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The League of Gentlemen (1960)

Unrated | | Comedy, Crime, Thriller | 24 January 1961 (USA)
A disgruntled veteran recruits a group of disgraced colleagues to perform a bank robbery with military precision.

Director:

Basil Dearden

Writers:

John Boland (novel), Bryan Forbes (screenplay)
Reviews
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jack Hawkins ... Hyde
Nigel Patrick ... Race
Roger Livesey ... Mycroft
Richard Attenborough ... Lexy
Bryan Forbes ... Porthill
Kieron Moore ... Stevens
Terence Alexander ... Rupert
Norman Bird ... Weaver
Robert Coote ... Bunny Warren
Melissa Stribling ... Peggy
Nanette Newman ... Elizabeth
Lydia Sherwood Lydia Sherwood ... Hilda
Doris Hare ... Molly Weaver
David Lodge ... C.S.M.
Patrick Wymark ... Wylie
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Storyline

Involuntarily-retired Lieutenant Colonel Hyde recruits seven other dissatisfied ex-servicemen for a special project. Each of the men has a skeleton in the cupboard, is short of money, and is a service-trained expert in his field. The job is a bank robbery, and military discipline and planning are imposed by Hyde and second-in-command Race on the team, although civilian irritations do start getting in the way. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

What is the league ... Who are the gentlemen ?

Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Thriller

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 January 1961 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Honorables delincuentes See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

GBP192,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Richard Attenborough, Bryan Forbes, Norman Bird, (the gentlemen), Oliver Reed (the effeminate actor) and Brian Murray (the young soldier who complained about the food) all appeared together on The Angry Silence (1960), the same year as The League of Gentlemen. See more »

Goofs

When Col. Hyde is preparing the letter to be sent to Major Race, he puts the half banknotes and his typewritten note into the envelope. The half banknotes are attached together with a paper clip on the side, but the note is separate. But when Major Race opens the envelope, the banknotes and the typewritten note are all held together with the paper clip on the top. See more »

Quotes

Major Race: Is that your wife?
Lt. Col. Hyde: Yes.
Major Race: Is she dead?
Lt. Col. Hyde: No, no. I regret to say the bitch is still going strong.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Richard Attenborough: A Life in Film (2014) See more »

Soundtracks

The Soldiers of the Queen
(uncredited)
written and composed by Leslie Stuart
See more »

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User Reviews

 
English society as Empire ends
10 May 2001 | by snauntonSee all my reviews

A British army colonel, pensioned off and embittered, assembles a motley group of specialist, criminal and deviant ex-officers who share his bitterness. He has in mind a bank robbery. They arm themselves, courtesy of their former employer, then execute the robbery impeccably, right in the centre of the City of London. The bags of loot are filled, but, at the pictures, crime seldom pays....

That this film has been reviewed as a comedy demonstrates, once again, that British and American are two cultures disguised by a common language. The humour here, of that characteristically British sardonic kind, is incidental to a drama of frustration, disappointment and inadequacy. The humour is just the way the British speak.

The clever and low key "raid" on the army training centre is finely done. So much so that it overshadows the robbery itself and therefore slightly unbalances the action.

This is one of those films, craftsmanlike and enjoyable, yet not desperately exciting, that finds its greatest value precisely in being a period piece. The League of Gentleman is a fascinating social document. Made in 1959, it catches the moment in British history when, as its Empire dissolved, the social infrastructure that supported it and that had made Colonel Hyde what he had been, also disintegrated. This aspect could almost have been deliberate, explaining the very long opening sequence (another unbalancing factor) that introduces us to the seven main characters. There are shockingly frank moments: the honourable man with the overtly promiscuous wife; the gigolo; the religious fraudster (or pervert - the message is obscured); another of the heroes an "other man", a homosexual; the pressure of life in a small house with a loud television set. So, too, the casualness with which machine guns are used in a robbery by men trained in the code of gentlemen. The dull and seedy presentation of Hyde's home and base, large but far from grand, is further evidence of the decline of his class. So, too, a robbery that was intended as a hymn to the effectiveness of military planning, brought to naught by one stupid mistake and a small boy.

Yet this is not a sententious film, their is no preaching, none of that British nostalgia for the old ways, but almost a respect for the robbers and a recognition that life had to become more ruthless as a stiff society began to flex. How it was elsewhere, I do not know, but this watchable film will show anyone what was happening in Britain just before the Sixties began to swing.


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