's a classic British holiday, small caravan, pouring rain, chance of nooky? Zero. Chance of great comedy? Very high.

The plot doesn't in truth quite cover the 90 minute run time, but there's enough here to warrant it being called one of the better film spin offs from the 70's. Great acting, not just the boys, Forsyth always a revelation, and writing as crisp as a winters day. God bless those Geordie boys. 8/10
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 8 January 2008
Unlike many of the TV series that produced a spin off film this one is actually funny and well worth viewing more than once.

Bob is having a mid life crisis so wife Thelma suggests that they go away for a caravanning weekend to Northumberland - caravans being a well known cure for most of life's troubles apparently - together with Terry and his current Finnish girlfriend Chris.

Needless to say it's a catalogue of mishaps. Bob's marriage is in trouble resulting in him moving in with Terry who has been dumped and is back to his usual "sensitive" self. As with all 70's films the fashions are well worth a chuckle - Thelma sports a particularly fetching purple "fondu party" type dress which is borderline offensive.

There are some fantastic lines including one of my all time film favourites:
Terry to Bob who has just poured out his heart about feeling his life is falling apart - "do you want some coffee, I'd offer you a beer but I've only got 6"

You can't beat a bit of North Eastern humour!
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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
The Likely Lads film arises from the 1970's practice of adapting popular sitcoms of the day into movies, a very dangerous thing to do for the fans of those particular shows.

The success of half hour sitcoms on television does not necessarily transfer well to film, the movie world is littered with many such failures, fortunately The Likely Lads is one of the better efforts.

It could be a coincidence that my three favourite sitcom -into- film adaptations, The Likely Lads, Porridge and Steptoe and Son Ride Again are all written by their original creators/writers, maybe that's what puts them above the rest.

The Likely Lads film isn't perfect however, it's a little unstructured and it seems to run out of steam about the 70 minute mark and a new plotline is somewhat clumsily tacked on to pad the film out a bit, also no attempt has been made to match the locations and sets to the television series to create the feeling of continuation, but then this is nothing new in feature adaptations.

The film has many good points however such as the always brilliant performances of Rodney Bewes, James Bolam and Brigit Forsyth, the directing is very good and the feeling of nostalgia for the 1970's is everpresent, and of course it marked the end of an era in that it was the last ever instalment of the Likely Lads to be filmed, so is quite historic in that respect. In short it is a warm, cosy little film perfect for those cold drizzly winter nights and for those of us that have 86 minutes to kill, really rather nice in fact.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 21 September 2010
Decided to buy all of these DVDs after I saw the 'Whatever Happened' series on 'Gold' and it brought back memories of when I saw it the first time round, back in the 60s and 70s. I can't believe how much Britain has changed since those days and it's all contained within 'The Likely Lads'(late 60s) and 'Whatever Happened to...'(early 70s) both series of which are like watching a social history of the times. Remember slum clearance,the labour exchange and a time before political correctness? It's all in here...and brilliantly written. (Clement & Le Frenais's brilliant one liners some of which are now in every day use.) Really enjoyed it. If, like me, you're a baby boomer, bring back your youth and re-live the good old days!
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on 23 February 2006
When this DVD was first listed at retailers sites across the internet I was puzzled, because they listed it as the complete series of 1-3, stating it had every episode from all 3 series, when it was well known that only a few had survived, now this has been amended and we see the actual episodes that are included on this DVD, but I can state for a fact it is still missing one surviving episode because I have it on a DVD someone recorded off the TV a while back, the episode is called 'The other side of the fence'.
As for the episodes themselves, they show their age, but hopefully the DVD release should have improved the quality, particuarly the sound which on some episodes from the tv transmissions could sometimes be poor. But a great collection of comedy classics nevertheless, incidentally the first series of 'Whatever happened to the likely lads' is due for a May 2006 release.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on 19 September 2003
Whilst a few of the British sitcoms that were transferrred to the big screen came unstuck because they tried to throw the characters into completely different situations (Are you being served), The Likely Lads is a film that embraces all the themes that made the 'Whatever Happened to' series such a great success. The melancholy whistfulness of the romantic Bob plays brilliantly against the (often)cynical Terry as they get themselves involved in the two main plots that develop through the story. The film is a joy and anyone who felt pangs of regret at seeing the last episode of the series should be pleased to find the film is basically the equivalent of another three episodes. There is no rehashing of TV scripts, so this film is further canon for the enthusiast. The characters have moved on a little but Bob and Thelma still have their ever precarious relationship for Terry to test. For her part Thelma plays matchmaker for Terry with enlightening results. Later, when a misunderstanding leads Bob to leave his wife, or vice versa, Terry has to console his friend but it isn't long before Bob is practically forcing Terry to embrace the freedom of being single again. The two likely lads embark on the sort of activities we saw in the earliest TV series. Terry of course knows that Bob will regret it all in the morning. The film is brilliantly performed throughout and doesn't flag at all. The script, as you would expect from Clement and La Frenais, sparkles. It's a warm film that takes those moments of melancholy and regret that we have all felt and finds the humour within. I can't recommend it highly enough.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on 30 November 2005
Yes, it's all been said. The Likely Lads First and only big-screen outing stands up well against the series (and what a benchmark to live up to).
It has been said by some that part of the plot does "wander" a bit, and, yes, some aspects of the film don't seem to match the series. But that's nitpicking. Each episode in the series was a story in itself, whereas the film is (by rights) cramming a bit more in. But the magic is still there. Excellent picture quality and a piece of comedy history.
And at Amazon's Current 3GBP (YES! Less than 3 QUID!) It is surely the bargain of the year! Personally I would pay three times as much for this film on DVD, so at the current price, no-one has any excuse! Put your order in today, and get ready for a touch of nostalgia, and a good laugh into the bargain!
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