In Celebration

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In Celebration
In Celebration FilmPoster.jpeg
Directed byLindsay Anderson
Written byDavid Storey
Based onIn Celebration by David Storey
Produced byEly A. Landau
StarringAlan Bates
Bill Owen
Brian Cox
James Bolam
Constance Chapman
CinematographyDick Bush
Edited byMichael Ellis
Music byChristopher Gunning
Distributed byAmerican Film Theatre
Release date
March 17, 1975 (US)
Running time
131 minutes
CountriesUnited Kingdom, United States

In Celebration is a 1975 film directed by Lindsay Anderson. It is based in the 1969 stage production of the same name by David Storey which was also directed by Anderson. The movie was produced and released as part of the American Film Theatre, which adapted theatrical works for a subscription-driven cinema series. It was meant to be shown theatrically with tickets sold in advance.[1]


The film takes place in the Derbyshire mining town of Langwith. The Shaws' three sons have returned home to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary. Mr. Shaw has been a coal miner for 49 years, and has only one year left until retirement. Mrs Shaw is the daughter of a pig breeder, meaning she came from a higher social class.

The parents urged their sons to abandon their father's trade in pursuit of professional careers, but the results have not been entirely positive. Andrew, the eldest, became a solicitor but has abandoned it to pursue painting. Colin, who was a Communist party member for a year, is now a prosperous but unfulfilled industrial relations manager for a car manufacturer, dealing with negotiations with the unions. The youngest brother, Steven, is a teacher, married with four children, and has abandoned a book he had been writing for several years.

The family go to an expensive restaurant, although the action is almost entirely in the couple's living room. A friendly neighbour is present for some of the scenes.

The film examines the tensions which develop over the course of one evening as the family reunite. The family recall unpleasant incidents, including a premarital pregnancy, physical abuse, child neglect, the death of the couple's first son, the mother's suicide attempt and the outing of another son.[2]


In Celebration received favourable reviews during its theatrical run. Vincent Canby, writing in The New York Times, praised Anderson for having "succeeded in making a very complete, full-bodied film of Mr. Storey's play without being tricky or intrusive…Mr. Anderson has also gotten terrific performances from everyone, especially Mr. Bates, Miss Chapman and Mr. Cox, as the most troubled of the Shaw sons."[3] New York Magazine echoed the sentiment, noting "Anderson and a superb cast have made a harrowing and satisfying suspense drama."[4]


In order of appearance:



  1. ^ "In Celebration". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  2. ^ TV Guide review
  3. ^ New York Times review
  4. ^ New York Magazine review[permanent dead link]

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