Shand's (Hoskins) ambitions are nearing fruition when he finds some possible New York financiers to make his dream of the London Docklands as a new Manhattan become real. However, there's the fishy smell of sabotage in the air as too many people around him start dying and things blowing up.
Director John McKenzie's Brit gangster classic remains a benchmark for the (recently much-abused) genre and a high point in the careers of almost everyone who worked on it.
It's strengths are legion: from Francis Monkman's wailing sax score, to some of the saltiest dialogue ever penned (gang boss Harold on his dead best mate being carted off in an ice cream van: "Well, there's a lot of dignity in that - goin out on a Raspberry Ripple!" Harold on La Cosa Nostra: "The Mafia? I shit 'em.").
But it's the performances that finally elevate this to classic, and indeed, must-own status. Helen Mirren's portrayal of a devoted wife trying to hold a collapsing world together is a standout; but it's Hoskins' towering performance as Harold Shand that gives the movie its ballistic and hubristic power.
Oscillating brilliantly between the preening and arrogant, Thatcherite, self-made thug and a desperate, beaten man, Hoskins has never been better. And the final shot, a sustained take on his face as he realises the true horror of his fate, is one of the finest pieces of acting in British cinema.
A benchmark British gangster classic with spot-on performances all round and a near wordless end scene that diplays some of the finest screen acting ever from Hoskins.