Riff-Raff (1991) - Rotten Tomatoes

Riff-Raff (1991)

Riff-Raff (1991)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Riff-Raff Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

Socialist-leaning British director Ken Loach kicked off a decade's worth of acclaimed cinema with this surprisingly comic tale of working class laborers at a North London building site, written by Bill Jesse, a real-life construction worker who died before the film's release. Scottish ex-con Stevie (Robert Carlyle) finds work on a non-union crew converting a hospital into luxury condos. Like most of his coworkers, Stevie is homeless and finds a place to live by squatting in an abandoned building. The crew is exploited by its supervisors and endures unsafe conditions, and pay is so low that the men use false names so that they won't have to pay taxes. Stevie discovers a lost handbag, and when he returns it to the owner, a spacey hopeful singer named Susan (Emer McCourt), he falls in love. He and Susan are soon living together -- then Stevie discovers that his girlfriend is a habitual drug user. Meanwhile, the most outspoken worker, Larry (Ricky Tomlinson) loses his job when he questions authority once too often. Loach cast only actors who had construction experience in the film, kicking off the career of Carlyle, who later surged to stardom in The Full Monty (1997).more
Rating: R
Genre: Drama, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Bill Jesse
On DVD: Jul 21, 1993
Parallax Pictures


Ade Sapara
as Fiaman
Derek Young
as Desmonde
Luke Kelly
as Ken Jones
Willie Ross
as Gus Siddon
Terry Duggan
as Boss in office
Jimmy Jewel
as Pub Band
James MacDonald
as Funeral Director
Angela Morant
as Estate Agent
Terry Bird
as Van Driver
Jimmy Batten
as Man Buying Kango
Steve Imsay
as Friend of Man Buying...
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Riff-Raff

Critic Reviews for Riff-Raff

All Critics (17) | Top Critics (8)

Full Review… | September 7, 2011
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Top Critic

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

January 15, 2004
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Riff-Raff

This film is a slow starting one, with very little storyline throughout, it?s billed as a documentary style film, which does come across, but not quite how you?d expect that to be. Something drives this and makes you stay with it, despite it?s lack of excitement, this is a pretty miserable film.

Lady D'arbanville

Super Reviewer

Not the true life story of a character from the Rocky Horror Picture Show, Riff-Raff is another worthy addition to the Ken Loach series of working class folks oozing with real dramatics.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer


Riff-Raff is a social commentary about unsafe working conditions that effectively shows how it affects the workers and how far they will go to combat it.

Riff-Raff Quotes

Stevie: Depression's for the middle classes.
– Submitted by Frances H (2 years ago)
Susan: If I don't say good night, I'll be saying good morning.
– Submitted by Frances H (2 years ago)

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