The Long Good Friday

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The Long Good Friday
Theatrical release poster
Directed by John Mackenzie
Produced byBarry Hanson
Written by Barrie Keeffe
Starring Bob Hoskins
Helen Mirren
Music by Francis Monkman
Cinematography Phil Meheux
Black Lion Films
HandMade Films
Calendar Productions
Distributed by Paramount British Pictures
Release date
Running time
114 minutes
Budget£ 930,000

The Long Good Friday is a British gangster film [1] starring Bob Hoskins and Helen Mirren. It was completed in 1979, [2] but because of release delays, it is generally credited as a 1980 film. The storyline weaves together events and concerns of the late 1970s, including mid-level political and police corruption, IRA fund-raising, displacement of traditional British industry by property development, UK membership of the EEC, and the free-market economy.

Gangster film film genre

A gangster film or gangster movie is a film belonging to a genre that focuses on gangs and organized crime. It is a subgenre of crime film, that may involve large criminal organizations, or small gangs formed to perform a certain illegal act. The genre is differentiated from Westerns and the gangs of that genre.

Bob Hoskins English actor

Robert William Hoskins was an English actor. His work included lead roles in Pennies from Heaven (1978), The Long Good Friday (1980), Mona Lisa (1986), Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), Mermaids (1990), and Super Mario Bros. (1993), and supporting performances in Brazil (1985), Hook (1991), Nixon (1995), Enemy at the Gates (2001), Mrs. Henderson Presents (2005), A Christmas Carol (2009), Made in Dagenham (2010), and Snow White and the Huntsman (2012). He also directed two feature films.

Helen Mirren British actress

Dame Helen Lydia Mirren, is an English actor. Mirren began her acting career with the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1967, and is one of the few performers who have achieved the Triple Crown of Acting. She won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 2007 for her performance as Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen and received the Olivier Award for Best Actress and Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for the same role in The Audience.


It was voted at number 21 in the British Film Institute's list of the "BFI Top 100 British films" list, and provided Bob Hoskins with his breakthrough film role. In 2016, British film magazine Empire ranked The Long Good Friday number 19 in their list of "The 100 best British films". [3]

British Film Institute Film archive and charity in the United Kingdom

The British Film Institute (BFI) is a film and charitable organisation which promotes and preserves filmmaking and television in the United Kingdom. The BFI utilises lottery funds to encourage film production, distribution, and education. It is sponsored by the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

In 1999, the British Film Institute surveyed 1,000 people from the world of British film and television to produce the BFI 100 list of the greatest British films of the 20th century. Voters were asked to choose up to 100 films that were 'culturally British'. The list also includes two non-British films, namely My Left Foot and The Commitments.

<i>Empire</i> (film magazine) British monthly film magazine

Empire is a British film magazine published monthly by Bauer Consumer Media of Hamburg based Bauer Media Group. From the first issue in July 1989, the magazine was edited by Barry McIlheney and published by Emap. Bauer purchased Emap Consumer Media in early 2008. Published in the United Kingdom, Empire organises the annual Empire Awards which were sponsored by Sony Ericsson, and from 2009 sponsored by Jameson. The awards are voted for by readers of the magazine.


A man named Colin delivers money to an unknown destination in Belfast, taking some of the cash in the process. The recipients realize that money is missing but are then attacked. Soon afterwards, the delivery driver is kidnapped and killed at the same time as Colin is murdered whilst swimming.

Harold Shand, a London gangster, is aspiring to become a legitimate businessman and is trying to form a partnership with the American Mafia, with a plan to redevelop London Docklands. Shand's world is suddenly destabilized by a series of unexplained murders and bomb attacks. He and his henchmen try to uncover his attackers' identities whilst simultaneously trying not to worry their visitors, fearing the Americans will abandon him if they think he's not in full control. Harold's girlfriend, Victoria, tells the Mafia representatives Shand is under attack from an unknown enemy, but assures them Shand is working to quickly resolve the crisis. She starts to suspect Harold's right hand man, Jeff, knows more about who is behind the attacks than he claims.

A mafia is a type of organized crime syndicate whose primary activities are protection racketeering, arbitrating disputes between criminals, and brokering and enforcing illegal agreements and transactions. Mafias often engage in secondary activities such as gambling, loan sharking, drug-trafficking, prostitution, and fraud.

After some investigation, Harold confronts Jeff who confesses he sent Harold's friend Colin to Belfast to deliver money raised by Irish Navvies to the IRA. He explains that three of the IRA's top men were killed on the same night after discovering some of the money had been stolen. Harold realizes the IRA have come to the conclusion that he sold them out to the security forces and pocketed the missing cash for himself. Vowing to destroy the terrorist organisation in London, Harold loses his temper and kills Jeff in a frenzy.

Provisional Irish Republican Army Disbanded Irish Republican paramilitary group

The Irish Republican Army, also known as the Provisional Irish Republican Army, was an Irish republican paramilitary organisation that sought to end British rule in Northern Ireland, facilitate the reunification of Ireland and bring about an independent republic encompassing all of Ireland. It was the biggest and most active republican paramilitary group during the Troubles. It saw itself as the successor to the original IRA and called itself simply the Irish Republican Army (IRA), or Óglaigh na hÉireann in Irish, and was broadly referred to as such by others. The IRA was designated an unlawful terrorist organisation in the United Kingdom and an unlawful organisation in the Republic of Ireland.

Harold sets up a meeting with the IRA's London leadership. He ostensibly offers them £60,000 in return for a ceasefire but double crosses them and has them shot as they are counting the cash. Believing his enemies are dead, Harold travels to the Savoy Hotel to triumphantly inform his Mafia partners only to find the Americans preparing to leave, having been spooked by the carnage. In response to their derisory comments about the UK, Harold berates them for their arrogance and dismisses them as cowards.

Savoy Hotel hotel in London, UK

The Savoy is a luxury hotel located in the Strand in the City of Westminster in central London, England. Built by the impresario Richard D'Oyly Carte with profits from his Gilbert and Sullivan opera productions, it opened on 6 August 1889. It was the first in the Savoy group of hotels and restaurants owned by Carte's family for over a century. The Savoy was the first luxury hotel in Britain, introducing electric lights throughout the building, electric lifts, bathrooms in most of the lavishly furnished rooms, constant hot and cold running water and many other innovations. Carte hired César Ritz as manager and Auguste Escoffier as chef de cuisine; they established an unprecedented standard of quality in hotel service, entertainment and elegant dining, attracting royalty and other rich and powerful guests and diners.

Leaving the hotel, Shand steps into his chauffeur-driven car only to find it has been commandeered by IRA assassins. As the car speeds to an unknown destination, Shand contemplates the inevitability of his fate.


Patrick H. "P.H." Moriarty, 27 February 1939, Deptford, London) is an English actor, known for his role as 'Razors' in John Mackenzie's The Long Good Friday.

Dave King (actor) English comedian, actor, and vocalist

Dave King was an English comedian, actor and vocalist of popular songs. He is perhaps best remembered as the corrupt policeman 'Parky' in the British gangster film The Long Good Friday (1980).

Bryan Marshall is a British actor, with a number of major credits in film and television to his name.


The film was directed by John Mackenzie and produced for £ 930,000 [4] by Barry Hanson from a script by Barrie Keeffe, with a soundtrack by the composer Francis Monkman; it was screened at the Cannes, Edinburgh and London Film Festivals in 1980. [5]

Under the title "The Paddy Factor", [6] the original story had been written by Keeffe for Hanson when the latter worked for Euston Films, [4] a subsidiary of Thames Television. Euston did not make the film, but Hanson bought the rights from Euston for his own company Calendar Films. [4] Although Hanson designed the film for the cinema and all contracts were negotiated under a film, not a TV agreement, the production was eventually financed by Black Lion, a subsidiary of Lew Grade's ITC Entertainment for transmission via Grade's ATV on the ITV Network. [5] The film was commissioned by Charles Denton, at the time both Programme Controller of ATV and Managing Director of Black Lion. [4] After Grade saw the finished film, he allegedly objected to what he saw as the glorification of the IRA. [2]

The film was scheduled to be televised with heavy cuts on 24 March 1981. [5] Because of the planned cuts, in late 1980, Hanson attempted to buy the film back from ITC to prevent ITV screening the film. The cuts, he said, would be "execrable" [4] [5] and added up to "about 75 minutes of film that was literal nonsense". [2] It was also reported at the same time that Bob Hoskins was suing both Black Lion and Calendar Films to prevent their planned release of a US TV version in which Hoskins' voice would be dubbed by English Midlands actor David Daker. [5]

Before the planned ITV transmission the rights to the film were bought from ITC by George Harrison's company, Handmade Films, for around £ 200,000 less than the production costs. [2] They gave the film a cinema release. [7]


Barrie Keeffe wrote a sequel, Black Easter Monday, set twenty years after the events of the first film. It opened with Bob Hoskins's character escaping from the IRA after the car was pulled over by police. Hoskins would retire to Jamaica, then return to stop the East End being taken over by the Yardies. [8] However, the film was never made.

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  1. Guardian review
  2. 1 2 3 4 Mark Duguid "Long Good Friday, The (1979)", BFI Screenonline
  3. "The 100 best British films". Empire. 29 November 2017.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 "Association of Independent Producers' magazine, September 1980.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 "Producer seeks a £ 1m buyer...": news report in movie trade magazine Screen International, 22 November 1980.
  6. Bloody Business: The Making of The Long Good Friday, documentary film, 2006
  7. Robert Sellers, Always Look on the Bright Side of Life: The Inside Story of HandMade Films, Metro, 2003, pp. 56–70.
  8. Johnston, Sheila (21 April 2010). "Interview: Barrie Keeffe on Sus, The Long Good Friday and London's Changing East End: Artful dodgers, diamond geezers and the real East End, by one of its leading scribes". Athe Arts Desk.