RIff Raff

Stevie, a Glaswegian construction worker, moves to London after recently being released from prison. He gets a job turning a derelict hospital into luxury apartments, and begins a romance with Susan, an unemployed pop singer.

Stevie (Robert Carlyle), a young Glaswegian just out of Barlinnie prison, comes down to London and gets a job on a building site -- a melting pot of itinerant labourers from all over the country -- where he has to contend with Mick the bossy ganger trying but usually failing to control his workers; three hilarious scousers, Shem, Mo and Larry (Ricky Tomlinson); and the other lads as they duck and dive through the rules and regulations of the building trade. In addition, Stevie has other problems to contend with: the wages are low, the site teems with rats, he has nowhere to sleep, and life in London isn't easy. One day on his way to work, Stevie finds a handbag in a skip. He returns it to its owner, Susan, a no-talent singer plagued by depression and neediness. As Stevie and Susan learn to live with the ups and downs of life on the edge, Riff-Raff builds a portrait, often funny, of life as it is lived in the margins. Ken Loach's camera follows the workers unobtrusively as they relax in the squats and pubs, revealing, in their gallows humour, the fatalism of those who feel they've been forgotten by the society they inhabit. An absolute classic, bittersweet comedy/drama from director Ken Loach whose political content is still as relevant now as it was in the Thatcher era.

LaurelPrix Italia - Winner of the Special Prix Italia
LaurelCannes Film Festival - Winner of the FPRESCI Prize
LaurelEuropean Film Awards - Winner of European Film of the Year
LaurelEuropean Film Awards - Nomination for Supporting Actor of the Year
LaurelGoya Awards - Nomination for the Best European Film
LaurelItalian National Syndicate of Film Journalists - Nomination for the European Silver Ribbon
LaurelBAFTA Awards Scotland - Nomination for Best Actor

Riff-Raff (1991) on IMDb

Reviews and More

Laced with humor, this is a humanistic tribute to the survival with dignity of the British working class” – Emanuel Levy

Riff-Raff is a comedy/drama with a ferocious social conscience.” – Austin Chronicle

Comedy doesn’t cut much closer to the bone.” – Entertainment Weekly

The Producers

Ken Loach

One of Britain's greatest filmmakers, Ken Loach has been a pioneer of socially conscious, uncompromising cinema, serving as Britain’s celluloid conscience throughout the last fifty years. From his breakthrough film Kes to the Palm d’Or winning I, Daniel Blake, Loach's career is a testament to cinema's ability to challenge the powerful and champion the causes of the oppressed. Spanning subjects as different as the Spanish Civil War (Land and Freedom) to the Liverpool’s dock work-ins (The Big Flame), witness the work of one of the defining artists of the 20th and 21st century.

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