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This is England Case Study

Rob Miller | Wednesday November 02, 2011

Categories: A Level, Analysis, Film Analysis, Films & Case Studies, Non-Hollywood Films, This is England, Genres & Case Studies, British Film, Crime, Drama, Independent, Hot Entries


Production Context & Key Notes

  • Written and Directed by Shane Meadows (UK)
  • Shane Meadows films include Once Upon a Time in the Midlands, Dead Man’s Shoes and Northern Soul
  • Produced by EM Media (East Midlands)
  • Distributed by Optimum (Independent UK Distributor : Brick, Vera Drake, Dead Man’s Shoes, 9 Songs)
  • Additional Funding – Film4 and UK Film Council (£668,000 – New Cinema Fund, £90,000 P and A Fund)
  • Theatrical Release: April 2007
  • Independent British Film
  • Genre/Tradition: Social Realism
  • Critical Success: Film Festival Awards
  • UK Box Office:  £1.3m (gross), Casino Royale £55m (gross), The Queen £9m (gross). Projected successful DVD sales
  • Production Costs: £1.2m
  • Limited Distribution: UK Release (approx 100 Screens)
  • BFI Category 1 (Culturally and Institutionally British)
  • Low Production Values, no Star Marketing



This is England is set in South Yorkshire in 1983. The narrative follows Sean, a 12 year old boy, whose soldier father has recently been killed in the Falklands War, and who is being bullied at school.

A group of Skinheads befriend Sean, and initially help him overcome his problems, welcome him into their group. Woody, the leader of the gang, introduces Sean to two of his friends at a party (who have recently been in Jail), but it soon transpires the two older men hold racist ideologies that are not shared by the rest of the group.

At a ‘showdown’ meeting, the gang are asked to state their allegiances. Sean chooses to stay with Combo - to learn and accept his racist beliefs and ideologies - leaving the bulk of his new gang, who leave the meeting in disbelief.


Sean attends a National Front meeting embracing their beliefs and Combo takes over from Woody as his mentor.

In a final key scene however, Sean witnesses a brutal attack on Milky, one of the initial gang that befriended him (he is a Skinhead from Jamaican origin), turning his back on his new found beliefs (signified by the throwing of the...

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