Don't Let the Bastards Grind You Down : How One Generation of British Actors Changed the World, Hardback

Don't Let the Bastards Grind You Down : How One Generation of British Actors Changed the World Hardback

2.5 out of 5 (1 rating)


Alan Bates, Michael Caine, Sean Connery, Tom Courtenay, Albert Finney, Richard Harris, Peter O'Toole, Robert Shaw and Terence Stamp: They are the most formidable acting generation ever to tread the boards or stare into a camera, whose anti-establishment attitude changed the cultural landscape of Britain.

This was a new breed, many culled from the working class industrial towns of Britain, and nothing like them has been seen before or since.

Their raw earthy brilliance brought realism to a whole range of groundbreaking theatre from John Osborne's Look Back in Anger to Joan Littlewood and Harold Pinter and the creation of the National Theatre. And they ripped apart the staid, middle class British film industry with kitchen sink classics like Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, This Sporting Life, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner, A Kind of Loving and Billy Liar before turning their sights on international stardom: Connery with James Bond, O'Toole as Lawrence of Arabia, Finney with Tom Jones and Caine in Zulu. Don't Let the Bastards Grind You Down brings alive the trail-blazing period of theatre and film from 1956-1964 through the vibrant energy and exploits of this revolutionary generation of stars who bulldozed over austerity Britain and paved the way for the swinging 60s.

What Peter Biskind's 'Easy Riders Raging Bulls' did for American cinema writing so 'Don't Let the Bastards' will do for the British cinema.


  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 448 pages, Illustrations, ports.
  • Publisher: Cornerstone
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Individual actors & directors
  • ISBN: 9781848092976



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It all started so well, but then I sort of realised, I had no wish or inclination to know about 1950's theatre. Why read this book? Well, if you're interested in the embryonic stages of some of this generation of English Actors careers & are interested in stage & theatre, then this will be the well researched authoritative text for you. I was interested in this as I was interested in Caine, Connery, O'Toole & Stamp and to be honest the sections on Bates, Finney & Courtney I could have skipped. There's a lot about theatre, kitchen sink social realism & the so called "1950's New Wave" acting & what it meant in terms of theatre, and the just starting medium of TV. Film only really comes into this book about 3/4 of the way through. I found at times, unlike "Hellraisers", by the same author, that it really dragged & almost found myself flicking through chapters to get to something interesting. It is very well researched, and deserves plaudits for that. A specialist's interest only.

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