For Queen & Country (1989)

R | 105 mins | Drama | 19 May 1989

Director:

Martin Stellman

Producer:

Tim Bevan

Cinematographer:

Richard Greatrex

Production Designer:

Andrew McAlpine

Production Company:

Working Title Ltd.
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HISTORY

Before opening credits the following title card appears: “There are many thousands of us soldiers that have ventured our lives; we have had little propriety in the kingdom as to our estates, yet we have a birthright. But it seems now, except a man hath a fixed estate in this kingdom, he hath no right…I wonder we were so much deceived. Sexby, Soldier in Cromwell’s New Model Army, 1647.”
       The following thanks appear in end credits: “The Makers of this Film would like to thank: Lewis Gray & Sons for supplying the Fair, Ronnie Dunnett, Bill Hemmings, Wilf Knight, Derek Moss, Chris Brett, Irwin Eversley, Iris French, Philomena French, Ray Henry, Jenny Kamara, Sandra Marsh, Donovan Platt, Sarah Radclyffe, Lee Rogers and Debbie Taylor.”      
       According to an 8 Jan 1989 LAT article, For Queen and Country was the theatrical feature film directorial debut for Martin Stellman. It was also writer Trix Worrell’s first theatrical feature. He had written Just Like Mohicans, a 1985 movie for British television. Worrell stated that the character of “Rueben James” was based on a friend who had returned from serving in the Falklands War and found it difficult to revert to civilian life. The character was made a St. Lucian because Worrell was also from St. Lucia and had his British citizenship put in question.
       Tim Bevan stated that Denzel Washington was hired not because they could not find a black British actor who could have played the part, but because “America is our major market.” After Washington was cast, Atlantic Pictures put up sixty percent of the film's ... More Less

Before opening credits the following title card appears: “There are many thousands of us soldiers that have ventured our lives; we have had little propriety in the kingdom as to our estates, yet we have a birthright. But it seems now, except a man hath a fixed estate in this kingdom, he hath no right…I wonder we were so much deceived. Sexby, Soldier in Cromwell’s New Model Army, 1647.”
       The following thanks appear in end credits: “The Makers of this Film would like to thank: Lewis Gray & Sons for supplying the Fair, Ronnie Dunnett, Bill Hemmings, Wilf Knight, Derek Moss, Chris Brett, Irwin Eversley, Iris French, Philomena French, Ray Henry, Jenny Kamara, Sandra Marsh, Donovan Platt, Sarah Radclyffe, Lee Rogers and Debbie Taylor.”      
       According to an 8 Jan 1989 LAT article, For Queen and Country was the theatrical feature film directorial debut for Martin Stellman. It was also writer Trix Worrell’s first theatrical feature. He had written Just Like Mohicans, a 1985 movie for British television. Worrell stated that the character of “Rueben James” was based on a friend who had returned from serving in the Falklands War and found it difficult to revert to civilian life. The character was made a St. Lucian because Worrell was also from St. Lucia and had his British citizenship put in question.
       Tim Bevan stated that Denzel Washington was hired not because they could not find a black British actor who could have played the part, but because “America is our major market.” After Washington was cast, Atlantic Pictures put up sixty percent of the film's $3.5 million budget.
       A 13 Oct 1987 HR news brief reported that Zenith Productions announced the production of For Queen and Country after being taken over by Carlton Communications three weeks earlier. Principal photography was scheduled to begin 12 Oct 1987.
       A 28 Apr 1989 LAHExam article reported that Washington lived with a “mixed-raced working-class family” in the East End of London, England, to acquire his Cockney accent. Also a chauffeur “who spoke the roughest Cockney” was hired to drive Washington to the set.
       A 22 Jun 1990 Var news item reported that Zenith Productions sued AEG Acquisition Corporation (AEG) in Los Angeles, CA U.S. District Court for breaching a distribution agreement involving For Queen and Country, as well as Patty Hearst (1988, see entry) and The Wolves of Willoughby (1989). Even though AEG had failed to pay for the movies listed, they allegedly sold the television rights without Zenith's permission. Although AEG was in bankruptcy, it agreed in Feb 1989 to pay $1 million for distribution rights for each of the three films. Zenith also asked for an injunction that would prevent the films from any future broadcasting and for unspecified damages. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
LOCATION
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Hollywood Reporter
13 Oct 1987.
---
Hollywood Reporter
15 May 1989
p. 4, 19.
LAHExam
28 Apr 1989.
---
Los Angeles Times
19 May 1989
Calendar, p. 13.
Los Angeles Times
8 Jan 1989.
---
New York Times
19 May 1989
p. 14.
Variety
25 May 1988
p. 18.
Variety
22 Jun 1990.
---
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Zenith presents
A Working Title production
Developed in association with Working Title (Developments) Limited
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
1st asst dir
2d asst dir
3d asst dir
PRODUCER
Prod
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
Focus puller
Cam asst
Cam asst
Cam grip
Cam trainee
Gaffer
Best boy
Elec
Stills photog
ART DIRECTORS
Prod des
Art dir
Asst art dir
Storyboard artist
Storyboard artist
FILM EDITORS
1st asst ed
2d asst ed
SET DECORATORS
Prop buyer
Prop master
Dressing props
Loc prop master
Standby props
Const mgr, Acme Construction
Carpenter, Acme Construction
Carpenter, Acme Construction
Carpenter, Acme Construction
Rigger, Acme Construction
Painter, Acme Construction
Standby carpenter, Acme Construction
Standby stagehand, Acme Construction
Standby painter, Acme Construction
Standby rigger, Acme Construction
Armourer
COSTUMES
Cost des
Ward supv
Ward master
Ward asst
MUSIC
Addl mus
Addl mus
Mus coord
Mus rec at
Mus rec at
Eng and mixed by, Syco Systems
Eng and mixed by, Paradise
Eng and mixed by, Paradise
SOUND
Sd mixer
Dubbing ed
Dubbing mixer
Loc sd rec
Sd maintenance
Asst dubbing ed
Sd mixing facilities
VISUAL EFFECTS
Spec eff
Title des
MAKEUP
Makeup artiste
Hairdresser
PRODUCTION MISC
Casting
Scr supv
Loc mgr
Loc asst
Prod coord
Prod asst
Prod accountant
Asst accountant
Finacial controller
Jobfit trainee
Action vehicle coord
Unit pub
Unit nurse
Floor runner
Prod runner
Unit runners
Unit runners
Transport supplied by
Catering
Prod facilities
Action vehicles
Completion guarantee supplied by
STAND INS
Stunt coord
Stand-in
Stand-in
COLOR PERSONNEL
SOURCES
SONGS
"A Matter Of Time," written by J. Vincent, performed by Singers and Players, recording courtesy of On-U Sound Records Ltd., Copyright Control
"Stay With Me," written and performed by I'm Talking, recording courtesy of London Records Ltd. and Regular Records, Copyright Control/Regular Music
"School Days," written by M. Dread, performed by Singers and Players, recording courtesy of On-U Sound Records Ltd., Copyright Control
+
SONGS
"A Matter Of Time," written by J. Vincent, performed by Singers and Players, recording courtesy of On-U Sound Records Ltd., Copyright Control
"Stay With Me," written and performed by I'm Talking, recording courtesy of London Records Ltd. and Regular Records, Copyright Control/Regular Music
"School Days," written by M. Dread, performed by Singers and Players, recording courtesy of On-U Sound Records Ltd., Copyright Control
"Disaster," written and performed by I'm Talking, recording courtesy of London Records Ltd. and Regular Records, Copyright Control/Regular Music
"Do You Wanna Be," written and performed by I'm Talking, recording courtesy of London Records Ltd. and Regular Records
"Under The Apple Tree," written by I. Jones, performed by Jah Warriors, recording courtesy of Ariwa Records, published by Ariwa Music.
+
DETAILS
Release Date:
19 May 1989
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles and New York openings: 19 May 1989
Production Date:
began 12 October 1987
Physical Properties:
Sound
Color
Lenses
Camera by Panavision®
Prints
Originated on Eastman Colour Film from Kodak
Duration(in mins):
105
MPAA Rating:
R
Countries:
United Kingdom, United States
Language:
English
PCA No:
29119
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In 1979 in Northern Ireland, Reuben James and Bob Harper, two British paratroopers in civilian clothes carry their drunken friend, Tony, also known as “Fish” out of a pub. As Reuben drives Fish home, he is stopped by a car full of masked men, who open fire with machine guns. Trying to drive around them, Reuben hits a pole and is knocked unconscious. Fish pulls out a pistol, shoots two of the assailants, then carries Reuben down an alley. A British army truck arrives and an officer orders Fish to drop his gun. Instead, Fish, points out that Reuben is black, therefore not Irish. In 1982, Fish, Reuben and Bobby fight in the Falklands War where Fish loses his leg and is sent home. Six years later, Reuben returns to his home in London, England, and spots Lynford, a childhood friend. Although Lynford is happy to see Reuben, he is too busy to talk. Reuben then runs into Challoner, a big police officer who slams him against a wall declaring black soldiers are only good for “jungle fighting.” Kilcoyne, a police lieutenant, arrives, checks Reuben’s identification and orders Challoner to let him go. Later, Reuben is visited by Colin, a drug dealer, who tries to recruit Reuben as a bodyguard, but Reuben declines. He visits Fish, who is now living in a squalid apartment with his pregnant wife, Debbie, and their son. During the visit, Bob Harper, now a police constable, arrives to collect £200 Fish owes him. Seeing Fish cannot pay, Reuben gives Bob the money, then takes Fish out on the ... +


In 1979 in Northern Ireland, Reuben James and Bob Harper, two British paratroopers in civilian clothes carry their drunken friend, Tony, also known as “Fish” out of a pub. As Reuben drives Fish home, he is stopped by a car full of masked men, who open fire with machine guns. Trying to drive around them, Reuben hits a pole and is knocked unconscious. Fish pulls out a pistol, shoots two of the assailants, then carries Reuben down an alley. A British army truck arrives and an officer orders Fish to drop his gun. Instead, Fish, points out that Reuben is black, therefore not Irish. In 1982, Fish, Reuben and Bobby fight in the Falklands War where Fish loses his leg and is sent home. Six years later, Reuben returns to his home in London, England, and spots Lynford, a childhood friend. Although Lynford is happy to see Reuben, he is too busy to talk. Reuben then runs into Challoner, a big police officer who slams him against a wall declaring black soldiers are only good for “jungle fighting.” Kilcoyne, a police lieutenant, arrives, checks Reuben’s identification and orders Challoner to let him go. Later, Reuben is visited by Colin, a drug dealer, who tries to recruit Reuben as a bodyguard, but Reuben declines. He visits Fish, who is now living in a squalid apartment with his pregnant wife, Debbie, and their son. During the visit, Bob Harper, now a police constable, arrives to collect £200 Fish owes him. Seeing Fish cannot pay, Reuben gives Bob the money, then takes Fish out on the town. They get into a bar fight when they are refused entry to a fancy nightclub and end the evening passed out at Fish’s place. The next morning, Reuben returns home to finds a young boy and Haley, a girl of thirteen, robbing his flat. Haley gets away, but Reuben nabs the boy and forces him to take him to the Haley’s flat. As Reuben knocks on the door, the boy kicks him in the shins and runs away. Stacey, Haley’s mother, opens the door and claims Haley does not live there, but Haley arrives wearing Reuben’s paratrooper beret. He snatches it off her head, then leaves. Later, Stacey returns two of Reuben’s war medals. After weeks of unemployment, Reuben walks past some teenagers playing soccer with Harry, a neighborhood policeman. At a pub, Reuben explains to Lynford that he joined the army to make something of himself. Challoner comes into the pub, grabs Lynford, and demands to know where he was last Friday at 5:00 p.m. When Lynford says he was having sex with Challoner’s mother, the cop pulls out his pistol, but hides it when Kilcoyne enters. Lynford tells the lieutenant he was with Reuben on Friday and Reuben backs his alibi. Leaving the pub, Reuben finds Colin waiting for him. They go to a gymnasium Colin owns, and he tells Reuben he wants him to be his partner. Although Colin professes to be “clean,” Reuben turns him down. That night, Reuben, Fish and Bob Harper go to a party at Lynford’s flat. Reuben bumps into Stacey and the two dance before sharing a bottle of wine on the balcony. As Reuben walks her home , they are harassed by a van full of cops who yell for Stacey to try a real man instead of an “animal.” Reuben returns to the party to see Bob Harper and a squad of cops arresting everyone on drug charges. Bob tells him Fish got away. The next morning, Debbie telephones to announce she gave birth in the middle of the night. Reuben wakes Fish, who is in bed with another girl, and tells him he has a daughter. Fish gives Reuben his tickets to Paris, France, stating he cannot use them now. That night, Reuben takes Stacey and Haley to a fair and asks her to come to Paris with him. She says “yes,” but she becomes uneasy when Reuben hits six bullseyes at a shooting gallery. She explains that Haley’s father was an armed robber and she wants nothing to do with guns. Reuben assures her that he gave up guns when he quit the army. Returning to the apartment complex, Reuben, Haley, and Stacey hear a gunshot and see Lynford and two men running away. They look down into the street to see Kilcoyne holding a dying Harry. The lieutenant begs someone to tell him who fired the shot, but no one admits to seeing anything. Days later, Reuben gets a letter informing him that his request for a new passport was denied. A passport officer explains that since he was born in St. Lucia, and St. Lucia is no longer a British colony, he is not a British citizen. Fish and Reuben go out and get drunk. Upon returning to Fish’s home, they find an electric company employee threatening to turn off the power unless Debbie can give him ten percent of the bill that is owed. Reuben attacks the man forcing him to drive away screaming that he will be back. Realizing Fish is desperate for money; Reuben goes home and puts a pistol into his waistband. He opens the door to find Stacey, who has come to console him about not being British. She hugs him, but feels the pistol and walks away. That night, Colin and Reuben go to a public bathroom to meet with Stylee, a Pakistani drug dealer, and his Sikh bodyguard to buy heroin. When the exchange is complete, Colin and Reuben leave the bathroom. A squad of police run by them and arrest Stylee. Realizing Colin set the other men up, Reuben tells him their partnership is over. When Reuben enters Fish’s house, he is almost killed by two machine gun blasts. He hits the floor and sees Fish in his wheelchair screaming that no one is going to turn off his power. Reuben takes away Fish’s gun. Upon learning Debbie and the children have left his friend, Reuben hands him the money he made from Colin and tells Fish to “sort it out.” Later, Reuben enters his flat to find Kilcoyne waiting. The lieutenant tells Reuben he knows about Colin and unless Reuben finds Harry’s killer, he is going to be arrested for drug dealing. Days later, Reuben gets a passport from St. Lucia and buys an airplane ticket to leave the country. He returns to his neighborhood to find it swarming with police. Before he can get to his flat, he runs into Stacey, who gives him back the tickets to Paris. As she turns away, she sees Haley running with a gang of teenagers carrying clubs. Stacey and Reuben follow her to an underground parking garage and find Lynford and a group of men and women arming themselves to attack the police. When Reuben asks Lynford if one death is not enough for him, his friend tells Reuben he was trying to kill Challoner when he accidently shot Harry. He shows Reuben the faces of those around him who have been unfairly beaten by Challoner or other policemen and declares they are at war. Reuben locates Kilcoyne and tells him everything. The cops move into the neighborhood and a riot breaks out. Reuben is about to leave to catch his plane when Fish arrives. Reuben tells his friend he is going to St. Lucia to be a gigolo and Fish threatens to join him. As they get out of the elevator they find Lynford with a pistol. Fish hits him with his crutch and grabs the gun. Challoner and his partner appear, and shoot Fish to death. Kilcoyne takes away Challoner’s gun while Reuben screams for Fish not to die. Reuben runs to Fish’s home, grabs his machinegun, and then shoots Challoner from a window. As Reuben leaves the building, Bob Harper, who is on a rooftop with a sniper’s rifle, is ordered to shoot him. After a second’s hesitation, Bob does. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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