|This article needs a plot summary. (April 2016)|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Nicolas Winding Refn|
|Produced by||Rupert Preston
|Written by||Brock Norman Brock
Nicolas Winding Refn
|Music by||Johnny Jewel|
|Edited by||Matthew Newman|
|Distributed by||Vertigo Films (UK)
Magnet Releasing (US)
|Box office||$2.3 million|
Bronson is a 2008 British fictionalized biographical crime film co-written and directed by Nicolas Winding Refn and starring Tom Hardy. The film follows the life of notorious prisoner Michael Gordon Peterson, who was renamed Charles Bronson by his fight promoter. Born into a respectable middle-class family, Peterson would nevertheless become one of the United Kingdom's most dangerous criminals, and is known for having spent almost his entire adult life in solitary confinement. Bronson is narrated with humour, blurring the line between comedy and horror.
- Tom Hardy as Michael Gordon Peterson/Charles Bronson
- Matt King as Paul Daniels, nightclub owner and former fellow prisoner
- James Lance as Phil Danielson, prison art teacher
- Amanda Burton as Charlie's mother
- Kelly Adams as Irene Peterson, Charlie's wife
- Juliet Oldfield as Alison, Charlie's lover
- Jonathan Phillips as the Prison Governor
- Mark Powley as Prison Officer Andy Love
- Hugh Ross as Uncle Jack
- Joe Tucker as John White, fellow patient in Rampton
- Gordon Brown as Screw, the first guard Bronson fights
- Charlie Whyman as fellow patient in Rampton
For the role, Hardy had telephone conversations with the real Charles Bronson, before meeting him in person. During their meetings, Bronson was so impressed by how Hardy had managed to build up his physique for the role and how good he was at imitating him that he shaved off his trademark moustache so that it could be made into a moustache prop for Hardy to wear in the film. Filming was done in and around the St. Ann's, Sherwood, Worksop and Welbeck Abbey areas of Nottingham and Nottinghamshire. The post office shown at the beginning of the film is located in Lostwithiel, Cornwall.
Director Refn was not permitted to visit Bronson in prison because he is not from Britain. He was only allowed two phone calls with him.
Contrary to popular belief, Tom Hardy did not do 2,500 push-ups a day in preparation for the role of Bronson. The confusion and reason for this rumor is that Charlie Bronson himself was the one doing 2,500 push-ups a day around the time Hardy was meeting with him to gather information for the film script. Hardy himself denied this rumor during an interview in late 2009 with Michael Slenke from Interview Magazine:
SLENSKE: But you were doing some crazy training for that too, like 2500 push-ups a day?
HARDY: No, Charlie does 2500 push-ups a day, I didn't do that. I had to put on a lot of weight as quick as possible and I only had five weeks to do it, and a lot of that was fat. I ate everything. To be honest, I lost about 14 pounds of fat on this last film, and gained 28 pounds of muscle. I was heavier than I was on Bronson. 
Bronson opened in a single cinema in North America and made $10,940. The film ended up earning $104,979 in the U.S with the widest release being in 10 cinemas. Internationally it made $2,155,733 for a total of $2,260,712.
Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a "Certified Fresh" score of 76% based on reviews from 79 critics, with an average rating of 6.6 out of 10 with the consensus "Undeniably gripping, Bronson forces the viewer to make some hard decisions about where the line between art and exploitation lies." Metacritic gives the film a "generally favourable" average score of 71 out of 100 based on 22 reviews.
Roger Ebert gave the film three stars out of four and praised the decision not to attempt to rationalise and explain Bronson's behaviour stating in his review, "I suppose, after all, Nicolas Winding Refn, the director and co-writer of "Bronson," was wise to leave out any sort of an explanation. Can you imagine how you'd cringe if the film ended in a flashback of little Mickey undergoing childhood trauma? There is some human behavior beyond our ability to comprehend. I was reading a theory the other day that a few people just happen to be pure evil. I'm afraid I believe it. They lack any conscience, any sense of pity or empathy for their victims. But Bronson is his own victim. How do you figure that?"
Bronson was not initially allowed to view the film, but had said that if his mum liked it he was sure he would as well. According to Refn's DVD audio commentary, his mother said she loved it. On 15 November 2011, he was granted permission to view it. Describing it as "theatrical, creative, and brilliant", Bronson heaped praise upon his portrayer, Hardy, but disagreed on the implied distance between himself and his father and the portrayal of Paul Edmunds (portrayed in the film by Matt King as 'Paul Daniels') as "a bit of a ponce." Nevertheless, he challenged his own family's reaction to the portrayal of his Uncle Jack, stating that he "loved" it, as would Jack himself. Bronson had been originally displeased with the choice of Hardy, but after their first physical meeting, Hardy assured him that he would "fix it." As proven, Bronson's development in trust in Hardy's acting grew, even describing him as "Britain's No. 1 actor."
- "BRONSON (18)". British Board of Film Classification. 19 January 2009. Retrieved 19 October 2014.
- "Bronson". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 26 November 2011.
- "Charles Bronson: 'I chopped off my moustache and sent it to actor Tom Hardy'" http://www.walesonline.co.uk. Retrieved 8 July 2015.
- "Film-makers invest millions in Notts". Thisisnottingham.co.uk. Retrieved 25 November 2011.
- "Rough Character". http://www.interviewmagazine.com. Retrieved August 12, 2016.
- Bronson at Rotten Tomatoes
- Bronson at Metacritic
- Roger Ebert (Oct 27, 2009) Reviews: Bronson
- The Charlie Bronson Appeal Fund
- "Tom Hardy: Becoming Bronson" uk.askmen.com