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The Long Good Friday is a British gangster film starring Bob Hoskins and Helen Mirren. It was completed in 1979 but, because of release delays, it is generally credited as a 1980 film. It was voted at number 21 in the British Film Institute's list of the top 100 British films of the 20th century, and provided Bob Hoskins with his breakthrough film role.


Plot [edit]Edit

The film's protagonist is Harold Shand (Bob Hoskins), an old-fashioned 1960s-style London gangster who in the late 1970s is aspiring to become a legitimate businessman, albeit with the financial support of the American Mafia, with a plan to redevelop the then-disused London Docklands as a venue for a future Olympic Games. The storyline weaves together events and concerns of the late 1970s, including low-level political and police corruptionProvisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) gun-running, displacement of traditional British industry by property development, Britain's membership of the EEC (later the European Union) and the free market economy (the latter was strongly in the ascendant at the time the film was made, in the first year of the Thatcher government).

Harold is the undisputed ruling kingpin of the London underworld, when his world is suddenly torn apart by a series of murders and exploding bombs from an unseen foe. Trying to uncover his attackers' identity forms much of the film's subsequent plotline. His ruthless and violent pursuit of leads only points out the small-time tawdriness of the organisation he hopes to legitimise.

Harold discovers that his closest aid accidentally became involved with the IRA in a side-job gone wrong in which several IRA men were killed, and that the IRA holds Harold responsible for those deaths. He acts on the information with the same brutality that first took him to the pinnacle of the London underworld. Thinking he's taken care of the problem now, he meets up with the American Mafia representatives, led by actor Eddie Constantine. However, they decide to leave England because of all the recent chaos.

When Harold leaves their hotel, he gets into his car, which he thinks is being driven by his chauffeur but in fact has been taken over by two IRA men. As the car speeds away Harold is silent, but gives away a range of emotions: at first astonishment, then anger and finally an acceptance of his coming death. He realizes his enemies this time follow motivations and tactics different from those of his past.

Cast [edit]Edit

Cast notes [edit]Edit

The film includes a large number of performances by young actors who later became famous.

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