The Angry Silence

The Angry Silence is a 1960 black-and-white British drama film directed by Guy Green and starring Richard Attenborough, Pier Angeli, Michael Craig and Bernard Lee. The film marked the first release through screenwriter Bryan Forbes's production venture, Beaver Films and Forbes won a BAFTA Award and an Oscar nomination for his contribution (shared with original story writers Michael Craig and Richard Gregson).[3]

The Angry Silence
Directed byGuy Green
Produced byRichard Attenborough
Bryan Forbes
Jack Rix
Written byBryan Forbes
Michael Craig
Richard Gregson
StarringRichard Attenborough
Pier Angeli
Michael Craig
Bernard Lee
Music byMalcolm Arnold
CinematographyArthur Ibbetson
Edited byAnthony Harvey
Distributed byBritish Lion Film Corporation
Release date
15 March 1960
Running time
95 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom


Factory worker Tom Curtis (Richard Attenborough) has two children and his wife, Anna (Pier Angeli), is pregnant, putting him under financial pressure. Consequently, he refuses to take part in an unofficial strike, meaning a loss of wages, which he is entitled to do. The strike is planned by outside activist Travers (Alfred Burke) and orchestrated by shop steward Bert Connolly (Bernard Lee), who concocts spurious demands as part of his campaign to pressure the management into agreeing to a closed shop, giving the union greater influence.

Those who continue to work find that their properties are subject to repeated attacks, including bricks through windows and arson, and join the strike out of fear. Curtis alone continues to work in a show of defiance against threats and intimidation.

When the strike ends, Curtis is accused of being a scab and sent to Coventry.[4] Then, when anti-union newspapers interview him and report on his plight, Connolly demands his dismissal, backing his demand with a work to rule and overtime ban. Management fears that continued publicity will mean the loss of a major contract, while some workers take matters into their own hands.


The film is also notable for the early appearance of several actors who later went on to become household names, such as Oliver Reed.


Kenneth More was initially considered for the role of Tom Curtis.[5]


The film received positive reviews in the UK and US. Variety wrote that Guy Green had directed with 'quiet skill, leaving the film to speak for itself'. The film was entered into the 10th Berlin International Film Festival.

By 1971 the film made an estimated profit of £58,000.[1] In 1997 Bryan Forbes estimated the profit at £200,000.[2]

After the film's release Richard Attenborough visited a working men's club in Aberdare, South Wales refusing to show the film. Many such clubs had banned the film because of its anti-strike plot. However, after Attenborough explained his position on the film, the miners allowed it to be screened. This was important because, during the 1960s, films required such showings to drive ticket sales.[3]

Some critics have raised doubts about the politics of the film, particularly with regard to trivialisation of the needs and demands of the workers.[6] Others suggest that the film is also a reflection of British working-class values at the time, such as 'an Englishman's home is his castle'.[7]

The aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes gives the film an audience approval rating of 78%, based on 143 ratings.[8]


  1. Alexander Walker, Hollywood, England, Stein and Day, 1974 pp 98-101
  2. Brian McFarlane, An Autobiography of British Cinema, Metheun 1997 p193
  3. "The Angry Silence: the film they tried to ban". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 21 November 2015.
  4. "The Angry Silence (1960)". BFI. Retrieved 21 November 2015.
  5. Brian McFarlane, An Autobiography of British Cinema, Metheun 1997 p36
  6. Angry Silence, The (1960) at BFI Screenonline
  7. Crowther, Bosley. 'Movie Review: The Angry Silence (1960)'. New York Times, 13 December 1960
  8. "The Angry Silence (1960)" on Rotten Tomatoes
This article is issued from Wikipedia. The text is licensed under Creative Commons - Attribution - Sharealike. Additional terms may apply for the media files.