Eat the Rich (1987)
Eat the Rich (film)
Eat the Rich is a 1987 British black comedy film directed by Peter Richardson. A co-production between Channel Four Films, Iron Fist Motion Pictures and Michael White Productions, it features cast members from the popular television series The Comic Strip Presents....
The film stars Lanah Pellay, Nosher Powell as the Home Secretary, and a number of cameos, including by: Miranda Richardson and Nigel Planer as vile DHSS clerks, Robbie Coltrane, Rik Mayall as a union boss, Paul McCartney, Shane MacGowan, Jennifer Saunders, Jimmy Fagg, Kathy Burke, Koo Stark, Dawn French, Bill Wyman, Jools Holland, Hugh Cornwell, Adrian Edmondson, Angela Bowie, and Lemmy.
Alex is a waiter in high-class London restaurant Bastards, subject to the upper-class customers' daily contempt. He is fired for being rude to the clientele. After witnessing a terrorist act on an embassy, he robs a benefits office and goes on the run with his new friend.
The Home Secretary is a menacing, beer-swilling, fornicating lout with his own way of dealing with trouble, usually with his fists. He is the darling of the voters, the press, and Fiona, a glamorous KGB agent. It was he who ended the terrorist situation earlier. His enemies include the sinister Commander Fortune, who plots a people's revolution with a difference, and General Karprov and Spider, who plot to derail the Home Secretary's campaign to become Prime Minister.
Alex returns to Bastards with a four-person team of anarchists and lays waste to the clientele and staff. He serves them up for consumption by other rich people in their new restaurant, Eat the Rich. When Commander Fortune and Spider realise what's on the menu they formulate a plot to get rid of the conservative Home Secretary for good.
- Shane MacGowan as Terrorist
- Lanah Pellay as Alex
- Nosher Powell as Nosher
- Kathy Burke as Kathy
- Robbie Coltrane as Jeremy
- Fiona Richmond as Fiona
- Sean Chapman as Mark
- Rik Mayall as Micky
- Peter Richardson as Henry
- Jimmy Fagg as Jimmy
- Jennifer Saunders as Lady Caroline
- Adrian Edmondson as Charles
- Hugh Cornwell
- Dawn French as Debbie Draws
- Katrin Cartlidge as Katrin
- Paul McCartney as Banquet Guest
- Koo Stark as Hazel
- Lemmy Kilmister as Spider
- Les Bubb as Waiter
- Nigel Planer as DHSS Manager
- Miranda Richardson as DHSS Blonde
- Jools Holland as Sun Reporter
- Rowland Rivron as Star Reporter
- JoAnne Good as Jaqueline
- Ron Tarr as Ron
- Bill Wyman as Toilet Victim
The film performed poorly at the box office, taking $200,723 across 4 screens in the USA. Channel 4 were disappointed with the returns on the film and shelved another Richardson project, Five Go To Hell.
Critics were mixed in their opinions on the film. Hal Hinson writing in The Washington Post gave it a lukewarm review, writing "The punk jaggedness they bring to their derivations is the only hint of originality, but this, too, seems a little staid. It feels like punk on the downward swing, after most of its rude energy has dissipated." However Vincent Canby in The New York Times was more favourable and drew comparisons to "an upscale John Waters satire" and "Jean-Luc Godard's pre-Maoist period."
In January 1988 the film was one of those attacked for its critique of Thatcherite society by Oxford University historian Norman Stone, which he condemned in The Sunday Times as being "worthless and insulting" and "riddled with left wing bias".
Eat The Rich featured at #49 in Time Out London's list of "Cinema's 50 greatest flops, follies and failures." The feature stated: " may not have had the budget to be considered a true flop, but the back-alley production values and total lack of comic invention on display in this Thatcher-baiting misstep meant that any hopes of a Pythonesque run at the movies were knocked way back on their heels."
The soundtrack album was released on the Filmtrax label, and featured six tracks by Motörhead, including the track Eat the Rich, written especially for the film. The track also appeared on the Motörhead album Rock 'n' Roll, and was released in the UK as a single in its own right. It also featured a solo track, "Bess", by Würzel (Motörhead's second guitarist at the time).
The album also featured several pieces of incidental music from the film, as well as the synthpop track Pistol In My Pocket by Alan Pillay (credited as Lannah).
The VHS release of the film had a reversible cover.