A Private Function (1985) - Rotten Tomatoes

A Private Function (1985)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

A British couple's attempts to circumvent local food-rationing regulations trigger a chaotic series of events in this satirical comedy set in post-World War II England. The couple's scheme centers on a massive hog which has been illegally raised by a local farmer. Seeing a chance to capitalize on pork's scarcity, the ambitious Joyce Chilvers (Maggie Smith) convinces her mild-mannered husband (Michael Palin) to steal the pig. Unfortunately for the Chilverses, a vigilant food inspector is on duty and determined to stop all such illegal activity. The couple's efforts to hide the pig provide much material for frantic and sometimes grotesque farce. Playwright Alan Bennett's acerbic targets the British class system and the wife's social ambitions. ~ Judd Blaise, Rovimore
Rating: R (adult situations/language)
Genre: Art House & International, Comedy, Special Interest
Directed By:
Written By: Alan Bennett, Malcolm Mowbray
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jul 5, 2005
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Michael Palin
as Gilbert Chilvers
Maggie Smith
as Joyce Chilvers
Denholm Elliott
as Dr. Charles Swaby
Richard Griffiths
as Henry Allardyce
Liz Smith
as Mother
John Normington
as Frank Lockwood
Bill Paterson
as Maurice Wormold
Anthony Haygarth
as Bernard Sutcliffe
Alison Steadman
as Mrs. Allardyce
Jim Carter
as Inspector Noble
Eileen O'Brien
as Mrs. Sutcliff
Rachel Davies
as Mrs. Forbes
Reece Dinsdale
as P.C. Penny
Susan Porrett
as Mrs. Medcalf
Denys Hawthorne
as Hotel Manager
Don Estelle
as Barraclough
Amanda Gregan
as Veronica
Paula Tilbrook
as Mrs. Turnbull
Lee Daley
as Painter's Boy
Gilly Coman
as Dorothy
Josie Lane
as Mrs. Beavers
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for A Private Function

Critic Reviews for A Private Function

All Critics (9) | Top Critics (3)

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Full Review… | May 24, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | May 24, 2003
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

A gentle and amusing, very English comedy.

Full Review… | April 26, 2013
Three Movie Buffs

Entertains, but never dazzles or impresses us with its script, performances, or even production design.

Full Review… | February 26, 2011
Movie Metropolis

Click to read the article.

Full Review… | December 31, 2004

Audience Reviews for A Private Function

A woman with social climbing aspirations compels her husband to steal a pig from rich people despite the town's food rationing program.
This film is chuckle-funny, scattering a few witty moments. The supporting players, especially Richard Griffiths and the great Maggie Smith, are most responsible for the film's good scenes while Michael Palin doesn't do anything extraordinary to create a discernible character, quite unlike his Python work.
Thematically, it's hard to tell what this film is satirizing. It's clear that class is at issue; the upper class characters act ridiculously, and Joyce's societal aspirations seem senseless as a result. But what is going on with the socialist food rationing? Is the film satirizing socialism? The answers to these questions aren't entirely clear.
Overall, good for a few yuks, A Private Function isn't a bad film, but it's ultimately disappointing considering the overwhelming talent of its stars.

Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer


A fun little movie about a couple trying to make it in society during hard times. Love Liz Smith as always along with the rest of the cast.

Sunil Jawahir

Super Reviewer


You probably have to like and appreciate British humour to like this movie, but if you do, check it out! Hilarious!!

Alec B.

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