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24 Hour Party People (2002)



Average Rating: 7.3/10
Reviews Counted: 99
Fresh: 85 | Rotten: 14

The colorful, chaotic 24 Hour Party People nimbly captures the spirit of the Manchester music scene.


Average Rating: 7.5/10
Critic Reviews: 30
Fresh: 29 | Rotten: 1

The colorful, chaotic 24 Hour Party People nimbly captures the spirit of the Manchester music scene.



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Average Rating: 3.8/5
User Ratings: 34,542

My Rating

Movie Info

This digital-video biopic uses the life of journalist, record mogul and club owner Tony Wilson to frame the story of the Manchester, England, music scene from the heyday of punk through the late-'80s "Madchester" era. As the founder of staunchly independent Factory Records, Wilson (Steve Coogan) shepherded the careers of doomed post-punk combo Joy Division, synth-pop superstars New Order and hedonistic louts the Happy Mondays. Along the way, he helped bring rave culture to Britain under the

Jan 21, 2003


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All Critics (118) | Top Critics (37) | Fresh (85) | Rotten (14) | DVD (31)

How much you enjoy 24 Hour Party People, director Michael Winterbottom's raucous look at the Manchester, England music scene of the '80s, probably depends on your background.

October 2, 2002
Denver Rocky Mountain News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Coogan, as the consummate overeducated, overly-erudite opinion leader, is spot-on perfect.

September 19, 2002
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A real party, but it's hard to keep track of the guests.

August 31, 2002 Full Review Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Tony Wilson's and "24-Hour Party People's" tossed-off philosophy was that the worst of times, like the best, pass away - never truer than in the fickle music industry. A free-form view of a freefall where artifice and artistry tumbled head over heels.

September 25, 2010 Full Review Source:

Excellent movie about punk's origins; older teens only.

August 26, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media | Comment (1)
Common Sense Media

Those wishing for a full-on, comprehensive look at the era will be disappointed, but Winterbottom, Coogan, and Boyce serve up a vivid and lively thumbnail sketch.

January 7, 2005 Full Review Source:

When it comes to capturing music in a visual medium, 24 Hour Party People ranks right up there with Martin Scorsese's 1978 rock documentary, The Last Waltz.

June 25, 2004 Full Review Source: Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY)

24 Hour Party People is a frenzied, metafilmic, postmodern splatter of a homage to a music movement . . . a jolting, raucous ride into the celluloid distance.'

December 1, 2003
Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)

Those who can't tell their Johnny Rotten's from their Right Said Fred's will be entertained by Coogan's charmingly relaxed turn and Frank Cottrell Boyce's ardent script.

January 31, 2003 Full Review Source: Eclipse Magazine
Eclipse Magazine

A light and playful look at the Manchester music scene which spans from the punk explosion to the dawn of acid house.

January 31, 2003 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

It is probably entertaining if you are at least remotely interested in, or knowledgeable about, punk music or the rave scene. If not, forget it.

December 22, 2002 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

From a pure structure standpoint, 24 Hour Party People is extremely interesting and original. Surprisingly slow moving, however.

December 18, 2002 Full Review

This is Cult Movie Central -- and there's no livelier tour guide than Michael Winterbottom.

December 8, 2002 Full Review Source: Film Threat
Film Threat

Steve Coogan makes a likeable enough narrator, and director Michael Winterbottom uses enough cinematic tricks to keep things interesting. Still, for those not in the know, 24 Hour Party People can seem 24 hours long.

December 4, 2002
Matt's Movie Reviews

Director Michael Winterbottom has pulled off an inspired act of self-referencing, post-modern filmmaking that does these people, their attitude, their home, their music, and their legacy proud.

December 4, 2002 Full Review Source: Mark Reviews Movies
Mark Reviews Movies

Brilliantly realised and hilariously funny.

November 4, 2002 Full Review Source: BBC

Fans of that period of music should see the film post-haste; others may enjoy it purely from a filmmaking perspective, in which category it succeeds pretty well.

October 5, 2002 Full Review Source:

Winterbottom gets the look and feel of the various periods right (the terrific soundtrack certainly helps).

October 4, 2002 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

The [music] scene plays as a frenetic, ever-changing background for the always engaging and often enraging Wilson, who juggles legends, half-truths, exaggerations and baldfaced lies about the times and his part in them.

October 4, 2002 Full Review Source: Salt Lake Tribune
Salt Lake Tribune

One of the most purely entertaining films about (for want of a better term) pop music in years.

October 2, 2002 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

Despite its failings and its admittedly untrustworthy account of the events it portrays ... and it often achieves great poignancy and humor.

September 22, 2002 Full Review Source: Goatdog's Movies
Goatdog's Movies

Works mostly because Wilson is such an appealing, humorous character, who even makes occasional pomposity likeable.

September 20, 2002 Full Review Source: Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

Audience Reviews for 24 Hour Party People

While I have yet to check out his entire canon, Michael Winterbottom continues to impress me time and time again. Oddly enough, even though I am never floored by any of his films, I always get excited when I see his name attached to one. I think it is because every time I sit down with one of his movies, I am given a completely unique experience. 24 Hour Party People is no exception & in many ways may be one of his most delightfully bizarre outings.
In 24 Hour Party People, Winterbottom takes the viewer into the heart of the Manchester music scene of the late 80s. Not only that, but he does so through the eyes of the bumbling egomaniacal proprietor of Factory Records Tony Wilson (Steve Coogan).
It feels like the film equivalent of a Vonnegut novel. The fourth wall is constantly broken & the story is built around sizable chunks of truth, bits of legend, sci-fi, rumors, and just flat out lies.
Coogan's performance is terrific. Nailing the comedic bits but also infusing the role with a near psychopathic narcissism that is an absolute treat to watch. He character is always equipped with an amazing retort. After being chastised for getting tickets printed too late and therefore not being able to sell them all in time for an upcoming event, Coogan dryly but convincingly replies, "They didn't sell tickets to the Sermon on the Mount. People just turned up because they knew it was a good gig."
In my opinion, Coogan and Winterbottom can do no wrong. Especially when they work together. Don't believe me? Then check out Exhibit A: 24 Hour Party People.
August 2, 2012
Reid Volk

Super Reviewer

24 Hour Party People is the story of Factory Records, a defiantly eccentric independent record label based in Manchester, England, which discovered acts as influential and diverse as Joy Division and the Happy Mondays.

The film is shot in mock-documentary style and narrated by Tony Wilson (Steve Coogan), the founder of Factory. Coogan portrays Wilson's double life as music svengali and cheesy local TV reporter to brilliant comic effect. Although Brits will draw the inevitable parallels between Coogan's Wilson and his ultra-naff TV persona, Alan Partridge, Coogan actually has Wilson off to a tee. Arrogant and pompous, Cambridge-educated Wilson is master of the pseudish sound bite (when he realises they have no tickets for a concert in his nightclub, he retorts `Did they have tickets for the Sermon on the Mount? Of course they didn't, people just turned up because they knew it would be a great gig'). But he also has a perceptive eye for the zeitgeist and his vision to create the Hacienda club transformed Manchester into Madchester, for a brief time the music capital of the world.

The story really starts with an early Sex Pistols gig in Manchester, attended by only 42 people, most of whom went on to have an influence on the Manchester music scene of the next 10 years. Wilson was in the audience, together with members of the band who went on to form the brilliant post-punk pioneers Joy Division. The first part of the film is really focussed on them and their manager, the aggressive and cantankerous Rob Gretton ( played by Paddy Considine), and their producer, the irascible acid-casualty Martin Hannett (another superb cameo by Andy Serkis) - both of whom are no longer alive. Joy Division's lead singer, Ian Curtis, is portrayed so accurately by Sean Harris that it's positively eerie, and the scenes of the band playing in rundown venues seem remarkably true to life and capture effectively the rawness and intensity of their live performances. The film also deals, rather insensitively, with the death of Curtis, who's feet we see swinging after he has strung himself up on a rope in his house. This segues uncomfortably into a town crier announcing his death to the world, and ends with scenes showing Curtis's body in a coffin at the crematorium.

From then on, the story continues with Joy Division's reincarnation as New Order and the building of the Hacienda nightclub, and the sometimes disastrous business decisions made by Wilson and Factory. When New Order released Blue Monday, the record sleeve was so expensive to produce they lost money on every copy sold. The single went on to become the biggest-selling 12' of all time, paradoxically crippling Factory in the process. The first nights at the Hacienda were also calamitous, with bands playing in front of single-figure audiences. Eventually however, the druggy indie dance kings Happy Mondays arrived on the scene, and acid house was born. Suddenly the Hacienda was the place to be and the Madchester rave scene became famous all over the world. The scenes of drugs-and-sex-excess on the Monday's tour bus and the re-creation of the Hacienda club nights are superbly portrayed.

The final part of the film tells how gang violence led to the closure of the club and the drug-riddled misadventures of the Mondays, especially their singer Shaun Ryder, led to their downfall and had severe financial implications for Factory Records (Wilson had inexplicably sent them to Barbados to record their last Factory album). Eventually, Factory was sold, lock, stock and barrel, to another label (who were perturbed to find Wilson had not signed any contracts with any of the Factory bands, effectively giving the artists total creative freedom).

24 Hour Party People is a real rollercoaster ride. There are some brilliant acting performances, punctuated by cameos from real members of the Manchester music scene (such as Howard Devoto and Mark E. Smith). The merging of legend and reality may make it difficult for people unfamiliar with events to work out what actually happened. But this is no accurate, austere documentary, but a touching, sometimes surreal, and often very, very funny, anarchic portrayal of a time and a place and it's music. Oh, and of course, the soundtrack is fantastic.
February 10, 2011

Super Reviewer

Brilliant film. Sharp and clever, lively and irreverent, Steve Coogan's break-out film portrays the Madchester scene, very specifically 1976-1992, when a new music was freeing the city and the nation around it. Watching this, it was so authentic I was sure that it was older. There's a special feature on the DVD where one of the actors talks about various films being "[city name]: The Movie" (e.g. Trainspotting = Edinburgh: The Movie). This is Manchester.

But on top of its ability to capture a moment, we have a love letter to New Wave music and a biopic that's definitely outside the box. In the narrator's words, "I'm a minor character in my own story." Creative, fun and dramatic movie, perhaps one of the most relevant in recent British film history.
December 13, 2010

Super Reviewer

Movies Like 24 Hour Party People

    1. Martin Hannett: Well, this is goodbye. I mean, we obviously have nothing in common. I'm a genius, you're all fucking wankers. You'll never see me again. You don't deserve to see me again.
    – Submitted by James B (20 months ago)
    1. Tony Wilson: Martin what you doing.?
    2. Martin Hannett: Recording silence.
    3. Tony Wilson: [shouts] Your recording silence?
    4. Martin Hannett: No I'm recording Tony fucking Wilson.
    – Submitted by James B (20 months ago)
    1. Tony Wilson: And tonight something equally epoch-making is taking place. See? They're applauding the DJ. Not the music, not the musician, not the creator, but the medium. This is it. The birth of rave culture. The beatification of the beat. The dance age. This is the moment when even the white man starts dancing. Welcome to Manchester.
    – Submitted by Kelly M (21 months ago)
    1. Tony Wilson: Jazz is the last refuge of the untalented. Jazz musicians enjoy themselves more than anyone listening to them does.
    – Submitted by Juan F (2 years ago)
View all quotes (4)

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