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Ken Loach

Looks and Smiles

Director Ken Loach Composer Marc Wilkinson Cast Graham Green, Carolyn Nicholson, Tony Pitts
Edition 1981
104' - 1981 - Drama - Dialogue: English

Thatcherism and the Irish troubles provide the backdrop for this study of Mick, a well-meaning youth in Sheffield, who has, unlike Dickens' Pip, no expectations. Mick lives with his parents, works on his motorbike, looks for work, and every two weeks gets his check from the dole. There are no jobs. His best mate Alan joins the army to fix tanks and is sent to Belfast to quell Catholics. At a disco, Mick meets Karen, who works at a shoe shop and lives with her recently-separated mom. Karen misses her dad. She offers Mick emotional stability and a route to adulthood; Alan pitches the army. Does Mick have a future?

Image gallery

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Ken Loach


Marc Wilkinson


Graham Green, Carolyn Nicholson, Tony Pitts


Barry Hines

Director of Photography

Chris Menges


Steve Singleton


Irving Teitelbaum

More info



Countries of production

United Kingdom

Screenplay based on

"Looks and Smiles" (Barry Hines)




Ken Loach
Poor Cow (1967), Kes (1969), Family Life (1971), Talk About Work (short, 1971), Black Jack (1979), The Gamekeeper (1980), Looks and Smiles (1981), Which Side Are You On? (1984), Singin the Blues in Red (1986), Hidden Agenda (1990), Riff-Raff (1991), Raining Stones (1993), Ladybird Ladybird (1994), Land and Freedom (1995), Carla's Song (1996), My Name Is Joe (1998), Another City (short, 1998), Bread and Roses (2000), The Navigators (2001), Sweet Sixteen (2002), A Fond Kiss... (2004), Tickets (2005), McLibel (2005), The Wind That Shakes the Barley (2006), It's a Free World... (2007), Looking for Eric (2009), Route Irish (2010), The Angels' Share (2012), The Spirit of '45 (2013), Jimmy's Hall (2014), I, Daniel Blake (2016), Sorry We Missed You (2019), The Old Oak (2023)