Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels

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Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels 2.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byGuy Ritchie
Produced byMatthew Vaughn
Written byGuy Ritchie
Narrated byAlan Ford
Music by
CinematographyTim Maurice-Jones
Edited byNiven Howie
Distributed byPolyGram Filmed Entertainment (United Kingdom)
Gramercy Pictures (United States)
Columbia TriStar Film Distributors International (International)
Release date
  • 28 August 1998 (1998-08-28)
Running time
106 minutes[2]
  • £800,000
  • ($1.40 million)
Box office$28.1 million[1]

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels is a 1998 British crime comedy film written and directed by Guy Ritchie, produced by Matthew Vaughn and starring an ensemble cast featuring Jason Flemyng, Dexter Fletcher, Nick Moran, Jason Statham, Steven Mackintosh, Vinnie Jones, and Sting. Jones and Statham made their feature film debuts.

The story is a heist involving a self-confident young card sharp who loses £500,000 to a powerful crime lord in a rigged game of three-card brag. To pay off his debts, he and his friends decide to rob a small-time gang who happen to be operating out of the flat next door.

The film brought Ritchie international acclaim and introduced actors Jones, a former Wales international footballer, and Statham, a former diver, to worldwide audiences. Based on a $1.35 million budget, the film had a box office gross of over $28 million, making it a commercial success.

A British television series, Lock, Stock..., followed in 2000, running for seven episodes including the pilot.


Long-time friends and small-time criminals Eddie, Tom, Soap, and Bacon put together £100,000 so that Eddie, a genius card sharp, can buy into one of "Hatchet" Harry Lonsdale's high-stakes three-card brag games. The game is rigged, however, and the friends end up massively indebted to Harry for £500,000. Harry then sends his debt collector Big Chris, who is often accompanied by his son, Little Chris, to ensure that the debt is paid within a week.

Harry is also interested in a pair of expensive antique shotguns that are up for auction and gets his enforcer Barry "the Baptist" to hire a pair of thieves, Gary and Dean, to steal them from a bankrupt lord. The two turn out to be highly incompetent and unwittingly sell the shotguns to Nick "the Greek", a local fence. After learning this, an enraged Barry threatens the two into getting the guns back.

Eddie returns home one day and overhears his neighbours—a gang of robbers led by a brutal man called "Dog"—planning a heist on some cannabis growers loaded with cash and drugs. Eddie relays this information to the group, intending for them to rob the neighbours as they come back from their heist. In preparation for the robbery, Tom visits Nick the Greek to buy weapons, and ends up buying the two antique shotguns.

The neighbours' heist gets underway, and despite a gang member being killed by his own Bren gun, and an incriminating encounter with a traffic warden, the job is a success; they return home with a duffel bag filled with money and a van loaded with bags of marijuana. Eddie and his friends ambush them as planned, and drive away in the neighbours' van containing the marijuana and the traffic warden. They transfer the loot to their own van and return home. They then have Nick fence the drugs to Rory Breaker, a gangster with a reputation for violence. Rory agrees to buy the marijuana at half price, however two of Rory's men visit the house of the cannabis-growers and discover they've been robbed, and the marijuana he just bought had been stolen from his own growers. Rory threatens Nick into giving him Eddie's address and brings along one of the growers, Winston, to identify the robbers.

Eddie and his friends spend the night at Eddie's father's bar to celebrate. Meanwhile, Dog's crew accidentally learns that their neighbours are the ones who robbed them, and set up an ambush in Eddie's flat. Rory and his gang arrive instead and a shootout ensues, resulting in the deaths of all except Dog and Winston. Winston leaves with the drugs; Dog leaves with the two shotguns and the money but is waylaid by Big Chris, who knocks him out and takes everything. Gary and Dean, having learned who bought the shotguns and not knowing that Chris works for Harry, follow Chris to Harry's place.

Chris delivers the money and guns to Harry, but when he returns to his car he finds Dog holding Little Chris at knifepoint, demanding the money be returned to him. Chris complies and starts the car. Meanwhile, Gary and Dean burst into Harry's office, starting a confrontation that ends up killing them both, and Harry and Barry as well.

Returning to see the carnage at their flat and their loot missing, Eddie and his friends head to Harry's, but when they discover Harry's corpse they decide to take the money for themselves. Before they are able to leave, Chris crashes into their car to disable Dog, and then brutally bludgeons him to death with his car door. He then takes the debt money back from the unconscious friends, but allows Tom to leave with the antique shotguns after a brief standoff in Harry's office.

The friends are arrested but declared innocent of recent events after the traffic warden identifies Dog and his crew as the culprits. Back at the bar, they send Tom out to dispose of the antique shotguns—the only remaining evidence linking them to the case. Chris then arrives to give back the duffel bag, from which he has taken all the money for himself and his son, and which is empty except for a catalogue of antique weapons. Leafing through the catalogue, the friends learn that the shotguns are actually quite valuable (worth £250,000 to £300,000), and quickly call Tom to stop him from disposing of the guns. The film ends with Tom leaning over the side of a bridge, with his mobile phone stuffed in his mouth and ringing, as he prepares to drop the shotguns into the River Thames.



Soundtrack from the Motion Picture Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
Soundtrack album by
various artists
Released1998 (UK)
23 February 1999 (1999-02-23TUS)
Length62:54 (UK)
43:32 (US)
LabelIsland (UK)
Maverick (US)
Guy Ritchie film soundtracks chronology
Soundtrack from the Motion Picture Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
Soundtrack reviews
Review scores
AllMusic3/5 stars Link

The soundtrack to the film was released in 1998 in the United Kingdom by Island Records. Madonna's Maverick Records label released the soundtrack in the United States in 1999 but omitted nine tracks from the UK release.

  1. "When I Fall Asleep" by Amir Fox
  2. "It's a Deal, It's a Steal" by Tom, Nick & Ed*
  3. "The Boss" by James Brown
  4. "Truly, Madly, Deeply" by Skanga*
  5. "Hortifuckinculturist" – Winston
  6. "Police and Thieves" by Junior Murvin
  7. "18 With a Bullet" by Lewis Taylor & Carleen Anderson*
  8. "Spooky" by Dusty Springfield
  9. "The Game" by John Murphy & David A. Hughes*
  10. "Muppets" by Harry, Barry & Gary
  11. "Man Machine" by Robbie Williams*
  12. "Walk This Land" by E-Z Rollers
  13. "Blaspheming Barry" by Barry
  14. "I Wanna Be Your Dog" by The Stooges
  15. "It's Kosher" by Tom & Nick
  16. "Liar, Liar" by The Castaways*
  17. "I've Been Shot" by Plank & Dog
  18. "Why Did You Do It" by Stretch
  19. "Guns 4 show, knives for a pro" by Ed & Soap
  20. "Oh Girl" by Evil Superstars
  21. "If the Milk Turns Sour" by John Murphy & David A. Hughes (with Rory)*
  22. "Zorba the Greek" by John Murphy & David A. Hughes
  23. "I'll Kill Ya" by John Murphy & David A. Hughes (with Rory)*
  24. "The Payback" by James Brown
  25. "Fool's Gold" by The Stone Roses*
  26. "It's Been Emotional" by Big Chris
  27. "18 With a Bullet" by Pete Wingfield

* Track omitted from 1999 US release.

Release history
Region Date
United Kingdom 28 August 1998
United States 23 February 1999


The production of the film followed Guy Ritchie's single short film which preceded Lock, Stock. As stated in filmscouts.com:

Although it was Ritchie's first feature, his previous short film The Hard Case was sufficiently impressive to secure interest not only from financial backers but also persuaded Sting to take the role of JD. "I'd seen Guy's short film and was excited by the pace and energy in it. The way in which he handles violence and action appealed to me. I don't like gratuitous violence. I think it's much more chilling when it's suggested rather than graphic." For Ritchie, getting exactly the right actor for each role was essential. "The casting took forever and we auditioned hundreds of people, but I was determined to hold out until we got the real McCoy." This led to employing several genuine ex-cons, who certainly invest the film with its menacing undertones. Ritchie also looked to the celebrity arena to secure the right cast such as Vinnie Jones. "I didn't hesitate in casting Vinnie as I have the most incredible respect for his acting capabilities."[6]

A one-hour documentary of the production of the film was released featuring much of the cast along with Ritchie.[7]

Marketing material[edit]

The film poster depicting the lead characters as very graphic black and white portraits against a stark white background was created by the advertising photographer John Mac, who is known for his advertising campaigns for luxury brands. He would use a similar technique some years later in 2019 when creating the front cover for the psychological thriller The Chair Man by Alex Pearl, which features a man in a wheelchair as a black silhouette against a stark white background.


Box office[edit]

The film was released on 28 August 1998 in the United Kingdom and was the second-highest grossing local production for the year behind Sliding Doors with a gross of $18.9 million.[8] It was released on 5 March 1999 in the United States, where its total gross was $3,753,929 (equivalent to $5,831,863 in 2020).[9]

Critical reception[edit]

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 75% based on 65 reviews, with an average rating of 6.80/10. The site's critical consensus reads "Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels is a grimy, twisted, and funny twist on the Tarantino hip gangster formula".[10] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 66 out of 100 based on 30 reviews, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[11]

John Ferguson, writing for the Radio Times, called the film "the best British crime movie since The Long Good Friday".[12] Roger Ebert, in his review for Chicago Sun-Times, wrote: "Lock, Stock, etc.'' seems more like an exercise in style than anything else. And so it is. We don't care much about the characters (I felt more actual affection for the phlegmatic bouncer, Barry the Baptist, than for any of the heroes). We realize that the film's style stands outside the material and is lathered on top (there are freeze frames, jokey subtitles, speed-up and slo-mo). And that the characters are controlled by the demands of the clockwork plot. But "Lock, Stock'' is fun, in a slapdash way; it has an exuberance, and in a time when movies follow formulas like zombies, it's alive".[13]


The film was nominated for a British Academy Film Award in 1998 for the outstanding British Film of the Year. In 2000, Ritchie won an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for Best Motion Picture Screenplay. In 2004, Total Film named it the 38th greatest British film of all time. In 2016, Empire magazine ranked Lock, Stock 75th on their list of the 100 best British films, with their entry stating, “to call the plot "complex" is to do it a disservice – it's all so slickly done, delivered with such balls-out confidence and written with such an amazing turn of phrase that somehow the convoluted to-ing-and-froing works like clockwork. So well, in fact, that over 18 years later, it remains Ritchie's finest film, a fantastic achievement from a first-time director who took a group of meticulously-cast but relatively unknown actors and spun them into solid fackin' gold.”[14]

Director's cut[edit]

Focus Features released the Locked n' Loaded Director's Cut in 2006. This version of the film contains more of each of the characters' backstories, and runs at a total time of 120 minutes.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels". The Numbers. Retrieved 11 September 2009.
  2. ^ "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (18)". British Board of Film Classification. 22 June 1998. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
  3. ^ a b "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels". American Film Institute. Retrieved 23 August 2020.
  4. ^ "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels". British Film Institute. Retrieved 23 August 2020.
  5. ^ "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels". British Council. Retrieved 23 August 2020.
  6. ^ Production notes from filmscouts.com
  7. ^ The Making of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Documentary of film production. [1].
  8. ^ Peter Cowie, ed. (1999). The Variety Almanac 1999. Boxtree Ltd. p. 51. ISBN 0-7522-2454-9.
  9. ^ "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1999)". Box Office Mojo. Amazon.com. Retrieved 18 June 2010.
  10. ^ Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels at Rotten Tomatoes
  11. ^ Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels at Metacritic
  12. ^ Ferguson, John. "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)". Radio Times. Archived from the original on 7 March 2005.
  13. ^ Ebert, Roger. "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels movie review (1999) | Roger Ebert". https://www.rogerebert.com/. Retrieved 14 June 2021. External link in |website= (help)
  14. ^ "The 100 best British films". Empire. Retrieved 4 September 2019.

Further reading[edit]

  • Catterall, Ali; Wells, Simon (2001). Your Face Here: British Cult Movies Since The Sixties. Fourth Estate. ISBN 0-00-714554-3.

External links[edit]