No Surrender (film)

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No Surrender
Directed by Peter Smith
Produced by Mamoun Hassan
Written by Alan Bleasdale
Starring Michael Angelis
Avis Bunnage
James Ellis
Bernard Hill
Joanne Whalley
Ray McAnally
Pete Price
Music by Daryl Runswick
Cinematography Mick Coulter
Edited by Kevin Brownlow
Rodney Holland
Distributed by Circle Films US
Palace Pictures/Video UK
Release date
  • 1985 (1985)
Running time
100 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English

No Surrender is a 1985 British comedy film written by Alan Bleasdale.


On New Year's Eve in Liverpool, Michael (Michael Angelis) becomes the new manager of the Charleston Club, a run-down function hall on an industrial wasteground which, he later discovers, is owned by an organised crime syndicate. He also discovers that the previous manager, MacArthur, in an attempt to spite the hall's owners, has hired it out to two groups of senior citizens for New Year's Eve; one group are hardline Catholics and the other are hardline Protestants, and the entertainment consists of a magician (Elvis Costello) with stage fright, a homosexual comedian (Pete Price) and his boyfriend, a talentless punk band, and a fancy dress competition with a non-existent prize.

The two parties arrive and are joined by another group of senior citizens who are mentally handicapped and suffering from senile dementia. After discovering MacArthur being tortured in a back room by the hall's owners, Michael, along with bouncer Bernard (Bernard Hill) and kitchen porter Cheryl (Joanne Whalley), attempts to keep things in order amid the threat of violence in the air. As the night goes on, however, things start to go wrong; the comedian's routine is badly received, the magician has to pull out because of the death of his rabbit, and the band's poor performance leads to the groups throwing missiles at the stage whilst the band members fight amongst themselves. Meanwhile, things begin to boil over when former Loyalist boxer Billy McCracken (Ray McAnally) strangles on-the-run terrorist Norman (Mark Mulholland) to death in a toilet cubicle after Norman makes comments about McCracken's daughter "marrying out", and an Orange Order marching band arrives playing sectarian tunes, leading to a mass brawl in the toilets and the discovery of Norman's body. Meanwhile Michael and Cheryl begin singing "Ave Maria" together on stage while Bernard phones the police, who arrive and defuse the situation.

The situation dies down by midnight, and the groups all go their separate ways peacefully. Michael and Cheryl share a kiss, before going back to Cheryl's house together. The film ends with McCracken at home phoning his daughter and asking to speak to his son-in-law, before wishing him a happy New Year.

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