There aren’t many cities that have so many films and documentaries about it that cover an array of topics, themes and genres.
From the music scene, to the incredible history, terrible tragedies to victorious winning football teams, to say that there isn’t a diverse and rich culture either captured on film or in a drama, would be ludicrous.
An epic about the Peterloo Massacre – the story of British Forces charging on a peaceful pro-democracy rally at St Peter’s Field in 1819. Directed by Mike Leigh and out in your local Cinemaplex right now.
Looking for Eric
Even if you’re a city fan, you’ll struggle somewhat to dislike Eric Cantona. This comedy starring the man himself as a sort of spirit guide helping main character Eric get his life back on track, after envisioning Cantona when crashing his car.
Manchester Bomb: Our Story
This is a hard watch, as the title suggests. Manchester Bomb: Our Story documents the lives of some of the victims of the Manchester Arena Attack and how they’re coping after witnessing / living through that horrible night. This wonderful documentary (well done SB) is a fantastic insight into the horrors of that evening, and the real-life after effects for it’s victims.
All or Nothing: Manchester City
Part of Amazon’s ‘All or Nothing’ sports documentary series, the viewer gets a glimpse behind the scenes at one of the biggest clubs in the world through their winning Premier League season and it’s narrated by Ben Kingsley.
Do You Own The Dançefloor?
In 1997, The Hacienda closed its door for the last time. In 2000, 69 lots of the old club went on sale at an auction, notably bits of the dancefloor and an exit sign. ‘Do You Own The Dançefloor?’ finds out what happens to all the bits sold at auction whilst taking you on a journey of its musical history and the birth of acid house.
These Things Take Time: The Story of The Smiths
Narrated by Vic Reeves and coinciding with The Smiths first live performance, ‘These Things Take Time’ contains interviews with Johnny Marr, Mike Joyce, Andy Rourke, Sandie Shaw and the late great John Peel as well as never before seen performances and images of the band.
Shot around Middleton, Raining Stones is a funny, often sad and sometimes brutal look into Northern working class life, as Les Battersby tries to raise enough money to buy his daughter’s First Communion dress. In what could be considered a sequel to at scene in Full Monty, the ways and means of getting the money leads him down some dark paths. Well worth a watch.
Richard Gere travelled all the way from Hollywood to Stalybridge for this 1979 movie, one that explores the impact of American soldiers heading over here before D-Day. Gere meets a lovely lady who’s husband is off fighting in Africa, but they inevitably fall in love and all that jazz. Although it was a proper flop in the states – it’s a great seeing Richard Gere waddle around some proper Northern towns and villages.
Made of Stone
As a super fan himself, Shane Meadows (This is England) follows the comeback of one of the most influential and adored Manchester bands – The Stone Roses. The documentary highlights the highs and lows of their reunion which all amalgamates in their homecoming show at Heaton Park. You’ll never see more of an elated and blissful crowd hanging off Ian Brown’s every syllable…well apart from every other show in the documentary.
Dramatised version of events that take influence from book ‘Touching From a Distance’ written by wife of singer Ian Curtis, Deborah Curtis. Control follows the life and rise to cult fame of Joy Division featuring many famous venues and faces from across the city.
24 Hour Party People
A film that takes you on a journey back to Manchester in 1976. Steve Coogan plays Tony Wilson (“The biggest **** in Manchester being played by the second biggest **** in Manchester.”) and that all important moment he (and others) watched The Sex Pistols at the Free Trade Hall sparking a wave of revolution of punk bands, the creation of Factory Records and The Haçienda.
East is East
Salford in 1971 was a difficult place to raise a Pakistani family. George Khan, the protagonist tries to raise his seven children in a respectable manner but they’re caught between wanting to live their lives in the modern world as well as traditional Pakistani. It’s a bloody great film.
Manchester Keeps on Dancing
A documentary by Javi Senz, this film aims to document the arrival of House music into Manchester from Chicago in the 80’s, through to the Acid House explosion of 1988 and the subsequent 30 years after. With in-depth interviews with many of the big hitters, (and a brilliant soundtrack), Manchester Keeps on Dancing is a definitive guide to the Manchester music scene (then, and importantly – now).