Lucky Break (2001 film)

Lucky Break is a 2001 British comedy film starring James Nesbitt and directed by Peter Cattaneo.[1]

Lucky Break
Lucky Break quad.jpg
UK quad poster
Directed byPeter Cattaneo
Produced byPeter Cattaneo
Barnaby Thompson
Written byRonan Bennett (screenplay)
Stephen Fry (lyrics)
StarringJames Nesbitt
Timothy Spall
Olivia Williams
Music byAnne Dudley
CinematographyAlwin H. Küchler
Edited byDavid Gamble
Distributed byFilmFour (UK)
Paramount Pictures
Miramax Films (USA)
Release date
24 August 2001
Running time
107 min.
CountryUnited Kingdom


James 'Jimmy' Hands (James Nesbitt) and Rudy 'Rud' Guscott (Lennie James) are two friends who used to play "Cops & Robbers" when they were young. Now adults, they plan to actually rob a Bank, but the robbery goes wrong and Hands flees the Bank leaving Guscott trapped behind the security shutters. Hands is caught and arrested not long later.

After being sentenced to do time in prison, Hands and Guscott make a daring escape plan as the prison is scheduled to put on a theatrical show of Nelson: The Musical. Hands and Guscott plan to use the show as cover their daring break-out attempt. During rehearsals, the inmates are unable to find a pianist for the show, until one inmate, Cliff Gumbell (Timothy Spall) volunteers and impresses them with his amazing piano skills. Hands is cast as Nelson (against his will) and Guscott is cast as Hardy, much to Guscott's dismay as his character kisses Nelson as he dies.

The escape plan proves difficult to proceed with, as one of the guards becomes very suspicious of Hands. Further complications arise when one of the more dangerous inmates threatens Hands to help him escape, as well as Hands warming to a prison employee named Annabel (Olivia Williams). During a prison visiting day, Gumbell is devastated to learn that his son is spending more time with his uncle, and that his wife is very disappointed being married to a criminal. Unable to live with the shame, Gumbell commits suicide in his cell.

The night of the show arrives and the escape plan is put into action. However, the dangerous inmate is tricked into going over the 30-foot prison wall and falls down the other side, where he is captured. Hands and Guscott are about to escape when Hands reveals his intentions to stay because of his feelings for Annabel. Guscott reluctantly lets Hands go and escapes with two other inmates, one of whom has a friend who arrives in a plane to help them escape.

Back in the prison, one of the guards resigns from his job over frustration of the inmates escaping and becomes a car park warden. Hands is later released from prison and starts a new life with Annabel.

Cast listEdit


Anne Dudley collaborated with Stephen Fry to write and produce songs for the send-up musical "Nelson".


The film currently holds a 48% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 44 reviews with the critics consensus: "Lucky Break fails to do anything new with The Full Monty formula.".[2] At Metacritic, it holds a 48% rating based on 22 reviews, indicating "Mixed or average reviews."[3]


  1. ^ "BBC - Films - review - Lucky Break". Retrieved 14 October 2017.
  2. ^ "Lucky Break". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 14 October 2017.
  3. ^ "Lucky Break". Metacritic. Retrieved 14 October 2017.

External linksEdit