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

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Ali & AvaAli & Ava

Drama202094 minsDirector: Clio Barnard

Clio Barnard’s latest film is a tremendously warm and tenderly written love story.

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Drama202195 minsDirector: Alex Camilleri

Writer-director Alex Camilleri’s powerful neorealist drama is a rare home-grown Maltese production.

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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.

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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.

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Blue ScarBlue Scar

Drama194997 minsDirector: Jill Craigie

A stirring tale of love, music, and coalmining in Abergwynfi, South Wales.

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Bronco BullfrogBronco Bullfrog

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

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Poor CowPoor Cow

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.

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The Great MovementThe Great Movement

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.

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Mona LisaMona Lisa

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.

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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.

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Harry BrownHarry Brown

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.

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The Great EscaperThe Great Escaper

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.

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Urban HymnUrban Hymn

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.

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The ViolatorsThe Violators

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.

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Thriller201499 minsDirector: Yann Demange

A young British squaddie is caught behind enemy lines in bomb-torn Belfast, in Yann Demange’s riveting suspense thriller.

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Attack the BlockAttack the Block

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.

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The Stone Roses: Made of StoneThe Stone Roses: Made of Stone

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

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Tinker Tailor Soldier SpyTinker Tailor Soldier Spy

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.

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The Proud ValleyThe Proud Valley

Drama194077 minsDirector: Penrose Tennyson

Deeply moving mining drama that provided the legendary American singer/actor Paul Robeson with his best British film role.

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High HopesHigh Hopes

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.

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Drama201192 minsDirector: Paddy Considine

Paddy Considine’s powerful feature debut, featuring astonishingly strong performances from Olivia Colman and Peter Mullan.

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My Name Is JoeMy Name Is Joe

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.

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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.

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Comedy199998 minsDirector: Peter Mullan

Peter Mullan steps behind the camera for this pitch-black comedy surrounding a family who reunite for their mother’s funeral.

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Thriller2013100 minsDirector: Steve Knight

An alcoholic ex-special forces soldier (Jason Statham), down on his luck, assumes another man’s identity and pursues redemption.

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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.

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Shallow GraveShallow Grave

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.

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Drama1983107 minsDirector: Mike Leigh

Tim Roth, Phil Daniels and Gary Oldman star in Mike Leigh’s TV film about an East End family try to stay afloat during a recession.

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Intimate RelationsIntimate Relations

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.

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Grow Your OwnGrow Your Own

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.

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Rita, Sue and Bob TooRita, Sue and Bob Too

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.

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Giro CityGiro City

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.

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Brassed OffBrassed Off

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.

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East Is EastEast Is East

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.

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My GenerationMy Generation

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.

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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.

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Made in BritainMade in Britain

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.

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Drama198293 minsDirector: Mai Zetterling

The borstal drama – billed as the female Scum – features Amanda York and Kathy Burke as inmates of a ruthless women’s prison.

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The Angry SilenceThe Angry Silence

Drama195995 minsDirector: Guy Green

Richard Attenborough plays a factory worker who’s ostracised after refusing to support a strike, in this gritty industrial drama.

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Pink String and Sealing WaxPink String and Sealing Wax

Crime194690 minsDirector: Robert Hamer

Gordon Jackson stars in a seething tale of family conflict, murder and blackmail in Victorian Brighton.

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Lunch HourLunch Hour

Drama196263 minsSilentDirector: James Hill

Shirley Anne Field stars in this stylish, highly enjoyable story of simmering tensions and sexual conflict in the work place.

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A Kind of LovingA Kind of Loving

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.

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Millions Like UsMillions Like Us

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.

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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.

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Pool of LondonPool of London

Crime195185 minsDirector: Basil Dearden

Earl Cameron plays a naive Jamaican sailor who's dragged into a botched diamond robbery when trying to help a friend.

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Sparrows Can't SingSparrows Can't Sing

Drama196397 minsDirector: Joan Littlewood

Barbara Windsor’s first starring role is a paean to East End life.

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The L-shaped RoomThe L-shaped Room

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.

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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.

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Cosh BoyCosh Boy

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.

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