Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Michael Winner|
|Produced by||Michael Winner|
John Blezard (assistant producer)
Timothy Pitt Miller (assistant producer)
Ron Purdie (associate producer)
|Written by||Michael Winner (story, screenplay)|
Nick Mead (screenplay)
|Music by||Les Reed|
|Edited by||Michael Winner|
Michael Winner Ltd.
|Distributed by||United International Pictures|
Parting Shots is a 1999 British dark comedy film starring Chris Rea, Felicity Kendal, Oliver Reed, Bob Hoskins, Diana Rigg, Ben Kingsley, John Cleese and Joanna Lumley. It was the final film directed by Michael Winner.
After learning he is dying of cancer, failed wedding photographer Harry Sterndale (Chris Rea) illegally buys a gun and goes off to get revenge by killing all those who have made his life miserable.
- Chris Rea as Harry Sterndale
- Felicity Kendal as Jill Saunders
- Oliver Reed as Jamie Campbell-Stewart
- Bob Hoskins as Gerd Layton
- Diana Rigg as Lisa Sterndale
- Ben Kingsley as Renzo Locatelli
- John Cleese as Maurice Walpole
- Joanna Lumley as Freda Armstrong
- Gareth Hunt as Inspector Charles Bass
- Nicholas Gecks as Detective Constable Ray
- Patrick Ryecart as Graham Cleverley
- Peter Davison as John Fraser
- Nicky Henson as Askew
- Caroline Langrishe as Vanessa
- Edward Hardwicke as Dr. Phil Joseph
- Nicola Bryant as Beverley
- Brian Poyser as President Zlomov
- Sheila Steafel as President's Wife
- Timothy Carlton as Commissioner Grosvenor
- Roland Curram as Lord Selwyn
- Jenny Logan as Lady Selwyn
- Sarah Parish as Ad Agency Receptionist
- Mildred Shay as Old Lady at Wedding
- Andrew Neil as TV Newsreader
- Taryn Kay as Ruth Layton
Winner came up with the basic storyline after a relationship of his had ended. Speaking to Tim Sebastian of the BBC in June 1999, Winner revealed: "We all have people we'd like to kill. Sometimes we want to kill them for a long time and sometimes it just lasts the few seconds that they're cutting you up, or being a nuisance. A girlfriend parted very nastily, and I thought 'I really wouldn't mind killing you' and five or six years later I thought, 'I still wouldn't mind.'"
The majority of the cast was chosen personally by Winner, and included friends, those he had worked with professionally before, or other actors/actresses he wished to work with. Early discussions for the lead role suggested Neil Morrissey or Martin Clunes; however, when Winner met Chris Rea on a beach at Sandy Lane, Barbados, he was chosen instead.
After filming had come to an end, Winner had told his personal assistant, Dinah May, that Parting Shots was likely to be his last film. Regardless, he had said working with Rea was "a real pleasure" and that he had enjoyed making the film more than any of his past ones.
According to Peter Davison, John Alderton was offered the role of John Fraser. Alderton turned it down because of the violence, and the part went to Davison instead.
Parting Shots was not well received by critics, with Rotten Tomatoes giving the film an 11% of freshness while Total Film describes Winner's work as "offensive", "incompetent" and "bad in every possible way". Andrew Collins gave a strongly negative review of the film: "Parting Shots... is going to set the course of British film-making back 20 years. It is not only the worst British film produced in this country since Carry On Emmannuelle (quite a feat in itself), it is a thoroughbred contender for the crown of Worst Film Ever Made". In a hostile overview of Winner's films, Christopher Tookey claimed "Parting Shots is not only the most horrible torture for audiences that Winner has ever devised. It is also profoundly offensive, even by Winner's standards". Interviewed about Parting Shots, Charlotte O'Sullivan, The Independent's film editor, claimed Parting Shots was "the worst film I've ever seen". O'Sullivan also took issue with the film for glorifying vigilantism: "It's Michael Winner and you know, he doesn't have any sense of irony. He seems to be saying it is okay to go and kill people". The journalist Miles Kington later claimed "Parting Shots...was directed by Michael Winner and despite the glittering cast, was possibly the worst film ever made". In its entry on Michael Winner, the book Contemporary British and Irish Film Directors claimed Parting Shots "makes a bold challenge for the hotly contested mantle of worst British film ever made." British film historian I.Q. Hunter, discussing the question "What is the worst British film ever made?", listed Parting Shots as one of the candidates for that title.
- "BBC News - Entertainment - Michael Winner talks back". news.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 1 August 2017.
- May, Dinah (27 October 2014). Surviving Michael Winner: A Thirty-Year Odyssey. Biteback Publishing. ISBN 9781849548243. Retrieved 1 August 2017 – via Google Books.
- "Parting Shots review". TotalFilm.com. 14 May 1999. Retrieved 6 August 2010.
- Andrew Collins, "How to Shoot a Real Turkey". The Observer, 28 March 1999. Observer Screen, p.6.
- "Winner's Turkey has a bad aftertaste." The Sunday Herald, 2 May 1999 (p.7)
- Miles Kington, "One or two plots to occupy my declining years". The Independent, 3 May 2005, (p.30).
- Contemporary British and Irish Film Directors: A Wallflower Critical Guide, edited by Yoram Allon, Del Cullen, and Hannah Patterson. Wallflower Press, 2001, ISBN 1903364213 (p.353).
- I.Q. Hunter, "From Window Cleaner to Potato Man" in British Comedy Cinema, edited by I.Q. Hunter and Laraine Porter. Routledge, 2012. ISBN 0415666678. (p.154)