Rotten Tomatoes
Cancel Movies Tv shows Shop News Showtimes

One Joke Too Many

Released Dec 1, 1979 1h 31m Drama List
Reviews 70% Audience Score 50+ Ratings Two boys pull a Saturday night prank on the police in a seaside British town. Read More Read Less

Critics Reviews

View All (1) Critics Reviews
Paul Madden Sight & Sound Quite simply the best television movie I've seen. Jan 16, 2020 Full Review Read all reviews

Audience Reviews

View All (4) audience reviews
Audience Member This time period in British cinema is very fascinating. Like Alan Clarke's SCUM, among others, this is a raw commentary about the state of the nation during the Thatcher era and more specifically the youth generation. An early film by Stephen Frears, he paints a picture of a country that is at war with itself. The film begins as we follow two 12 year old boys that decide to stage a stabbing as a practical joke. One of the kids, Leo, actually stabs himself intentionally and then tells the police that hsi friend is essentially a sociopath. As Leo tells his friend early on, "We are too young, we can do anything", which really sums up this film, a tail of youth in revolt. The plot really doesn't matter, more so the statements which the filmmaker is trying to make. There are many great scenes but there are also some rather boring or unnecessary ones as well. The two leads are really fantastic, especially considering their age. Definitely a fascinating film but I don't think it hit all the marks as well as it wanted too. Rated 3.5 out of 5 stars 02/17/23 Full Review Audience Member Two bored 11 year olds fake a stabbing to fool the police and media. As one of the boys is on the lam he befriends a streetwise punk (Gary Holden lead singer of The Heavy Metal Kids) who takes him on a night of mischief and mayhem. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 02/02/23 Full Review Audience Member awesome stuff following couple of young upstarts one of whom makes another whom stab him kinda and then the 2nd whom goes on the run and hooks with a guy who's a bit like Ju and chaos ensues . The soundtrack done by the geezer who did Berjerac n Ghandi is ace and all like Spaghetti Western or summets. Lovely. Rated 4 out of 5 stars 01/25/23 Full Review Audience Member An early film from Steven Frears' made during the Thatcher era. Like many of the era's film this is a raw commentary on the state of the nation. Shot through with great cinematic skill though this moody piece manages to transcend it's rough beginnings through it's insightful observations of a society at war with itself, not just kids on the rampage. As the constant barrage of television violence slowly moulds the watchers in it's image and the cctv cameras quietly watch. The descent into disorder becomes a nightmarish game in which the rules are unclear. Rated 4.5 out of 5 stars 01/28/23 Full Review Read all reviews
One Joke Too Many

My Rating


Cast & Crew

Movie Info

Synopsis Two boys pull a Saturday night prank on the police in a seaside British town.
Stephen Frears
Barry Hanson
Stephen Poliakoff
Palace Pictures
Production Co
Black Lion Films Limited [gb]
Original Language
Release Date (Theaters)
Dec 1, 1979, Original
1h 31m