This Is England

For the song by The Clash, see This Is England (song).
This Is England

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Shane Meadows
Produced by Mark Herbert
Written by Shane Meadows
Paddy Considine (uncredited)
Starring Thomas Turgoose
Stephen Graham
Jo Hartley
Andrew Shim
Vicky McClure
Joseph Gilgun
Rosamund Hanson
Music by Ludovico Einaudi
Cinematography Danny Cohen
Edited by Chris Wyatt
Distributed by Optimum Releasing
Release dates
  • 12 September 2006 (2006-09-12) (TIFF)
  • 27 April 2007 (2007-04-27) (United Kingdom)
Running time
102 minutes[1]
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget £1.5 million[2]
Box office £5 million[3]

This Is England is a 2006 British drama film written and directed by Shane Meadows. The story centres on young skinheads in England in 1983. The film illustrates how their subculture, which has its roots in 1960s West Indies culture, especially ska, soul, and reggae music,[4][5] became adopted by white nationalists, which led to divisions within the skinhead scene. The film's title is a direct reference to a scene where the character Combo explains his nationalist views using the phrase "this is England" during his speech.


In 1983, 12-year-old Shaun gets into a fight at school with a boy named Harvey after he makes an offensive joke about his father, who died in the Falklands War. On his way home, Shaun comes across a gang of young skinheads led by Woody, who feels sympathy for Shaun and invites him to join the group. They accept Shaun as a member, and he finds a big brother in Woody, while developing a romance with Smell also known as Michelle, an older girl who dresses in a new wave style.

Combo, an older skinhead, returns to the group after a prison sentence, accompanied by a knife-wielding moustachioed man called Banjo. A charismatic but unstable individual with sociopathic tendencies, Combo expresses English nationalist and racist views, and attempts to enforce his leadership over the other skinheads. This leads the group to split, with young Shaun, the belligerent Pukey, and Gadget, who feels bullied by Woody for his weight, choosing Combo over Woody's apolitical gang.

Shaun finds a mentor figure in Combo, who in turn is impressed by and identifies with Shaun. Shaun goes with Combo's group to a white nationalist meeting. After Pukey expresses doubt over their racist and nationalistic politics, Combo throws him out of his group and sends him back to Woody. The gang then engages in bigoted antagonism of, among others, shopkeeper Mr. Sandhu, an Indian shopkeeper who had previously banned Shaun from his shop.

Combo becomes depressed after Lol, Woody's girlfriend, rejects him when he admits that he has loved her since they had sex years before. To console himself, Combo buys cannabis from Milky, the only black skinhead in Woody's gang. During a party, Combo and Milky bond while intoxicated, but Combo becomes increasingly bitter and envious when Milky shares details of his many relatives, comfortable family life and happy upbringing, everything that Combo lacked. Enraged, Combo enters a frenzied state and brutally beats Milky unconscious, Banjo holds down Shaun, and Meggy watches them on in horror. After defending Milky, Combo angrily throws Shaun out of his flat. When Banjo attempts to hit Milky as well, Combo violently beats him and evicts him and Meggy from the apartment. Horrified at the realisation of what he has done, Combo weeps over Milky's body. Shaun and Combo later take Milky to a nearby hospital.

The film cuts forward to Shaun, who's looking at a picture of his dad who died in the Falklands in his bedroom contemplating the incident and brooding about what has happened, with his mother Cynthia assuring Shaun that Milky will be all right. Shaun is then shown walking near the beach and throwing his Saint George Flag, a gift from Combo, into the sea.



This Is England Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by various artists
Released 23 April 2007
Genre Rock, ska, Britpop, reggae, jazz rock
Label Commercial Marketing
Shane Meadows film soundtracks chronology
Dead Man's Shoes
This Is England
Somers Town
  1. "54–46 Was My Number" – Toots & The Maytals
  2. "Come On Eileen" – Dexys Midnight Runners
  3. "Tainted Love" – Soft Cell
  4. "Underpass/Flares" (Film dialogue)
  5. "Nicole (Instrumental)" – Gravenhurst
  6. "Cynth / Dad" (Film dialogue)
  7. "Morning Sun" – Al Barry & The Cimarons
  8. "Shoe Shop" (Film dialogue)
  9. "Louie Louie" – Toots & The Maytals
  10. "Pressure Drop" – Toots & The Maytals
  11. "Hair in Cafe" (Film dialogue)
  12. "Do the Dog" – The Specials
  13. "Ritornare" – Ludovico Einaudi
  14. "This Is England" (Film dialogue)
  15. "Return of Django" – Lee "Scratch" Perry & The Upsetters
  16. "Warhead" – UK Subs
  17. "Fuori Dal Mondo" – Ludovico Einaudi
  18. "Since Yesterday" – Strawberry Switchblade
  19. "Tits" (Film dialogue)
  20. "The Dark End of the Street" – Percy Sledge
  21. "Oltremare" – Ludovico Einaudi
  22. "Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want" (The Smiths cover) – Clayhill
  23. "Dietro Casa" – Ludovico Einaudi
  24. "Never Seen the Sea" – Gavin Clark (of Clayhill)
Additional music from the film includes
  1. "Pomp and Circumstance March No 1 in D. OP 39/1" (Edward Elgar) – performed by Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
  2. "Maggie Gave a Thistle" – Wayne Shrapnel and The Oi Stars
  3. "Let's Dance" – Jimmy Cliff


Much of the film was shot in residential areas of Nottingham, including St Ann's, Lenton, and The Meadows, with one section featuring abandoned houses at the former airbase RAF Newton, outside of Bingham, Nottinghamshire.[6] The opening fight was filmed at Wilsthorpe Business and Enterprise College, a secondary school in Derbyshire.[7] Additional scenes such as "the docks" were filmed in Turgoose's home town of Grimsby, which is also the opening scene for This is England '86, episode one.

Turgoose was 13 at the time of filming.[8] Turgoose had never acted before, had been banned from his school play for bad behaviour, and demanded £5 to turn up for the film's auditions.[9] The film was dedicated to Turgoose's mother, Sharon, who died of cancer on 29 December 2005; while she never saw the film, she saw a short preview. The cast attended her funeral.


The film is set in an unidentified town in the Midlands. Although much of the film was shot on location in Nottingham, a number of scenes feature the town's docks, which precludes this inland city being the setting for the action. Similarly, the dialects of the main characters are drawn from a wide geographical area.


Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 93% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 89 reviews.[10] Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 86/100, based on 23 reviews — indicating "universal acclaim".[11] This made it the tenth best reviewed film of the year.[12]

The film appeared on several US critics' top ten lists of 2007; it was third on the list by Newsweek's David Ansen, seventh on the list by The Oregonian's Marc Mohan, and ninth on the list by Los Angeles Times' Kevin Crust.[13]

In Britain, director Gillies Mackinnon rated the film the best of the year[14] and David M. Thompson, critic and film-maker, rated it third.[15] The film was ranked fourteenth in The Guardian's list of 2007's Best Films[16] and fifteenth in Empire's Movies of the Year.


The film won the Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film at the 2007 British Academy Film Awards. It also won the Best Film category at the 2006 British Independent Film Awards, Turgoose winning the Most Promising Newcomer award.

TV miniseries

In 2010, a spin-off series set three years after the film, This Is England '86, was shown on Channel 4. A sequel to the series set two and a half years later, This Is England '88, was broadcast in December 2011. A third installment, This Is England '90, was shown in September 2015.[17]


  1. "THIS IS ENGLAND (18)". British Board of Film Classification. 6 February 2007. Retrieved 21 July 2013.
  2. "This is England". The Numbers. Retrieved 27 November 2011.
  3. "This Is England". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 27 November 2011.
  4. Brown, Timothy S. (2004). "Subcultures, pop music and politics: skinheads and "Nazi rock" in England and Germany". Journal of Social History.
  5. A Stevens. "Cropping the skinhead image | Books". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-08-26.
  6. "Films made in Nottingham | Nottingham Post". 2008-11-29. Retrieved 2015-08-26.
  7. "Teenager Tommo lands gritty role". BBC News. 27 April 2007. Retrieved 25 May 2010.
  8. "This Is England – Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 5 January 2015.
  9. "This Is England (2007): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 5 January 2008.
  10. "The Best-Reviewed Movies of 2007". Metacritic. Retrieved 5 January 2008.
  11. "Metacritic: 2007 Film Critic Top Ten Lists". Metacritic. Archived from the original on 2 January 2008. Retrieved 5 January 2008.
  12. "The Insider's View, 21 December 2007". London: The Independent. 21 December 2007. Retrieved 5 January 2008.
  13. "Films of the Year 2007" (PDF). Sight & Sound. Retrieved 5 January 2008.
  14. "2007's Best Films". London: The Guardian. 7 December 2007. Retrieved 5 January 2008.
  15. "This is England '90 - Channel 4 - Info - Press". Channel 4. 2014-10-01. Retrieved 2015-08-26.

External links

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