This Is England


This Is England

Critics Consensus

A moving coming-of-age tale that captures the despair among England's working-class youth in the 1980s.



Total Count: 92


Audience Score

User Ratings: 54,744
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Movie Info

It's 1983 and school is out. Twelve-year-old Shaun is a lonely boy growing up in a grim coastal town in northern England, whose father died fighting in the Falklands War. Over the course of the summer holiday he befriends a group of local skinheads. With his pent-up rage and frustration, Shaun finds exactly what he needs in the gang-mischief, mayhem and brotherhood. He also meets the volatile and boorish Combo, an older skinhead who sees himself in Shaun. Adopting Shaun as his protege, Combo leads the gang down a hate spewing path that culminates in an irreversible act of violence.

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Critic Reviews for This Is England

All Critics (92) | Top Critics (33) | Fresh (86) | Rotten (6)

  • How sad and predictable is the fate of those who counsel violence as a means to an end. And yet how poignant it all seems when viewed through Shane Meadows' thoughtful lens.

    Nov 9, 2007 | Rating: 3/4
  • You wouldn't think a film about a group of British skinheads during the early 1980s could be a sweet, nostalgic coming-of-age period piece, but that's the surprise of the authentic, fresh and utterly relevant This Is England.

    Nov 9, 2007 | Rating: 3.5/4
  • Its tough but moving neo-realist approach make it one of the better British films of recent times.

    Nov 9, 2007
  • It may be the best work to date from the talented 34-year-old writer-director of Twenty Four Seven (1997).

    Sep 7, 2007 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • A drama that's so potent and persuasive yet also natural and intimate that it almost has the heft of a documentary.

    Sep 7, 2007 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • A movie about the allure of groupthink and how the warm comfort of being surrounded by peers wilts all sense of balance.

    Aug 31, 2007 | Rating: B | Full Review…

    Tom Long

    Detroit News
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for This Is England

  • Oct 30, 2015
    A very moving film about the working class youth in the 80's but focuses on one young boy being brainwashed into becoming a skinhead, The acting was great but the script felt sloppy in places and the story even though was gripping didn't really go anywhere and the ending was predictable and abit lackluster, The humour added was just enough to keep it feeling fresh, Overall it's a good film just overhyped mainly down to the plot not going anywhere.
    Jamie C Super Reviewer
  • Feb 28, 2013
    This Is England is a brutally honest, spectacularly enjoyable coming-of-age movie about a twelve year old boy falling in with a group of skinheads, and it packs an immense emotional punch as well. Given its plot, this sounds like anything but a coming-of-age story, but it actually is. The boy, Shaun, joins the group of skinheads in order to feel a sense of belonging and acceptance because he generally gets made fun of by kids his age. All but one of the skinheads is apolitical, meaning that it's simply a lifestyle choice for them rather than the racist, neo-nazi connotation that the word 'skinhead' would suggest. The one member of the group who is political, and the one to which the racist connotation is more apt, is Combo, an unstable nationalist just recently released from prison. Combo is played by Stephen Graham, who gives an absolutely incredible performance and makes the character genuinely frightening and believable. Shaun begins to look up to Combo, and events take a downward turn from there. Shaun is also played fantastically by the young Thomas Turgoose, who is also in some of director Shane Meadows' later films. Turgoose and Graham together give the film much of its emotional impact. This Is England is an extraordinarily well-made and engrossing film about alienation and violence among British youth, and it's among the best and most powerful films from the 2000s that I've seen.
    Joey S Super Reviewer
  • May 10, 2012
    British filmmaking at its finest right here, I can find very little not to like about this movie. The only thing is that there's so many interesting characters in this movie whose backstories can't be featured in a 100 minute running time. That's not even much of a knock on the movie as much as how much work actually went into these characters that couldn't all be featured prominently without the movie becoming a mess. Thankfully Shane Meadows realized this and has developed two spin off series with all the same characters (This Is England 86 and 88 respectively, which I would REALLY like to see). This movie really is quite incredible, it clicks on just about every level imaginable. The cast is near perfect, Stephen Graham's performance really is quite terrifying yet he adds a sympathetic touch to the character at parts and it works. The thing with his performance is that every word that came out of his mouth, he delivered like he truly and utterly believed everything he was saying. It was really a fabulous performance. Thomas Turgoose as Shaun is also great, not as good as Stephen, but considering the kid's age a damn fine performance. The rest of the cast, as mentioned, is perfectly cast but the brunt of the movie is carried by Thomas and Stephen. The soundtrack to the movie is fabulous as well, just great music all around. The story is a damn good one as well seeing this boy, at this very impressionable age in his life, get carried into a lifestyle (with the racist skinheads) that probably would've done him more harm than good and his maturity in realizing that he didn't want to be part of that. So it's a great coming-of-age story really. I also love the look of the movie, it looks like it was legitimately filmed in the 80s but it doesn't feel nostalgic and in fact adds a bit more realism (which it had already) to the movie. Really I can't say enough good about this movie. Excellent and I would highly recommend it.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Feb 21, 2012
    It's a very interesting movie and I can understand why some people would call it a masterpiece. I however thought it was good but at times a bit too gritty for it's own good. Unlike say, Four Lions, it didn't sympathise the characters enough and sometimes when the drama get's too serious, it get's a bit boring. This is England is a skillfully directed film and the source material has been studied in depth but a lot of people I guarantee will loathe it.
    Directors C Super Reviewer

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