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Brassed Off (1996, Pete Postlethwaite, Ewan McGregor)

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Brassed Off marks the award-winning directorial debut of writer/director Mark Herman and is the passionate and moving story of a small mining community struggling to survive when its chief industry is closed down, to devastating effect. Brassed Off won the Cesar, the French equivalent of an Oscar, for best foreign film, as well as the Evening Standard/Peter Sellers Award for Comedy for Mark Herman and three British Academy Award nominations.

In Yorkshire in 1992, a wave of pit closures leaves the fate of a small mining community hanging in the balance. Brassed Off follows the fortunes of a colliery brass band as its members struggle for both musical and personal survival.

Grimley Colliery Band is a bastion of the local community and one that its leader cares passionately about. For Danny (Pete Postlethwaite) it is the music that embodies the spirit of the community, representing the very lifeblood of its people. However, as the spectre of unemployment loom large on the horizon, not all the band members can share his passion. Attitudes soon change with the entrance of Gloria (TARA FITZGERALD).

Granddaughter of a former band leader and childhood sweetheart of band member Andy (Ewan McGregor), she has returned to her hometown. Impressed by her talent and overwhelmed by her beauty, a new wave of enthusiasm sweeps through the band as they embark on the competition circuit. However, admiration is soon dulled and her relationship with Andy threatened by the stunning revelation that she is an employee of the British Coal Board.

Despite the surfacing conflicts, the Grimley Brass Band return triumphant from the National Semi-Finals. Their euphoria is short-lived as they return to find their worst fears realised. The pit has been closed and the defeated community recoils in shock. Phil (Stephen Tompkinson), Danny’s son, has now lost everything – his family, his home, his job and almost the will to live…

Herman had always wanted to write a story based on the plight of the coal industry. However, it wasn’t until he read a newspaper article about a Northern pit village whose celebrated brass band were in danger of having to disband through lack of money that he found the hook he was searching for. Having worked previously with fellow Yorkshireman, Steve Abbott, on Blame it On the Bellboy, he approached him with the script of Brassed Off and Steve agreed to produce the film.

production details
UK, US | 107 minutes | 1996

Writer and Director: Mark Herman

cast
Tara Fitzgerald as Gloria
Pete Postlethwaite as Danny
Ewan McGregor as Andy Barrow
Stephen Tompkinson as Phil
Jim Carter as Harry
Philip Jackson as Jim
Peter Martin as Ernie
Sue Johnston as Vera
Melanie Hill as Sandra
Lill Roughley as Rita
Peter Gunn as Simmo
Kenneth Colley as Greasley
Olga Grahame as Mrs. Foggan
Bernard Wrigley as Chapman
Ken Kitson as Heavy 1
Adrian Hood as Heavy 2
Mary Healey as Ida
Sally Sheridan as Ward Sister (as Sally Adams)
Sally Ann Matthews as Waitress

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