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I.D. is a 1995 British film made by BBC Films about football hooliganism, directed by Philip Davis and starring Reece Dinsdale, Sean Pertwee and Warren Clarke. It is set in the 1980s, in England, mainly London, and also shot at Millmoor and Valley Parade football grounds in Rotherham and Bradford respectively. The tagline is "When you go undercover, remember one thing... Who you are." The true events that inspired the movie are chronicled in the 2013 book Running with the Firm written by former undercover detective James Bannon.

ID dvd cover.jpg
Directed byPhilip Davis
Produced bySally Hibbin
Christina Kallas
Luciano Gloor
Written byVincent O'Connell
StarringReece Dinsdale
Warren Clarke
Claire Skinner
Music byWill Gregory
Distributed byBBC Films
Release date
Running time
107 minutes


John (Reece Dinsdale), an ambitious young police officer, is sent undercover to join a violent football firm associated with the fictitious club Shadwell Town to track down the 'generals' - the shadowy figures who orchestrate the violence. His team of four gradually ingratiate themselves into the lives of The Dogs, the nickname that Shadwell's fans give themselves. The main site for this is The Rock, a public house around which The Dogs' lives revolve. Gradually, the hard drinking and hard fighting macho culture - where Saturday's match and Saturday's fight are all that matters - prove strangely irresistible to John and he slowly finds himself becoming one of the thugs he has been sent to entrap.

His relationships with his wife, his superiors and even his team become strained. Eventually his wife returns to her parents' house and rebuffs his attempted reconciliation.

The police operation is abruptly wound up for budgeting reasons, just as it seems John is making progress in identifying those who pull the strings. The closing sequence shows a shaven-headed John taking part in a racist march, having become nothing more than a neo-nazi fascist. One of his team approaches him to try to help him, but is rebuffed. John says that he is, again, working undercover. There is a degree of ambiguity, and it might be that he is working undercover, though it may also be that he has become deluded and has merely mired himself in an even less pleasant world. His fascist chanting at the very end makes it clear that whatever the truth, John is unable to prevent himself from sinking into his character.

The film features the fictitious teams of Shadwell Town and Wapping FC. The locations the teams are based on are real – they are neighbouring areas on the northern bank of the River Thames in London's traditional East End. It is believed that Millwall F.C was the inspiration for one team,[1] as the clubs' fans had a long standing reputation for violence during the period which the film represents.[citation needed]

A sequel, with the title of ID2: Shadwell Army was released in August 2016. It was directed by Joel Novoa, and was written by Vincent O'Connell.[2].[3]


  1. ^ O’Connell, Vincent. "ID". Retrieved 5 March 2017.
  2. ^ "ID2: Shadwell Army": at the BFI. Retrieved March 19 2019
  3. ^ "Vincent O'Connell ": at the BFI. Retrieved March 19 2019

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