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Parents' Guide to

Brighton Rock (1948)

By Alistair Lawrence, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Classic British gangster movie has violence, sexism.

Movie NR 1951 92 minutes
Brighton Rock (1948) Poster Image

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A film noir shot in harsh grays and inky blacks, this British classic tells an antihero's tale without warmth or compromise. At Brighton Rock's center is Attenborough as the youthful and psychotic Pinkie Brown, unrecognizable from his gentler later roles in Jurassic Park and Miracle on 34th Street. Adapted by Graham Greene and Terence Rattigan from Greene's novel, the movie trims much of the religious metaphor and debate that slows the book at times. What's left is a lean and visceral adaptation that gets off to a hurried start but then finds its rhythm as a story about Pinkie's toxic relationship with Rose (Carol Marsh), his love interest, and the other people foolish -- or unfortunate enough -- to cross his path.

While the booming 1940s score occasionally over-eggs the movie's climactic moments, the period also offers up some masterful, restrained performances in places. Brighton Rock is at its most menacing when its violence and cruelty seems every day, disrupting the lives of people you recognize, despite its bygone era.

Movie Details

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