Working Class Heroes
A collection of films lit up by the charisma of working-class stars; a celebration of fine actors and remarkable leading roles.
In Britain (for a time at least) film stars came from comprehensives and council houses. The story begins in the socially mobile 1960s as young working-class talent exploded through music, fashion and film. In the hard-edged 80s Bob Hoskins became a popular male lead. Then in the 90s a new mood saw a series of inventive British films built around working-class faces. Beyond angry young men, our heroines stretched from Carol White to Katie Jarvis, while modern British cinema spotlit the junction of race and class.
This collection brings together the bold, powerful and provocative films that can be made when working-class stars have the chance to shine
Drama199690 minsDirector: Danny Boyle
Danny Boyle's exhilarating, narcotic trip follows a group of heroin-addicted friends as they navigate their way through Glasgow's seedy 1990s drug culture.
Drama195080 minsDirector: Michael Anderson
A tough and gritty drama detailing the turbulent life of hard-drinking Liverpudlian seamen, with Richard Burton in only his third film role.
Drama197087 minsDirector: Barney Platts-Mills
A fascinating record of 1960s suedehead youth culture which is largely improvised by a non-professional cast of teenagers from east London
Drama1968101 minsDirector: Ken Loach
Ken Loach’s perceptive, personal, and moving debut feature film tells the story of a young mother’s struggles while her husband is in jail.
Drama202185 minsDirector: Kiro Russo
When a Bolivian miner becomes sick he enters a fever dream that traverses the social fabric of his home city, in Kiri Russo's extraordinary, surreal odyssey.
Drama1986100 minsDirector: Neil Jordan
Neil Jordan's gritty thriller stars Bob Hoskins as a gangster recently released from prison who falls in love with the prostitute he is supposed to be protecting.
Drama201892 minsDirector: Paddy Considine
Paddy Considine directs and stars with Jodie Whittaker in this emotional knockout - the story of a boxer rebuilding his life after a near-fatal injury.
Crime2009103 minsDirector: Daniel Barber
Michael Caine’s storming return to an action role finds him as a retired marine confronting local hoodlums on his housing estate.
Drama202396 minsDirector: Oliver Parker
Michael Caine and the late Glenda Jackson deliver superb performances in this heart-warming story of a war veteran’s escape from his care home to join the 70th anniversary of the D-day landings in Normandy.
Drama2016114 minsDirector: Michael Caton-Jones
In the wake of the London riots, teenager Jamie (Letitia Wright) finds herself at a crossroads; until music offers an unexpected path to salvation.
Drama201696 minsDirector: Helen Walsh
In this spiky and stylish debut from novelist Helen Walsh, two girls from different backgrounds form an unlikely bond, setting off on a dangerous course.
Crime201188 minsDirector: Joe Cornish
Aliens wage war on a tower block after one of their number is bludgeoned by a street gang in this witty, action-packed feature debut by Joe Cornish.
Performance201396 minsDirector: Shane Meadows
Avid Stone Roses fan Shane Meadows records the reunion of the pivotal 1990s rock band, in this heartfelt and inspiring documentary
Thriller2011127 minsDirector: Tomas Alfredson
Gary Oldman leads an all-star cast, including Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hardy, in this acclaimed adaptation of John Le Carré's esteemed spy novel.
Drama194077 minsDirector: Penrose Tennyson
Deeply moving mining drama that provided the legendary American singer/actor Paul Robeson with his best British film role.
Drama1989112 minsDirector: Mike Leigh
Mike Leigh’s bittersweet comedy tells the story of Cyril (Philip Davis), an idealist who despairs at the societal changes of Thatcher’s Britain.
Drama201192 minsDirector: Paddy Considine
Paddy Considine’s powerful feature debut, featuring astonishingly strong performances from Olivia Colman and Peter Mullan.
Drama1998105 minsDirector: Ken Loach
Ken Loach's intense drama boasts a majestic performance from Peter Mullan as a recovering alcoholic in Glasgow, struggling with his feelings for a local health worker.
Drama201694 minsDirector: David Leon
Stephen Graham is the orthodox Jew tempted into a life of violence by his corrupt associate (Michael Smiley), in this riveting and complex crime drama.
Thriller2013100 minsDirector: Steve Knight
An alcoholic ex-special forces soldier (Jason Statham), down on his luck, assumes another man’s identity and pursues redemption.
Musical199877 minsDirector: Julian Henriques
Neeta and her crew rise to dancehall fame in North West London's Caribbean community, in the first Black British musical.
Comedy199589 minsDirector: Danny Boyle
Ewan McGregor and Danny Boyle burst onto the scene with this dark crime caper about three friends and their rich, dead flatmate.
Drama199799 minsDirector: Philip Goodhew
Julie Walters and Rupert Graves are at the centre of a sordid love triangle in this pulpy melodrama about seedy shenanigans in 1950s suburbia.
Comedy200797 minsDirector: Richard Laxton
A group of Merseyside gardeners take umbrage to the arrival of some refugees, but they find common cause to resist a devious corporate takeover.
Drama198793 minsDirector: Alan Clarke
A married man seduces two teenage babysitters in Alan Clarke’s mix of bawdy comedy and social comment, based on Andrea Dunbar’s Bradford plays.
Drama1982102 minsDirector: Karl Francis
Glenda Jackson and Jon Finch play Welsh investigative journalists covering the Troubles in Northern Ireland only to unearth censorship and corruption back home.
Drama1996107 minsDirector: Mark Herman
Pete Postlethwaite stars in this emotional drama about members of a colliery brass band who learn their mine may soon be closing.
Comedy199997 minsDirector: Damien O'Donnell
Damien O'Donnell's charming comedy-drama about Zaheed Khan (Om Puri), the patriarch of a Pakistani-British family whose children begin to reject their heritage and embrace UK life.
Documentary201886 minsDirector: David Batty
Michael Caine takes us back to swinging London in this engaging documentary on the 1960s cultural revolution, featuring over 50 interviews with the key players.
Drama199196 minsDirector: Ken Loach
Robert Carlyle plays a homeless construction worker who falls for an unemployed pop singer in Ken Loach's hilarious yet potent paean to working class London life.
Drama198276 minsDirector: Alan Clarke
Tim Roth burst onto British screens with his coruscating performance as a teenage skinhead in this TV play from Alan Clarke and David Leland.
Drama195995 minsDirector: Guy Green
Richard Attenborough plays a factory worker who’s ostracised after refusing to support a strike, in this gritty industrial drama.
Crime194690 minsDirector: Robert Hamer
Gordon Jackson stars in a seething tale of family conflict, murder and blackmail in Victorian Brighton.
Drama196263 minsSilentDirector: James Hill
Shirley Anne Field stars in this stylish, highly enjoyable story of simmering tensions and sexual conflict in the work place.
Drama1962113 minsDirector: John Schlesinger
John Schlesinger makes his feature film debut with this adaptation of Stan Barstow’s novel about a factory worker (Alan Bates) and his complicated relationship to a typist (June Ritchie) who he doesn’t fully love.
War1943103 minsDirector: Frank Launder and Sidney Gilliat
The finest example of British wartime fictional propaganda follows a group of women who take on factory work to support the war effort.
Drama194990 minsDirector: Frederick Wilson
The son of a Scottish farmer get a job in a shipyard and shows an unexpected flair for design, conceiving a revolutionary ship.
Drama1962126 minsDirector: Bryan Forbes
Bryan Forbes directs the Oscar-nominated story of a French woman (Leslie Caron) moving to London while unmarried, pregnant, and alone.
Crime1961106 minsDirector: Sidney Hayers
Billie Whitelaw stars in this tough Tyneside-set crime drama about a gang of criminals who turn against each other following a payroll heist.
Drama195375 minsDirector: Lewis Gilbert
Lewis Gilbert’s shocking and controversial 1952 drama focuses on a gang of juvenile delinquents and their dangerous exploits in post-war London.
Woodfall: A Revolution in British Cinema
Celebrating the 60th anniversary of Woodfall Films, the revolutionary company that pioneered the British New Wave.