Critics Consensus

Peterloo proves writer-director Mike Leigh's populist anger remains undimmed - but that righteous fury occasionally overpowers the narrative.



Total Count: 151


Audience Score

User Ratings: 80
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Movie Info

Internationally acclaimed and Oscar-nominated filmmaker Mike Leigh portrays one of the bloodiest episodes in British history, the infamous Peterloo Massacre of 1819, where government-backed cavalry charged into a peaceful crowd of 80,000 that gathered in Manchester, England to demand democratic reform.


Rory Kinnear
as Henry Hunt
Tim McInnerny
as Prince Regent
Nico Mirallegro
as John Bagguley
Neil Bell
as Samuel Bamford
Philip Jackson
as John Knight
Vincent Franklin
as Magistrate Rev Etlhelson
Karl Johnson
as Lord Sidmouth, the Home Secretary
Robert Wilfort
as Lord Liverpool, the Prime Minister
Sam Troughton
as Mr. Hobhouse
Roger Sloman
as Mr. Grout
Kenneth Hadley
as Mr. Golightly
Tom Edwards
as Kane-Mr. Cobb
Lizzy McInnerny
as Mrs. Moss
Alastair Mackenzie
as General Sir John Byng
Lisa Millett
as Jemima Bamford
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Critic Reviews for Peterloo

All Critics (151) | Top Critics (31) | Fresh (99) | Rotten (52)

Audience Reviews for Peterloo

  • May 05, 2019
    Mike Leigh is a famed writer/director who often writes from a working class perspective, so it's no surprise he would go back to a notable 1819 British massacre where local ruling magistrates and abusive militia mowed down and killed a dozen citizens that had gathered in Manchester to rally for worker rights and voting representation. I was ignorant to the injustice in history but went in suspecting a horrible confrontation by the end. When the tragedy does strike, it's searing and upsetting and moving. The problem is that it takes forever to get to the moment that we've been waiting for and that finally provides meaning for the movie. Peterloo is far too long at two and a half hours and it takes a solid two of those hours just to finally march our characters into the awaiting tragedy of its title. Leigh paints a realistic mosaic of the many working class and middle-class people of the time, families struggling for work, men processing PTSD from the recent Napoleonic wars, political leaders articulating the pathways for reform measures, and Leigh and his production team are very good at recreating the industrial Manchester reality with care and precision. Leigh's ear for dialogue is almost documentarian. However, for those two hours, Peterloo amounts to a slice of life of relatively boring people living boring lives until the big incident that makes them notable, namely that they were abused and died horribly. It becomes a waiting game where you get anxious for the tragedy to arrive. Another choice that harms the film's impact is how incredibly over-the-top the villains are written and performed; these are mustache-twirling caricatures of greedy, venal business men, factory owners, and power brokers and their performances are so slimy that they feel like they transported from the most black-and-white of fantasy tropes. It feels like these people would be relaxing by putting their feet up over a pile of child corpses. It gets to be downright campy how the villains are portrayed. Peterloo is ultimately an enraging movie that is far too boring for far too long to feel much more than a sense of relief when it's over. Nate's Grade: C+
    Nate Z Super Reviewer

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