The Big Job (film)

The Big Job is a British comedy film which was released in 1965.[1] It starred Sid James, Dick Emery, Joan Sims, Sylvia Syms, Jim Dale and Lance Percival.

The Big Job
UK theatrical poster
Directed byGerald Thomas
Produced byFrank Bevis
Peter Rogers
Written byJohn Antrobus
Talbot Rothwell
StarringSid James
Dick Emery
Joan Sims
Sylvia Syms
Jim Dale
Lance Percival
Edina Ronay
Music byEric Rogers
CinematographyAlan Hume
Edited byRod Nelson-Keys
Distributed byWarner-Pathé Distributors
Release date
Running time
85 min.
CountryUnited Kingdom

The Big Job shared its cast and production team with the Carry On films, but the film was not officially part of the Carry On series. The film was photographed in black and white, while the Carry On films from the mid 1960s were in colour.[2]


Britain, 1950. A gang of robbers led by the self-proclaimed George 'The Great' Brain (Sid James) rob a bank, stealing £50,000. However, due to a mix-up, they are pursued and caught by the police. He manages to stash away the money in a case in the trunk of a hollow tree, before he is collared. The gang are then sentenced to serve fifteen years in Wormwood Scrubs prison.

Upon their release in 1965, the gang go back to the spot where they had left the money, only to find it is now a new town, and a housing estate has been built around the tree. To their chagrin they find that the tree is now in the grounds of the local police station, invitingly close to the wall. George and his gang take up rooms in a nearby house rented by a widow and her daughter. In order to provide a respectable front, George reluctantly agrees to marry his longtime girlfriend Myrtle Robbins (Sylvia Syms) who is not so enamoured about the idea of recovering the loot and wants George to settle down with her.

The incompetent criminals fail in their numerous attempts to get over or under the wall, all the while trying to conceal their true activities from their landlady (Joan Sims), her daughter (Edina Ronay)and a local police constable (Jim Dale) who also stays there. Eventually, when the men have botched an attempt to tunnel into the grounds, the frustrated women hatch their own plot to gain the money, and succeed, only to find that the money has been shredded by little bustards nesting in the tree.


Critical reception

Time Out wrote, "this 'unofficial' Carry On reproduces the familiar formula of its virtually institutionalised predecessors."[3]


Peter Rogers had a script for what eventually would be The Big Job, but elected not to incorporate it into the Carry On series. Of the principal cast, only Sylvia Syms and Dick Emery did not feature in at least one Carry On. The film was principally shot at Pinewood Studios, with exteriors at Silver Hill, Chalfont St Giles (the bank), Fulmer and Bracknell (residential and town streets) and Iver Heath, Buckinghamshire (countryside).[4]

See also


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