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 … More

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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as Gilbert Chilvers

as Joyce Chilvers

as Dr. Charles Swaby

as Henry Allardyce

as Mother

as Frank Lockwood

as Maurice Wormold

as Bernard Sutcliffe

as Mrs. Allardyce

as Inspector Noble

as Mrs. Sutcliff

as Mrs. Forbes

as P.C. Penny

as Mrs. Medcalf

as Hotel Manager

as Barraclough

as Veronica

as Mrs. Turnbull

as Painter's Boy

as Dorothy

as Mrs. Beavers
Show More Cast

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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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