This film, together with Get Carter (the original) are the two finest British crime/gangster films you can get.
Bob Hoskins gives his best ever performance as Harold Shand a cockney gangster whos trying to do a deal with an American over the (as was then) wasteland of docklands. Unfortunately while he's in the states one of his gang has upset some rather nasty people. Upon his return things start to go badly wrong.
This film is full of great scenes - perhaps most memorably when the men Harold suspects are trying to muscle in on him are brought in hanging upsidedown from meathooks - Harold has a quiet word:
"For more than ten years there's been peace - everyone to his own patch. We've all had it sweet. I've done every single one of you favours in the past - I've put money in all your pockets. I've treated you well, even when you was out of order, right? Well now there's been an eruption. It's like f**kin' Belfast on a bad night. One of my closest friends is lyin' out there in the freezer. And believe me, all of you, nobody goes home until I find out who done it, and why".
Its all marvellously done, and the ending is very clever indeed - you will never forget it once you've seen it. The whole film is complimented by excellent music composed by Francis Monkman (who played with Curved Air and Sky).
Helen Mirren gives a great peformance as Harolds wife/girlfriend. The cast includes quite a few familiar faces such as Eddie Constantine and P H Moriarty as 'Razors'. The most noteable is a small role for the as then unknown Pierce Brosnan.
This film is also an interesting piece of British history as you can see docklands as it was before before Canary Wharf existed.
If you haven't already seen this, then you've missed a really cracking film.
This is a true classic, for so many reasons. It has telling things to say about the 80's in Britain, and it's a great London film, a cinematically unfamiliar London of the yet-to-be redeveloped Docklands - it stands on the threshold of something. At the same time it's a timeless, Shakesperean drama of ambition and power, politics and hubris. It moves at a cracking pace, and it it still has a visceral effect. Like most great films, the music adds a dimension, driving the film forward. And Hoskins. A bravura performance, a modern tragic hero, raging against the inevitable, never truly understanding his fate, until the incredible final scene. I saw this film years ago on tv, and its images have stayed with me; it's great to say that it is as fresh and involving now as I remembered it. And I have to say, the accident of fate that is Pierce Brosnan - with the hindsight of Bond, he looks as beautiful as the Angel of Death in this now.
DVD seems good, the commentary informative. A film for the library, with a DVD that does it justice.
"The Long Good Friday" tells its narrative in an unusual way,
The opening sequences are a pastiche of seemingly dissimilar violent happenings; the gel that holds them together is the enthralling musical theme. As the film progresses we are eventually let into an explanation. It's all a huge misunderstanding, grounded on unwise pronouncements taken by Shand's minions and misconstrued by the provisional IRA, who feel their interests are threatened. While the audience knows the real events that caused the problem, and eventually Shand does, it appears that the provisional IRA is none the wiser. The climatic ending and the movie's final scenes are, quite simply, with the zooming in of the camera, held for effect, of Shand's sneering face in full detail, as his eyes shift from side to side, and eventually his mouth breaks into a terrified grin, as it dawns on him on how it feels to get a dose of his own medicine.
This movie is one remarkable piece of work, not only for the late Mr Hoskins performance but also for the synergy of the cinematography, the power of the musical composition, and, in a strange way the rather appealing nature of its at times very violent sense of humour. This is an excellent piece of 20th century British cinema making and is therefore highly recommended.
As for the extras - well there are none apart from a very dated cinematic preview clip. As for its quality of the picture well it is less than ideal, non the less a cracker of a film.
on 13 June 2015
the steelbook edition is much better quality than all previous releases of this film, i was a bit apprehensive when i saw on the packaging that the sound was mono, as it was on its release back in 1980, however it reall works well, especially for dialogue, which is clear, crystal clear. the improved picture quality is also worth a mention, the scenes on the boat are a massive improvement.....still one of the finest films ever made thanks to the late, great mr hoskin's top drawer acting.....
on 7 October 2010
What can i say about one of the best british gangster films of all time! It's still the best.. everyone knows the story by now just read the film review if you don't.. my review is based on the Picture and sound quality of this blu-ray version.
I have just upgraded from the Special Edition DVD, so this is a comparison to that..
The picture is better than the DVD, sharper, clearer and brighter, but you do get flickering in places bright and dark..
The sound is a fairly good 5.1 but not much different from the 5.1 on the DVD.
Over all it's worth the upgrade for a fiver, and if you never had it on DVD then it's worth getting now.
Their have been previous comments about the picture ratio 1.78 and 1.66 but in comparison to the 16.9 DVD you can't see any major loss of picture, the major advantage of the picture being the best it's going to be out way's that..
Before this movie was released, with the exception of Michael Caine`s Get Carter, British gangster movies were little known around the world and even at home, they were little appreciated. With Harold Shand, a brash, rough pint sized gangster on the make, Bob Hoskins changed that and paved the way for a whole raft of gritty crime thrillers set in the British Isles. Although few of the later movies rose to the heights claimed by Caine and Hoskins.
Harold Shand is a London gangster from the old school, he is the man that the real life Kray twins might like to have been, bursting with ruthlessness, animal cunning, aggression, hubris, charisma and ambition he sets out to transform himself into a businessman cum developer who will succeed because the qualities that make him a good gangster will allow him to defeat any legitimate business rival. He is assisted by his girl Victoria (Helen Mirren) - several grades above the classic Barbera Windsor style of gangster`s moll - who understands her man`s strengths and weaknesses and gives him the support and guidance that he needs succeed without threatening his perceived alpha male dominance.
Shand`s big idea is to get in on the development on London`s docklands and to cash in on an upcoming bid to host the Olympic games. He turns to an American crime syndicate for backing and the movie is set on an Easter weekend when he is playing host to mobster Charlie (Eddie Constantine) and Tony (Stephen Davies), Charlie`s lawyer.
Harold`s plans start to come unstuck as his organization quakes under attack from an unknown enemy who is planting bombs and assassinating Harold`s men. Victoria, assisted by Harold`s right hand man Jeff (Derek Thompson), attempts to keep the Americans on-board while Harold must find out who is behind the attacks and deal with them. He finally works out what is going on but can his gangster instincts deal with an entirely new threat?
Hoskins and Mirren are outstanding. They are an unlikely couple but they will have you convinced. Great acting from them both is helped by a script that gives them plenty to work with. Unfortunately, the two of them do a fine job of highlighting just how poor is the rest of the acting. Jeff has betrayed Harold but he hardly gives a hint as to what his motives might have been and all of the other characters seem to be determined to deliver their lines and collect their money and that`s it.
The uninspiring supporting actors do not detract though. The script and the editing deliver a tight package that it always moving along and holding your attention. The camera work is good too - you are there in Harold`s London and not just in a studio with a few street scene backdrops.
If you like this film then you will want to catch "Mona Lisa" in which Hoskins gets quite close to the Shand character. All of the subsequent Brit-gangster movies will entertain you but never reach the same level. For that, you should perhaps try "Trainspotting" but not if you found Hoskins` accent difficult!
on 1 May 2015
Exactly a year on from his way-too-early death, here’s an exquisitely 2K-enhanced chance to revel in Bob Hoskins’ magnetic on-screen presence. His ability to switch in an instant from avuncular charm to rabid menace perfectly suits his role as Harold Shand, mob boss on London’s unlovely river. The final shot – surely referenced by George Clooney at the end of Michael Clayton – is as skilful a piece of wordless acting as you’ll ever see.
The film opens with a series of violent killings. In a clever bit of framing, we gradually learn that the victims are Harold’s goons, so we share the shock and horror he feels. Turns out that the killings couldn’t have come at a worse time – the New Jersey mob is in town to sign a business deal to form a “New London”. So Harold, along with his bird Vicky (Helen Mirren) and best china plate Jeff (Derek Thompson) must track down and quash the jealous culprits before the Americans turn on their heels without signing on the dotted line.
It’s a propulsive plot, simple until the twists start piling up. Mostly this is a character-centric play, focusing on the love triangle between Harold, Vicky, and Jeff. Vicky is the intelligent centre around which all the fellas gravitate, while Jeff is the gentle calm who shares the centre of that storm. But Jeff isn’t the picture of laid-back submission he first seems. Watch his face as those lift doors slide closed – is that a glimpse of an evil smile?
The Long Good Friday is fascinatingly dated. Francis Monkman’s music is a strange concoction of flute-based crime soul and Phaedra-period Tangerine Dream looping electronica. But beyond that, this is a movie locked in time: the 1980 London skyline shown at the start is from a grey English era, Thatcher’s long shadow looming. When Harold makes his speech to the Americans about Britain being great again, the blank stares he receives speak volumes. His desperation to rekindle his land of hope and glory is impossibly sad.
Yet Good Friday is frequently leavened with humour. Whether it’s a pub named “Fagan’s”, or Harold exclaiming “Diabolical liberty!” as he hears of his henchman’s murder, there’s an ironic vein of deadpan running through the script. There’s something very British about The Long Good Friday’s resistance to glorifying its blinkered thugs, however much we end up empathising.
Which we do. In a genre better acquainted with swagger than sympathy, Good Friday stands above the pack by getting behind the macho posturing and to the heart of the mob. It’s not just his business interests that are being damaged – Harold is emotionally wounded by the attacks. Sure, he responds with machetes, but the point is the script delves into vulnerable places that lesser gangster movies wouldn’t dare.
It might not have the grim grit of the likes of Get Carter (although one particular death is genuinely shocking), but for me Good Friday’s more self-deprecating tone gives it the edge, and a timelessness that elevates this made-for-TV-for-under-a-million movie to classic status. It’s the anti-operatic alternative to the glossy Godfathers and Goodfellas of this world, and an unshowy landmark in British crime cinema.
on 18 February 2008
Stands the test of time, a little dated in places and some of the performances, but on the whole, good entertainment and at the price, you can't go wrong.
One thing to mention, the DVD does not have chapters, so if the disc glitches (as mine did on first play) you have to start at the beginning and forward fast to the point you were at. A bit of a drag!
on 12 January 2001
An interesting film, an early prototype for the more recent UK-based gangster genre. Bob Hoskins is very effective as the schizophrenic London hood. His bonhomie and humour give way to truly disturbing violence, particularly in one scene where he exacts retribution on the colleague who has betrayed him. Perhaps this is the main source of suspense. The early impression is of genial, small-time crooks, but this illusion is destroyed by the escalating violence by and against an unknown adversary as Hoskins struggles to find who is out to destroy him. Helen Mirren is superb as his upper-class mistress - her first film role of note, although she also appeared much earlier in the little-known "Age of Consent" with James Mason. Note also an early cameo from Pierce Brosnan as an Irish terrorist. Cracking score as well. Well worth a viewing.
on 18 August 2013
fab film great watch gets bettere everytime and all true to life helen mirren mutton dressed as lamb but great actress hoskins what a hunk mr muscle hasnt a look in a must see true to life film.the best part is when hunky hoskins starts kick boxing in the long bar after winning a break dancing competition is awesome top quality wig never moved a millimeter the baldy bloke shouts oy you thats a syrup me owld china pure envy on his face top syrup made by top wig emporium ruben vargna and co. old kent road next to singhs sewing sweatshop where my ford cortina was broken into and fluffy dice and troy and tracy sticker was stolen all in all true to life gangster flick.