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The Parole Officer (2001)

R | | Comedy, Crime | 10 August 2001 (UK)
A failed parole officer framed for murder must enlist the help of his former clients to clear his name.


John Duigan
2 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Steve Coogan ... Simon Garden
Emma Gilmour Emma Gilmour ... Secretary
Susan Jane Tanner Susan Jane Tanner ... Stern Woman
Iain Mitchell Iain Mitchell ... Tribunal Chairman
James Smith ... Tribunal Man
Om Puri ... George
Steven Waddington ... Jeff
Ben Miller ... Colin
Emma Williams ... Kirsty
Stephen Dillane ... Inspector Burton
Bruce McGregor Bruce McGregor ... First Policeman
Lena Headey ... Emma
Justin Burrows Justin Burrows ... Mills
Marc Goodhall Marc Goodhall ... Death / Student (as Marc Goodall)
Clive Kneller Clive Kneller ... Deacon


Failed parole officer Simon Garden (Coogan) is framed for a murder committed by one of Manchester's leading police officers. The only evidence proving his innocence is a CCTV video tape locked inside a bank vault. With the help of four inept ex-criminals and token love interest Emma (Lena Headey), Garden must break into the bank and steal the CCTV footage in order to clear his name. Written by Anon

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Fighting crime the only way he knows how. Badly. See more »


Comedy | Crime

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some sexual content/nudity and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »





English | Japanese

Release Date:

10 August 2001 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Das B-Team: Beschränkt und auf Bewährung See more »


Box Office


$6,000,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital


Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


A CGI shot of a wasp flying up Steve Coogan's nose took twelve hours and ten thousand feet of 35mm film before the wasp flying in a small glass cabinet could be coaxed into the nostril of the green wax head. See more »


Simon Garden's correct job title would be "probation officer" in England. "Parole officer" is an Americanism, and is probably used for the international market. However, while "parole" is used in the title of the film, "probation" is used throughout the film script. See more »


Tribunal Chairman: We talked to your clients, Mr Garden.
Simon Garden: Yeah, they're good people. I used to say to them: "You're half-way up a mountain. Crime is the easy path to the bottom. Responsibility is the hard path to the top. But when you get there it's a great view. Because in every sinner, there's a..."
Stern Woman: [interrupting, impatiently] Thank you Mr Garden.
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the first part of the credits there is footage showing the cast dancing to "Heroes" by David Bowie See more »


Referenced in Bad Girls: Episode #6.4 (2004) See more »


Ain't Got No - I Got Life
Performed by Nina Simone
Written by Galt MacDermot, James Rado and Gerome Ragni
Published by EMI United Publishing Ltd
Courtesy of RCA Records/BMG Entertainment
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User Reviews

Not great but silly and rather amusing at times
21 June 2004 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

Simon Garden is a parole officer but not a particularly successful one. When one of his assigned ex-cons, Kirsty, steals a car and some drugs Simon believes that the arresting officer, DI Burton, has pocketed the drugs. He follows Burton to find out more and ends up witnessing him murdering a known underworld accountant. Intimidated and moved out of his job, Simon realises that the whole thing was caught on cctv and he can use it to prove Burton's guilt but there's only one problem – the security tape has been placed in the vault of the local bank. Against all his values and beliefs, Simon calls together a collection of the ex-cons that he had put straight and puts together a plan to rob the bank, steal the tape and use it to prove the murderer.

Many films are not really worth the bother of going to the cinema and paying your money to see and, for me, The Parole Officer was one such film. So three years later I decided to watch this for free when it arrived on channel 4 and, while it was a silly little thing, it still made me laugh a few times and that was enough for me. The plot is silly and simple but it has a nice little comic touch to it that creates a general air of humour as well as several specifically funny moments. Of course it is nonsense and not hilarious but it did the job for me and was funny in a rather basic and silly way – although if you are expecting to be laughing out loud all the way through it then I imagine you will be disappointed.

The cast is pretty good and features a lot of well-known faces (well, certainly well known to fans of UK comedy). Coogan is hardly at his best here and this is not a great showcase for him (it just doesn't compare to his better work) but he is still funny even if his Simon is just a very poor man's Alan Partridge. Support is good for him from the likes of Om Puri, Emma Williams, Steve Waddington and the great Ben Miller. None of them really shine but they are as good as the film deserves and help support Coogan well enough. Omar Sharif makes a very strange cameo (but an effective one) and the wonderful Simon Pegg showed just how able he is by getting laughs by simply exchanging a glance with Julia Davis.

Overall this is a silly British comedy without a great deal of style or imaginative wit but one that still managed to make me laugh several times throughout the film. The humour will appeal more to a British audience than anyone else; certainly the casting is designed to appeal to an UK audience and the sense of humour will too. Not a great film by any means and far from being the best example of the abilities of those involved but it raised a few laughs and had a humorous tone all the way through that I quite enjoyed.

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