CHANNEL 4 4SEVEN E4 MORE4 FILM4 4MUSIC 4oD

Viewing your Watchlist and recommended content requires Javascript

  • 18
  • Drama
  • 1988
  • 67 mins

The Firm

The Firm

Synopsis

Gary Oldman stars as the unhinged suited-and-booted leader of a 'firm' of London football hooligans. Punch-ups, baseball bats, stanley knives and not a ball in sight.

About

Respectable family man and estate agent by the week, ultra-violent leader of a gang of football hooligans on match days, Bex Bissek (Gary Oldman) is a true Essex Thatcherite who's into football violence for the "buzz". Together with a band of similarly minded thugs they are West Ham United's ICF (Inter City Firm) - a crew with the motto, "We come in peace, we leave you in pieces!" Come match day they follow their team around the country, but it's the aggro with rival gangs rather than the 90 minutes on the pitch that they're interested in.

Oldman is a master at playing psychopaths who manage to be both terrifying and hysterical. Here, he's at his visceral, intense best as king wide-boy Bex.

This was Alan Clarke's final film before his death from cancer in 1990, and it follows a string of masterful British TV Film classics, including Scum and Made In Britain. Determined to chronicle the rise of hooliganism under Margaret Thatcher's Tory government, Clarke's film was controversial not just because of its blunt portrayal of violence, but also because it was the first commentary to portray hooligans as otherwise ordinary members of society. The yobs in The Firm aren't unemployed kids, they're professionals who hold down well-paid jobs and arrange their battles at business meetings in hotel function rooms.

Cast & Connections

  • Actor: Lesley Manville, Robbie Gee, Andrew Wilde, Philip Davis, Steve McFadden, Gary Oldman, Charles Lawson
  • Director: Alan Clarke
  • Screen Writer: Al Ashton
  • Producer: David M Thompson
  • Photographer: Ben Philpott

In a nutshell

Because it was made for TV, The Firm does feel short and the climax arrives far too quickly. But it's still a brilliant and compelling drama.

Latest from Film4...

  • Film4 Win Win

    Win Win

    Paul Giamatti stars as a struggling lawyer and volunteer wrestling coach who takes in his client's troubled grandson

  • Film4 The Drop

    The Drop

    Tom Hardy, James Gandolfini and Noomi Rapace star in a feature-length adaptation of a short crime story by Dennis Lehane (Mystic River, Shutter Island), directed by Belgian filmmaker Michael R. Roskam (Bullhead)

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Joe Cunningham's 11 recommendations for LFF 14

    Unfortunately I haven¿t been jet setting around the world this year to the various exciting international film festivals, but that¿s what makes the London Film Festival¿s compilation approach to progr

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Michael Leader's 11 recommendations for LFF 2014

    One of the best things about the London Film Festival¿s smorgasbord approach to programming is that, amongst the world premieres and gala screenings, there¿s an eclectic collection of exciting films o

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

  • Set film reminders
  • Build your watchlist
  • Get film suggestions

or Register

Share