International Labor and Working-Class History



WORKERS AND FILM: AS SUBJECT AND AUDIENCE

An Overview of the Working Classes in British Feature Film from the 1960s to the 1980s: From Class Consciousness to Marginalization


Stephen C. Shafer a1
a1 University of Illinois

Abstract

The portrayal of the working classes has always been an element of British popular film from the comic music hall stereotypes in the era of Gracie Fields and George Formby in the 1930s to the more gritty realism of the “Angry Young Man” films that emerged in the 1950s and 1960s. Curiously, in the last thirty years, the portrayal of the working classes in popular film has become somewhat less sharply drawn and more indistinct. In an odd way, these changes may parallel criticisms directed toward politicians about a declining sense of working-class unity and purpose in the wake of the Margaret Thatcher and post-Thatcher eras.



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