7.3/10
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Prick Up Your Ears (1987)

R | | Biography, Drama | 8 May 1987 (USA)
This movie is the story of the spectacular life and violent death of British playwright Joe Orton (Gary Oldman). In his teens, Orton is befriended by the older, more reserved Kenneth ... See full summary »

Director:

Stephen Frears

Writers:

John Lahr (based on the biography by), Alan Bennett (screenplay)

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 5 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Gary Oldman ... Joe Orton
Alfred Molina ... Kenneth Halliwell
Vanessa Redgrave ... Peggy Ramsay
Wallace Shawn ... John Lahr
Lindsay Duncan ... Anthea Lahr
Julie Walters ... Elsie Orton
James Grant James Grant ... William Orton
Frances Barber ... Leonie Orton
Janet Dale Janet Dale ... Mrs Sugden
Dave Atkins Dave Atkins ... Mr Sugden
Margaret Tyzack ... Madame Lambert
Eric Richard ... Education Officer
William Job William Job ... RADA Chairman
Rosalind Knight ... RADA Judge
Angus MacKay Angus MacKay ... RADA Judge
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Storyline

This movie is the story of the spectacular life and violent death of British playwright Joe Orton (Gary Oldman). In his teens, Orton is befriended by the older, more reserved Kenneth Halliwell (Alfred Molina), and while the two begin a relationship, it's fairly obvious that it's not all about sex. Orton loves the dangers of bath-houses and liaisons in public restrooms; Halliwell, not as charming or attractive as Orton, doesn't fare so well in those environments. While both long to become writers, it is Orton who achieves fame. His plays "Entertaining Mr. Sloane" and "Loot" become huge hits in London of the sixties, and he's even commissioned to write a screenplay for the Beatles. But Orton's success takes him farther from Halliwell, whose response ended both his life and the life of the up-and-coming playwright. Written by Gary Dickerson <slug@mail.utexas.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

They shared everything - except success.

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 May 1987 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Prick Up Your Ears See more »

Filming Locations:

UK See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$38,643, 19 April 1987

Gross USA:

$1,654,743

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,672,927
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The title is a naughty pun ("Prick" having both standard and off-color denotations and "Ears" being an anagram for the British spelling of a vulgar anatomical descriptor). See more »

Goofs

When Joe's agent first meets him in 1964, she asks him how he's been supporting himself. He tells her he's on public assistance, getting £3.10 per week. New pence weren't introduced until 1971. However, in the pre-decimal era, "Three pounds ten" would have been understood as "Three pounds and ten shillings", the present-day equivalent being £3.50. For example, "Maggie Mae", recorded by the Beatles in 1969 but based on a much older traditional song, includes the line "Two pounds ten a week, that was my pay." See more »

Quotes

Joe Orton: Some of these people are, well, having sexual intercourse.
Kenneth Halliwell: Fucking, you mean? Well, what do you expect? Many of them are from Australia.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Great Directors (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Dancing Hearts
Music by Stanley Myers
Lyrics by Richard Myhill
Arranged by Richard Myhill
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A loving punch in the gut
25 November 2017 | by danielledecolombieSee all my reviews

Gary Oldman plays real life British 60's sensation Joe Orton, the author of "Entertaining Mr. Sloane". His performance, for me, goes at the very core of a gallery of real life characters who run the gamut from A to Z and then some. From Sid Vicious to Ludwig Van Beethoven, from Lee Harvey Oswald to Joe Orton and in 2017 Winston Churchill - not to mention fictional literary characters like Count Dracula. With Joe Orton, Gary Oldman reaches some kind of mountain top. He finds innocence in this emotional and sexual misfit and he projects Orton's genius with a profound flawed humanity. His tragic lover is played by another extraordinary actor, Alfred Molina - I've just seen him in "Feud" playing Robert Aldrich with such virtuosity that I have developed a personal relationship with Aldrich as if I knew him personally. Oldman and Molina create something we've never seen before and Stephen Frears know exactly how to capture it. As if this wasn't enough, Vanessa Redgrave play's Orton's agent. Even if you've never heard of Joe Orton, do yourself a favor, venture into this dark and human universe.


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