Brannigan (1975)

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    Photo with the courtesy of lasbugas


    Plot summary
    Jim Brannigan is sent to London to bring back an American mobster
    who is being held for extradition but when he arrives he has been kidnapped
    which was set up by his lawyer.
    Brannigan in his American Irish way brings American law to the people
    of Scotland Yard in order to recapture this mobster with both
    A price tag on his head and a stuffy old London cop to contend with.

    Full Cast
    John Wayne ... Lt. Brannigan
    Richard Attenborough ... Cmdr. Swann
    Judy Geeson ... Jennifer
    Mel Ferrer ... Fields
    John Vernon ... Larkin
    Daniel Pilon ... Gorman
    John Stride ... Insp. Traven
    James Booth ... Charlie 'The Handle' Kane
    Arthur Batanides ... Angell
    Ralph Meeker ... Capt. Moretti
    Barry Dennen ... Julian
    Lesley-Anne Down ... Luana (as Lesley Anne Down)
    Pauline Delaney ... Mrs Cooper (as Pauline Delany)
    Del Henney ... Drexel
    Brian Glover ... Jimmy-the-Bet
    Janette Legge
    Stewart Bevan ... Alex
    Anthony Booth ... Freddy
    Tony Robinson ... Motorcycle Courier
    Don Henderson ... Geef
    Kathryn Leigh Scott ... Miss Allen
    Enid Jaynes
    Tim Barlow ... Customs Inspector (uncredited)
    Mike Crane ... Boyle (uncredited)
    Harry Fielder ... Passerby Near Tower Bridge (uncredited)
    Alf Joint ... Man in Bar (uncredited)
    Steve Kelly ... Gates (uncredited)
    Raymond Mason ... Club Clerk (uncredited)
    Michael Munn ... (uncredited)
    Charles Pemberton ... Arthur (uncredited)
    Peter Porteous ... Masseur (uncredited)
    Nosher Powell ... Man in Bar (uncredited)

    Writing Credits
    Michael Butler screenplay
    Michael Butler story
    William P. McGivern
    William W. Norton
    Christopher Trumbo screenplay
    Christopher Trumbo story

    Arthur Gardner .... producer
    Jules V. Levy .... producer
    Michael Wayne .... executive producer

    Original Music
    Dominic Frontiere

    Gerry Fisher

    Peter Brayham .... stunt coordinator
    Jack Cooper .... stunt driver (uncredited)
    Steve Emerson .... stunts (uncredited)
    Alf Joint .... stunts (uncredited)
    Nosher Powell .... stunts (uncredited)
    Doug Robinson .... stunts (uncredited)

    Brannigan's revolver, as pointed out by Cmdr. Swann, is a Colt Diamondback .38 Special with a four-inch barrel. He carries the same handgun in McQ (1974).

    Del Henney is dubbed.

    The motorcycle dispatch courier, thrown into the Thames by John Wayne, is played by Tony Robinson who would later find fame as Baldrick in the TV series "The Black Adder" (1983).

    Detective Lieutenant James Brannigan, played by 67-year-old John Wayne, was supposed to be in his late fifties.

    The production was difficult for John Wayne since he had heart problems and had just recovered from a severe bout of pneumonia.

    The film proved to be one of John Wayne's least successful movies at the box office. Wayne himself said he would not have made the film if he had known McQ (1974) was only going to be a moderate success.

    In 1975, United Artists theatrically distributed this film in the USA on a double bill with Moonrunners (1975).

    This film would be the second, and final, time that John Wayne would play a cop. The other time being in McQ (1974).

    * Audio/visual unsynchronized: Early in the movie, the informant picks tries to fire an empty Luger. He pulls the trigger twice, and each time there is a loud click. The Luger, as a single-action semi-automatic pistol, would not click when it's empty.

    * Continuity: When Brannigan in the Ford Capri lands after jumping the open span of the Tower Bridge, the order of the cars stopped in the other direction is: 1 white unknown car, 2 red Mini, 3 black Mercedes sedan, with a green Mini several vehicles further back. (This is at 1:21:45 (US DVD) or 1:18:23 (UK DVD) of the movie.) When the Ford Capri ends up on top of the dumpster/skip and Brannigan kicks the door open, the order of the vehicles has changed to: 1 white unknown car, 2 red Mini, 3 green Mini. (This is at 1:21:53 (US DVD) or 1:18:31 (UK DVD) of the movie.)

    * Continuity: During the film there is a sequence where a red Post Office van is being followed by the police through the streets in London, from the post-box in Picadilly Circus to a large post office. Although the van type appears to be similar in all three cases, the registration number of the van changes from scene to scene. Two vans (TJJ 855M and VLK 326M) have the newer (at that time) black characters on white or yellow background number plates, and one (EMM 497J) has old-style white characters on black background number plate from a totally different year!

    * Continuity: During the bar room brawl, a woman wearing a blue skirt and striped top is first seen on the first floor of the bar, then on the balcony overlooking the bar, and then finally on the first floor again.

    * Errors in geography: New Scotland Yard does not have a view of the Houses of Parliament or County Hall. The view is actually from the top floor of St Thomas's Hospital beside Westminster Bridge.

    * Audio/visual unsynchronized: Late in the film, one of the villains says "your big...fat...rear!" But his lips are clearly saying "arse".

    * Revealing mistakes: When one of Larkin's henchmen falls from a window, the dummy that takes his place for the impact shot lands head-first and crumples unrealistically.

    * Errors in geography: Brannigan's apartment wall is blown apart, revealing the Albert Memorial head-on at eye level. This view would only be possible if his flat were in the Royal Albert Hall.

    Several of the actors who played minor parts are listed by actor's name in the opening titles but are not listed by actor's name and character's name in the closing credits.

    Memorable Quotes

    Filming Locations
    Battersea, London, England, UK
    Beckton Gasworks, Beckton, London, England, UK
    Beckton, London, England, UK
    Broadgate, London, England, UK
    Chicago, Illinois, USA
    Covent Garden, London, England, UK
    Dorchester Hotel, Park Lane, Mayfair, London, England, UK
    Garrick Club, Covent Garden, London, England, UK
    Hyde Park, London, England, UK
    Lambeth, London, England, UK
    London Heathrow Airport, London Borough of Hillingdon, London, England, UK
    London, England, UK
    Maida Vale, London, England, UK
    (Jennifer's house)
    Mayfair, London, England, UK
    Paddington, London, England, UK
    Pall Mall, St. James's, London, England, UK
    Piccadilly Circus, Piccadilly, London, England, UK
    Piccadilly, London, England, UK
    RAC Club, Pall Mall, St. James's, London, England, UK
    Shepperton Studios, Shepperton, Surrey, England, UK
    Soho, London, England, UK
    St. James's, London, England, UK
    St. Pancras Station, St. Pancras, London, England, UK
    St. Pancras, London, England, UK
    St. Thomas' Hospital, Lambeth, London, England, UK
    (Sir Charles' offices)
    The Lamb Tavern, Leadenhall Market, Lime Street, Broadgate, London, England, UK
    (pub bar brawl)
    Tower Bridge, London, England, UK
    (car jumps over bridge)
    West India Quay, Canary Wharf, Isle of Dogs, London, England, UK

    Watch the Trailer



    Previous discussion:-

    Best Wishes
    London- England

    Edited 15 times, last by ethanedwards ().

  • Brannigan is a 1975 British thriller film set principally in London,
    directed by Douglas Hickox, and starring John Wayne and Richard Attenborough.
    It tells the story of a Chicago detective sent to Britain to organise
    the extradition of an American mobster (John Vernon).

    After turning down the role of Dirty Harry,and seeing the subsequent success of the film
    Wayne made two police thrillers in quick succession.
    After McQ he made this "cop out of water" film in the same vein as
    Clint Eastwood's Coogan's Bluff.


    This film I consider, just McQ Part II.only Seattle, becomes London!
    and like it!
    However it didn't fare well, with audiences and critics!
    They branded it, the same old western plot, brought up to date.

    Variety reported,


    BRANNIGAN is an okay, John Wayne actioner

    However, I enjoy watching the film, and I thought it was alright!

    User Review

    Best Wishes
    London- England

    Edited 6 times, last by ethanedwards ().

  • Brannigan is definitely not one of our favorites, but it is interesting to see Duke in this genre of film.

    Like you, we compare it with McQ, in that they are very similar. I hate to admit it, but Clint Eastwood is better at this type of film. Of course, he was much younger than John Wayne at that time.

    One thing we do know - they must have had a great cast party when the filming was over, because they all chowed on some of Chilibill's special chili, prepared especially for the Duke! :lol:

    Chester :newyear:

  • I finally got around to watching Brannigan a couple weeks ago, and I've got to say that it was better than I expected. The setting in England worked very well, and that was a surprise to me. I expected the clash between the Duke's style and the British actors to be a negative. That turned out not to be the case as JW just made himself at home in England and did his thing.

    The script was fairly well written, and the movie was well directed. I was really impressed. I'd have to rate Brannigan higher than McQ, although I thought the Duke made a great cop in both.

    It's a shame that the cop movie explosion didn't happen a decade earlier, because while JW made one hell of a cop he was a decade too old to really be completely believable. Still, it's nice to see that even in his 60's JW could hold his own against Clint Eastwood as a tough guy cop.

    Very few actors get to play the lead in as many good movies as John Wayne did in his 60's when they were in their 60's - Sean Connery comes to mind, but no one else does. Chisum, The Cowboys, Brannigan, The Shootist - all examples of good to great movies that JW starred in at that age.

  • I agree with you, I think Brannigan was a good movie. I also enjoyed McQ. He may have been a little old for the parts and they arn't amoung most people's favorites but he pulled it off. I havn't watched these two in a while. I'm gonna have to pull them out and refresh!
    As for his having leading rolls through his 60's, he just had that look. Not old, but mature. Not wrinkled, but aged. And he gave you that feeling that no matter how old he was, he could still beat the hell out of you! :D


    "I couldn't go to sleep at night if the director didn't call 'cut'. "

  • Both "McQ" and "Brannigan" get flack from some quarters, but I've always enjoyed them both. Duke may have been getting on in years when he made these, but his persona carried the stories, as always, and, if you're like me, you forget about his age very quickly into the movies.
    Cheers - Jay :D

    Cheers - Jay:beer:
    "Not hardly!!!"

  • You're both right - in reality JW was WAY too old to be playing a cop, but on screen it worked. It was sheer force of will and personality. He just came across like he could still kick your ass if you gave him too much guff.

    I'm glad he did both of these movies (Brannigan and McQ), because it showed just how good he COULD have been in that type of movie had that type of movie been made ten or fifteen years earlier. As it was he was still damn good in those two.

    It's funny, he made great movies in each decade of his career - and the 70's sure had their share!

  • I remember seeing this at school on 16mm around 1976 and being thrilled with it.

    I also was in London when it was being filmed but unfortunately my path never crossed with Duke.

    For these reasons I like this movie despite its weaknesses.

    Funny, I watched it in the home cinema at Christmas and was still entertained by it. Even my 8 year old was entranced with the chase over Tower Bridge. :agent:

  • I have said for quite some time that this is a very good movie, after The Shootist and cowboys it is Dukes best movie of the 1970's. The change of location is refreshing and its nice to see many recognised British actors involved in the proceedings.

    Some great scenes include:

    A slick and well directed car chase
    Nice pub brawl
    A excellent shooout at the end.
    Duke and Attenborough battling it out with each other.

    For me personally his age is not a factor and it disappoints me to here some do have a problem with it.

    I would give this movie a solid 7.5/10 its very well made and acted and it makes me wish that Duke had made one more cop movie after this.



  • Memorable Quotes

    [Brannigan approaches a motorcyclist who has just thrown a bag in the Thames]
    Brannigan : Can you swim?
    Motorcyclist : Yes.
    Brannigan : Go get it!
    [pushes motorcyclist into the river]

    Brannigan : [after kicking down door] Knock, knock!

    Det. Sgt. Jennifer Thatcher : [quoting her father] The problem with you Yanks is: 'you're oversexed, overpaid and over here'.
    Brannigan : I walked into that one, didn't I?

    Best Wishes
    London- England

  • This post is intended for the McQ topic, not this one of Brannigan.

    London is my favorite city around the globe, so seeing John Wayne in the capital of England is great. There was a VideoCD released of the classic Eglish news of 1974 that had a short but nice news item about John Wayne visiting London to film this movie. The bare bones DVD release of Brannigan was certainly not in line with this enjoyable movie. The music by Dominic Frontiere is very good as well.
    The British Tv series "Dempsey and Makepeace" is clearly influenced by Brannigan.

  • I only bought this dvd last week and watched it last night.I loved it!!John Wayne in London...BRILL!!!!!!!The car chase was so cool to watch.I've been to London so many times so it was interesting to see how the city has changed in the last 30 years.

  • Hi Sally

    I think Brannigan is brilliant too. I was in London around when Brannigan was being filmed although I never knew John Wayne was there let alone filming :cry2:

    Piccadilly Circus is just as I remember it. It a fun movie and a joy to watch.


  • Duke's Movie Locations-London

    LONDON- England

    brannigan_lamb.jpg ******* The Lamb Pub
    do215.jpg ******* The Dorchester
    towerbridge.jpg ******* Tower Bridge

    Information from
    The Worldwide Guide to Movie Locations

    A US cop comes to London to apprehend an escaped villain, in John Wayne's only English picture.

    The criminal mastermind is quite obviously the English Tourist Board, as every event takes place in front of a famous London landmark. The muffed postal drop filmed in the middle of Piccadilly Circus, where the villains manage to escape through convenient, if unlikely, sewers (isn't there a tube station down there somewhere?).

    Villain Ben Larkin (John Vernon) stays in luxury at the Dorchester Hotel, 53 Park Lane (previously seen in 60s classic Morgan ‚ A Suitable Case For Treatment).

    Jim Brannigan (Wayne) and Det Sgt Thatcher (Geeson) enjoy a meal at famed celeb eaterie Mario and Francoís Terrazza, which is now now Lupo, 50 Dean Street, Soho (tel 020.7434.3399).

    Brannigan has to borrow a tie when he lunches with top cop Commander Swann (Richard Attenborough) at theGarrick Club , 15 Garrick Street, the gentlemen's club which numbered Charles Dickens among its members.

    Another famed gentsí club: Larkin is kidnapped from the lavishRoyal Automobile Club (RAC), 89 Pall Mall. Just look at the famously extravagant swimming pool.

    Brannigan's temporary London home is 61-80 York Mansions, Prince of Wales Drive alongside Battersea Park, south London (though when the villains booby-trap his toilet with a bomb, the resulting hole in the wall mysteriously reveals a view of the Albert Memorial in Hyde Park). Whatever.

    He moves in with Jennifer Thatcher, at Douglas House, 6 Maida Avenue, Maida Vale, west London (next door to A Fish Called Wandaís ëKipling Mansionsí).[/IMG]"]

    The obligatory pub fight, where everyone ends up flailing at everyone else, was filmed in The Lambin the centre of the Victorian arcaded Leadenhall Market at the foot of the new Lloyds Building (tube: Bank),which also houses The Leaky Cauldron in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.

    The most famous scene is the car leap across a half-opened Tower Bridge. The Metropolitan Police HQ, Scotland Yard, seems to jump the Thames too,from its usual home in Victoria. The view from the windows is obviously south of the River Thames. These scenes were shot in St Thomasí Hospital.

    Best Wishes
    London- England

    Edited once, last by ethanedwards ().

  • Hi Keith,
    I'm going to London in February for a couple of days.If I got the time(got tickets to see some theatre,matinee and evening performances) i will definately try to go Duke sightseeing ;)
    Thanks for that info!

  • Hi All

    I watched Brannigan tonight.

    Another continuity goof for the record .

    The post van used to collect the ransom changes registration numbers from collecting the post at Piccaddilly to when it leaves for the post office.

    The plate also moves from below the window to just above the bumper.

    Also, spotted in the credits that Christopher Trumbo son of Dalton wrote the screenplay.

    Great show anyway, nice to see car chase over Tower Bridge