WriterBryan Forbes, Michael Craig, Richard Gregson Release date15 March 1960 ProducersRichard Attenborough, Bryan Forbes CastRichard Attenborough (Tom Curtis), Pier Angeli (Anna Curtis), Michael Craig (Joe Wallace), Bernard Lee (Bert Connolly), Alfred Burke (Travers), Geoffrey Keen (Davis) Similar moviesThe Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Dancer in the Dark, Schindler's List, Gung Ho, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Secret Life of Words
TaglineRough, Tough, Deeply Moving
The angry silence
The Angry Silence is a 1960 black-and-white British drama film directed by Guy Green and starring Richard Attenborough, Pier Angeli, Michael Craig and Bernard Lee. The film marked the first release through screenwriter Bryan Forbes's production venture, Beaver Films and Forbes won a BAFTA Award and an Oscar nomination for his contribution (shared with original story writers Michael Craig and Richard Gregson).
The story is about working class factory worker Tom Curtis (Richard Attenborough) who refuses to take part in an unofficial strike organised by agent provocateur Travers (Alfred Burke). Curtis finds himself ostracised by the other workers and accused of being a scab. Curtis has two children and his wife, Anna (Pier Angeli) is pregnant. He faces a painful dilemma when choosing between doing what is morally right (and the choice of his fellow work colleagues) and what is bidden by the rules. He is not persuaded to participate in the strike by violence, as some of the other dissenters, but is given the silent treatment instead.
The film is also notable for the early appearance of several actors who later went on to become household names, such as Oliver Reed.
Kenneth More was initially considered for the lead role which Richard Attenborough played.
The film received positive reviews in the UK and US. Variety wrote that Guy Green had directed with "quiet skill, leaving the film to speak for itself". The film was entered into the 10th Berlin International Film Festival.
By 1971 the film made an estimated profit of £58,000. In 1997 Bryan Forbes estimated the profit at £200,000.
After the film's release Richard Attenborough visited a working men's club in Aberdare, south Wales who were refusing to show the film. The film had been banned in many of these clubs because of its anti-strike plot. However, Attenborough explained his position on the film and the miners allowed the film to be screened. This was important as during the 1960s films required such showings to drive ticket sales.
Some critics have raised doubts about the politics of the film, particularly with regard to the needs or demands of the workers being trivialised. Others suggest that the film is also a reflection of British working-class values at the time, such as "an Englishman's home is his castle".
The aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes gives the film an audience approval rating of 80%, based on 134 ratings.