7.3/10
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44 user 32 critic

The League of Gentlemen (1960)

Unrated | | Comedy, Crime, Thriller | 24 January 1961 (USA)
A disgruntled veteran recruits a group of disgraced colleagues to perform a bank robbery with military precision.

Director:

Basil Dearden

Writers:

John Boland (novel), Bryan Forbes (screenplay)
Reviews
Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jack Hawkins ... Hyde
Nigel Patrick ... Race
Roger Livesey ... Mycroft
Richard Attenborough ... Lexy
Bryan Forbes ... Porthill
Kieron Moore ... Stevens
Terence Alexander ... Rupert
Norman Bird ... Weaver
Robert Coote ... Bunny Warren
Melissa Stribling ... Peggy
Nanette Newman ... Elizabeth
Lydia Sherwood Lydia Sherwood ... Hilda
Doris Hare ... Molly Weaver
David Lodge ... C.S.M.
Patrick Wymark ... Wylie
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Storyline

Involuntarily-retired Lieutenant Colonel Hyde recruits seven other dissatisfied ex-servicemen for a special project. Each of the men has a skeleton in the cupboard, is short of money, and is a service-trained expert in his field. The job is a bank robbery, and military discipline and planning are imposed by Hyde and second-in-command Race on the team, although civilian irritations do start getting in the way. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

What is the league ... Who are the gentlemen ?

Genres:

Comedy | Crime | Thriller

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 January 1961 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Honorables delincuentes See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

GBP192,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The Army camp that the League Of Gentlemen raid was built around the now disused Timekeepers Entrance at Pinewood Studios. In some low angle shots, the famous water tower can be clearly seen in the background. This entrance was utilized in many movies from that period, including another barracks entrance in Guns at Batasi (1964), a research lab in Carry On Spying (1964), and Elsbels Airport in Carry on Abroad (1972). Since the construction of the new entrance, the Timekeepers (which was the main entrance into the studio) has been sealed off. See more »

Goofs

At the close of Hyde's final briefing, on the night before the bank raid, the camera's shadow falls on Jack Hawkins as it dollies toward him. See more »

Quotes

Lexy: [asked if he's hoping for a dirty weekend with his girlfriend] I'm hoping for a dirty year. If I live that long.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Fifties British War Films: Days of Glory (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

The Soldiers of the Queen
(uncredited)
written and composed by Leslie Stuart
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

A heist for the fun of it
6 July 2006 | by sol-See all my reviews

This is a heist film that really rises above the ante of its genre, due to the motivations behind the main characters. The characters are all former army officers, who were dismissed due to misconduct on their behalf, with the exception of the mastermind behind the robbery, who brings them all together. His name is Hyde, and he was halfway to becoming a full colonel before the army forced him into retirement. He is separated from his wife, and without army life, he has nothing left to do. So for the fun of it, rather than the money, he organises a heist.

The acting in the film is superb. The expressions that Jack Hawkins uses when playing Hyde signify that he is in it for the thrills rather than the loot. He looks on with joy, rather than stern, careful consideration, as he and his men organise everything that they need to do. He is in power again, since he is the head of the operation, and since he knows that everyone who he picks will want to go along. All of his men are not only crooks but ones with financial problems. And as the only one with plenty of money and no criminal record, he enjoys the idea that he can duck out at any time.

The supporting actors also show in the end that they are enjoying their work. While initially in it for the money, the return to army regulations - by which Hyde runs the operation - excites them. Nigel Patrick and Bryan Forbes are particularly good as the more suave members of the heist team. One problem though is that we never get to know the characters really well. They are defined by what we are told about them, rather than their actions, particularly with the Padre, played by Roger Livesey. A former quartermaster, he shows excitement at being able to take up the job again, but he is given very limited screen time, and his involvement with acts unbefiting a priest is oft mentioned, but his personality rarely shows anything more than that he is just another one of the men.

I find it rather odd that the film is marketed as a comedy. There is one section, when they raid the army, that is bouncing with humorous touches, and Gerald Harper, as a nervous army captain, gives off an excellent performance. The rest of the film though only has the slightest edge of humour, from Hyde badmouthing his wife to a rather awkwardly inserted cameo by Oliver Reed as a homosexual performer. The comedy is not important though, and the plot is intriguing enough as it is, but it does make the raiding the army section stand out, as it jars the film's mood and style.

If not flawless, it is still a very well made film. The rousing, grand music score is excellent, not just because it fits well over the action, but because it is sort of a parody of the scores of old war movies. The film looks great in black and white, and some of the sequences are very well shot. One example that stands out in memory is a shot where the camera goes through the walls of two different rooms, crabbing to the right, and swooping a little bit, almost like a person trying to not bump into a vase as he passes through a wall. The visual look of the film and the audio are just excellent, and well suited to the interesting screenplay.


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