Still Crazy

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Still Crazy
Still crazy cover.jpg
DVD cover
Directed by Brian Gibson
Produced by Amanda Marmot
Written by Dick Clement
Ian La Frenais
Starring Stephen Rea
Billy Connolly
Bill Nighy
Timothy Spall
Jimmy Nail
Juliet Aubrey
Edited by Peter Boyle
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release dates
  • 30 October 1998 (1998-10-30)
Running time
95 minutes
Language English
Budget $14 million
Box office $524,864

Still Crazy is a 1998 British comedy film about a fictional 1970s rock band named "Strange Fruit", who, after being split up for two decades, are persuaded to get back together to perform at a reunion of the same concert venue where they played their last gig. The film focuses on the personal lives of the band members and those closest to them, and their individual experiences with approaching middle-age and the success that eluded them.

It was nominated for two Golden Globes in 1999.


Keyboardist Tony Costello, who now lives in Ibiza, is recognised as one of the members of Strange Fruit by a stranger at a café, whose father happened to be the organiser of the original Wisbech Festival. The stranger tells Tony that they are doing a Wisbech reunion concert and asks if Tony can reunite the band.

Tony quickly manages to track down Karen Knowles, the band's original runaround-girl. She is, at first, reluctant to become involved with the reunion, but is unhappy working in PR and becomes inspired to return to the band after finding some memorabilia in her garage. She agrees, but insists on being the band's manager. Tony has no problem with this.

Gradually, Karen and Tony track down the original members: Bassist Les Wickes, who has a family and works as a roofer; drummer David "Beano" Baggot, who is working at a nursery and is on the run from the Inland Revenue due to a large sum of money owed from a bad business deal; and lead singer Ray Simms, who, after years of drug and alcohol abuse, is now completely sober and attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, and lives in a mansion with his overbearing Swedish wife, Astrid, and apparently working on a solo album.

The band embark upon a warm-up tour of Europe after Karen negotiates with a record company executive who now owns the rights to their back catalogue. Their initial performances aren't very good and they are poorly received by the younger generation. Ray still has delusions of grandeur. Les still resents Ray for having replaced Keith; Les and Beano have little hope for the band, firmly believing both Keith and then Brian were the main talent; and Tony begins to make advances to Karen, but she is reluctant to respond as she had always been deeply attached to Brian.

The band believes this to be another positive omen. The next few shows go down without incident and go over well with audiences and they become slightly more optimistic. A week later, they get a record deal and quickly enter the studio to record new material, which includes a new song written and sung by Les. However, after watching a previously-taped drunken TV interview with Zoë Ball (in a cameo as herself) in which Les and Beano imply that the band was much better with Keith and Brian, Ray breaks down again and quits.

As the band members return to their former lives, Karen and Claire visit Keith's grave to pay their respects. Karen and Tony finally find Brian, who has admitted himself to a psychiatric hospital. He explains that he gave away his earnings because he wanted to sever himself, as much as possible, from his previous life. He agrees to talk to the band and try to reconcile them so they can continue playing. His return brings the band back together.

Meanwhile, a woman who Beano thinks is from the Inland Revenue and has been hunting him throughout the course of the film, corners him backstage and reveals that he was in the first band she ever saw as a teenager. Her father forbade her from ever again going to a rock show and she has been obsessed with Beano ever since. She demands quick, violent sex from Beano, which causes him to almost miss their set. However, he finally turns up at the last minute, right after Les suggests getting another drummer.

The band starts their set with the same song with which they opened up the last Wisbech Festival. However, a short burst of feedback shakes Ray's confidence and he starts to break down. Tony then starts playing the intro to "The Flame Still Burns" on his keyboard, which quickly heals the tension. Brian is pleased to hear the band playing the song, which helps him finally overcome his demons and joins the band onstage to play an inspiring guitar solo, much to the surprise and delight of everyone.



The film has garnered a positive rating of 73% on the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes based on 26 reviews, with an average score of 6.6/10.[1]


Strange Fruit songs[edit]

The songs that the band Strange Fruit are known to perform in the film are:

  • "The Flame Still Burns"
  • "All Over the World"
  • "Dirty Town"
  • "Black Moon"
  • "Bird on a Wire"
  • "Scream Freedom"
  • "Dangerous Things"
  • "What Might Have Been"

Also, "Stealin'" is performed by Billy Connolly's character.


  1. ^ "Still Crazy". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 6 June 2012. 

External links[edit]