Socialist Worker

Ken Loach's best films

For 40 years Ken Loach has been directing some of the most interesting and politically engaged films in Britain. Here are some of the best

Issue No. 2244

Kes (1970)

Billy, an alienated working class boy in Barnsley, finds meaning in life as he cares for and trains a fledgling falcon.

The film shows the potential denied to so many young people.

Hidden Agenda (1990)

An American human rights lawyer looking into the torture of IRA suspects is assassinated in Belfast.

His girlfriend Ingrid (Frances McDormand) and a detective Kerrigan (Brian Cox) come up against a government cover up and lies as they try to find out what happened.

Riff Raff (1991)

A warm evocation of the risky life of construction workers acts as the background to a romance.

Features Robert Carlyle, Emer McCourt and Ricky Tomlinson.

Land and Freedom (1995)

Loach’s masterpiece. David (Ian Hart), a working class militant from Liverpool, goes to Spain to join the revolutionary forces in 1936.

He gets caught up in the debates about what the revolutionaries are fighting for.

Later he is shocked as the revolutionary gains are pushed back, supposedly to help win the war.

Bread and Roses (2000)

migrant Latin American office cleaners in Los Angeles fight to unionise their workplace in the successful “Justice for Janitors” campaign, which helped establish improved pay and working conditions.

The Wind That Shakes the Barley (2006)

A young Irish doctor abandons his career in 1920 after witnessing British brutality.

He joins his brother in the IRA and takes part in the independence struggle.

As the British are pushed back, the brothers are on opposite sides of a debate in the republican movement about whether the treaty is a sell out.

They are driven to fight on opposite sides in the civil war.

Many of Ken Loach’s best films can be seen online at

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