Doing Time (1979)

Doing Time (1979)
  • 2749
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release year: 1979 ()
  • Running time: 93 min
  • Original Title: Porridge
  • Voted: 2749

This prison comedy is based on the popular British television series of the same name. Long time Slade prison inmate Fletcher is ordered by Grouty to arrange a football match between the prisoners and an all-star celebrity team. Fletcher is unaware that the match is only a diversion so that an escape can take place. When Fletcher and his cell mate Lennie stumble on the escape, they are taken along, and find themselves having to break back into prison to avoid getting into trouble.

1Ronnie BarkerFletcher
2Richard BeckinsaleLennie
3Fulton MackayMackay
4Brian WildeBarrowclough
  • Tremendously enjoyable by 8

    Porridge concerns the lives of a group of prison inmates. The brilliant Ronnie Barker plays Fletch, cheeky, good-natured, optimistic, quick-witted and able to handle all the little foibles of the other prisoners and guards to his advantage. Think of an Ivan Denisovich without the Siberian background. The trouble begins when Mr Grout, an aristocratic crime boss at the top of the prison hierarchy, 'requests' Fletch to suggest to the guards a celebrity football match, where a team of famous faces will play a team of prisoners.

    Never having seen the Porridge TV-series, I can't comment on any differences or similarities. However, it is hard to top the quality of this little comedy. The script is an excellent mix of character, witty word-play, amusing plot and some physical comedy, done in a way that only the British seem to do so competently. The situations in the prison are believable, and even the minor parts are well-rounded characters. Almost every other line contains some memorable gag. Some examples "Beware of him. He's known as the butcher of Slade Prison." "What did he do?" "Fiddled the VAT on some sausages." And then there's: "What's a peccadillo?" "South African bird that flies backwards to keep the sand out of its eyes." "No, that's not it. But I know what you're thinking of. That's called an armour-dildo." Oh, and how about that scene of the governor losing his self-respect and teeth in a huge pot of curry?

    A brilliantly written and well-acted comedy. Highly recommended.

  • Genius TV show translates well for fun packed movie. by 8

    Porridge is a spin off film from the successful TV series of the same name that aired on British BBC1 between 1974 and 1977. It's directed by Dick Clement who also co-writes with Ian La Frenais. It stars Ronnie Barker, Richard Beckinsale, Fulton Mackay, Brian Wilde and Peter Vaughn.

    Lets face it, and lets be honest here, for many Brits who grew up with the TV show, Porridge is simply one of the greatest shows Britain has ever produced. Sharp and on the money in writing and characterisations, and boasting a cast that were always irresistible, it still manages to enthral millions today during continuous reruns on cable and satellite TV. In light of the regard and popularity the show had, it was perhaps inevitable that a film production was just a matter of time, because, well, all the great British comedies of the past had feature films made. But of course not all were particularly any good.

    So it's with much relief to find that the film version of Porridge is a very decent offering. The plot sees Fletcher (Barker) involved as the manager of the prison football team, to which, unbeknown to the wily old lag, is being used as a front for an escape attempt by Oakes (Barrie Rutter), and naturally the smarmy menace of Grouty (Vaughn) is pulling the strings. Fletcher & Godber (Beckinsale) then accidentally get caught up in the escape and thus have to break back into the prison before anyone catches them! This set-up is wonderful and makes for some very funny comedy, executed with aplomb by Barker, Mackay and co. True that taking the characters out of the confines of the prison strips away much of what made the TV series so special, but the characters are so strong, the actors chemistry so evident, film stands tall enough to not sully the reputation of the show.

    It's a delightful way to spend an hour and half with your feet up, as a stand alone film it entertains those not familiar with the TV show. While for us fans? It sits nicely alongside the show as an extended viewing of comic genius behind and in front of the camera. 8/10

    R.I.P. fellas, your legacy lives on always.

  • shear class by 7

    sadly cant put an 11 rating of this film as it certainly deserves it. This is a spin off from the TV series and only the name and characters are the same. The plot, unlike other sitcoms-turned-movies like Steptoe, Dads Army and Are You Being Served, is completely new.

    Brief outline as here is no way I'm going to spoil it for anyone. Barker is the lovable rogue Fletch and he has been put in charge to arrange a football match in order for another con to escape. The jokes are fresh, the story is fresh and the characters are fantastic. This deserves Oscars for performance, script and direction.

    Catch this on DVD. Its well worth the money and the time to watch it.

  • Even funnier than the TV Series. by 8

    What is odd about this film is that i didnt know it existed.There are many spin off films made from British Comedy series's such as Steptoe and Son , On The Buses and Are You Being Served all of which are shown at christmas at far too shorter intervals and all are far inferior to the actual TV shows. Porridge is different. This has hardly ever been seen on TV and is very funny , even funnier than the TV series. Ronnie Barker has a fantastic knack of comedy timing. When he delivers the punch lines you cant help but smile or in the case of this film laugh out loud. The film is very true to the programme and has all the characters we have grown to love over the years.The story is nothing spectacular but it does not need to be because the interaction between wardens and lags is what makes the film. This is one of the best comedy series to film i have ever seen. 8 out of 10.

  • Worth doing time for! by 8

    Finally got this on disk the other month. And it was worth the wait. As an avid Porridge and Ronnie Barker fan, I thought the film done justice to a really funny series. Other movie spin offs have been mundane(On the Buses, for example), but this one was well written and well acted. Starring the original cast from the series (apart from Christopher Biggins), it continued Norman Stanley Fletcher's fight against the system. Even though it did contain a couple of jokes from the program, its a mere overlook to a really funny film. Even Fletcher with his little scams (McKays teeth bein gone example) have trasferred well to the big screen version. This is one film you wouldn't want to do time!

1Robert Hukecinematographer
2Dick Clementdirector
3Alan Joneseditor
4Allan McKeownproducer
5Ian La Frenaiswriter