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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Due to the criminal and antisocial behavior of the main characters, there are no positive messages to be taken from the film.
Positive Role Models
Pinkie Brown is a gangster and a leader of one of the "razor gangs" -- a collection of weapon-wielding criminals -- battling for control of a English seaside town. Pinkie and the other gangsters show little remorse or mourning for other characters after their deaths. Male characters frequently marginalize and manipulate females. But Ida Arnold shows courage, perseverance, and a strong moral code as she fights to expose Pinkie. Very little diversity among the cast. One minor character is shown to have a disability.
Violence & Scariness
Reference to a mutilated body in newspaper report. Rival gangsters intimidate and chase one another. Character smashes glasses in a pub after a minor provocation and shoots a BB gun at a carnival. Character thrown to their death from a ghost train ride. Gangsters resort to violence and intimidation to get what they want. Fights with razor blades result in bloody cuts. Punches and kicks also thrown. Nearby objects such as tables used as weapons. But impact blows happen off camera. Character thrown to their death from the top of a flight of stairs.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Characters flirt and pursue romantic interests by buying them drinks and asking to be accompanied places. Character shown wearing a nightdress in bed after their wedding night.
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Character referred to in sexist terms, including "skirt," "brass," and "slut."
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Products & Purchases
Characters gamble on horses at a racecourse. Discussion about booking a hotel suite after a wedding. Character is bought a gramophone.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters drink and smoke in social settings, such as pubs. Some characters are shown drunk, one in the middle of the day.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Brighton Rock is a 1948 adaption of the book of the same name by Graham Greene and features gang violence, sexist behavior and some drinking and smoking. Set in 1935, the story focuses on Pinkie Brown (Richard Attenborough), the leader of a local razor gang who must evade capture for a murder. Very few characters show any moral fiber, with the exception of Ida Arnold (Hermione Baddeley), who attempts to expose Pinkie's murderous behavior and manipulation of his love interest, Rose (Carol Marsh). Pinkie kills and uses people without remorse, finding a confused solace in his faith as a Roman Catholic. The violence is intermittent, but not graphic, with much of the bloody injuries sustained occurring off camera. People fall to their deaths, but again without gruesome impact or gore. Characters do however make references to people being harmed and killed with sharp objects. Several derogatory terms, including "slut," are used to describe women, who are often patronized and controlled by men. Pinkie has little interest in possessions, and abstains from drink and smoking. Other characters do not, and while the consumption is mostly in moderation there are some scenes where characters are drunk and boisterous. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.