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Harry Brown

4.2 out of 5 stars 182 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Set in modern day Britain, Harry Brown follow's one man's journey through a chaotic world where drugs are the currency of the day and guns run the streets. A modest law-abiding citizen, Harry Brown is a retired Marine and a widower who lives alone on a depressed housing estate. His only company is his best friend Leonard (David Bradley). When Leonard is murdered by a gang of thugs, Harry feels compelled to act and is forced to dispense his own brand of justice. As he bids to clean up the run-down estate where he lives, his actions bring him into conflict with the police, led by investigating officer DCI Frampton (Emily Mortimer) and Charlie Creed-Miles.


With its themes of rampant urban decay and crime, mistreatment of the elderly, and vigilantism, Harry Brown will inevitably be compared to earlier movies from Death Wish to Gran Torino. The comparisons are apt, but with the able assistance of Michael Caine in the title role, director Daniel Barber and screenwriter Gary Young's tale stands on its own, grimly but compellingly. Caine's Harry Brown, a retiree and former marine, lives alone in a flat in a decrepit London council estate, spending his time visiting his comatose wife in the hospital, playing chess at the local pub with his only friend (David Bradley), and gazing out at the quotidian violence and drug dealing carried out with virtual impunity by the insolent young thugs and lowlifes on the estate grounds. It's a lonely existence that only gets sadder when his wife dies and his pal is murdered; and when the police inform him that nailing those responsible will be next to impossible, Harry turns dirty. His first killing is in self-defense, but once he gets hold of a gun (obtained from a dealer-junkie in a nightmarishly vivid scene), it is on, as our "vigilante pensioner" takes no prisoners in his pursuit of street justice. The cops, who are mostly depicted as clueless and thoroughly inept, assume the local gangs are responsible; only Detective Inspector Alice Frampton (Emily Mortimer), about the only one with a brain and a heart, suspects Harry, and she plays an important role as the film careens towards its operatically brutal climax. The scenes of violence are intense but very well staged, and the film's overall look and downbeat color palette effectively convey the sense of squalid hopelessness permeating this stratum of British existence. Harry Brown isn't a lot of fun, but it will stick with you. --Sam Graham

Special Features

Filmmaker and Cast Commentary
Deleted Scenes

Product Details

  • Actors: Sean Harris, Charlie Creed-Miles, David Bradley, Ben Drew, Iain Glen
  • Directors: Daniel Barber
  • Producers: Matthew Brown, Kris Thykier, Matthew Vaughn, Keith Bell
  • Format: AC-3, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: August 31, 2010
  • Run Time: 103 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (182 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B003T6LHWC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #35,557 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Harry Brown" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
London, The Present: Elderly pensioner Harry Brown lives a largely solitary existence on a sinkhole council housing estate in London where drug dealing and recreational violence are the norm and disaffected hoodie-wearing teenage criminals (or "chavs" as we call them in the UK - a word derived from the acronym of "Council Housed And Violent") treat the ugly concrete canyons as a combination of a playground and the gladiatorial arena. Harry, despite a once prestigious career in the Royal Marines, is an affable, peaceful man who keeps himself to himself; literally going out of his way to avoid confrontation on a daily basis. But when a tragic series of events results in the death of one of his dearest friends, Harry finds himself inexorably drawn onto a collision course with the violent criminal elements that have terrorized the estate.

Harry Brown is not a perfect film, but it is an important one. It's probably the only film that realistically deals with the reality of the plight of the elderly and vulnerable at the hands of what has now become an epidemic of casual violent criminality in the UK. Make no bones about it, the England that you see in this film is far closer to the reality of living in a major British city than the Richard Curtisesque fluff-pieces (such as Love Actually (Widescreen Edition)) that are exported abroad in the hope of drumming up UK tourism.
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Format: DVD
Harry Brown is more "The Crow" than "Death Wish", as his vigilante behavior is mostly motivated by revenge. Whereas the Bronson film explores a man fed up with criminals in general, Harry's anger is largely focused on those connected to his friend's death. Another similarity is a subplot involving Emily Mortimer (Redbelt) as an investigator who suspects Brown is more than just a bystander to the killings.

The film slowly heats to a boil until its halfway mark, when it begins to explore very gritty and violent situations. From the moment Harry attempts to buy his first gun, the movie pulls you in and never lets go. The film offers a few minor twists, and though the story isn't especially original, a terrific performance by Michael Caine easily carries it the distance.

The cinematography is great, and the soundtrack is very stark and haunting most of the time. My only real complaint is that the use of CGI for certain scenes of violence was unnecessary.

The only reason I'm giving Harry Brown four stars instead of five, is that the concept isn't very original. But it's still a very interesting look at a man who has reached his tipping point, played by an excellent veteran actor. This is a film worth watching for Caine's performance alone.
1 Comment 47 of 49 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
Harry Brown, played brilliantly by Michael Caine, is a pensioner and ex-marine living on a run down housing estate somewhere in the east end of London, who can't take the shortest route to visit his ailing wife in hospital because it involves passing through an underground walkway frequented by louts in `hoodies' and their girlfriends. His wife no longer recognizes his presence and his one remaining solace is playing chess with long-term friend and near neighbour Len.

One day, in their local - the venue for their chess games - Len reveals to Harry how he is being terrorised by local yobs and how much he lives in fear. Harry advises him to go to the police but Len decides to take matters into his own hands, with a predictable result. From this moment on a series of tragic and horrifying incidents convinces Harry that, if the police appear powerless, `natural' justice demands payment and he sets about making it happen.

This is a brilliantly realized depiction of the hell in which some people are forced to try to live out their lives; particularly, the ill, the lonely and the elderly. The film plays, obviously, on the prejudices of those watchers who have lived under similar circumstances. It makes no excuse for the excess of violence and does not seek to justify the social and economic deprivation that might explain it but it definitely is an accurate reflection of some aspects of urban life on some run down housing estates: it's not a documentary or social commentary, just a good old-fashioned piece of brilliant British film making showcasing the extraordinary abilities of a range of home-grown acting talents (witness the two druggy gun dealers!) including the national treasure that is Michael Caine.
Comment 35 of 36 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
HARRY BROWN is a vigilante movie that might best be described as "a British version of DEATH WISH or GRAN TORINO".

Viewers who are turned off by excessive violence and harsh language should avoid this film, but if you're the kind of person who, like me, cheers when a low-life criminal gets his, then this is the movie for you.

Michael Caine stars as Harry Brown, a retired British Marine and widower. He lives in a gang and drug-infested housing project. The police seem to be powerless, even after Brown's only friend, also an elderly gent, is brutally murdered by the gang. Shortly thereafter, one of the thugs tries to rob Harry who, using his long dormant military training, kills the man, and then runs off.

At that point, Harry decides to come out of retirement and, single-handed, kill the gang members and drug suppliers that have destroyed his neighborhood. Despite his advanced age, he does it very well.

Michael Caine, one of the finest (still working) film actors of his generation, is magnificent as Brown, and Emily Mortimer is excellent as an emotionally-torn police detective who suspects that Brown is the vigilante eliminating gang members, yet is sympathetic to his position.

Daniel Barber directs efficiently and Gary Young has delivered a taut screenplay with good dialogue, although he does tend to rely on coincidence a but too much during the last third of this, otherwise, quite entertaining movie.

© Michael B. Druxman
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