Johnny English (taglined in some countries as "Little Brother of James Bond") is a 2003 spy action comedy film directed by Peter Howitt and written by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade and William Davies. It is a British-American venture produced by StudioCanal and Working Title Films, and distributed by Universal Pictures.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Peter Howitt|
|Produced by||Tim Bevan|
|Written by||Neal Purvis|
|Music by||Edward Shearmur|
|Edited by||Robin Sales|
|Distributed by||Universal Pictures|
|Country||United Kingdom |
|Box office||$160.5 million|
Starring Rowan Atkinson in the title role, Natalie Imbruglia, Ben Miller and John Malkovich, it is the first installment of the Johnny English film series and serves as a parody/homage to the spy genre, mainly the James Bond film series as well as Atkinson's Mr. Bean character. The character is also related to Atkinson's bumbling spy character from a series of adverts in the United Kingdom for Barclaycard in the 1990s.
Released theatrically in the United States on 18 July 2003, the film met with mixed reviews from critics but was commercially successful, having grossed $160 million worldwide against a budget of $40 million. The film was released in the United Kingdom on 11 April 2003 and topped the country's box office for the next three weekends, before being overtaken by X2. Due to its commercial success, it was followed by two sequels, Johnny English Reborn and Johnny English Strikes Again, in 2011 and 2018, respectively.
Johnny English is a kindhearted but inept MI7 employee working a desk job while having dreams of being their most trusted employee. After Agent One dies in a submarine accident unknowingly caused by English, the remaining agents are killed via a bombing at Agent One's funeral (thanks to English's incompetence again), leaving English as the lone surviving agent capable of finishing the mission Agent One left when he died.
English is assigned to thwart a plot to steal the Crown Jewels, which are on display at the Tower of London. English meets a mysterious woman, Lorna Campbell (Imbruglia), at the unveiling of the newly restored jewels. During the display, the power suddenly suffers a blackout and the jewels are stolen. During the chaos, English accidentally knocks out the deputy head of security and pretends to fight an imaginary "assailant" to make up for his mistakes. He later makes up a false description of the "assailant" to MI7 head Pegasus. English and his assistant Angus Bough find that the jewels were removed via a hole dug beneath their display case. The two follow a tunnel where they confront the two thieves Dieter Klein and Klaus Vendetta, who escape in a hearse, with English trying to pursue them but he mistakes another hearse for the escaped vehicle to which he accidentally gatecrashes a funeral until Bough comes to his aid by pretending English is an escaped mental patient.
English connects the thieves to Pascal Sauvage, a French prison entrepreneur who helped restore the Crown Jewels. Pegasus finds the claims of his involvement absurd and warns English not to involve Sauvage. In the car park, English and Bough are attacked by Vendetta but are unharmed. English again encounters Lorna in a sushi restaurant as he recognized her pink motorcycle. During their meeting, English is suspicious of her since he has seen her at two of their crime scenes and her records cannot be found on any government computer. English and Bough then decide to break into Sauvage's headquarters via parachutes, but English mistakenly lands on a visually identical tower which turns out to be the City Hospital. Going to the correct building, the two learn that Sauvage, who is a descendant of Charles Edward Stuart, plans on making himself king, using an impostor to impersonate the Archbishop of Canterbury. Lorna arrives, revealed to be an Interpol agent tracking Sauvage. With evidence of Sauvage's involvement, English crashes a reception hosted by Sauvage but is then suspended from work by Pegasus for his actions.
With English knowing their plans, Sauvage scraps the plan to use the fake Archbishop and instead sends his minions to force Queen Elizabeth II to abdicate by threatening her corgis, causing the entire line of succession to be swept clean for Sauvage to become king. Lorna, now in charge of the assignment by Pegasus, visits the depressed English and convinces him to travel with her to Sauvage's French château to investigate. Eavesdropping on Sauvage's meeting with internationally renowned criminals, English and Lorna learn Sauvage plans to turn the United Kingdom into the world's biggest prison when he becomes king. English and Lorna are exposed when the former accidentally activates a microphone, and they are taken prisoner.
English tries to steal the DVD of Sauvage's plan, but accidentally drops it onto a tray of identical discs and takes the wrong one without looking. Bough rescues the two from captivity and they race to stop Sauvage's coronation. English crashes the coronation and discovers the Archbishop is the genuine article. Undeterred, English orders Bough to play the DVD, only to find it is actually camera footage of himself dancing to and singing "Does Your Mother Know" by ABBA inside his bathroom in his underclothes; Sauvage has bugged English's flat beforehand. English sneaks away, but swings in on a wire to steal St. Edward’s Crown from Sauvage. Sauvage then attempts to kill English with a pistol, causing him to drop the crown. Moments before Sauvage is crowned king, English drops from the wire after being shot, lands on the throne and is crowned instead. Because of the succession laws, English is now technically the King of England. In his singular act as king, English has Sauvage arrested and restores the Queen to the throne by simply requesting a knighthood as a reward.
Later, Sauvage is sentenced to death for high treason while English and Lorna drive to southern France for a romantic holiday, only for English to accidentally launch Lorna out of his car by pressing the ejection seat button while leaning in to kiss her. In a mid-credits scene, Lorna lands in a hotel swimming pool where Bough there is vacationing alongside a man identical to the fictitious assailant English described to Pegasus earlier in the film.
- Rowan Atkinson as Johnny English
- Ben Miller as Angus Bough, English's partner in the field
- John Malkovich as Pascal Edward Sauvage, the main antagonist, the distant descendant of James II
- Natalie Imbruglia as Lorna Campbell, an INTERPOL agent
- Oliver Ford Davies as the Archbishop of Canterbury
- Tim Pigott-Smith as Pegasus
- Kevin McNally as the Prime Minister
- Douglas McFerran as Klaus Vendetta
- Steve Nicolson as Dieter Klein
- Greg Wise as Agent One
- Tim Berrington as Roger
- Prunella Scales as Queen Elizabeth II
- Tasha de Vasconcelos as Countess Alexandra
- Nina Young as Pegasus' Secretary
- Sam Beazley as Elderly Man at the Hospital
- Kevin Moore as Doctor
- Jack Raymond as French Reception Waiter
- Jenny Galloway as the Foreign Secretary
- Chris Tarrant as Radio DJ
- Trevor McDonald as Newsreader
In July 2002, Johnny English started principal photography. The film shot for fourteen weeks, filming at Shepperton Studios, on location in London and St. Albans, and finally setting down in Monte Carlo for two days to complete filming the final scene. In September 2002, it was announced that Natalie Imbruglia, who wrote the theme tune for Johnny English, would star alongside Atkinson.
The character of Johnny English himself is based on a similar character called Richard Latham, who was played by Atkinson in a series of British television advertisements for Barclaycard. The character of Bough (pronounced 'Boff') was retained from the advertisements though another actor, Henry Naylor, played the part in the ads. Some of the gags from the advertisements made it into the film, including English incorrectly identifying a waiter, and inadvertently shooting himself with a tranquilizer ballpoint pen.
- Some scenes were filmed at Canary Wharf in London—indeed, the film duplicates the single real tower into two identical ones (albeit on the real site) for the fictional London Hospital and Sauvage's headquarters at 1 Canada Square.
- The scenes set in Westminster Abbey were filmed in St. Albans Abbey: though this connection is solely implied through the dialogue—for this footage is never intercut with footage of the real abbey's exterior. The interior (with the televisual screen hiding the St Albans organ) is clearly St Albans. The choir singing in the coronation scene is St Albans Cathedral Choir.
- Both the exteriors and interiors in the opening credits sequence scene are in Mentmore Towers.
- 'Sandringham' is Hughenden Manor.
- The exterior and interior of MI7's headquarters which English enters at the start is Freemasons' Hall, London, which is also used as Thames House (the MI5 headquarters) in Spooks.
- The scenes where Johnny English drives into Dover, Kent along the A20 road (with Dover Castle in the background) and then enters the Port of Dover (with a "Dover Ferry Terminal" sign, Dover's Athol Terrace and the White Cliffs of Dover in the background) to catch a ferry to France, were all shot on location.
- The exterior of Sauvage's French château is actually the castle atop St Michael's Mount in Cornwall.
- A scene was filmed in Hong Kong.
- The scenes in Brompton Cemetery were filmed there.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 33% based on 121 reviews with an average rating of 4.8/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "A tame spy spoof that elicits infrequent chuckles." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 51 out of 100 based on 32 critics, indicating "mixed or average" reviews.
All tracks were written by Edward Shearmur and performed by London Metropolitan Orchestra unless otherwise noted.
- "A Man for All Seasons" (Hans Zimmer, Robbie Williams) – Robbie Williams
- "Theme from Johnny English" (Howard Goodall)
- "Russian Affairs"
- "A Man of Sophistication"
- "Kismet" (Written by Gay-Yee Westerhoff) – Bond
- "Truck Chase"
- "The Only Ones" – Moloko
- "Parachute Drop"
- "Pascal's Evil Plan"
- "Theme from Johnny English (Salsa Version)" (Howard Goodall) – Bond
- "Off the Case"
- "Cafe Conversation"
- "Into Pascal's Lair"
- "Zadok the Priest" – Handel
- "Does Your Mother Know" – ABBA
- "For England"
- "Riviera Highway"
- "Agent No. 1"
Johnny English was released on VHS on 11 August 2003 and on DVD on 13 January 2004, The film was released on Blu-ray on 28 February 2012, along with its sequel Johnny English Reborn. The film was released on Netflix in February 2016.
A sequel, titled Johnny English Reborn, was released in October 2011. In September 2010, filming for the sequel began, seven years after the release of the original, and concluded in March 2011. The film follows Johnny English, now training in Asia after being disgraced in an earlier mission, as he attempts to foil a plot to assassinate the Chinese Premier, while a traitor is found in "MI7" and English has to deal with being framed.
In May 2017, it was announced that pre production had begun on a third film titled, Johnny English Strikes Again, which was released on 5 October 2018.
- Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, a comedy film of 1997 similarly lampooning the spy genre
- "Johnny English (2003)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 13 January 2009.
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- "Johnny English - Production Notes". contactmusic.com. Retrieved 9 February 2016.
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- "Johnny English filming locations". UK Onscreen. Retrieved 7 February 2010.
- "Hughenden Manor". National Trust. Archived from the original on 12 December 2007. Retrieved 8 December 2007.
- Kent Film Office. "Kent Film Office Johnny English Film Focus".
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- "Johnny English Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More at Metacritic". Metacritic. Retrieved 20 November 2011.
- Johnny English (2003), retrieved 15 November 2018
- "DVDs Release Dates - Latest Info on New DVD Releases". DVDs Release Dates. Retrieved 15 November 2018.
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