Once Upon a Time in London: True Crime Gem?

We recently had the chance to watch “Once Upon a Time in London.” This gritty biopic takes you through the underbelly of London’s crime scene during the post-war years. Directed by Simon Rumley, it follows the life of infamous gangster Terry Stone and gives us a dramatic look at the rise and fall of one of London’s most notorious figures.

During our viewing, we couldn’t help but be impressed by the film’s raw portrayal of violence and its historical accuracy in depicting London’s dark past. The director didn’t shy away from the harsh realities, which include substance and alcohol use, smoking, strong language, and sexual content, all of which are artfully incorporated to communicate the story’s authenticity.

Signature Entertainment really brings the era to life, and despite the film’s raw edge, we appreciate the English subtitles and audio which are crystal clear, making the experience accessible to a wider audience.

Bottom Line

“Once Upon a Time in London” offers a no-holds-barred look at a fascinating chapter in London’s history.

For those interested in crime dramas that paint an unflinching portrait of their characters, this film is unmissable.

Curious to see it for yourself?

Overview of Once Upon a Time in London

In our recent watchlist, “Once Upon a Time in London” certainly stands out. Led by the talented Terry Stone, this gritty crime drama unfolds in the English capital, serving as a compelling backdrop to the story. Directed by Simon Rumley, the film takes us through a gritty narrative punctuated by violence and audacious criminal activity.

We found the quality of production by Signature Entertainment to be top-notch, ensuring that the London of yesteryears is portrayed with an immersive authenticity. The film does come with a content advisory, with elements of substance and alcohol use, smoking, and other mature themes, which means it’s not one for the faint-hearted. The inclusion of English subtitles helps bridge the gap for those of us who may struggle with the heavy British accents.

Overall, “Once Upon a Time in London” carves out its identity in the crime genre with robust performances and a dose of reality. If stories from the underbelly of London intrigue you, this is a title you might not want to bypass.

Plot Premise

Similar to the movie Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, this one follows the epic rise and legendary fall of a nationwide criminal empire. The movie takes a look at three action-packed decades, paving the way for the Kray twins to exert their dominance of the capital of the United Kingdom.

The star studded cast includes Terry Stone a Jack Comer, Leo Gregory as Billy Hill, Josh Myers as Moisha Blueball, Andy Beckwith as Sonny the Yank, Geoff Bell as Darky Mulley, Jamie Foreman as Alf White, Roland Manookian as Frankie Fraser, and Holly Earl as Aggie Vaux.

Stellar Cast Performance

We’ve got to hand it to the actors in “Once Upon a Time in London” – they truly brought their characters to life. Watching it felt like stepping back in time, right into the bustling streets of historical London. What struck us most was the authenticity and drive each cast member conveyed. It really seemed as though they weren’t just acting but were actual people from the era.

It wasn’t all perfect, though; there were moments where the performance felt a bit overdone, perhaps pushing the drama when subtlety would’ve done better. Yet, even those moments couldn’t overshadow the overall brilliance. The raw emotion, the eloquence, and the grit – it all came through, making us feel like we were part of the story, witnessing the highs and lows right alongside the characters.

The star studded cast includes Terry Stone a Jack Comer, Leo Gregory as Billy Hill, Josh Myers as Moisha Blueball, Andy Beckwith as Sonny the Yank, Geoff Bell as Darky Mulley, Jamie Foreman as Alf White, Roland Manookian as Frankie Fraser, and Holly Earl as Aggie Vaux.

Captivating Storytelling

As fans of gripping cinema, we’re always on the hunt for the next film that pulls us into its world, and “Once Upon a Time in London” does just that. What strikes us about this feature is its blend of historical storytelling with a modern cinematic feel. We’ve sat through our share of historical dramas, and it’s refreshing when a film can present the past in a way that feels immediate and relevant.

Our journey through London’s bygone era wasn’t always smooth – there are moments in the narrative that felt slower than we’d hoped, hinting at potential for tighter editing. Yet, the film crafts many sequences with such attention to detail, making us feel like participants rather than passive viewers, which is indeed a redeeming quality.

Despite its imperfections, the heart of the story resonates. It’s not about throwing in surprises every other minute; it’s about depicting a time with authenticity, and in that, “Once Upon a Time in London” succeeds. After watching, we can’t help but appreciate the raw and unfiltered gaze into London’s history.

Historical Accuracy and Attention to Detail

In assessing the meticulousness of “Once Upon a Time in London,” it’s evident that the creators poured considerable effort into capturing the essence of the era. The settings and costumes create an immersive experience that transports us back in time to London’s gritty past. From the smoky pubs to the vintage cars lining the streets, every visual element adds to the authenticity.

Now, despite the visual feast, we noticed that some liberties may have been taken with the timeline and events for dramatic effect. It’s not unusual for historical dramas to tweak the facts to fit the narrative arc, and this flick is no exception. That said, if you’re a stickler for the facts, these discrepancies might be a little jarring. On the flip side, for those of us who love a good story with the flavor of history, these details are simply part of the film’s charm, making for an engrossing watch.

Overall, the production strikes a balance, offering both an engaging storyline and a hat-tip to historical London – albeit with a dash of creative license.

Pros and Cons

Having spent some quality time with “Once Upon a Time in London,” we’ve got a fair bit to share about what makes it stand out, as well as where it falls short.


  • Engaging Storyline: We found the film’s narrative quite captivating, effectively pulling us into the gritty underworld of London’s historic crime scene
  • Solid Performances: The cast delivers strong performances that add authenticity and depth to the characters. It’s clear that they’ve put in the work to bring this era to life
  • Attention to Period Details: The attention to period-specific details in costumes and sets is commendable, enriching the overall viewing experience
  • Cinematography: The cinematography deserves a shout-out for the way it captures the essence of London during that time, making the visuals one of the highlights


  • Pace Issues: At times, the pacing felt a bit off, with some scenes dragging on longer than they probably should have
  • Character Development: While the main characters are well-portrayed, we felt that some of the supporting cast could have been fleshed out a bit more
  • Predictability: Although the storyline is engaging, some plot points are fairly predictable, taking away from the suspense
  • No Extras: If you’re the type who loves bonus features, you might be disappointed as the product comes with no extra content or behind-the-scenes peek

This mixed bag of qualities makes “Once Upon a Time in London” a film that’s worth watching if you’re into crime dramas with a historical twist, but it might not fully satisfy those looking for relentless action or deep character studies.

Customer Reviews

There’s been quite the buzz around “Once Upon a Time in London,” and we took the time to see what all the chatter was about firsthand. After cozying up and diving into the experience, it’s clear that viewers are forming a variety of opinions. While the film isn’t flooded with reviews on Amazon just yet, it offers some insights into what makes it tick for an emerging fanbase.

Most of the feedback reflects an appreciation for the film’s ambition, speaking to its gritty portrayal of London’s past. Some viewers are genuinely pleased with the casting choices, noting standout performances that capture the essence of the era. However, we noticed there are mentions of the pacing feeling a touch slow for those used to fast-moving plotlines.

We get a sense that “Once Upon a Time in London” could be a bit of a mixed bag, depending on personal tastes. Film buffs with a penchant for historical narratives seem to find it a hidden gem, while others might be left wanting more action. Despite the varying opinions, it’s certainly carving out its own niche in the world of historical crime dramas.

Content Advisory Impact

We’ve spent some time with “Once Upon a Time in London” and have a few thoughts on its content advisory impact. After checking it out, it’s right to say it’s not your bedtime story. It’s gritty with a capital G and doesn’t hold back on the rough edges of London’s underbelly.

Without getting into the nitty-gritty of every scene, we can report there are moments that’ll make you wince. They’ve certainly captured the essence of the time, but for those with a sensitive side, it might be a touch too raw. That said, the authenticity brings a level of engagement that cleansed and polished narratives often lack.

On the flip side, if you’re intrigued by historical drama that’s unafraid to show its unsavory bits, it could just be up your alley. Even with its harder edges, the film has a charm in its raw portrayal of the past, earning its narrative stripes but possibly narrowing its audience due to the mature content.


After spending time with “Once Upon a Time in London,” we came away with a pretty clear idea of its merits and shortcomings. On the one hand, its gripping narrative and unique take on London’s historical underbelly offer a fresh perspective that holds your attention. It’s the kind of experience that draws you in from the beginning and keeps you hooked until the end.

However, we couldn’t help but feel that certain aspects fell short of expectations. The lack of reviews on the product page means we’re going in blind, without the reassurance of a crowd-sourced opinion. We missed having that community feedback which usually helps in making a more informed decision.

All things considered, if you’re a fan of period dramas with a twist of crime and history, this might pique your interest. Just keep in mind that as with any other product, it’s a bit of a gamble without the voices of fellow consumers guiding you.

Written by Alexander

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