This Is England
Theatrical release poster
Directed byShane Meadows
Written byShane Meadows
Produced byMark Herbert
StarringThomas Turgoose
Stephen Graham
Andrew Shim
Vicky McClure
Joe Gilgun
Rosamund Hanson
CinematographyDanny Cohen
Edited byChris Wyatt
Music byLudovico Einaudi
Distributed byOptimum Releasing
Release dates
  • 12 September 2006 (2006-09-12) (TIFF)
  • 13 April 2007 (2007-04-13) (United Kingdom)
Running time
102 minutes[1]
CountryUnited Kingdom
Budget£1.5 million[2]
Box office£5 million[3]

This Is England is a 2006 British drama film written and directed by Shane Meadows. The story centres on young skinheads in England in 1983. The film illustrates how their subculture, which has its roots in 1960s West Indies culture, especially ska, soul, and reggae music,[4][5] became influenced by the far-right, especially white nationalists and white supremacists, which led to divisions within the skinhead scene. The film's title is a direct reference to a scene where the character Combo explains his nationalist views using the phrase "this is England" during his speech.

This Is England received critical acclaim and went on to gross £5 million at the box office. Its success led to the creation of three sequel TV series; This Is England '86 (2010), This Is England '88 (2011), and This Is England '90 (2015).


In July 1983, Shaun is a troubled 12-year-old boy who lives with his widowed mother and is frequently antagonised in school and around town. On the last day of the school year, Shaun gets into a fight at school with a boy named Harvey after Harvey insults him for wearing wide bell bottoms and making an offensive joke about his father, who was killed in the Falklands War. On his way home, Shaun comes across a gang of young skinheads led by Woody, who feels sympathy for Shaun and invites him to join the group. He introduces Shaun to Milky, the only black skinhead of the gang; Pukey; Kes; and the overweight, dim-witted Gadget. Despite some initial hostilities between Shaun and Gadget, the gang accepts Shaun as a member. Shaun bonds closely with Richard "Woody" Woodford, viewing him a big brother figure, and his girlfriend Lorraine "Lol" Jenkins, who takes a motherly role towards him. Shaun also develops a romantic relationship with Michelle, also known as Smell, an older girl who dresses in a new wave, new romantic style.

During a party one night, the group is ambushed by a bald, tattooed, moustachioed, machete-wielding man, who is then attacked by Andrew "Combo" Gascoigne, a first-wave skinhead. With the attack revealed to be a prank, Woody announces that Combo had just finished a three-year prison sentence, and Combo introduces the man as his associate Banjo. Combo, a charismatic but unstable man with sociopathic tendencies, begins to express English nationalist and racist views, alienating Woody, Lol, Kes, and offending Milky. Later on, he attempts to enforce his leadership over the other skinheads. When Combo mentions the Falklands War as part of a speech, an upset Shaun reveals to the gang that his father died in that conflict, which Combo then uses to manipulate the boy into joining his side. Consequently, the gang splits, with young Shaun, the belligerent Pukey, and Gadget, who feels bullied by Woody for his weight, choosing Combo over Woody's apolitical gang.

Shaun finds a hero-figure in Combo, who in turn is impressed by, and identifies with, Shaun. Combo's group attend a National Front meeting. On the drive home Pukey expresses doubt over their racist and nationalistic politics. Combo furiously stops the car and yanks Pukey out, lightly assaulting him in ridicule in front of the others, abandoning him in isolated countryside by the roadside.

The gang deface walls, intimidate local children and spray racist slogans on Asian shopkeeper Mr Sandhu's walls, while Shaun, previously banned from the shop, launches a bigoted verbal assault on Sandhu with demands for alcohol and cigarettes. Combo viciously threatens Sandhu with a machete and the gang steal goods for a birthday party under Combo's instructions.

Combo becomes upset after Lol, Woody's girlfriend, rejects him when he admits that he has loved her since they had sex years before. To console himself, Combo buys cannabis from Milky, and invites him to a party. While intoxicated, Combo and Milky bond, but Combo becomes increasingly bitter and envious, all wrapped up in a racist viewpoint, when Milky shares details of his many relatives, comfortable family life and happy upbringing, everything that Combo lacked. An enraged Combo enters a frenzied state and brutally beats Milky unconscious, while Banjo holds down Shaun, and Meggy watches on in horror. An angry Combo violently throws Shaun out of his flat after Shaun verbally defends Milky, then slams the door hard. When Banjo expresses his desire to hit Milky as well, Combo violently beats him and evicts him and Meggy from the flat. Horrified at the realisation of what he has done, a remorseful Combo weeps over Milky. Shaun and Combo later take Milky to a nearby hospital.

The film cuts forward to Shaun, who is in his bedroom looking at a picture of his late father. He is contemplating the incident and brooding about what happened, with his mother Cynthia assuring him that Milky will be all right. Shaun is then shown walking near the beach and throwing his St George's Flag, a gift from Combo, into the sea.



This Is England Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by
various artists
Released23 April 2007
GenreSka, reggae, new wave
LabelCommercial Marketing
Shane Meadows film soundtracks chronology
Dead Man's Shoes
This Is England Soundtrack
Somers Town
  1. "54–46 Was My Number" – Toots & The Maytals
  2. "Come On Eileen" – Dexys Midnight Runners
  3. "Tainted Love" – Soft Cell
  4. "Underpass/Flares" (Film dialogue)
  5. "Nicole (Instrumental)" – Gravenhurst
  6. "Cynth / Dad" (Film dialogue)
  7. "Morning Sun" – Al Barry & The Cimarons
  8. "Shoe Shop" (Film dialogue)
  9. "Louie Louie" – Toots & The Maytals
  10. "Pressure Drop" – Toots & The Maytals
  11. "Hair in Cafe" (Film dialogue)
  12. "Do the Dog" – The Specials
  13. "Ritornare" – Ludovico Einaudi
  14. "This Is England" (Film dialogue)
  15. "Return of Django" – Lee "Scratch" Perry & The Upsetters
  16. "Warhead" – UK Subs
  17. "Fuori Dal Mondo" – Ludovico Einaudi
  18. "Since Yesterday" – Strawberry Switchblade
  19. "Tits" (Film dialogue)
  20. "The Dark End of the Street" – Percy Sledge
  21. "Oltremare" – Ludovico Einaudi
  22. "Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want" (The Smiths cover) – Clayhill
  23. "Dietro Casa" – Ludovico Einaudi
  24. "Never Seen the Sea" – Gavin Clark (of Clayhill)
Additional music from the film includes
  1. "Pomp and Circumstance March No 1 in D. OP 39/1" (Edward Elgar) – performed by Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
  2. "Maggie Gave a Thistle" – Wayne Shrapnel and The Oi Stars
  3. "Let's Dance" – Jimmy Cliff


Much of the film was shot in residential areas of Nottingham, including St Ann's, Lenton, and The Meadows, with one section featuring abandoned houses at RAF Newton, a former airbase close to Bingham, Nottinghamshire.[6] The opening fight was filmed at Wilsthorpe Business and Enterprise College, a secondary school in Long Eaton, Derbyshire, close to the Nottinghamshire/Derbyshire boundary.[7][8] Additional scenes such as 'the docks' were filmed in Turgoose's home town of Grimsby.[9] Turgoose was 13 at the time of filming.[10] He had never acted before, was banned from his school play for bad behaviour, and demanded £5 to turn up for the film's auditions.[11] The film was dedicated to Turgoose's mother, Sharon, who died of cancer on 29 December 2005; while she never saw the film, she saw a short preview. The cast attended her funeral.[citation needed]


The film is set in an unidentified town in the Midlands. Although much of the film was shot on location in Nottingham, a number of scenes portray the town's docks, which precludes this inland city being the setting for the action. Similarly, the dialects of the main characters are drawn from a wide geographical area.[citation needed]


On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 93% based on 94 reviews, with an average rating of 7.70/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "A moving coming-of-age tale that captures the despair among England's working-class youth in the 1980s".[12] Metacritic gives the film a weighted average score of 86 out of 100 based on 23 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".[13] This made it the tenth best reviewed film of the year.[14]

The film appeared on several US critics' top ten lists of 2007; it was third on the list by Newsweek's David Ansen, seventh on the list by The Oregonian's Marc Mohan, and ninth on the list by Los Angeles Times' Kevin Crust.[15]

In Britain, director Gillies Mackinnon rated the film the best of the year[16] and David M. Thompson, critic and film-maker, rated it third.[17] The film was ranked fourteenth in The Guardian's list of 2007's Best Films[18] and fifteenth in Empire's Movies of the Year.[citation needed]


The film won the Alexander Korda Award for Best British Film at the 2007 British Academy Film Awards.[19]

At the 2006 British Independent Film Awards, the film won the award for Best Film and Thomas Turgoose won the award for Most Promising Newcomer.[20][10]

TV miniseries

Main article: This Is England (film series)

In 2010, a spin-off series set three years after the film, This Is England '86, was shown on Channel 4. A sequel to the series set two and a half years later, This Is England '88, was broadcast in December 2011. A third installment, This Is England '90, was shown in September 2015.[21]


  1. ^ "This Is England (18)". British Board of Film Classification. 6 February 2007. Archived from the original on 16 July 2021. Retrieved 21 July 2013.
  2. ^ "This is England". The Numbers. Archived from the original on 4 November 2007. Retrieved 27 November 2011.
  3. ^ "This Is England". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on 26 April 2019. Retrieved 27 November 2011.
  4. ^ Brown, Timothy S. (2004). "Subcultures, pop music and politics: skinheads and "Nazi rock" in England and Germany". Journal of Social History. Archived from the original on 5 December 2008.
  5. ^ A Stevens (26 April 2007). "Cropping the skinhead image | Books". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 24 March 2014. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  6. ^ "Films made in Nottingham | Nottingham Post". 29 November 2008. Archived from the original on 6 June 2009. Retrieved 26 August 2015.
  7. ^ Antcliff, Karen (3 January 2022). "Where the cast of This is England are now - from Hollywood to Beeston". Nottingham Post. Archived from the original on 13 December 2022. Retrieved 13 December 2022.
  8. ^ Gorman, Rachel (4 August 2018). "Did you know these Nottingham locations have been used in TV and film?". Nottinghamshire Live. Archived from the original on 25 October 2021. Retrieved 25 October 2021.
  9. ^ Freshwater, Paige (20 September 2020). "Five popular movies shot in Grimsby well worth a watch - how many have you seen?". Grimsby Live. Archived from the original on 23 January 2021. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  10. ^ a b "Teenager Tommo lands gritty role". BBC News. 27 April 2007. Archived from the original on 1 June 2009. Retrieved 25 May 2010.
  11. ^ "Thomas Turgoose: the 13-year-old cheeky chappy goes from Grimsby to the big screen - YOU Magazine". 28 September 2007. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 4 October 2017.
  12. ^ "This Is England". Rotten Tomatoes. Archived from the original on 12 April 2021. Retrieved 18 March 2021.
  13. ^ "This Is England (2007): Reviews". Metacritic. Archived from the original on 11 January 2008. Retrieved 5 January 2008.
  14. ^ "The Best-Reviewed Movies of 2007". Metacritic. Archived from the original on 13 December 2022. Retrieved 13 December 2022.
  15. ^ "Metacritic: 2007 Film Critic Top Ten Lists". Metacritic. Archived from the original on 2 January 2008. Retrieved 5 January 2008.
  16. ^ "The Insider's View, 21 December 2007". The Independent. London. 21 December 2007. Archived from the original on 7 May 2022. Retrieved 5 January 2008.
  17. ^ "Films of the Year 2007" (PDF). Sight & Sound. Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 September 2008. Retrieved 5 January 2008.
  18. ^ "2007's Best Films". The Guardian. London. 7 December 2007. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 5 January 2008.
  19. ^ "Film in 2008 | BAFTA Awards". Archived from the original on 29 June 2019. Retrieved 13 December 2022.
  20. ^ "BIFA Nominations/Awards 2006". BIFA. 11 October 2006. Archived from the original on 13 September 2023. Retrieved 16 February 2021.
  21. ^ "This is England '90 - Channel 4 - Info - Press". Channel 4. 1 October 2014. Archived from the original on 3 October 2014. Retrieved 26 August 2015.