24 Hour Party People (2002) - Rotten Tomatoes

24 Hour Party People (2002)



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

24 Hour Party People Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

Spanning from the 1970's to early 1990's, this is the story of the Manchester music scene... Tony Wilson is an ambitious but frustrated local TV news reporter looking for a way to make his mark. After witnessing a life-changing concert by an unknown band called the Sex Pistols, he persuades his station to televise one of their performances, and soon Manchester's punk groups are clamoring for him to manage them. Riding the wave of a musical revolution, Wilson and his friends create the legendary Factory Records and the Hacienda Club, and bands like Joy Division, New Order, and the Happy Mondays emerge to change the industry forever.more
Rating: R (for strong language, drug use and sexuality)
Genre: Drama, Musical & Performing Arts, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Frank Cottrell Boyce
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jan 21, 2003
Box Office: $1.1M
United Artists Pictures - Official Site


Steve Coogan
as Tony Wilson
Shirley Henderson
as Lindsay Wilson
Paddy Considine
as Rob Gretton
Sean Harris
as Ian Curtis
Danny Cunningham
as Shaun Ryder
Andy Serkis
as Martin Hannett
Lennie James
as Alan Erasmus
Ralf Little
as Peter Hook
Paul Popplewell
as Paul Ryder
John Simm
as Bernard Sumner
Keith Allen
as Roger Ames
Rob Brydon
as Ryan Letts
Enzo Cilenti
as Peter Saville
Ron Cook
as Derek Ryder
as Sound Engineer
Dave Gorman
as John the Postman
Peter Kay
as Don Tonay
Kate Magowan
as Yvette Wilson
as Herself
John Thomson
as Charles, Granada TV ...
Jim Cartwright
as Steven Patrick Morri...
Raymond Waring
as Vini Reilly
Terri Seymour
as Game Show Host
Nigel Pivaro
as Actor at Granada
Martin Hancock
as Howard Devoto
Mark Windows
as Johnny Rotten
Naomi Radcliffe
as Twitchy Girl
Tracy Cunliffe
as Other Girl in Nosh V...
Claire Lever
as Assistant
Neil Bell
as Aspiring Singer
Simon Pegg
as Journalist
Elizabeth Kelly
as Ian's Gran
Darren Tighe
as Mike Pickering
Peter Gunn
as Farmer
Margi Clarke
as Actor in Corridor
Smug Roberts
as Railway Guard
Clint Boon
as 2nd Railway Guard
Toby Salaman
as Sir Keith Joseph
Conrad Murray
as Bailey Brother
Coogan Martin
as Chris Nagle
Kieran O'Brien
as Nathan McGough
Roger Kennedy
as Doorman Sam
Sean Cernow
as Little Pel
Fiona Allen
as Cloakroom Girl
Anthony H. Wilson
as Granada TV Studio Di...
as Wise Guy
Mr. A. Bowser
as Wise Guy
Gary Roberts
as Wise Guy
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for 24 Hour Party People

Critic Reviews for 24 Hour Party People

All Critics (118) | Top Critics (37)

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

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

September 19, 2002
Orlando Sentinel
Top 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.

Full Review… | September 25, 2010

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

Full Review… | August 26, 2010
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.

Full Review… | January 7, 2005

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.

Full Review… | June 25, 2004

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.

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.

Cassandra Maples

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.

Daniel Perry

Super Reviewer

24 Hour Party People Quotes

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