This collection explores representations of working-class masculinity in British cinema from the Thatcher era to the present day.
I’m the daddy now, next time, I’ll f****** kill ya!’
– Carlin (Ray Winstone) in Scum
The 1980s were a thrilling time for film and television in Britain, with investment creating a new kind of industry that aimed to reflect modern society. Thatcherism promised social mobility, and working-class men became defined by how easily they could climb the ranks, so long as they mirrored the respectability that, until then, was associated with the upper classes. But not everyone played along and a new kind of working-class man emerged – one that seeped into popular culture, where he has remained. He enjoys drinking, breaking the law and engaging in violence. He’s a petty criminal (Scum), a gangster (Face) or a DJ (Young Soul Rebels). This collection invites you to take a closer look at these frequently misunderstood characters and to ask what they’re really about.
- Nia Childs, curator
Drama1997129 minsDirector: Gary Oldman
Twenty-five years old and newly restored, Gary Oldman’s BAFTA-winning debut as writer-director remains a magnificent achievement.
Thriller2019111 minsDirector: Gerard Johnson
A directionless call centre salesman gets more than he bargained for when he joins a local gym, in Gerard Johnson's stunning dissection of masculinity.
Drama198095 minsDirector: Franco Rosso
A young Rastafarian toaster (rapper) aims for success at a Reggae Sound System competition, in this cult classic from Franco Rosso that pulsates with an irresistible dub soundtrack.
Drama201989 minsDirector: Mark Jenkin
Simmering tensions between locals and newcomers in a modern-day Cornish fishing village reach boiling point in this hugely acclaimed British independent film.
Crime1997101 minsDirector: Antonia Bird
Robert Carlyle and Ray Winstone are members of a criminal gang that tears itself apart after a heist goes wrong, in Antonia Bird’s stylish thriller.
Drama2012107 minsDirector: Sally El Hosaini
Sally El Hosaini's feature debut tells of the love and disenchantment of two British-Egyptian brothers as gangs, drugs and sexuality come between them.
Drama1991105 minsDirector: Isaac Julien
The Queen's Silver Jubilee beats to the sounds of Funkadelic, Sylvester and the O'Jays in Isaac Julien’s feature debut.