It’s 1983 and school is out. Twelve-year-old Shaun is a lonely boy growing up in a grim coastal town in northern England, whose father died fighting in the Falklands War. Over the course of the summer holiday he befriends a group of local skinheads. With his pent-up rage and frustration, Shaun finds exactly what he needs in the gang — mischief, mayhem and brotherhood. He also meets the volatile and boorish Combo, an older skinhead who sees himself in Shaun. Adopting Shaun as his protégé, Combo leads the gang down a hate spewing path that culminates in an explosion never seen before.
“This Is England” is set in early eighties England; a world of popular TV character Roland Rat, aerobics, the TV show Blockbusters, Margaret Thatcher, the Falklands crisis, racial unease, and skinheads. Drawing heavily from his own experiences growing up, Shane Meadows has created a portrait of an often-overlooked moment in cultural history. Against the backdrop of the skinhead scene in a deadbeat coastal town, we witness this traumatic rite of passage, both on a cultural and personal level, through the eyes of a twelve-year-old boy.