A Place to Go

Last updated

A Place to Go
A Place to Go VideoCover.jpg
Directed by Basil Dearden
Written by Clive Exton
Michael Fisher
Michael Relph
Produced byMichael Relph
Starring Bernard Lee
Rita Tushingham
Michael Sarne
Cinematography Reginald H. Wyer
Edited by John D. Guthridge
Music by Charles Blackwell
Distributed by Bryanston Films (UK)
Release date
  • July 1963 (1963-07)(UK)
Running time
86 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom
Budget£155,000 [1]

A Place to Go is a 1963 British crime drama film directed by Basil Dearden and starring Bernard Lee, Rita Tushingham and Michael Sarne. Set in contemporary Bethnal Green in the East End of London, it charts the dramatic changes that were then happening in the lives of the British working class, fitting into the kitchen sink school of film-making that was popular in Britain at the time. The film was based on the novel Bethnal Green by Michael Fisher, which had been published in 1961.



Ricky Flint dreams of escaping working-class Bethnal Green, where he works in a cigarette factory and shares a crowded terraced house with his middle-aged parents Matt and Lil; his pregnant sister Betsy, who soon gives birth; and Betsy's husband Jim. In order to get the money to leave, Ricky agrees to help a local gangster, Jack Ellerman, to rob the cigarette factory, and also gets Jim, a lorry driver hoping to buy an expensive transport licence, to join the plot. Ricky finds himself attracted to Catherine "Cat" Donovan, who has been dating Charlie Batey, another member of Jack's gang. Cat agrees to date Ricky and even make love with him, but she is fiercely independent and refuses to take orders from him or stop seeing Charlie, pointing out that she and Ricky are not engaged so she is free to do as she likes.

Ricky's father Matt, a dockworker, also wants to leave his insecure job and strike out on his own. He eventually leaves the docks and becomes a busker with a Houdiniesque escape routine. Matt hates Jack Ellerman, who has been more financially successful than himself and was also his rival for Lil's affections many years before. When Matt finds Jack and his gang meeting Ricky and Jim at the Flints' house his anger, on top of the stress of busking, causes him to suffer a fatal stroke.

On the night of the planned robbery Jim decides at the last minute that he cannot go through with it and risk his family's future. Ricky takes Jim's lorry without his knowledge and fills in for Jim, as well as doing his own part by disabling the factory alarm. However, when Jack orders Ricky to stand guard with a lead pipe Ricky finds himself unable to hit a police officer who approaches and disrupts the robbery, thus leaving it to Charlie to knock the officer out. Charlie later takes revenge on Ricky by setting fire to Jim's lorry. Ricky is badly burned attempting to put out the fire and recovers in hospital. Cat visits him there, but also continues seeing Charlie.

Meanwhile, slum clearance forces Lil to move out of her home of 30 years into a new flat in another area. Jim and Betsy use the insurance money from the burned lorry to move into a house of their own, which Betsy had wanted, though now she finds it somewhat lonely. Jim gives up his dream of being a lorry driver for a steady job in a local factory.

After Ricky is released from hospital he finds Cat with Charlie at the pub and attacks Charlie. The police arrive and arrest both men. In court Ricky testifies that he and Cat are engaged, and that he was angry because she was seeing Charlie while he was in hospital. When Cat corroborates Ricky's testimony the judge is lenient and lets Ricky off with a fine. Ricky and Cat then decide to make their engagement a reality.


Differences between the novel and the film

In the book Charlie's character is called Spider and Matt's busking act is fire-breathing, not escapology. When Jim changes his mind about the robbery Jack postpones it, and they set fire to the van that night in revenge. Ricky and Jim go to confront Jack and his gang, but Ricky has a change of heart, leaving Jim to be badly beaten. Ricky flees the scene upset and, longing for his father, tries to simulate Matt's fire-breathing act: that is how he burns his face. The botched robbery goes ahead after Ricky leaves hospital, and the next day, racked with guilt, Ricky and Cat go to apologise to Jack and to tell him that they don't want to be involved in the gang any more. Jack threatens to have Ricky beaten up if he refuses to stay in the gang, but Ricky chooses to take the beating. Afterwards Jack confides that he felt as if Ricky was a son to him, heavily hinting that he is actually his real father. Ricky and Cat escape down the canal on a small boat and plan their future life together.



The greyhound-racing scenes in the film were set at Clapton Stadium. [2]

Pub scenes were mostly filmed at The Acorn, a pub in Bethnal Green that was demolished in 2019, [3] but there is also an exterior shot of The Angel in City Road, Islington.

The rest of the outdoor shots were filmed on location in Bethnal Green.

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bethnal Green</span> Human settlement in England

Bethnal Green is an area in the East End of London 3 miles (4.8 km) northeast of Charing Cross. The area emerged from the small settlement which developed around the Green, much of which survives today as Bethnal Green Gardens, beside Cambridge Heath Road. By the 16th century the term applied to a wider rural area, the Hamlet of Bethnal Green, which subsequently became a Parish, then a Metropolitan Borough before merging with neighbouring areas to become the north-western part of the new London Borough of Tower Hamlets.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Great Train Robbery (1963)</span> 1963 robbery of a Royal Mail train in Ledburn, England

The Great Train Robbery was the robbery of £2.3 million from a Royal Mail train heading from Glasgow to London on the West Coast Main Line in the early hours of 8 August 1963 at Bridego Railway Bridge, Ledburn, near Mentmore in Buckinghamshire, England.

<i>The Killers</i> (1964 film) 1964 film by Don Siegel

The Killers, released in the UK as Ernest Hemingway's "The Killers", is a 1964 American neo noir crime film. Written by Gene L. Coon and directed by Don Siegel, it is the second Hollywood adaptation of Ernest Hemingway's 1927 short story of the same name, following the 1946 version.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">The Queen Victoria</span> Fictional pub in the television series EastEnders

The Queen Victoria is the Victorian public house in the BBC soap opera, EastEnders. It has the fictional address of 46 Albert Square, Walford, London E20.

<i>Four Brothers</i> (film) 2005 film directed by John Singleton

Four Brothers is a 2005 American action film directed by John Singleton. The film stars Mark Wahlberg, Tyrese Gibson, André Benjamin and Garrett Hedlund as four adopted brothers who set out to avenge the murder of their adoptive mother. The film was shot in Detroit, Michigan and the Greater Toronto Area. It has been described as blaxploitation-influenced. Released on August 12, 2005, the film received mixed reviews from critics and grossed $92 million worldwide.

<i>Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia</i> American comedy television series

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is an American sitcom created by Rob McElhenney and developed by McElhenney and Glenn Howerton that premiered on August 4, 2005 on FX and later FXX beginning with the ninth season in 2013. It stars Charlie Day, Howerton, McElhenney, Kaitlin Olson and Danny DeVito. The series follows the exploits of "The Gang", a group of narcissistic, sociopathic friends who run the Irish dive bar Paddy's Pub in South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but spend most of their free time drinking, scheming, arguing amongst themselves, and plotting elaborate cons against others, and at times each other, for personal benefit, financial gain, revenge, or simply out of boredom, while belittling, berating, and manipulating each other in the process at seemingly any opportunity.

<i>Private School</i> (film) 1983 film by Noel Black

Private School is a 1983 American teen sex comedy film, directed by Noel Black. Starring Phoebe Cates, Betsy Russell, and Matthew Modine, it follows a teenaged couple attempting to have sex for the first time, while their friends engage in sexually minded practical jokes.

<i>Myra Breckinridge</i> (film) 1970 film by Mike Sarne

Myra Breckinridge is a 1970 American comedy film based on Gore Vidal's 1968 novel of the same name. The film was directed by Michael Sarne, and featured Raquel Welch in the title role. It also starred John Huston as Buck Loner, Mae West as Leticia Van Allen, Farrah Fawcett, Rex Reed, Roger Herren, and Roger C. Carmel. Tom Selleck made his film debut in a small role as one of Leticia's "studs." Theadora Van Runkle was costume designer for the film, though Edith Head designed West's costumes.

<i>The Leather Boys</i> 1964 British film

The Leather Boys is a 1964 British drama film about the rocker subculture in London featuring a gay motorcyclist. This film is notable as an early example of a film that violated the Hollywood production code, yet was still shown in the United States, as well as an important film in the genre of queer cinema.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jack La Rue</span> American actor (1902-1984)

Jack La Rue was an American film and stage actor.

<i>Mr. Wise Guy</i> 1942 film by William Nigh

Mr. Wise Guy is a 1942 American film starring The East Side Kids and directed by William Nigh.

<i>Wyoming Renegades</i> 1955 film by Fred F. Sears

Wyoming Renegades is a 1955 American Western film directed by Fred F. Sears and starring Philip Carey, Gene Evans and Martha Hyer.

Charlie Kelly (<i>Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia</i>) Character from Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia

Charles Rutherford Kelly is a fictional character, one of the five main characters who appeared on the FX series sitcom It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Portrayed by Charlie Day, the character was created by Rob McElhenney, Glenn Howerton and Charlie Day and appears in all of the show's 162 episodes across 15 seasons.

<i>Robbery Under Arms</i> (1957 film) 1957 British film

Robbery Under Arms is a 1957 British Western film directed by Jack Lee and starring Peter Finch and Ronald Lewis. It is based on the 1888 Australian novel Robbery Under Arms by Thomas Alexander Browne who wrote under the pseudonym Rolf Boldrewood.

<i>The True Story of Lynn Stuart</i> 1958 film by Lewis Seiler

The True Story of Lynn Stuart is a 1958 American biographical crime drama film starring Betsy Palmer, Jack Lord, Barry Atwater and released by Columbia Pictures.

<i>Send for Paul Temple</i> 1946 British film

Send for Paul Temple is a 1946 British crime film directed by John Argyle and starring Anthony Hulme, Joy Shelton and Tamara Desni. Paul Temple is called in by Scotland Yard after a major diamond theft. It was the first of four film adaptations of the BBC's Paul Temple radio serials, with John Bentley taking over the lead role in future installments.

<i>Radio Cab Murder</i> 1954 film

Radio Cab Murder is a 1954 British crime film directed by Vernon Sewell and starring Jimmy Hanley, Lana Morris and Sonia Holm. It was made at Walton Studios and on location around Kensington and Notting Hill in London. The film's sets were designed by the art director John Stoll. It was made as a second feature and was released by the independent Eros Films.

<i>King of Thieves</i> (2018 film) 2018 British film

King of Thieves is a 2018 British heist film directed by James Marsh. The film is based on the Hatton Garden safe deposit burglary of 2015, and stars Michael Caine, Tom Courtenay, Michael Gambon, Charlie Cox, Jim Broadbent, Paul Whitehouse and Ray Winstone.


  1. Petrie, Duncan James (2017). "Bryanston Films: An Experiment in Cooperative Independent Production and Distribution" (PDF). Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television: 7. ISSN   1465-3451.
  2. Genders, Roy (1990). NGRC book of Greyhound Racing. Pelham Books Ltd. ISBN   0-7207-1804-X.
  3. Closed Pubs website