Neds (film)

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To be distinguished from Ned (film).
Film poster
Directed by Peter Mullan
Starring Conor McCarron
Martin Bell
Grant Wray
Marcus Nash
Linda Cuthbert
John Joe Hay
Sean Higgins
Music by Craig Armstrong
Cinematography Roman Osin
Edited by Colin Monie
Scottish Screen
UK Film Council
Wild Bunch
Distributed by E1 Entertainment (UK)
New Video Group
Release date(s)
  • 9 October 2010 (2010-10-09) (Dinard Festival)
  • 21 January 2011 (2011-01-21) (United Kingdom)
Running time 124 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English, Glaswegian Scots
Box office £632,204

Neds (2010) is a feature film directed by Peter Mullan, with dialogue in both English and the Glaswegian dialect of the Scots language. The film tells the story of John McGill (Conor McCarron), a teenager growing up in 1970s Glasgow, Scotland. The story line follows John's involvement with his city's ned culture and the consequences of it on his teenage years.


Neds is about a young boy growing up in 1970s Glasgow called John McGill, a bright pupil who excels in all subjects at school. He comes from a working-class family. His mother is a part-time hospital worker, and his dad is an alcoholic wife-beater who works as a tool maker. His Auntie Beth, who is visiting home from New York where she now lives, encourages John to leave Scotland for New York when he is older. Once he graduates from primary school, a boy called Canta from a young team at Hardridge says he will beat John up when he moves to secondary school. John tells his older brother Benny, who is a gang leader of a young team called "Car-D" and Benny "fixes" the problem. Once John joins secondary school everything goes fine, apart from him not being in the Higher class. He is then told by the Headmaster that if he proves to be different from his brother (who assaulted two teachers during the previous year before being expelled) then he will move up a class by Christmas time, which he does. Since John lacks a social life and friends, his teacher advises him to attend a summer camp for children with disabilities, where he meets a middle-class boy called Julian. One day he accidentally breaks one of Julian's father's records and is forbidden to see Julian again.

While walking home, a group of neds calling themselves "Young Car-D" threaten to mug him until they realize who his brother is, at which point they leave him alone and even ask him to join them, as well as giving him vodka and cigarettes (which he accepts). This is the start of his downward spiral. Once school starts, it has become clear that John has changed his ways badly – graffiting the desks, being impolite to teachers and going for cigarettes in the toilets at breaktime. At one point he gets caught up in a fight between two sports teams, and obtains a knife kicked under the door of the cubicle he is hiding in during the fight. Subsequently, during a weekend he gets back at Julian's family for rejecting him by throwing a bag full of fused fireworks through their dining room while they're having dinner before going to a social club. While there, members from the "Car-D" team force two boys from a rival team called "the Krew" out of the social club who later come back and throw a bicycle through the function room window, urging the "Car-D" to give chase up to the edge of their territorial zone, where they escape via a walkway. John gives chase and ends up running right into the rest of the "Krew" and their leader who chase him into a kindly Irish lady's home who shelters him temporarily (It turns out that the lady is the mother of the boy who threw the bicycle).

After a period from 1972 to 1974 of fighting other gangs, running from the police, and hiding a blade he used to slit a boy's throat in a gang fight, John comes home to bad news - his brother has been arrested accused of the crime he himself had committed. John fails to pay the bail due to running out of time despite stealing money from a bus driver at knife point. His violent lifestyle continues to the point where he confronts and hits a now isolated and weak Canta over the head with a slab while out for a walk with Claire, one of the girls from the gang, causing him severe brain damage. After being ostracised by "Young Car-D" for attracting police attention by throwing a glass bottle at an officer passing through the park where they hang out, he ends up being thrown out of his own home after beating his father for drunkenly harassing him and his mother. John is then forced to take refuge in the boiler room of a block of high rise flats, surviving by stealing the neighbours' milk and bread.

One day John finds the gate to the boiler room locked and goes for a walk to a statue of Jesus Christ, who John urges to come down jokingly, he then has a vision that he does so but the figment of Jesus ends up beating him for his choice of life. The next morning, his sober dad finds him and tells him to go home.

John's father asks him to put him out of his misery and end his life. John goes to his room and prepares two knives which he tightly straps to both hands. He goes downstairs and his father - whilst urinating in a bottle - asks him to wait until he is asleep. John decides to go for a half naked walk in a self-destructive mood. He comes across the rival gang and viciously attacks one of them, injuring him badly. John is then pursued by the other gang members and is badly beaten in turn. Members of "Young car-D" then spot him and fight off his attackers only to have John turn on them after getting to his feet. Injured he proceeds on home to the room where his father is asleep. Unable to go through with the act of killing his father he collapses and falls asleep on top of him.

At the end he chooses to change his ways by restarting school from a lower class, wanting no further involvement in the gang. The class goes on a field trip to a safari park and their minibus breaks down. He thinks the teachers have abandoned him with Canta, and he decides to leave the van and walks hand-in-hand with Canta through a pack of lions; the lions leave them alone as they walk off into the distance.


  • Conor McCarron – John McGill
  • Gregg Forrest – Young John
  • Marianna Palka – Aunt Beth
  • Joe Szula – Benny
  • Mhairi Anderson – Elizabeth
  • Gary Milligan – Canta
  • John Joe Hay – Fergie
  • Christopher Wallace – Wee T
  • Richard Mack – Gerr
  • Paul Smith – Key Man
  • Khai Nugent – Tam
  • Ryan Walker – Sparra
  • Lee Fanning – Minty
  • Ross Greig – Fifey
  • Greg McCreadie – Tora
  • Scott Ingram – Casper
  • Cameron Fulton – Crystal
  • Craig Kerr – Rebel
  • Martin Bell – Julian
  • Kat Murphy – Claire
  • Stefanie Szula – Linda
  • Annie Watson – Agnes
  • Zoë Halliday – Mandy
  • Sara MacCallum – Shelagh
  • John Forrest – McCluskey Boy
  • Louis McLaughlin – Robert
  • David O'Brien – Bernard
  • Ross Weston – Danny
  • Claire Gordon – Louise
  • Marcus Nash – Patrick
  • Victoria Rose – Carole
  • Chelsey Hanratty – Eileen
  • Linda Cuthbert – Mrs. Matherson
  • Peter Mullan – Mr. McGill


The film has received mostly positive reviews from critics.[1][2][3][4][5]

Neds won Best Film at the San Sebastian Film Festival in January 2011.[6]


  1. ^ Peter Bradshaw (2011-01-20). "Neds – review | Film". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-10-03. 
  2. ^ Film Reviews (2011-01-20). "Neds, review". London: Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-10-03. 
  3. ^ 12 May 2011 (2011-05-12). "Movie review: 'Neds' – Los Angeles Times". Retrieved 2012-10-03. 
  4. ^ Reviewed by Anthony Quinn (2011-01-21). "Neds (18) – Reviews – Films". London: The Independent. Retrieved 2012-10-03. 
  5. ^ Catsoulis, Jeannette (2011-05-12). "Movie Review – 'Neds' – In Glasgow, A Brother's Legacy And A Hoodlum's Fate". NPR. Retrieved 2012-10-03. 
  6. ^ "BBC News – Peter Mullan's Neds wins film awards". 2010-09-26. Retrieved 2012-10-03. 

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