The Angry Silence

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The Angry Silence
The Angry Silence FilmPoster.jpeg
Directed by Guy Green
Produced by Richard Attenborough
Bryan Forbes
Jack Rix
Written by Bryan Forbes
Michael Craig
Richard Gregson
Starring Richard Attenborough
Pier Angeli
Michael Craig
Bernard Lee
Music by Malcolm Arnold
Cinematography Arthur Ibbetson
Edited by Anthony Harvey
Distributed by British Lion Film Corporation
Release date
15 March 1960
Running time
95 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget £97,000[1][2]

The Angry Silence is a 1960 black-and-white British drama film directed by Guy Green and starring Richard Attenborough, Pier Angeli, Michael Craig and Bernard Lee. The film marked the first release through screenwriter Bryan Forbes's production venture, Beaver Films and Forbes won a BAFTA Award and an Oscar nomination for his contribution (shared with original story writers Michael Craig and Richard Gregson).[3]


The story is about working class factory worker Tom Curtis (Richard Attenborough) who refuses to take part in an unofficial strike organised by agent provocateur Travers (Alfred Burke). Curtis finds himself ostracised by the other workers and accused of being a scab. Curtis has two children and his wife, Anna (Pier Angeli) is pregnant. He faces a painful dilemma when choosing between doing what is morally right (and the choice of his fellow work colleagues) and what is bidden by the rules. He is not persuaded to participate in the strike by violence, as some of the other dissenters, but is given the silent treatment instead.[4]


The film is also notable for the early appearance of several actors who later went on to become household names, such as Oliver Reed.


Kenneth More was initially considered for the lead role which Richard Attenborough played.[5]


The film received positive reviews in the UK and US. Variety wrote that Guy Green had directed with "quiet skill, leaving the film to speak for itself". The film was entered into the 10th Berlin International Film Festival.

By 1971 the film made an estimated profit of £58,000.[1] In 1997 Bryan Forbes estimated the profit at £200,000.[2]

After the film's release Richard Attenborough visited a working men's club in Aberdare, south Wales who were refusing to show the film. The film had been banned in many of these clubs because of its anti-strike plot. However, Attenborough explained his position on the film and the miners allowed the film to be screened. This was important as during the 1960s films required such showings to drive ticket sales.[3]

Some critics have raised doubts about the politics of the film, particularly with regard to the needs or demands of the workers being trivialised.[6] Others suggest that the film is also a reflection of British working-class values at the time, such as "an Englishman's home is his castle".[7]

The aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes gives the film an audience approval rating of 80%, based on 134 ratings.[8]


  1. ^ a b Alexander Walker, Hollywood, England, Stein and Day, 1974 pp 98-101
  2. ^ a b Brian McFarlane, An Autobiography of British Cinema, Metheun 1997 p193
  3. ^ a b "The Angry Silence: the film they tried to ban". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 21 November 2015. 
  4. ^ "The Angry Silence (1960)". BFI. Retrieved 21 November 2015. 
  5. ^ Brian McFarlane, An Autobiography of British Cinema, Metheun 1997 p36
  6. ^ Angry Silence, The (1960) at BFI Screenonline
  7. ^ Crowther, Bosley. Movie Review: The Angry Silence (1960). New York Times 13 December 1960
  8. ^ "The Angry Silence" on Rotten Tomatoes

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