Mind Blown

When was the last time you watched the same movie twice—on back-to-back nights?

I remember doing it years ago when I saw American Pie for the first time. That movie was so funny that I returned to the theater a second night with my friend. I’m sure this phenomenon has happened to me before, but it’s been some time.

Now, I’ve watched many movies multiple times. A year ago, I watched Small Town Crime with John Hawkes and Anthony Anderson. It was so good that I viewed it a second time a few weeks later. A few months after that, I checked it out for a third time. What a fantastic film!

But I didn’t watch it on back-to-back nights.

Yet, I did that recently with The Long Good Friday.


The Long Good Friday is a 1980 gangster movie and starred Bob Hoskins and Helen Mirren. It’s such an influential film that it is #21 on the British Film Institute’s Top 100 Film List.

Film critic Roger Ebert wrote a glowing review in 1981 and gave the movie four stars. Ebert said,

“This movie is one amazing piece of work, not only for the Hoskins performance but also for the energy of the filmmaking, the power of the music, and, oddly enough, for the engaging quality of its sometimes very violent sense of humor.”

Here’s the thing—I never heard of the movie until a few weeks ago. As a guy who writes crime fiction and watches many crime fiction movies, this one flew under my radar.

The Long Good Friday

When I finally saw it, the film blew my socks off. So much so that I watched it again on the very next night.

Hoskins plays Harold Shand, a London gangster looking to make a significant score in real estate. A counterpart from America has come in to see Harold’s operation as they consider investing with him. Unfortunately, on this day (Good Friday), a series of unfortunate events befalls Harold.

A bomb blows up his car and kills his chauffeur.
Then another bomb explodes at the pub he owns.
A third bomb fails to detonate at the casino Harold owns.

The movie focuses on Harold as he tries to find who is after him. I don’t want to give too much away (as I believe Ebert’s review does).

However, the end scene is one of the greatest I’ve ever watched. The camera stays on Hoskin’s face as he comprehends what’s occurred. As the thoughts roll through Harold Shand’s mind, the emotions are wonderfully communicated to the viewer.

I can’t recommend this one highly enough.


Oh, and for you Remington Steele/James Bond fans, this was Pierce Brosnan’s first major movie role (according to IMDB, he only had a TV movie gig prior). In The Long Good Friday he plays “1st Irishman.”

And don’t let that simple title fool you—he plays a pivotal part.

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