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: Andrew Wilde, Lesley Manville, Steve McFadden, Robbie Gee, Philip Davis, Charles Lawson, Gary Oldman
  • 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 Youth

    Youth

    Fred and Mick, two old friends now approaching 80, are on vacation together in an elegant hotel at the foot of the Alps. The two friends know that their time is quickly running out, and they decide to face their future together.

  • Film4 The Stranger Wore a Gun

    The Stranger Wore a Gun

    Randolph Scott stars in a Western about a former spy who relocates to Ariozna to join a gold robbbery, but quickly reassesses his decision

    On Film4: 21 Apr 1:05PM

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Mike Leigh announces new film, Peterloo

    Mike Leigh's next project will look at Peterloo - the infamous 1819 massacre by government forces at a peaceful pro-democracy rally at St Peter's Field in Manchester, when 700 working people were inju

  • Channel 4 Blog

    Four Film4-backed films selected In Competition at Cannes 2015

    Four Film4-backed films ¿ Todd Haynes¿ Carol, Yorgos Lanthimos' The Lobster, Paolo Sorrentino¿s Youth and Justin Kurzel¿s Macbeth ¿ have been invited into official selection at this year¿s Cannes film

Register with Film4.com

Personalise your Film4 experience

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

or Register

Share