Legend (2015 film)

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British theatrical release poster
Directed byBrian Helgeland
Screenplay byBrian Helgeland
Based on The Profession of Violence
by John Pearson
Produced by
CinematographyDick Pope
Edited byPeter McNulty
Music byCarter Burwell
Distributed by
Release date
  • September 9, 2015 (2015-09-09) (TIFF)
Running time
131 minutes[3][4]
Budgetapprox. $25 million
Box office$43 million

Legend is a 2015 biographical crime thriller film[6] written and directed by American director Brian Helgeland. It is adapted from John Pearson's book The Profession of Violence: The Rise and Fall of the Kray Twins,[7][8] which deals with their career and the relationship that bound them together, and follows their gruesome career to life imprisonment in 1969.[9][10]

This is Helgeland's fifth feature film. Tom Hardy, Emily Browning, David Thewlis and Christopher Eccleston star with Colin Morgan, Chazz Palminteri, Paul Bettany, Tara Fitzgerald and Taron Egerton as well as the singer Duffy featured in supporting roles.


In the 1960s, Reggie Kray is a former boxer who has become an important part of the criminal underground in London. At the start of the film, his twin brother Ron is locked up in a psychiatric hospital for paranoid schizophrenia. Reggie uses threats to obtain the premature release of his brother. The twins unite their efforts to control a large part of London's criminal underworld, made easier when the head of the south London Richardson Gang (a.k.a. the Torture Gang) is imprisoned. One of their first efforts is to muscle-in on the control of a local nightclub, using extortion and brutal violence.

Reg enters into a relationship with Frances, his driver's sister, whom he eventually marries. When he is imprisoned for a previous criminal conviction, which he cannot evade, she makes him swear that he will leave his criminal life behind, an oath he never honours due to the allure of crime. While Reg is in prison, Ron's mental instability and violent temperament lead to severe financial setbacks at the nightclub. The club is almost forced to close after Ron scares away most of the customers. On the first night after Reg's release from prison, the brothers have an all-out fist fight, but they manage to partially patch things up.

The brothers are approached by Angelo Bruno of the Philadelphia crime family who, on behalf of Meyer Lansky and the American Mafia, wants to engage them in a crime syndicate deal. Bruno agrees to a fifty-fifty deal with Reg to split London's underground gambling profits in exchange for local protection by the brothers. Initially, this system is highly lucrative for the Kray brothers; however, Ron's paranoia and inclination towards violence causes problems for Reg's efforts to maintain control. Ron's barely concealed volatility results in him publicly murdering George Cornell, an associate of the Torture Gang. As a result, Scotland Yard opens a full investigation of the Kray brothers.

Reg's marriage with Frances crumbles due to his addiction to crime. Unable to bear Reg's false promises to reform, Frances starts consuming prescription drugs illegally. After he beats and rapes her in a fit of rage, she leaves him. When Reg approaches her to reconcile, Frances seems to agree and they plan to visit Ibiza. But soon she kills herself by drug overdosage leaving Reg guilt ridden. The twins' criminal activities continue and Ron pays petty criminal Jack "the Hat" McVitie to kill Leslie Payne, Reg's partner, who controls the legal side of the Krays' operations, as he doesn't trust Payne. Jack only wounds Payne, who then turns the brothers over to Detective Superintendent Leonard "Nipper" Read, the head of the investigation. Reg finds out and brutally stabs McVitie with a knife during a party hosted by Ron. The testimony given by Payne means that Ron is arrested and charged with Cornell's murder. The final scene shows a police squad breaking down the door to Reggie's flat in order to apprehend him for McVitie's murder.

The closing captions indicate both brothers receiving criminal convictions for murder. They died five years apart, Ron from a heart attack in 1995, and Reggie from bladder cancer in 2000.


In addition, Paul Bettany makes an uncredited cameo appearance as Charlie Richardson, whose South London Richardson Gang (also known as the Torture Gang) had a turf war with the Krays.



On 12 October 2013, it was announced that Brian Helgeland had written a script and would be directing a film focusing on the life of Reggie Kray who, with identical brother Ronald, formed the notorious Kray twins. Helgeland said the film would concentrate on Reggie's attempts to control the psychopathic tendencies of his younger twin.

Helgeland spoke of hanging out in London with well-known Krays associate Freddie Foreman, saying, "I had drinks with him in his local haunt. When we finished he got up to go and they feted him at the bar. I said to him, 'what about the bill?' and he replied, 'we don't pay.'"[13]

Helgeland attended the Cannes Film Festival with Working Title's Tim Bevan and Chris Clark to talk to potential buyers of the film and showing test footage of Hardy playing the twins.[14][15]


On 18 April 2014, it was announced that Helgeland would write and direct the film, with the shooting being based in the United Kingdom and with Hardy starring as the male leads.[16] Five days later, it was stated that Browning was in negotiations for a role as the film's female lead.[17] Hardy was so set on playing Ronnie Kray that he proposed to Helgeland that if he gave him the role of Ronnie, Hardy would play the role of Reggie for free.


Crews and cast were spotted filming scenes at Falmouth Road, London, St Anne's Limehouse in Limehouse[18] and in the Windmill Walk area around London Waterloo.[19] Filming also took place in Caradoc Street in Greenwich, in the Cedra Estate on Cazenove Road and in Gibson Gardens, both of which are in Hackney.

Principal photography started on 12 June 2014.[20] [21]


Financing for Legend was provided by StudioCanal, which also distributed in the United Kingdom, France, New Zealand and Germany in addition to handling international sales, which started at the beginning of the Cannes Film Festival.[22] On 30 April 2014, Cross Creek Pictures acquired the North American distribution rights to Legend from StudioCanal, with a planned 2015 theatrical release through Universal Pictures in its distribution deal with the studio.[23][24] Sales to other territories such as Asia, Africa and much of Europe are being completed.[25] The film was originally set for release in the US on 2 October 2015, but it was moved to 20 November 2015.[26]

Legend premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on 12 September 2015 at Roy Thomson Hall.[citation needed]


On 13 June 2014, the first image of the film was published, featuring Hardy as the Kray twins.[7][27] A promotional poster attracted publicity because it made a two-star review from The Guardian appear to be at least a four-star review by placing the two stars between the heads of the Krays.[28][29]

Home media[edit]

Legend was released on DVD and Blu-ray in the United Kingdom on 25 January 2016 and in the United States on 1 March 2016.[30]


Critical reception[edit]

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 61% of 173 critics' reviews are positive, with an average rating of 5.9/10. The website's consensus reads: "As a gangster biopic, Legend is deeply flawed, but as a showcase for Tom Hardy – in a dual role, no less – it just about lives up to its title."[31] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 55 out of 100, based on 31 critics, indicating "mixed or average" reviews.[32]

Box office[edit]

Legend grossed US$28.0 million in the United Kingdom, and marked seven weeks in the Top 10 at the British box office.[33] In addition, it grossed $1.9 million in the United States and Canada, and $13.1 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $43.0 million,[33] against a budget shy of $25 million.[34]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref
2015 British Independent Film Awards Best Performance by an Actor in a British Independent Film Tom Hardy Won
Detroit Film Critics Society Best Actor Tom Hardy Nominated
Las Vegas Film Critics Society Best Picture Nominated
Satellite Awards Best Actor – Motion Picture Tom Hardy Nominated
2016 Empire Awards Best British Film Nominated [35][36]
Best Actor Tom Hardy Nominated [35][36]
Houston Film Critics Society Best Actor Tom Hardy Nominated
London Film Critics' Circle Actor of the Year Tom Hardy Nominated [37]
British/Irish Actor of the Year Tom Hardy Won [37]
Saturn Awards Best International Film Nominated [38]
Toronto Film Critics Association Best Actor Tom Hardy Won
2017 Apolo Awards Best Actor Tom Hardy Nominated [39][40]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Halligan, Fionnnuala (3 September 2015). "'Legend': Review". Screen Daily. Retrieved 25 May 2017.
  2. ^ "Legend (2015) - Financial Information". The Numbers. Retrieved 18 March 2021.
  3. ^ "LEGEND (18)". British Board of Film Classification. 30 August 2015. Retrieved 30 August 2015.
  4. ^ "TIFF.net". Archived from the original on 1 August 2015. Retrieved 12 August 2015.
  5. ^ a b "Legend (2015)". British Film Institute. Archived from the original on 15 September 2016. Retrieved 28 July 2016.
  6. ^ "First Photo of Tom Hardy As Both Ron And Reggie Kray". Empire. 12 June 2014. Retrieved 12 June 2014.
  7. ^ a b "Tom Hardy image as Kray twins released". BBC. 13 June 2014. Retrieved 13 June 2014.
  8. ^ "First Look: Tom Hardy as Infamous London Gangster Twins (Photo)". The Hollywood Reporter. 12 June 2014. Retrieved 12 June 2014.
  9. ^ "The Profession of Violence". Bloomsbury.
  10. ^ "The Profession of Violence (eBook): The Rise and Fall of the Kray Twins". Waterstones. Archived from the original on 21 December 2014.
  11. ^ "Reggie Kray's wife Frances Shea's diaries: Drunken abuse, weapons and constant isolation". The Independent. 14 May 2014. Retrieved 14 May 2014.
  12. ^ "Kray made deathbed murder confession". The Telegraph. 25 March 2001. Retrieved 25 March 2001.
  13. ^ "Tom Hardy Eyes 'Legend' for 'L.A. Confidential' Writer Brian Helgeland | Rope of Silicon". 19 June 2014. Archived from the original on 19 June 2014. Retrieved 19 July 2023.
  14. ^ "Cannes: Tom Hardy Gangster Movie 'Legend' Acquired by Cross Creek". Deadline. 18 May 2014. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
  15. ^ "StudioCanal readies Idris Elba, Ralph Fiennes films". Screen Daily. 13 May 2014. Retrieved 13 May 2014.
  16. ^ "Tom Hardy to play both Kray twins". The Guardian. 18 April 2014.
  17. ^ "Emily Browning Joining Tom Hardy and Tom Hardy in Crime Thriller 'Legend'". The Wrap. 23 April 2014. Archived from the original on 15 December 2017. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  18. ^ "Tom Hardy and Emily Browning film Krays movie Legend in London". Radio Times. 17 June 2014. Retrieved 17 June 2014.
  19. ^ "Scene set for Kray twins movie in Waterloo's Roupell Street". ITV. 6 July 2014. Retrieved 11 July 2014.
  20. ^ "LEGEND begins shooting, first image released". Working Title Films. 12 June 2014. Archived from the original on 26 June 2015. Retrieved 12 June 2014.
  21. ^ "Tom Hardy As Kray Twins Pic 'Legend' Firms Key Sales For Studiocanal". IndieWire. 18 May 2014. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
  22. ^ "'Magic' Sells to U.S. as 'Macbeth,' 'Legend,' 'Bastille Day' Power StudioCanal To Cannes Sales Record May 21, 2014". Variety. 21 May 2014. Retrieved 21 May 2014.
  23. ^ "Brian Helgeland commences principal photography on Legend". StudioCanal. 13 June 2014. Retrieved 13 June 2014.
  24. ^ "Cross Creek Acquires Legend's North American Rights from Studiocanal". Studiocanal. 6 May 2014. Archived from the original on 11 June 2017. Retrieved 6 May 2014.
  25. ^ "Cannes: Tom Hardy As Kray Twins Pic 'Legend' Firms Key Sales For Studiocanal". Variety. 18 May 2014. Retrieved 21 May 2014.
  26. ^ Anthony D'Alessandro (16 September 2015). "'Legend' Tom Hardy Gangster Film Moves To November 20 – Deadline". Deadline.
  27. ^ "First Image of Tom Hardy and Tom Hardy as Twin Gangsters in Brian Helgeland's LEGEND". Collider. 13 June 2014. Retrieved 13 June 2014.
  28. ^ Young, Alex (9 September 2015). "Poster for new Tom Hardy film Legend expertly trolls negative reviewer: Gangster film proudly flaunts its two-star rating". Retrieved 10 September 2015.
  29. ^ Lee, Benjamin (9 September 2015). "How my negative review of Legend was spun into movie marketing gold". Theguardian.com. Retrieved 10 September 2015.
  30. ^ "Legend DVD and Blu-ray". releases.com. Retrieved 4 March 2016.
  31. ^ "Legend". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 21 September 2023. Edit this at Wikidata
  32. ^ "Legend". Metacritic. Fandom, Inc. Retrieved 21 September 2023.
  33. ^ a b "Legend". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved 1 September 2023.Edit this at Wikidata
  34. ^ Hopewell, John (14 September 2015). "'Legend,' 'Shaun,' Smash Benchmarks for Studiocanal". Variety. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  35. ^ a b Nugent, John. "Jameson Empire Awards 2016: Star Wars and Mad Max lead the nominations". Empire. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
  36. ^ a b Metro.co.uk, Rebecca Lewis for (18 February 2016). "Mad Max: Fury Road leads the pack at the 2016 Jameson Empire Awards". Metro. Retrieved 15 March 2016.
  37. ^ a b "Evening Standard". Retrieved 17 January 2016.
  38. ^ "The 42nd Annual Saturn Awards nominations are announced for 2016!". Saturn Awards. 24 February 2016. Retrieved 4 March 2016.
  39. ^ "Las mejores películas de temática LGTB del 2016: ganadores de los II Premios Apolo de cine LGTB". dosmanzanas (in Spanish). Retrieved 24 January 2022.
  40. ^ "Las mejores películas de temática LGTB del 2016: nominaciones a los II Premios Apolo de cine LGTB". dosmanzanas (in Spanish). Retrieved 24 January 2022.

External links[edit]