9 user 1 critic

The Knowledge (1979)

| Comedy, Drama | TV Movie 1979
Four men attempt "The Knowledge" examination to qualify as London taxi drivers.


Bob Brooks


Jack Rosenthal, Bob Brooks (original idea)
1 nomination. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Nigel Hawthorne ... Mr. Burgess
Mick Ford ... Chris Matthews
Kim Taylforth Kim Taylforth ... Janet
Jonathan Lynn ... Ted Margolies
David Ryall ... Titanic
Michael Elphick ... Gordon Weller
Maureen Lipman ... Brenda Weller
Lesley Joseph Lesley Joseph ... Val
June Watson ... Lilian
Philippa Howell Philippa Howell ... Miss Stavely
Gary Holton Gary Holton ... Eddie Hairstyle
Natalie Ann King Natalie Ann King ... Margaret Louise
Nigel Humphreys Nigel Humphreys ... Harry
Ivan Steward Ivan Steward ... Cliff
Tim Stern Tim Stern ... Stan
Learn more

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Follows an out of work Londoner looking for a job. Applies for the "Knowledge", which is learning all the streets and routes through Greater London. Takes about 2 years and when you are proficient, you are London Cabby. The performance of the candidates and their families are splendid but that of the malevolent examiner is worth the price of admission. Written by <rick@cougar.multiline.com.au>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama


Did You Know?


The first production by Euston Films to make use of Steadicam. See more »


Mr. Burgess: If you're a genius it might take you a year. On the other hand it might take you two, or even or ten. And if it looks like it's going to take you longer than that I should chuck it in and take up ballet dancing instead.
See more »


The Knowledge
Music by Jeff Wayne
Lyrics by Jack Rosenthal
Sung by Mick Ford
See more »

User Reviews

How do you get from Manor House station to Gibson Square?
1 October 2004 | by hugh1971See all my reviews

I was surprised to see so few comments on what I think is an excellent play, by the very talented Jack Rosenthal.

Non British, and even non-Londoners are unlikely to find much of interest, but anyone who knows the capital well will find this an enjoyable little film.

It concerns a group of Londoners who are all on the same 'knowledge' course, the gruelling test set by the Metropolitan Police which all cabbies must take before they get their coveted 'green badge' or taxi driving licence.

The test involves learning every street and public building within six miles of central London - a massive feat of memory that only 30 per cent of applicants manage to pass. The students must spend every waking hour cycling or motorbiking around London so that they know the city back to front.

It is this challenge that provides the dramatic tension and much of the humour of the play, as the test begins to take over every aspect of the students' lives, and leads their wives and girlfriends to despair.

The tour de force is by the late Nigel Hawthorne, who plays 'Dracula', the extremely strict test examiner, who behaves rudely and oddly to try to simulate the difficulties the drivers will experience when in their taxis.

Mr Rosenthal's light touch on the big issues of life is much missed in our present era of earnest, heavy handed drama, and the film is also a delightful period piece showing a London which in many respects has not changed to this day, but in other respects could almost be in the nineteenth century.

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Release Date:

1979 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Mister Burgess' Tour See more »

Filming Locations:

London, England, UK See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Euston Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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