Rise of the Footsoldier

Rise of the Footsoldier is a British crime and gangster film franchise written and directed by Julian Gilbey, Will Gilbey, Ricci Harnett, Zackary Adler, Andrew Loveday and Nick Nevern, distributed by Optimum Releasing. The franchise and its first two films are based on true events featured in the autobiography of Inter City Firm hooligan turned gangster Carlton Leach (Ricci Harnett) before later films focus on the lives of drug dealers Pat Tate (Craig Fairbrass) and Tony Tucker (Terry Stone) who were gunned down in the Rettendon murders in 1995.

Rise of the Footsoldier
Rise of the footsoldier.jpg
Original Movie Poster (2007)
Created by
Original workRise of the Footsoldier (2007)
OwnerOptimum Releasing
Films and television
  • Rise of the Footsoldier (2007)
  • Rise of the Footsoldier Part II: Reign of the General (2015)
  • Rise of the Footsoldier: The Pat Tate Story (2017)
  • Rise of the Footsoldier: Marbella (2019)
  • Rise of the Footsoldier Origins (2021)

The first film Rise of the Footsoldier released on 7 September 2007 and grossed £220,868, it was the third production from BAFTA Award-nominated director Julian Gilbey, it is based on the autobiography of Leach who had risen from a football hooligan to becoming a bouncer, hired muscle and later part of the Essex firm of the 1990s and his involvement with Pat Tate and Tony Tucker.[1][2][3] The sequel Rise of the Footsoldier Part II: Reign of the General released in 2015 followed Leach in the aftermath of the murders, whilst Rise of the Footsoldier: The Pat Tate Story (2017), Rise of the Footsoldier: Marbella (2019) and Rise of the Footsoldier Origins (2021) are prequels to the original and do not feature Carlton Leach.


Rise of the FootsoldierEdit

Rise of the Footsoldier follows the rise of Carlton Leach from a football hooligan to becoming a member of a notorious gang of criminals who rampaged their way through Essex in the late eighties and early nineties. It is three decades of his life following him from football hooliganism, to bouncer, his involvement in the criminal aspects of the early 'rave' scene and subsequently becoming a violent criminal.

Rise of the Footsoldier Part II: Reign of the GeneralEdit

Full-time crook Carlton Leach (Ricci Hartnett) finds himself in a world of paranoia as he tries to shake off the effects of the Rettendon murders, the real-life clash that left three drug dealers dead

Rise of the Footsoldier: The Pat Tate StoryEdit

Notorious gangster, Pat Tate, rises through the ranks of Essex's criminal underworld, and battles rival drug dealers, vicious prison inmates and gets double-crossed by drug lord Frank Harris.

Rise of the Footsoldier: MarbellaEdit

Fresh out of prison, Pat Tate (Craig Fairbrass) steps right back into his Essex nightclub business. But although the money is good, he can't stop brooding about the man who had him put away. It's not long before he's off to Marbella to find Frank Harris and seek his revenge. But Harris is long dead and the middle man Terry Fisher offers Pat the biggest drug deal of his life. All Pat needs is for his pals Tony and Craig to deliver the cash from Essex to close the deal. But Craig being Craig, turns a simple plane trip to a massive road trip with a stolen VW van and its hippie German owner in tow. All Tony wants is to make it back in time to support his best friend Nigel Benn at the boxing match of his life. But when their cash gets stolen and Pat is threatened by a local firm, Pat comes up with an even more audacious plan and to get them back to England in time for Tony to walk Nigel Benn out to one of history's greatest fights.

Rise of the Footsoldier: OriginsEdit

Soldier Tony Tucker returns from the Falklands war, a bitter and angry man. He soon makes a name for himself in the Essex underworld with his security business and drug dealing, and after entering a partnership with gangster Bernard O'Mahoney, his life spirals out of control in a cycle of drugs and violence. Things get even worse when he meets notorious hard man Pat Tate and local drug dealer Craig Rolfe, culminating in the Rettendon Range Rover murders of 1995.[4]


TimeOut Film Guide (2011 edition) reviewer David Jenkinson describes Rise of the Footsoldier as "a repugnant gangland romp in which ruffians get tooled up with axe handles, baseball bats and Stanley knives then knock ten bells out of each other for two hours." After a one-sentence overview, the review concludes that "Leach is then unceremoniously swept aside as the film hastily attempts to give the Rettendon murders a once-over in the scrappy second half."

In America, Videohound's Golden Movie Retriever also disliked it, throwing the film one bone (out of possible four) and dismissing it as "Brit crime flick, based on a true story, that has nothing going for it but violence". Indicating that "Carlton Leach goes from football hooligan in the 1980s to criminal muscle and gangster in the 1990s", the write-up ends with mention of "three murdered drug dealers who were found in rural Essex".


A sequel, Rise of the Footsoldier Part II: Reign of the General, was released in December 2015.[5] A prequel titled Rise of the Footsoldier: The Pat Tate Story was released in 2017. The fourth part is 2019's Rise of the Footsoldier: Marbella. A fifth installment, Rise of the Footsoldier: Origins, was released in 2021.[6]

Year Title Release Platform Gross Sales
2007 Rise of the Footsoldier Cinema Release
2015 Rise of the Footsoldier Part II: Reign of the General Direct-to-DVD
2017 Rise of the Footsoldier: The Pat Tate Story SKY Premium VOD
2019 Rise Of The Footsoldier: Marbella SKY Premium VOD
2021 Rise of the Footsoldier: Origins Cinema Release


  1. ^ Leach, Carlton (2003). Muscle. ISBN 978-1-904034-48-3.
  2. ^ Chambers, Catherine (2 September 2007). "Rise of the Footsoldier". BBC Online. Retrieved 18 September 2014.
  3. ^ Gritten, David (7 September 2007). "Rise of the Footsoldier". Telegraph Online. Retrieved 18 September 2014.
  4. ^ "Rise Of The Footsoldier Origins: The story behind cult Essex films spawned by notorious triple gangland murder". Sky News. Retrieved 19 April 2022.
  5. ^ Rise of the Footsoldier: Part 2 IMDb Page, Retrieved 16 March 2016.
  6. ^ Heritage, Stuart (1 November 2019). "Giving Footsoldiers a bad name: why film title changes are the biggest crime of all". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 1 November 2019.

External linksEdit