The Full Monty turns 20: Why the film divided the business community

The Full Monty was released in 1997 (pic: AP Photo/Fox Searchlight, Tom Hilton, HO)
The Full Monty was released in 1997 (pic: AP Photo/Fox Searchlight, Tom Hilton, HO)
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Twenty years since The Full Monty's global success turned the spotlight on Sheffield, the box office phenomenon has become 'part of the city's DNA'.

That's according to one business leader, who claims the film still has plenty to say about not only our industrial past but the 'ingenuity' powering the city's future.

You have to go a long way to find a cinema-goer who was not won over by the comic tale of six unemployed steelworkers stripping to make ends meet.

But there are some within Sheffield's business community who have mixed feelings about the film.

By perpetuating lazy stereotypes about the north being a shabby, economic wasteland, say those detractors, it dealt a serious blow to Sheffield's chances of attracting much-needed outside investment.

So it is perhaps surprising to hear Alexis Krachai, who chairs the visitor economy forum at Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, is an unabashed fan of the movie.

"It's a great film, which is part of the city's DNA, and I think we should be proud of it," he says.

"It's who we were, who we are now and who we're going to be. It celebrates our industrial past, acknowledges the challenges we encountered and showcases Sheffield's unique humour and ingenuity which helps the characters find a solution to their problems.

"We still have that ingenuity in our hearts, which we're displaying in the way we use our industrial history to power our future.

"You only have to look at projects like the Olympic Legacy Park and the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre to see that."

Alexis, who is managing director of the communications firm Counter Context, recently returned from a business trip to Canada, where he says everyone knew about The Fully Monty.

The worldwide attention the film garnered for Sheffield 'has to be a good thing', he adds, though he acknowledges visitors to the city today are often 'staggered' by how much it has changed.

And then there are the tourist dollars the film generated, with fans from across the globe eager to visit the many filming locations.

"It's fair to say the film took the name Sheffield to a global audience, and I'd be surprised if it didn't have an impact on visitor numbers," he says.