Stan & Ollie

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Stan & Ollie
Stan & Ollie.png
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJon S. Baird
Produced byFaye Ward
Written byJeff Pope
Music byRolfe Kent
CinematographyLaurie Rose
Edited by
  • Úna Ní Dhonghaíle
  • Billy Sneddon
  • BBC Films
  • Fable Pictures
  • Sonesta Films
  • Entertainment One
Distributed by
Release date
  • 21 October 2018 (2018-10-21) (BFI)
  • 28 December 2018 (2018-12-28) (United States)
  • 11 January 2019 (2019-01-11) (United Kingdom)
Running time
97 minutes
  • United Kingdom
  • Canada
  • United States
Budget$10 million[1]
Box office$358,476[2]

Stan & Ollie is a 2018 biographical film directed by Jon S. Baird and written by screenplay by Jeff Pope. Based on the lives of the comedy double act Laurel and Hardy, the film stars Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly as Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. It premiered in October 2018 at the BFI London Film Festival. The film was released in the United States on 28 December 2018 and was released in the United Kingdom on 11 January 2019.

At the 76th Golden Globe Awards, Reilly was nominated for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy, and at the 72nd British Academy Film Awards the film earned three nominations, including Best British Film and Best Actor in a Leading Role for Coogan.


Famous comedy duo Laurel and Hardy embark on a gruelling music hall tour of the United Kingdom and Ireland during 1953, and struggle to get another film made: a comedic adaptation of Robin Hood.

In 1937, Stan refuses to renew his contract with Hal Roach because it failed to financially recognize the global fame the pair enjoyed at that time. Ollie remains tied to Roach on a different contract and remained as a solo act, spliting the duo and leaving Stan biter.

In 1953, poor pre-publicity in Britain managed by the producer Bernard Delfont means the tour begins in almost empty back street theatres. Belatedly, Delfont organise some public appearances and word of their visit to Britain spreads, resulting in them booking larger venues.

During the tour the pair, driven by Stan, continue to write and develop gags for the film. There is, however, an ominous silence from its London-based producer. Once the tour arrives in London, Stan pays a visit to the film's producer himself and discovers there is insufficient funding and the project has been cancelled. He can't bring himself to tell Ollie and their script development continues.

They are soon joined by their respective wives, Ida and Lucille, at London's Savoy Hotel before they are to perform at a sold out two-week residency at the Lyceum Theatre. After the opening night at the Lyceum, a party is held to honour them but Stan's feelings of Ollie's betrayal come to the surface when they have a public argument over the past movie contract fiasco that split them up. Tensions also show in public between the two wives leading Delfont to remark that he's got two double acts for the price of one.

Despite their friendship having taken a blow, they press on with their public appearances which includes judging a beauty contest in Worthing. However, just when they are about to announce the winner, Ollie has a heart attack and is forced into bed rest. When a doctor warns him that he must never go onstage again as the strain could be fatal, he informs Stan that he intends to retire immediately.

Stan finds it impossible to work with the English comic that Delfont sets up for him so that the tour can continue simply because he isn't Ollie. Ollie in turn decides he can't spend the rest of his life idle in bed. The two make up and recognise the real fondness that exists between them and what pleasure they get from each other. Stan confesses he has deceived Ollie about the prospect of the future film even while they continued to work on it. Ollie confesses in turn that he had read that from Stan's demeanour and already knew. They continue to complete the tour to great acclaim from their fans in Ireland despite Ollie's poor health.




Steve Coogan and John C. Reilly were announced in January 2016 as lined up to play the duo in a biopic to be directed by Jon S. Baird.[3] The film was written by Jeff Pope, who had previously collaborated with Coogan on the Oscar-nominated screenplay for Philomena.[4] Pope described the comedy duo as being his "heroes".[5]


Principal UK photography began in spring 2017. It took place in Dudley, in the West Midlands of England, as well as The Old Rep theatre Birmingham, the West London Film Studios and Bristol in South West England.[6]

Filming hours were limited due to Reilly requiring four hours in the make-up chair each day.[1]


The film premiered in October 2018 at the BFI London Film Festival. While Entertainment One Films will handle distribution in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Spain and the Benelux, Sony Pictures Classics were given the right to distribute the film in the United States, Latin America, Eastern Europe, China and South Africa.[7]


Critical response[edit]

Following Stan & Ollie's October 2018 debut at the BFI London Film Festival, the film received positive reviews from critics.[8][9][10] On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 91% based on 65 reviews, with an average rating of 7.5/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Stan & Ollie pays tribute to a pair of beloved entertainers with an affectionate look behind the scenes -- and a moving look at the burdens and blessings of a creative bond."[11] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 71 out of 100, based on 15 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[12]

Guy Lodge of Variety wrote: "Portraying Laurel and Hardy's final comic collaboration with bittersweet affection, Jon S. Baird's film is a laid-back, gamely performed tribute."[13] Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter has high praise for the lead actors saying: "Much of the time, you feel like you're beholding the real duo, so thoroughly conceived are the actors' physicality and performances." He concludes "Everything the film has to offer is obvious and on the surface, its pleasures simple and sincere under the attentive guidance of director Jon S. Baird."[14]


Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) and nominee(s) Result Ref(s)
Boston Society of Film Critics Awards December 16, 2018 Best Actor John C. Reilly Won [15]
British Independent Film Awards December 2, 2018 Best Actor Steve Coogan Nominated [16]
Best Supporting Actress Nina Arianda Nominated
Best Casting Andy Pryor Nominated
Best Costume Design Guy Speranza Nominated
Best Make Up and Hair Design Mark Coulier and Jeremy Woodhead Nominated
Best Production Design John Paul Kelly Nominated
Breakthrough Producer Faye Ward Nominated
Critics' Choice Movie Awards January 13, 2019 Best Actor in a Comedy John C. Reilly Nominated [17]
Golden Globe Awards January 6, 2019 Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy John C. Reilly Nominated [18]
San Diego Film Critics Society Awards December 10, 2018 Best Supporting Actress Nina Arianda Runner-up [19]
Best Costume Design Guy Speranza Nominated
Best Production Design John Paul Kelly Runner-up
Best Body of Work John C. Reilly
(also for The Sisters Brothers & Ralph Breaks the Internet)


  1. ^ a b Tim Gray (December 6, 2018). "'Stan & Ollie' Director Faced Challenge of Introducing Comedy Duo to Modern Audiences". Variety. Retrieved 2018-12-20.
  2. ^ "Stan & Ollie (2018)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 13 January 2019.
  3. ^ Jaafar, Ali (18 January 2016). "Steve Coogan And John C. Reilly To Star As Stan Laurel And Oliver Hardy In Jon S. Baird's 'Stan & Ollie'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 19 August 2017.
  4. ^ Lee, Benjamin (18 January 2016). "Steve Coogan and John C Reilly to play Laurel and Hardy in biopic". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 August 2017.
  5. ^ "Steve Coogan and John C Reilly to star in Laurel and Hardy film". BBC. 18 January 2016. Retrieved 19 August 2017.
  6. ^ Young, Graham (4 April 2017). "Movie Stan and Ollie with Steve Coogan to be filmed in Midlands and you can apply to be in the cast". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 19 August 2017.
  7. ^ Kay, Jeremy (9 September 2018). "SPC 'Stan & Ollie' TIFF deal confirmed as distributor picks up 'Maiden'". Screen Daily. Retrieved 3 October 2018.
  8. ^ "Stan & Ollie review, LFF: Insightful and endlessly touching". The Independent. 21 October 2018.
  9. ^ "John C Reilly deserves an Oscar for Stan & Ollie". Evening Standard. 22 October 2018.
  10. ^ Bradshaw, Peter (21 October 2018). "Stan & Ollie review – melancholy twilight of comedy gods Laurel and Hardy" – via
  11. ^ "Stan & Ollie (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 27 December 2018.
  12. ^ "Stan & Ollie reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 27 December 2018.
  13. ^ Guy Lodge of (November 7, 2018). "London Film Review: 'Stan & Ollie'". Variety.
  14. ^ Todd McCarthy (November 7, 2018). "'Stan & Ollie': Film Review London 2018". The Hollywood Reporter.
  15. ^ Burr, Ty (December 16, 2018). "Boston Society of Film Critics announces winners". The Boston Globe. Retrieved December 17, 2018.
  16. ^ Sheehan, Paul; Sheehan, Paul (2 December 2018). "2018 British Independent Film Awards: Full list of winners led by 'The Favourite'".
  17. ^ Nordyke, Kimberley (December 10, 2018). "Critics' Choice Awards: 'The Favourite' Leads With 14 Nominations". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 10, 2018.
  18. ^ "2018 Nominees" (PDF). HFPA. November 2018.
  19. ^ "2018 San Diego Film Critics Society's Award Nominations". December 7, 2018. Retrieved December 8, 2018.

External links[edit]