A Bunch of Amateurs (2008) Poster

A Bunch of Amateurs (2008)

  • Rate: 5.7/10 total 489 votes 
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Date: 2009 (USA)
  • Runtime: UK:96 min
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A Bunch of Amateurs (2008)


A Bunch of Amateurs 2008tt1171226.jpg poster

  • IMDb page: A Bunch of Amateurs (2008)
  • Rate: 5.7/10 total 489 votes 
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Date: 2009 (USA)
  • Runtime: UK:96 min
  • Filming Location: Hambleden, Buckinghamshire, England, UK
  • Gross: £91,156(UK)(21 December 2008)
  • Director: Andy Cadiff
  • Stars: Burt Reynolds, Alexandra Weaver and Elesia Marie
  • Original Music By: Christian Henson   
  • Plot Keyword: Self Deprecation | English | Shakespeare

Writing Credits By:

  • Nick Newman (screenplay) &
  • John Ross (screenplay) &
  • Ian Hislop (screenplay) &
  • Jonathan Gershfield (screenplay)

Known Trivia

  • The cast of ‘King Lear’ seen at the curtain call in the film actually performed two productions for charity, parts of which were filmed and used in the final cut. A number of stage actors cast for the charity production can be seen in the background as extras during certain scenes of the in-film performance and when the final bow is taken.
  • Burt Reynolds reportedly had significant difficulty learning his lines (especially the Shakespeare) throughout shooting. A number of the scenes from ‘King Lear’ needed idiot boards in the wings, though despite this, Reynolds was less than accurate much of the time. Imelda Staunton on more than one occasion made her frustration with this quite vocally known, and some of the lines used in the film differ quite greatly from the original play-scripts.
  • Throughout his career Burt Reynolds has made a number of movies that examine movie-making and this film is one of them. The pictures include Fade-In (location filming & westerns); Silent Movie and Nickelodeon (silent films); Best Friends (scriptwriting & Hollywood); Hooper (stuntwork and Hollywood); The Player (Hollywood); Boogie Nights (adult films); The Last Producer (producers and Hollywood); The Hollywood Sign and A Bunch of Amateurs (actors and Hollywood).
  • This film was selected for the Royal Film Performance of 2008. The lavish gala premiere launch was attended by HRH Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip.
  • Burt Reynolds received top / first billing, Samantha Bond received second billing, Derek Jacobi received third billing, Imelda Staunton received fourth billing, Charles Durning received fifth billing. Some billing on movie posters and DVD covers outside of the credits list varies this.
  • The village of Stratford St. John in Suffolk where the amateur theatre production of ‘King Lear’ takes place is a fictional setting as no such place actually exists. Nor is there a place called Stratford in Suffolk. However, there is a real location in Suffolk named Stratford St. Mary.
  • Burt Reynolds had never done Shakespeare prior to making this movie.
  • Burt Reynolds has said that his favorite Shakespearian part is Iago in ‘Othello’.
  • As shown on the top of a letter, the address of Jefferson Steel’s Hollywood agent Charlie Rosenberg (Charles Durning) is given as 1453 Wanamaker Street, Los Angeles CA 90228 USA. This street name can be considered a reference to actor-director Sam Wanamaker who worked with Reynolds (who played Detective Lieutenant John Hawk) on episodes of TV’s Hawk as well as other TV work. Further, using Wanamaker’s name in this address also actually ties Reynolds together with Shakespeare, in that Wanamaker was the Founder of the International Globe Theatre Centre, the project that funded, researched, and built the reconstruction of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre that now operates on the Thames in Bankside, London, not far from where the actual remains of the Globe were found just after Wanamaker’s construction had broken ground. It was Wanamaker’s life’s passion to create a reconstruction of Shakespeare’s Globe that would be a fully operational theatre, as well (although, after raising the funding from many fellow actors, directors and producers, and then bringing together the historians and experts to design it, he passed away in 1993, four years before its grand opening).
  • First major theatrically released movie for Burt Reynolds which was filmed in the UK since Rough Cut, a gap of about twenty-eight years.

Plot: A sleazy Hollywood agent tricks one of his clients, a faded action star, into playing King Lear in an amateur charity production in England. |  »

Story: A sleazy Hollywood agent tricks one of his clients, a faded action star, into playing King Lear in an amateur charity production in England.

FullCast & Crew

Produced By:

  • Steve Christian known as executive producer
  • Cleone Clarke known as associate producer
  • Jon Diamond known as executive producer
  • Joanna Gueritz known as line producer
  • David Parfitt known as producer
  • Marc Samuelson known as executive producer
  • Karl Sydow known as co-producer

FullCast & Crew:

  • Burt Reynolds known as Jefferson Steel
  • Alexandra Weaver known as Girl on Motorbike
  • Elesia Marie known as 1st Cinema Girl (as Elesia Ennis)
  • Sarah Goldberg known as 2nd Cinema Girl
  • Glynis Brooks known as Woman In Street
  • Camilla Arfwedson known as Amanda Blacke
  • Michael Wildman known as Mr. Darcy
  • Guy Flanagan known as Box Office Guy
  • John Moraitis known as Man In Theatre
  • Pat Starr known as Woman In Theatre
  • Maisie Scott known as Young Amanda
  • Charles Durning known as Charlie Rosenberg
  • Pandora Colin known as Nadine
  • Lucy Akhurst known as Stewardess
  • Stephen Gressieux known as Italian Tourist (as Stefano Gressieux)
  • Terence Maynard known as London Journalist
  • Heidi Monsen known as 1st Airport Journalist
  • Dido Miles known as 2nd Airport Journalist
  • Samantha Bond known as Dorothy Nettle
  • Imelda Staunton known as Mary
  • Taz known as Monty
  • Lorraine Ashbourne known as Jane Jarvis
  • Gemma Lawrence known as Verity Nettle
  • Peter Gunn known as Frank Dobbins
  • Tony Jayawardena known as Kevin Patel
  • Alistair Petrie known as Rupert Twist
  • Derek Jacobi known as Nigel Dewberry
  • Kieran O'Quigley known as 1st Pub Journalist
  • Lawrence Sheldon known as 2nd Pub Journalist
  • John Lightbody known as Photographer
  • Peter Wight known as Mike Bell
  • Kelly Price known as Lauren
  • Surendra Kochar known as Kevin's Mum
  • Gabrielle Hamilton known as Marjorie
  • Charlotte Buttery known as Blonde Girl
  • Kirsty More known as School Girl
  • Tony Axup known as Mr. Matthews
  • Victoria Hamilton-Barritt known as Hollywood Studio Assistant
  • Rad Lazar known as Jan Kopye
  • Richard James known as Doctor
  • Sanjiv Hayre known as Cleric
  • Ty Davies known as Ty (uncredited)
  • Libby Hayter known as Patron (uncredited)
  • Silvia Lombardo known as Theatre employee (uncredited)
  • Leigh Stevenson known as Audience Member (uncredited)
  • Chris Wilson known as Villager (uncredited)



Supporting Department

Makeup Department:
  • Sharon Martin known as hair designer
  • Sharon Martin known as makeup designer
  • Jenna Smith known as hair trainee
  • Jenna Smith known as makeup trainee
  • Helen Speyer known as hair assistant
  • Helen Speyer known as makeup assistant
  • Sue Westwood known as hair assistant (as Su Westwood)
  • Sue Westwood known as makeup assistant (as Su Westwood)
  • Kelly Willis known as hair trainee
  • Kelly Willis known as makeup trainee

Art Department:

  • Gwyneth Binyon known as art department assistant
  • Jason Brown known as dressing props
  • Jonny George known as storyboard artist
  • Stuart Headley-Read known as stand-by props (as Stuart Read)
  • David Horrill known as property master (as David 'Springer' Horrill)
  • Warren Lever known as construction manager
  • Christopher Mansey known as carpenter
  • Kay Mitchell known as art department assistant
  • Sophia Stapleton known as stand-by art director
  • Graham Thomas known as construction manager: Isle of Man
  • Rajesh Westerberg known as scenic artist
  • Penny White known as dressing props
  • Peter Wood known as dressing props




Production Companies:

  • Isle of Man Film
  • CinemaNX
  • Limelight
  • Lipsync Productions
  • Trademark Films

Other Companies:

  • Audiolink Radio Communications  walkie talkies/mobiles
  • Fatts  post-production script services
  • Film Finances  completion guarantor
  • Fuji Photo Film  motion picture film supplied by
  • Gearbox Sound and Vision  additional ProTools systems supplied by
  • HireWorks  Avid equipment rental
  • Panalux  lighting by
  • Panavision UK  camera equipment provided by
  • The Casting Network  extras casting



Other Stuff

Special Effects:

  • Lip Sync Post (visual effects)

Visual Effects by:

  • Chris Bentley known as digital lab operator
  • Alberto Buron known as digital lab operator
  • Luke Butler known as digital compositor: lipsync
  • Lee Clappison known as digital colourist
  • James Clarke known as DI supervisor
  • Stefan Drury known as head of visual effects
  • Kim Gordon known as digital compositor
  • Yanni Goudetsidis known as systems engineer
  • Jonathan Harris known as digital compositor
  • Lorea Hoye known as visual effects producer
  • Aileen McIntosh known as digital lab operator: Lipsync Post
  • Kevin Phelan known as head of post-production: Lip Sync Post
  • Kate Porter known as digital compositor
  • Nadia Probst known as assistant digital colorist
  • Angela Rose known as digital compositor
  • Wendy Seddon known as digital compositor
  • Jon Stanley known as senior systems engineer
  • Lucy Tanner known as visual effects coordinator
  • Daniel Tomlinson known as senior digital lab operator
  • Samantha Tracey known as visual effects coordinator
  • Sheila Wickens known as visual effects supervisor
  • Blake Winder known as digital compositor: LipSync Post

Release Date:

  • UK 17 November 2008 (Royal Command Film Performance)
  • Ireland 19 December 2008
  • UK 19 December 2008
  • USA 2009
  • Germany 6 February 2009 (European Film Market)
  • UK 6 April 2009 (DVD premiere)
  • New Zealand 18 June 2009



Filmography links and data courtesy of The Internet Movie Database

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Posted on March 31, 2012 by Harry in Movies | Tags: , .


  1. tony emment from London England
    31 Mar 2012, 12:15 am

    After reading some of the other reviews I wonder what you expect from anice little English movie. Burt Reynolds was great, but Imelda Stauntonwas exceptional. She was hilarious in all her scenes and we laughed outloud. It's very British set in a very British setting.

    If you liked Calendar Girls you'll like this. It's not great art, justgreat entertainment with a really good British cast, and an ageing butnevertheless very entertaining Burt Reynolds. Burt Reynolds who I mustadmit I did not think could act was quite good throughout and deliveredhis Shakespeare well. If there was one criticism it would be the scenesin the US were not brilliantly shot

  2. lee nicholson (dolemite72) from middlesbrough, UK
    31 Mar 2012, 12:15 am

    First off, i'm a big fan of Burt Reynolds (and his movies) and i wasamazed to see (that after what seems like an eternity of DTV movies)he's finally back on the big screen (were he belongs) Reynolds plays ahas-been action movie star, who simply can't get any decent roles. Uponthreatening his shrewd agent (Charles Durning) that either he be founda good acting project, or be fired…Reynolds is given a dream chanceof playing 'King Lear' in England. Reynolds hops on a plane to the UK,expecting to be pampered and working with the likes of Dame JudiDench….only to find that, he's not in Stratford upon Avon….justplain Stratford (in Suffolk) with an amateur group of would-bethespians. What then follows is the usual 'fish out of water' gags, ofa 'Yank in the UK'….and slowly but surely, Reynolds forms a bond withthe group (who had once been skeptical about)

    As a fan of Reynolds, i could watch him in anything, but i will admit,that the movie could have been funnier (although i did howl withlaughter at a few of Burt's foul-mouthed retorts to the earnestthespians) There's no real huge 'laugh-out' moments in the movie, butit does leave you with a big smile afterwards. The rest of the cast aregood too (with a special nod to Derek Jacobi, sending himself up, justa little) Charles Durning (Burt's usual sidekick) has a small role ashis bankrupt agent/manager (He does look very frail throughout themovie though, but still occasionally has that 'twinkle' in his eye)

    All in all, A BUNCH OF AMETUERS won't win any awards for originality(but it did receive a 'royal premier' in the UK last month) but it IS awarm feel-good movie, that should hopefully put Reynolds in good favourwith projects more worthy of his talents….I hope?

  3. haythalk from United Kingdom
    31 Mar 2012, 12:15 am

    I'm a Burt Reynolds fan – there i have admitted it! Anyway, to see afilm of his get a theatrical release made this a must see film forme…and i wasn't disappointed. No need to go over the plot but all theperformances in the film are excellent and Burt is the best he has beenfor years..in fact since Boogie Nights in my opinion. Like the othercomments, there were no really laugh out loud moments but just a nicestream of funny,well acted and moving moments. The scene at the startwere Jefferson Steele was watching an old home movie of his daughterwas moving,well acted by Burt.

    He obviously was quite happy to send himself as the has-been star (soappropriate) but still with a lot to prove. Despite all the bad plasticsurgery he has had, he didn't look too bad in this film..and that initself made me pleased.

    So overall, this is charming,warm hearted film with some greatperformances. As for Burt, his best film in years, without any doubt.He is obviously still a great actor, with tremendous screen prescenceand is rightly hailed as Hollywood legend. I just hope we see more ofBurt in films of this quality.

  4. Neil Welch from United Kingdom
    31 Mar 2012, 12:15 am

    A Bunch Of Amateurs is an understated little gem. I do not suppose itwill gain a wide release, but it deserves wider circulation than itwill achieve.

    Burt Reynolds is Jefferson Steel, a fading star of big-budget butincreasingly awful action movies. When the offers dry up he presses hisagent (an ill-looking Charles Durning) to find him work. And when theoffer comes to play King Lear on stage at Stratford, Steel is on thefirst trans-Atlantic flight. However, due to imperfect communication,he is appalled to discover that the production in question is takingplace in a converted barn in the little village of Stratford (not-on-Avon) to save the local amateur theatre group from going under.Steel tries to escape but can't, and the initial culture clash betweenprivileged, pampered Hollywood superstar on the one hand, and low key,frugal, rural England on the other, slowly begins to have its effect.

    Reynolds is fine, if a little unemotional, but the fun in this filmcomes from the rest of the cast, particularly from Imelda Staunton whois note-perfect playing the besotted landlady of the B&B where Steelstays.

    The story is slight, but the situation is inherently funny and thescript ticks all the right boxes. There is an interesting plotdevelopment just past the halfway mark which runs in a slightlyunexpected direction before the movie finishes up on course at the end.Thankfully it avoids moving into the romance which is threatened fromtime to time, although this can be read into what happens after theclosing credits if you so wish.

    If I have one criticism – and it is a very mild one – it is that avillage drama society featuring Derek Jacobi and Samantha Bond ishardly A Bunch Of Amateurs!

  5. selffamily from New Zealand
    31 Mar 2012, 12:15 am

    I don't go to the movies very often – in fact I can't remember the lasttime – but this was on offer and I'm very glad that I took it up. Ihave always liked Burt Reynolds, particularly Evening Shade, and Iadore Charles Durning, so I squeaked a bit when the names came up atthe start. It's a gentle mickey-take of English village life, Englishcountry types and the ageing movie start grasping at straws to redeemhimself before it's too late. Beautifully shot – I don't care where -in British Countryside with cottages to die for, clear complexions andcharming pigs, it is funny, engaging (by the yardstick I judge any filmor programme – do I care if they all live or die; the answer in thiscase, is obviously "yes"). The characters are all wonderfully drawn andthe story bowls along at a comfortable pace, witty, pretty and a damngood night's entertainment. I enjoyed an ice cream at the interval, butI shall buy it on DVD.

  6. (brice@crawfordredfern.com) from United Kingdom
    31 Mar 2012, 12:15 am

    I saw this twice today on DVD and loved it. Of course, it's purefantasy and I wish it had really been shot in one of Suffolk'sStratfords, though the Isle of Man serves well enough. Burt Reynoldsdoes grumpy very well and, as ever, isn't afraid to send himself up -and nor is the great Derek Jacobi as his bitchy rival. I thought ImeldaStaunton's turn as his adoring, then disillusioned fan overdone, butSamantha Bond is a tour de force as his less enchanted director. Thebuild-up to the storm scene is ingenious and when he gets out of hisvehicle Reynolds shows that he can cut the mustard as Lear. Of course,the other members of the Stratford Theatre Company are improbably goodactors, but I shan't complain. The final twist is an extra treat. Whata shame only Her Majesty seems to have seen the film in the cinema

  7. goffee from Bournemouth
    31 Mar 2012, 12:15 am

    Last DVD on the comedy shelf, it was either this or "18-year oldvirgin" or many things that weren't quite American Pie with EugeneLevy. This won, by default, and was actually a pretty decent laugh.Burt was a little unintelligible but the British cast all hit the spotand the scenery played its part. A little bit Local Hero meetsShakespeare in Love, sit back on a slow evening and let the filmentertain you. It's all fairly predictable in pace but the writing isgood and delivery effective. What's more important is something likethis got made and provides an alternative to all those Eugene Levymovies! No offence, Mr. Levy

  8. Dalazen_Junior (dalazen@fortalnet.com.br) from Fortaleza, CE Brazil
    31 Mar 2012, 12:15 am

    Don't let anyone tell you what to enjoy and what not. I've read somereviews that weren't very kind to this film, and decided to have anopinion of my own and watch it. Fallen star Jeff Steel (Reynolds at hisbest) watches his career and personal relationship with his daughterfade away as the years go by and people forget very easily the oldicons. As fate would have it, he ends up in a small village in Britainto lead a bunch of amateurs as King Lear in an event that will raisemoney for charity. This doesn't seat well with Steel, but, this being aromantic comedy, you know that he will go through a great changing, notonly as an actor but also as an individual, coming out a better artistand man. A Bunch of Amateurs is a small, simple movie, but the kind ofpicture you can tell that it was done with the heart. What a cast Burthad in this one. Sir Derek Jacobi steals the film and runs away atevery opportunity, the man is just unbelievable, great!His name belongsto the same page as the names of other Britain's favorites, likeAnthony Hopkins or John Gielgud. He gave the movie's outstandingperformance and stood out among the others. The picture really belongsto Jacobi. Charles Durning couldn't be left out, this being a Burtfilm, and adds immensely with his presence as Steel's agent, a smallrole, sure, but it was wonderful to see him back on screen. SamanthaBond represented the moral balance, the soul of the theater actors andthe community, she brought so much to it. Imelda Staunton lent hertalent to the landlady, the comic relief who brought the funniestmoments to this otherwise really nostalgic film that is a homage to thetheater and the lives of people who give it all for this dream.Specially moving was when SPOILERS AHEAD Burt is saying good-bye to thefolks after the winning theater performance for charity, and suddenlyhis daughter appears on the doorsteps, a surprise orchestrated by hisBritish friends, and both reunite and all is finally well, father anddaughter at peace. Very moving and brought tears to my eyes SPOILERSEND. So,don't be fooled. Just don't expect something mind-bending, butif what you're looking for is some ninety something minutes of anentertaining and sweet story, with some laughs and tears, A Bunch ofAmateurs if your movie. It reminded me greatly of another Britishjewel, Bigger than the Sky, another gem that is a must-see!

  9. RealBohemian from United States
    31 Mar 2012, 12:15 am

    After a pointed opening, first showing an almost empty theater completewith someyoungchick euuuuing "Gross! He could be her grandfather!" atthe end scene (Reynald's actor character kissing someotheryoungchick)of Steele's last film, then going to a brokendown slummy playhouse toshow Steele's daughter dressed in modern clothing sucking a cigarettewhile delivering woodenly lifeless lines from Austin's Pride andPrejudice before removing her shirt in order to show her breasts to anactor of another race (note the male audience member clearly there justto see that), the film moves into an understatedly amusing explorationof what it means to be an older actor in a realm that attempts to denyaging exists. Along the way we get some brilliantly funny moments (aswhen a passerby mistakes Steele for Sean Connery) and a nice sprinklingof other thematic analyses on a light hearted note (eg class,pretension, the changes wrought in character by fame and/or fortune,eccentricity and acceptance of it). As mentioned in other reviews, thisis not a gutbuster laffaminit production; it's far too realistic forthat. I personally dislike most of the comedy genre because, as afriend put it, (most of) what is considered funny involves a total lackof reality and/or utter stupidity. Those enjoying that sort of humorwill probably like this for its comedic value, but we laughed aloudseveral times. On the whole, a very good movie, and much better thanthe majority of modern fare in its ability to tell a story withoutrelying on utterly gratuitous sexual/goresplattering/vicious-and-malicious/physical violence scenes.

  10. Rozinda from United Kingdom
    31 Mar 2012, 12:15 am

    What great fun this is. We laughed a great deal. I shall be buying itfor sure. I'm mystified by someone's comment that "villages like thisdon't exist any more in England. Has that person ever been to England?Or if English, have they never been outside a city? Come on, live wherewe live and you'll see that village is pretty normal. We have plenty ofvillages where the village shop hasn't been closed down yet. Evensupermarkets aren't perfect.

    I'd never seen Burt Reynolds in anything before that I can recall andI'd no idea he could be so entertaining – I had visualised him as atypical Hollywood beefcake in tough movies. Well now I'll look out forhis movies, or at least any that aren't Hollywood formula thugs and carchases and the like. Nice to see Derek Jacobi, a fav. actor of mine,and how well he played petulance! Everyone else is the typical"characters" of any imaginary village – that doesn't make the realvillage behind the actors any less real! The guesthouse, oh dear, thatbedroom is ghastly. I howled at the scene that got the American actorslung out of the guest house for fornication. It didn't need to betotally original, it was predictable, but it was so well acted that itwas completely fresh.

    Nice to see pieces of Lear too, the Bard needs more "exposure" thesedays! How I laughed when the American complains that the "script" needsdrastic cutting!

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