Green Street (film)
Green Street, or Green Street Hooligans, is a 2005 British-American independent drama film about football hooliganism in the United Kingdom. It was directed by Lexi Alexander and stars Elijah Wood and Charlie Hunnam. In the film, an American college student falls in with a violent West Ham football firm (the Green Street Elite) run by his brother-in-law's younger brother and is morally transformed by their commitment to each other.
|Directed by||Lexi Alexander|
|Narrated by||Sam Gibson|
|Music by||Christopher Franke|
|Edited by||Paul Trejo|
|Box office||$4.33 million|
Two sequels followed in the form of direct-to-video releases. The first, Green Street 2: Stand Your Ground, was released on various dates around the world between March 2009 to July 2010. The second, Green Street 3: Never Back Down, was released in the UK on 21 October 2013.
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Matt Buckner (Elijah Wood), a journalism major, is expelled from Harvard University after cocaine is discovered in his room. Though it belongs to his roommate Jeremy Van Holden (Terence Jay), Buckner is afraid to speak up because the Van Holdens are a powerful family, and Jeremy offers him $10,000 for taking the blame. Matt accepts the money and uses it to visit his sister Shannon (Claire Forlani), her husband Steve (Marc Warren) and their young son, Ben (James Allison) in London. There, Matt meets Steve's brother, Pete (Charlie Hunnam), an acerbic and imposing Cockney who leads the local football hooligan firm – Green Street Elite (GSE). Steve asks Pete to take Matt to a football match though Pete is reluctant to take a "Yank" to a football match. Pete decides to take Matt to the game, thinking he might learn something.
Matt meets Pete's friends and his firm in the Abbey, their local pub and they befriend Matt, with the exception of Pete's stubborn right-hand man, Bovver (Leo Gregory). A few pints in and they head to the match. Afterwards, Pete, Bovver, and the other firm members agree to go and fight some Birmingham fans, but Matt decides that it is not for him and tells Pete he is going to take the train home. On his way back to the underground, Matt is jumped by three Birmingham fans, who nearly give him a Chelsea grin (Glasgow Smile), but he is rescued by some GSE members. Though grossly outnumbered, the GSE manage to stand their ground until reinforcements chase off the Birmingham firm. Matt does well in his first true fight and is inducted into the GSE. After a row with Steve, Matt moves in with Pete, and the two exchange stories.
The GSE firm then head to an away game against Manchester United. Matt was not meant to come but ends up sneaking onto the train. Whilst on the train they are warned that 40 Manchester United firm members are waiting for them at the station. Bovver hits the emergency stop button which allows the GSE to get off at an earlier stop. They then persuade a van driver to take them into Manchester. As the van approaches the Manchester United fans, Matt tells them that they are moving equipment for a Hugh Grant film, so the fans let them through. When past them, he stops the van, opens up the back, and the GSE charge out to attack the United firm members. They win the fight and run away, taunting the United firm.
Jealous of Matt's rise in the ranks, Bovver talks to Tommy Hatcher (Geoff Bell), the head of GSE's rival firm. After one of the members of the GSE sees Matt meeting his father, a renowned journalist for The Times, for lunch, they assume Matt is a "journo" as well. Bovver informs Pete of this, and, when Steve finds out, he goes to the Abbey to warn Matt. Matt discovers that Steve is the founder and former leader of the GSE, nicknamed “The Major", who retired from football hooliganism after witnessing the death of Tommy’s 12-year-old son in a fight between Millwall and the GSE following a match, leading him to blame Steve and the GSE for his son's death.
Pete angrily confronts Matt in the bathroom over the covering-up of his real identity. The Millwall firm then crash the Abbey, and petrol bomb the bar. On arrival, Tommy confronts Steve and stabs him in the neck with a broken bottle, telling him that if he dies tonight then they are both even. Bovver, who had been knocked unconscious by Tommy's right-hand man upon arriving at the Abbey, awakes just in time to help get Steve to the hospital, where Pete slams into Bovver for his betrayal. Shannon decides to return to the United States to ensure the safety of her family.
The two firms meet near the Millennium Dome the next day for a final brawl. Matt and Bovver show up to fight for the GSE, but Shannon turns up with Ben to look for Matt and is subsequently attacked by Tommy’s right-hand man. Matt and Bovver come to their rescue. Pete notices that Tommy is approaching the car and goads him to "finish him off". When Tommy declares to have finished with him, Pete then retorts that Tommy was to blame for his son's death, having failed to protect him. Tommy snaps and tackles Pete to the ground, eventually beating him to death. Everyone on both sides gathers around Pete's dead body in shock.
Matt returns to the United States and confronts Jeremy Van Holden in a restaurant toilet. Jeremy arrogantly tells Matt to leave during a brief discussion in which he admits to being the cocaine stash's owner. Matt then pulls out a tape recorder and plays back what Jeremy just said, saying that it is his "ticket back to Harvard". Jeremy lunges at him to try to get the tape, but Matt raises his fist as if to punch Jeremy but ultimately chooses not to, walking out with a smile as Jeremy collapses to the floor. Matt walks down the street outside the restaurant singing "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles".
- Elijah Wood as Matthew 'Matt' Buckner, nicknamed "The Yank": a 20-year-old American everyman, studying journalism at Harvard University. His mother has died, and his sister lives in London with her British husband. He does not see his father very often, because he is away working most of the time.
- Charlie Hunnam as Peter 'Pete' Dunham: a primary school teacher of history and physical education who runs West Ham's firm the Green Street Elite, and is Steve's younger brother.
- Leo Gregory as Bovver: a member of the GSE and Pete's right-hand man.
- Claire Forlani as Shannon Dunham (née Buckner): Matt's older sister, married to Steve and mother of Ben.
- Marc Warren as Steven 'Steve' Dunham, nicknamed “The Major”: a successful businessman and founder of the GSE who led the firm in 1990s before retiring, now living with his wife Shannon and son Ben.
- Ross McCall as Dave Bjorno: a commercial airline pilot and member of the GSE.
- Rafe Spall as Swill: a member of the GSE.
- Kieran Bew as Ike: a member of the GSE
- Geoff Bell as Tommy Hatcher: leader of Millwall's firm the NTO.
- James Allison and Oliver Allison as Benjamin “Ben” Dunham: son of Shannon and Steve, and Matt’s nephew.
- Terence Jay as Jeremy Van Holden: a cocaine addict and dealer, son of a senator, currently studying at Harvard University.
- Joel Beckett as Terry: a retired GSE member who runs the Bridgett Abbey pub on Walsh Road, and Steve's former right-hand man.
- Henry Goodman as Carl Buckner: a world renowned journalist who is Matt and Shannon’s father, Steve’s father-in-law and Ben’s grandfather.
The name of the firm in film, the Green Street Elite, refers to Green Street in the London Borough of Newham, where West Ham's old home stadium, Upton Park is located. West Ham is supported by one of Britain's notorious hooligan firms: the Inter City Firm (ICF).
The film received mixed reviews on release. It scored 46% on the film website Rotten Tomatoes and 55% on the website Metacritic. Roger Ebert gave the film a very favourable review, while the BBC described it as "calamitous". E! Online reviewed it as "saddled with a predictable storyline and such feckless dialogue that you can't help but view the whole thing as an exercise in stupidity". Lead star Hunnam's attempted Cockney accent was derided by many critics as the worst in film history.
Green Street won several awards including Best Feature at the LA Femme Film Festival, Best of the Fest at the Malibu Film Festival and the Special Jury Award at the SXSW Film Festival.
The film was nominated for the William Shatner Golden Groundhog Award for Best Underground Movie. Other nominated films were Neil Gaiman's and Dave McKean's MirrorMask, the award-winning baseball documentary Up for Grabs and Opie Gets Laid.
Green Street 2: Stand Your Ground was released straight-to-DVD in March 2009. The film does not star most of the main cast of the first film, but rather focuses on Ross McCall, who played Dave in the first film. The plot has Dave, who was caught from the fight at the end of the first film, in a prison where he must fight to survive.
Green Street 3: Never Back Down was released straight-to-DVD in the UK on 21 October 2013, starring Scott Adkins from The Expendables 2. Danny Harvey (Adkins) has spent all of his life fighting - in the playground, on the football pitch, and then heading up the West Ham firm the Green Street Elite (GSE). After having turned his back from violence fourteen years prior, Danny is thrust back into the GSE. Younger brother Joey, played by Billy Cook, is killed in an organised fight against a rival firm and Danny is desperate to seek revenge for his brother’s death. Danny returns to the GSE and his past, the only way he knows to find out who killed his younger brother.
- "Green Street Hooligans (2005) - Financial Information". The Numbers. Retrieved 13 April 2018.
- Arifa Akbar, "A load of pork pies: Green Street sees red at hooligan film", The Independent, 26 August 2005
- "Green Street Hooligans". Metacritic.com. 9 September 2005. Retrieved 6 November 2012.
- Roger Ebert (8 September 2005). "Green Street Hooligans". Retrieved 7 April 2017.
- Neil Smith, Green Street (2005), BBC, 8 September 2005
- Green Street Hooligans, E News, 9 September 2005
- Martin Chilton, "Mel Gibson joins the worst Cockney accent film set", Telegraph.co.uk, 6 May 2011
- Tyler, Joshua (10 January 2006). "Shatner Gets His Own Award". Cinema Blend. Retrieved 10 September 2009.