Moonlighting (film)

Moonlighting is a 1982 British drama film written and directed by Jerzy Skolimowski. It is set in the early 1980s at the time of the Solidarity protests in Poland. It stars Jeremy Irons as Nowak, a Polish builder leading a team working illegally in London.

Directed byJerzy Skolimowski
Produced byMark Shivas
Jerzy Skolimowski
Michael White
Written byJerzy Skolimowski
StarringJeremy Irons
Eugene Lipinski
Jirí Stanislav
Eugeniusz Haczkiewicz
Music byStanley Myers
Distributed byMiracle Films (UK)
MK2 Diffusion (France)
Release date
26 September 1982
Running time
97 mins.
CountryUnited Kingdom


Arriving in London from Warsaw in December 1981 are master electrician Nowak, who understands the language but not the inhabitants, with three workmen who know no English. Their task is to gut and renovate a house, for which they have brought what tools they can carry, while Nowak has cash to buy materials. Since the whole operation is illegal, Nowak keeps them working indoors while he goes out to get food and supplies.

As his money runs out, he takes to stealing so that the four can survive. In the meantime, Poland is undergoing the traumas of demonstrations and strikes followed by the declaration of martial law, banning of Solidarity and mass arrests. All this Nowak conceals from the men, in order to finish the job. With no money left, they have a six-hour walk to the airport and a flight home to an uncertain future.


  • Jeremy Irons as Nowak
  • Eugene Lipinski as Banaszak
  • Jirí Stanislav as Wolski
  • Eugeniusz Haczkiewicz as Kudaj
  • Edward Arthur as Immigration Officer
  • Denis Holmes as Neighbor
  • Renu Setna as Junk Shop Owner
  • David Calder as Supermarket Manager
  • Judy Gridley as Supermarket Supervisor
  • Claire Toeman as Supermarket Cashier
  • Catherine Harding as Lady Shoplifter
  • Jill Johnson as Haughty Supermarket Customer
  • David Squire as Supermarket Assistant
  • Michael Sarne as Builders' Merchant (as Mike Sarne)
  • Jenny Seagrove as Anna
  • Lucy Hornak as Wrangler Shop Assistant


It was entered into the 1982 Cannes Film Festival, where it won the award for Best Screenplay.[1]

Roger Ebert gave it four stars out of four[2] and included it in his list of Best Movies of 1982. Gene Siskel called it his favorite movie of 1982. Allmovie gave Moonlighting four out of five stars.[3] Vincent Canby, in The New York Times, called Moonlighting "immensely rewarding". He added: "It may be a coincidence - maybe not - that two of the best films ever made about exile have been made by Polish directors", the other being Polanski's The Tenant (1976).[4]


  1. "Festival de Cannes: Moonlighting". Retrieved 12 June 2009.
  2. Moonlighting at
  3. Moonlighting at
  4. Canby, Vincent (26 September 1982). "Moonlighting Offered by Jerzy Skolimowsky". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 June 2019.
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