24 Hour Party PeopleApril 5, 2002
In 1976, Tony Wilson sets up Factory Records and brings Manchester's music to the world.
Release Year: 2002
Rating: 7.3/10 (15,847 voted)
Critic's Score: 85/100
Stars: Steve Coogan, Lennie James, John Thomson
Manchester 1976: Cambridge educated Tony Wilson, Granada TV presenter, is at a Sex Pistols gig. Totally inspired by this pivotal moment in music history, he and his friends set up a record label, Factory Records, signing first Joy Division (who go on to become New Order) then James and the Happy Mondays, who all become seminal artists of their time. What ensues is a tale of music, sex, drugs, larger-than-life characters, and the birth of one of the most famous dance clubs in the world, The Hacienda – a mecca for clubbers as famous as the likes of Studio 54. Graphically depicting the music and dance heritage of Manchester from the late 70's to the early 90's, this comedy documents the vibrancy that made Mad-chester the place in the world that you would most like to be.
Actor at Granada
Hooky (Peter Hook)
John the Postman
The unbelievably true story of one man, one movement, the music and madness that was Manchester.
Release Date: 5 April 2002
Filming Locations: Chester, Cheshire, England, UK
Opening Weekend: £265,428
(7 April 2002)
(13 October 2002)
Did You Know?
In 2003, Tony Wilson wrote a novelization titled "24 Hour Party People: What the Sleeve Notes Never Tell You" based on the screenplay for the film.
In nearly every scene when Tony Wilson is in his car you can see items that were not around in the 1970-80s. Including digital satellite dishes and new style cars/buses and vans.
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it's the latest craze sweeping the Pennines, and I've got to be honest, I'd rather be sweeping the Pennines right now.
From punk to rave in northern England – a pulsating, highly original, thoroughly entertaining mess of a film.
24 Hour Party People is the story of Factory Records, a defiantly
independent record label based in Manchester, England, which discovered
as influential and diverse as Joy Division and the Happy Mondays.
The film is shot in mock-documentary style and narrated by Tony Wilson
(Steve Coogan), the founder of Factory. Coogan portrays Wilson's double
as music svengali and cheesy local TV reporter to brilliant comic effect.
Although Brits will draw the inevitable parallels between Coogan's Wilson
and his ultra-naff TV persona, Alan Partridge, Coogan actually has Wilson
off to a tee. Arrogant and pompous, Cambridge-educated Wilson is master of
the pseudish sound bite (when he realises they have no tickets for a
concert in his nightclub, he retorts `Did they have tickets for the Sermon
on the Mount? Of course they didn't, people just turned up because they
it would be a great gig'). But he also has a perceptive eye for the
zeitgeist and his vision to create the Hacienda club transformed
into Madchester, for a brief time the music capital of the
The story really starts with an early Sex Pistols gig in Manchester,
attended by only 42 people, most of whom went on to have an influence on
Manchester music scene of the next 10 years. Wilson was in the audience,
together with members of the band who went on to form the brilliant
post-punk pioneers Joy Division. The first part of the film is really
focussed on them and their manager, the aggressive and cantankerous Rob
Gretton ( played by Paddy Considine), and their producer, the irascible
acid-casualty Martin Hannett (another superb cameo by Andy Serkis) – both
whom are no longer alive. Joy Division's lead singer, Ian Curtis, is
portrayed so accurately by Sean Harris that it's positively eerie, and the
scenes of the band playing in rundown venues seem remarkably true to life
and capture effectively the rawness and intensity of their live
performances. The film also deals, rather insensitively, with the death of
Curtis, who's feet we see swinging after he has strung himself up on a
in his house. This segues uncomfortably into a town crier announcing his
death to the world, and ends with scenes showing Curtis's body in a coffin
at the crematorium.
From then on, the story continues with Joy Division's reincarnation as New
Order and the building of the Hacienda nightclub, and the sometimes
disastrous business decisions made by Wilson and Factory. When New Order
released Blue Monday, the record sleeve was so expensive to produce they
lost money on every copy sold. The single went on to become the
biggest-selling 12' of all time, paradoxically crippling Factory in the
process. The first nights at the Hacienda were also calamitous, with bands
playing in front of single-figure audiences. Eventually however, the
indie dance kings Happy Mondays arrived on the scene, and acid house was
born. Suddenly the Hacienda was the place to be and the Madchester rave
scene became famous all over the world. The scenes of drugs-and-sex-excess
on the Monday's tour bus and the re-creation of the Hacienda club nights
The final part of the film tells how gang violence led to the closure of
club and the drug-riddled misadventures of the Mondays, especially their
singer Shaun Ryder, led to their downfall and had severe financial
implications for Factory Records (Wilson had inexplicably sent them to
Barbados to record their last Factory album). Eventually, Factory was
lock, stock and barrel, to another label (who were perturbed to find
had not signed any contracts with any of the Factory bands, effectively
giving the artists total creative freedom).
24 Hour Party People is a real rollercoaster ride. There are some
acting performances, punctuated by cameos from real members of the
Manchester music scene (such as Howard Devoto and Mark E. Smith). The
merging of legend and reality may make it difficult for people unfamiliar
with events to work out what actually happened. But this is no accurate,
austere documentary, but a touching, sometimes surreal, and often very,
funny, anarchic portrayal of a time and a place and it's music. Oh, and of
course, the soundtrack is fantastic.