Set in the heart of the crumbling steel industry, six men decide to put on a show for all the ladies in Sheffield as a male striptease act in order to earn money. The thing that sets these guys apart from the rest – they promise to go ‘the full monty’. Starring Robert Carlyle, Mark Addy and Tom Wilkinson, this 1997 classic British film combines comedy with serious issues, such as class, unemployment and men’s mental health.
The film became a smash hit in the UK, becoming the highest grossing film in the UK at the time, until Titanic came along later in the year. Perhaps The Full Monty resonated with its British audience because of its gritty depiction of unemployment, yet with an optimistic and buoyant attitude. It is our marvellous cast of characters that succeed in bringing this film to life – a band of misfits that put on a show of a lifetime, despite their differing personalities. Gaz’s enthusiasm is particularly infectious, even managing to convince the others to go all the way, despite almost dropping out himself at the last moment. It is Gaz’s relationship with his son, however, that remains one of the best parts of the movie, and it is Nathan that pushes his dad to get on stage when all hope seems lost. The lengths Gaz is willing to go for his son is one of the most heart-warming elements of this comedic classic.
The Full Monty was nominated at the 1998 Oscars for several categories, including Best Picture and Best Director, but the only trophy it took home was for Best Score for a Comedy or Musical. Most of the iconic scenes within the film centre around music, especially the 1970s disco pop that we associate with a Chippendale dance act. At the inception of Gaz’s idea, he tries (and fails) to strip to Hot Chocolate’s ‘You Sexy Thing’, with loose change flying everywhere as he pulls off his jacket, proving to the audience how unskilled they all are at dancing.
In the unemployment line, Donna Summers’s ‘Hot Stuff’ plays whilst each man subconsciously performs the dance move that has been ingrained within their minds; Gaz looks on and chuckles, and we realise how far each man has come from the start of the movie. This scene became so recognisable that in the year after the film’s release, on a visit to Sheffield, Prince Charles recreated this subtle but hilarious dance routine. We also cannot forget the scene that the entire film has been leading up to, when the six men finally pull off ‘the full monty’ to Tom Jones’s ‘You Can Leave Your Hat On’. The guys take off all their clothes to hundreds of cheering women, something that completely juxtaposes their lives at the start of the film.
The Full Monty unites a fantastic soundtrack with a loveable cast of characters and a hilarious plot and succeeds in creating a classic comedy film that has been loved by many, all across the globe. The movie was not anticipated to be a huge success, and 20th Century Fox even considered releasing it straight to video, but just like Gaz and his friends, it defied all odds and ended up gathering a huge audience that loved every second of it! The Full Monty is currently the 36th highest grossing film in the UK and features in the British Film Institute’s Top 100 British Films of the 20th Century, proving that it has always amazed viewers, and will continue to do so.
Find out where to watch The Full Monty now on IMDB (cover image via IMDB)
Caitlin Hall is a freelance writer who is currently studying for an English Literature degree at the University of York. A film enthusiast whose favourite film is Zodiac (2007), primarily because she loves Jake Gyllenhaal. More of her reviews can be found at https://caitsfilms.wordpress.com and her twitter account is @caitonfilm.