The Comic Strip Presents… The Strike

I knew very little about The Strike before I fired up my DVD player, outside of it obviously being a Comic Strip Presents parody, and had something to do with the 1984 miner’s strike in the UK.

If anything, I thought it might be a little dull, but I was in for a pleasant surprise. Basically, the film is about a former miner called Paul (Alexei Sayle), who has written a screenplay about the 1984 Miners’ Strike and is shopping it around production companies to see if it can become a feature film.

One company which takes an interest in the film wants to do something different with the character of Arthur Scargill (a trade unionist who was President of the National Union of Mineworkers at the time of the strike), which is the premise from where the rest of the film basically springs from.

That premise being that Scargill will be played by Al Pacino, and there will be a ton of action and romance in the movie, including Scargill rescuing his wife (played by Meryl Streep), from a collapsing mine. Paul points out that the mine wouldn’t be working, as the film is about a strike. If that kind of overblown Hollywood thinking, creating absolutely ludicrous scenes which culminate in Pacino, as Scargill, racing along on a motorbike to stop a nuclear reactor from blowing up (remember this all started as a movie about the strike), is something you enjoy seeing parodied, you’ll enjoy the film.

Even without a deep knowledge of the miner’s strike or Scargill, I found this to be quite entertaining. I don’t think you need to know a thing about Scargill, for example, to know that the situations he finds himself in – or rather that ‘Pacino’ is playing him in – are purely hilarious and would be nothing like the reality of the actual strike. I later learned that The Strike even had a limited theatrical run in the UK at the time. It’s still regarded as one of the better Comic Strip Presents films over 30 years later.


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