Brassed Off! - A Great Movie

by jptanabe

Whether you love brass band music or not, you can enjoy this movie, featuring the music of the Grimethorpe Colliery Band and a lot of British humor!

"Brassed Off!" is a movie I came across by chance, but it's one I'll never forget. A wonderful bittersweet story, featuring a brass band, it tells the tale of the closing of the coal mines in England late in the twentieth century. It stars Ewan McGregor, Pete Postlethwaite, and Tara Fitzgerald, and features the Grimethorpe Colliery Band playing the music.

The movie is funny, actually quite hilarious in parts, and tragic, and it does have a love story but that's kind of a minor feature. There are great characters, amazing music, and important social issues here. Oh and did I say it was funny!

Do You Like Brass Bands?

Well, that "old" brass band doesn't look too thrilling does it! But fear not, Brassed Off! is not about a boring old brass band. It is about a brass band, and they do play a lot in the movie, but they are never boring. Actually, they play so well you want them to play more not less!

Brass Band 1910
Brass Band 1910

The Trailer for "Brassed Off!"

"Brassed Off!"

The movie is about more than just the music, it's about a whole way of life (coal mining in England) coming to an end, and about the people in the community and how that affects them. Of course, there's a love story thrown in, since it's a movie! And it's about a brass band.

Have you seen "Brassed Off!"?

What did you think of it?

What's so great about "Brassed Off!"?

Lots of things are great about this movie!

It's funny!

In a British style of humor of course. Kind of like "The Full Monty" but without the strippers.

It has great music!

Who would have thought a brass band could sound this good? It's the Grimethorpe Colliery Band that play the music, a real brass band whose story seems to be the inspiration behind this movie. Certainly the music is one of the memorable things about this movie.

It's moving

Tragic as well as funny, this movie addresses real social issues and the way real people react to them. Well, some of the characters seem to be like real people; others are, well, played by amazing actors!

It has Pete Postlethwaite!

I think I could watch this movie over and over just for Pete Postlethwaite. He's so incredible, keeps me laughing! He's been in lots of movies, including another favorite of mine, "Dragonheart," where he plays Brother Gilbert. Funny is hardly the word for his performance in this movie though. Actually his character, Danny, is rather tragic, suffers from black lung and is at death's door for a while. But crazy as he is, Danny embodies much of the best in humanity, rising to the occasion and giving a great speech at the end.

It has Ewan McGregor!

Yes, he's Scottish and he's famous and he's nice to look at. He even acts well in this movie! Course he needs a love interest, so ...


It has Tara Fitzgerald!

Who might she be I asked. Actually she's not bad in the movie, rather attractive really. And she plays flugelhorn (what's a flugelhorn?)

This is a Flugelhorn!

The Flugelhorn is a brass instrument resembling a trumpet, but with a somewhat deeper and more mellow tone. It has been described as having a tone halfway between a trumpet and a French horn - now that could be good or bad! At least in this movie it sounds really good, all the best aspects of the tone of trumpet and French horn, in my opinion anyway.

Great Moments in

"Brassed Off!"

Rodrigo's "Concierto de Aranjuez"

Originally composed for guitar and orchestra by Joachim Rodrigo, "Concierto de Aranjuez" is just an amazing piece of music, one of my all-time favorites. The brass band call it the "Orange Juice" concerto of course!

The Adagio movement of is the one everyone knows (and the one they play). Adapted for brass band with the flugelhorn taking on the solo it's just incredible. If the sight of the band members when Tara Fitzgerald's character plays, and Pete Postlethwaite's comments, weren't enough to make this scene memorable, brilliantly edited in images of the negotiation talks between the miners and management about closing the colliery make it unforgettable.

As originally written - for guitar

This is what the Concerto de Aranjuez sounds like played on guitar, and with an orchestral accompaniment. It's wonderful!

"Danny Boy"

"Danny Boy" is an all-time favorite of course. Brings tears to everyone's eyes, Irish or not.

And since Pete Postlethwaite's character's name is Danny, naturally the band chooses to play it for him.

"William Tell Overture"

As the movie nears its climax the band are to perform at the Royal Albert Hall. They play the "William Tell Overture," always a stirring piece of music. In the context of the story, their performance is outstanding.

Soundtrack from "Brassed Off!"

Of course to hear the music properly it's way better to have the whole original soundtrack!

This soundtrack album includes all their performances, including the amazing rendition of the "concert de orange juice" (Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez). The soundtrack is all the more poignant because the music is played by the Grimethorpe Colliery Band, a real-life ensemble that struggled to survive when its mine was closed.

The Grimethorpe Colliery Band

The band in "Brassed Off!" is based on the true story of the Grimethorpe Colliery Band. This band was formed for the mine workers in the early twentieth century and financed by the colliery. Right before the National Brass Band Championships at the Royal Albert Hall in London the announcements were made about closing a large number of coal mines in Britain. To the great shock of the Grimethorpe community, the Grimethorpe colliery was on the list. Still, the band competed and won, becoming the champion band of Great Britain. Despite all the members losing their jobs, the band received financial support and has flourished since that time.

Website of the Grimethorpe Colliery Band

Grimethorpe Colliery Band on Facebook

Updated: 01/13/2023, jptanabe
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jptanabe on 07/07/2015

Yes, the flugelhorn is surprisingly good!

Mira on 07/07/2015

Thanks for the review! I'll look for this movie :)

Mira on 07/07/2015

Interesting! And the Concierto de Aranjuez with a flughorn sounds quite good!

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