The Fruit Machine

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The Fruit Machine
Wonderland (USA)
German DVD Cover for The Fruit Machine, a/k/a Wonderland (USA)
Directed by Philip Saville
Produced by Steve Morrison
Written by Frank Clarke
Starring Emile Charles
Tony Forsyth
Robert Stephens
Robbie Coltrane
Bruce Payne
Music by Hans Zimmer
Cinematography Dick Pope
Edited by Richard Bedford
Distributed by Cannon Films
Vestron Video
Pro-Fun Media
Release date
  • 1988 (1988)
Running time
103 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English

The Fruit Machine (known as Wonderland in the United States) is a 1988 British film thriller starring Tony Forsyth, Emile Charles, Bruce Payne and Robbie Coltrane in the role of "Annabelle". The film, which was directed by BAFTA-winner Philip Saville, is about two gay teen friends who are running from an underworld assassin and the police. It was produced by UK TV company Granada Productions. The film showcases the rising careers of actors Coltrane and Payne, as well as future Academy Awards winner, composer Hans Zimmer, who wrote the soundtrack.

The film uses a combination of adventure, buddy film, road movie and 1980s filmmaking to address a number of social issues that were pertinent to the times. Since its release, it has developed a cult following primarily due to its straightforward portrayal of British gay youth.


Eddie and Michael are two 16-year-old best friends on the brink of adulthood. They are both gay, but hold diametrically opposed outlooks on life. Eddie likes watching old films on video with his mother. Michael likes video games and the street. They are total opposites that argue like an old married couple. Leaving behind the grim, oppressive reality of Liverpool (in the 1980s unemployment rates in Liverpool were amongst the highest in the UK), they stumble into the bizarre fantasy world of a gay transvestite nightclub called The Fruit Machine, run by "Annabelle". There, they witness a brutal gangland murder by Echo that transforms their thirst for adventure into a run for their lives. Alone and afraid, yet hopeful, they wind up in Brighton with Vincent and Eve at Wonderland, where their path is strewn with manipulation, deceit and murder.




The younger brother of actor Craig Charles, Emile Charles plays the role of Eddie.


The film was shot on location in Liverpool, Brighton and London.

Included were interior and main entrance scenes at the Britannia Adelphi Hotel, Liverpool. Flamingo Land in Kirby Misperton, North Yorkshire was used for the fun park known as Wonderland.


The soundtrack was written by Hans Zimmer, who would later write the film scores for Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, The Da Vinci Code,and Disney's The Lion King). The soundtrack has never officially been released; however a 20-minute piece entitled The Fruit Machine Suite appears on the album HANS ZIMMER: The British Years, a sampling of the composer's earlier film work.

The disco dance sequence used music from Divine, a drag queen who had released several singles in the UK charts in the 1980s. The film's title song was produced by Stock, Aitken & Waterman and sung by Paul Lekakis.

Home media[edit]

The film has had two DVD releases. In the UK on 16 July 2007 and on 9 April 2009, the German-based Pro-Fun Media released a region free digitally remastered edition in Anamorphic widescreen (1.66:1), including booklet and trailer. A North American Region 1 DVD version has still not materialised.


External links[edit]