The night before Valentine’s Day 2007, I stood in line at the sold-out midnight showing of Hot Fuzz in London along with my American pals Katie and Melissa. What a thrill to see that film with Londoners with such high anticipation for the movie! Katie and I have been watching Hot Fuzz every Valentine’s Day (incidentally Simon Pegg’s birthday) since, and Simon Pegg told me personally to keep that tradition up for a long time. This year, after watching Hot Fuzz for the tenth time, and still picking up little details I’d never noticed before, I went down to the pub for a glass of celebratory cranberry juice. I thought Anglonerd magazine, too, should celebrate the brilliance of this film in a big way, so here is not just a top ten list, but ten top ten lists, highlighting the best one hundred things about Edgar Wright’s comedy action flick. *Spoilers*
- The second half of the film parallels the first half, just like Shaun of the Dead. The most obvious parallel is that the friendly Neighborhood Watch Alliance (NWA) meeting from the beginning is transformed into a Satanic, black-cloaked, Latin-speaking meeting in the dark castle yard at the end.
- When the Porters are trying to explain why they allow underage drinking in their pub, they tell Nicholas Angel that keeping them indoors rather than out causing trouble on the streets is for “the greater good.” This later becomes the catch phrase of the NWA, an excuse to cause even greater trouble.
- Toward the beginning of the movie, Angel claims, “I’m not jumping into anyone’s grave,” meaning that he’s not looking to follow in the footsteps of Sgt. Popwell. Of course, later in the movie, he falls through the ground in the churchyard to wind up inside Popwell’s grave.
- When Angel stops into a small shop, he hears on the NWA walkie talkie, “That Sgt. Angel’s coming into your shop. Take a look at his arse.” Later, the same person says, “Take a look at his horse.”
- Same shop, the owner says to Danny, “No luck catching them swans, then?” to which Danny replies, “It’s just the one swan, actually.” This is true, it’s just one swan who has escaped. Later, she asks him, “No luck catching them killers, then?” to which Danny replies, “It’s just the one killer, actually.” This causes Angel to have a brainwave: What if there’s more than one killer?
- Intrigued by Angel’s work in the big city of London, Danny asks Angel, “Have you ever fired two guns whilst jumping through the air? Have you ever fired one gun whilst jumping through the air? Ever been in a high-speed pursuit? Have you ever fired a gun whilst in a high speed pursuit?” Angel’s answers to all of these questions are, “No,” but by the end of the film, he has done every single one of these.
- Another question is, “Have you ever fired a gun in the air and gone Arh?” Angel hasn’t done this either. It turns out that Danny had gotten this idea from the film Point Break where Keanu Reeves’s character can’t shoot the bad guy because he loves him so much, so instead he shoots his gun in the air and goes, “Arh!” Later, Danny is faced with the same dilemma and reacts in the same way as Keanu.
- When Danny accidentally shoots the doctor in the leg with an air rifle, Angel says, “He’s a doctor. He can deal with it.” Later, Danny accidentally shoots the doctor in the foot with a real gun, and Angel says, “You’re a doctor. Deal with it.”
- That little moment in the beginning where we see “the Andys” throw a metal trashcan at Danny’s head is actually important because the trashcan later becomes a weapon against the very last enemy.
- The way that Angel pleads to his co-workers and boss in London to let him stay in the city is, “I kind of like it here.” This is the same excuse he uses for wanting to stay in Sandford after the three of them (Steve Coogan, Martin Freeman, and Bill Nighy) show up at the end, begging for him to come back to London.
- Japanese Peace Lily: Nicholas Angel has been tending to his peace lily for four years. It oxygenates the room, it helps you relax, and its needs are simple. Too bad the lily met its end when Angel smashed Lurch over the head with it.
- Cranberry juice: Angel always orders a cranberry juice when he’s at the bar, while his partner Danny Butterman is downing lager after lager. The one day he doesn’t order cranberry juice, you know things are about to change.
- Notebook and pen: The pen and notebook, according to Angel, are the most powerful weapons a police officer has. With them, he is able to hypnotize Martin Blower into apologizing for speeding. Danny uses his notebook, too, but mostly for drawing inappropriate flipbooks.
- Sandford Citizen: The esteemed newspaper has become the local rag with the help of journalist Tim Messenger. Not only does he fill the paper with tabloid filth, but he’s an atrocious speller, prompting everyone to start calling Angel “Angle” following a badly spelled headline.
- Monkey: Angel doesn’t like firearms, but when Danny convinces Angel to pick up an air riffle at the church fair, he knocks out all the little tin people, winning a big, cuddly monkey for Danny.
- Swan: Can you call an animal an object? It isn’t the only animal in the movie, what with the police dog and white horse. But the swan takes on a significance of its own. Not only is it the name of the hotel where Angel is staying, but this escaped raptor-creature becomes Sandford’s most wanted.
- Sea Mine: When Nicholas and Danny discover that Mr. Webley has been collecting unlicensed firearms, they come across a deactivated sea mine… or they think it’s deactivated. After bringing it into the evidence locker, it becomes their greatest weapon against the enemy.
- Cowboy hat: Everyone dresses up for the church fair. Fisher and his kid paint their faces like Spider Man. Frank and Danny Butterman dress as cowboys. Danny even keeps wearing his cowboy hat under his hat-poncho when he’s on duty later in the rain. The cowboy hats are clues, though. Frank admitted to being something of a wild west nut, and so he fits the evil sheriff role perfectly when Angel moseys back into town on a horse at high noon.
- Sweets: There are a remarkable number of sweets in this film, especially at the station. Danny buys black forest gateau as punishment for losing his helmet, and chunky money ice cream for drunk driving. There’s also a birthday cake shaped like a helmet and some stolen biscuits that Skinner passes out after they capture Peter Cocker.
- Cornetto: A Cornetto is an ice cream drumstick. Each of the three Pegg/Wright/Frost movies has a different flavor Cornetto in it, mainly because it meant free ice cream for the crew. Accidentally, the three films (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz, The World’s End) became known as the Cornetto Trilogy. There are multiple references to Shaun of the Dead, the first Cornetto movie, in Hot Fuzz, even including a split second shot of the Shaun DVD in the shop when Danny sets down Super Cop.
10 Cornetto Actors
- Simon Pegg: Pegg is the writer and star of all three Cornetto films: Hapless Shaun in Shaun of the Dead, big cop in a little town Nicholas Angel (named after music supervisor Nick Angel) in Hot Fuzz, and rehab escapee Gary King in The World’s End.
- Nick Frost: Real life best friend of Simon Pegg, Nick Frost co-stars in all three films: as Shaun’s loser best friend Ed, as Angel’s cop partner Danny, and as former friend of Gary King, Andy Knightley. Frost’s first real acting job was in Spaced, which was also directed by Edgar Wright and co-written by Simon Pegg (with Jessica Stevenson).
- Martin Freeman: This star of The Hobbit and Sherlock is a Cornetto Trilogy “hat trick,” meaning he appears in all three: Yvonne’s boyfriend in Shaun, London police officer in Fuzz, and in a leading role as Oliver in End.
- Bill Nighy: Another hat trick, Nighy plays Shaun’s stepdad Philip, London police chief Kenneth, and the disembodied voice of The Network across the three Cornetto films.
- Paddy Considine: Playing one of the two “Andys” in Hot Fuzz, Considine later takes a leading role as Steven Prince in The World’s End.
- Rafe Spall: Another hat trick, Spall plays the other of the two “Andys” in Hot Fuzz, but I dare you to recognize him in Shaun. At about twenty-years-old, he played Shaun’s co-worker Noel. Later, he got a bit part in The World’s End.
- David Bradley: Bradley, known for many roles from Harry Potter to The Strain, plays gun-addict Arthur Webley in Hot Fuzz and later conspirator Basil in The World’s End.
- Julia Deakin: Not only is Deakin a hat trick—appearing as Shaun’s mum’s Yvonne-double, owner of the pub (Mary Porter, 53), and the B&B landlady—but she was also a series regular on Spaced, playing Tim and Daisy’s landlady Marsha.
- Alice Lowe: We remember Tina, Skinner’s grocery gal by day, table dancer by night. Lowe, who you’ve seen in just about everything, also had a bit part in The World’s End.
- Patricia Franklin: Playing shop owner Annette Roper in Hot Fuzz, Franklin can also be spotted as a spinster zombie in Shaun and as the upstairs beehive lady in End.
- “Ever fired your gun up in the air and gone arh?” “No, I’ve not ever fired my gun up in the air and gone arh.”
- “He’s appointed himself judge, jury, and executioner.” “He’s not Judge Judy and executioner!”
- “Well, I wouldn’t argue that it wasn’t a no-holds-barred, adrenaline-fueled thrill ride, but there is no way you can perpetrate that amount of carnage and mayhem and not incur a considerable amount of paperwork.”
- “Is it true that there’s a place in a man’s head where if you shoot it, it will blow up?”
- “Oh, you’re an agnostic, then?” “I think I’ve got a cream for that!”
- “We’re just hoping to talk to the last people to see Mr. Merchant alive, namely a Sergeant Knickerless Ass-wipe and Cuntstable Fanny Batterbum.” “Hey, that’s us.”
- “She’s not a policewoman.” “Yes she is, I’ve seen her bra.”
- “Must have hit the sign at some speed. Took the whole top off.” “I’ve had my top off in this lay-by. Haha.”
- “He had one thing you haven’t got.” “What’s that, Sir?” “A great big, bushy beard!”
- “Before you could say ‘gypsy scum’ we were knee-deep in dog muck, thieving kids, and crusty jugglers.”
10 Jokes with Names
- Peter Ian Staker: Angel assumes that Mr. P. I. Staker calling the station about an escaped swan is a prank phone call, someone taking the piss, a Mr. Pisstaker, if you will. It is, of course, Peter Ian’s real name.
- Aaron A. Aaronson: When one of the Andys jokes that they’re not going to go through every name in the phonebook, starting with Aaron A. Aaronson, Angel doesn’t think he’s referencing a real person. However, this is the name of the little ginger kid who Skinner takes hostage in the model village.
- Peter Cocker: A good name for a character Angel doesn’t like. He was caught shoplifting and ran from the scene of the crime.
- Martin Blower: Another good name for a character Angel doesn’t like. He’s having an affair with his leading lady in the theatre, but ultimately becomes a murder victim.
- George Merchant: The perfect name for the richest man in town. Too bad his wealth and taste in architecture is what ultimately gets him blown to smithereens.
- Michael Armstrong: Although Angel is extremely fit, Michael “Lurch” Armstrong is one person whose strength Angel cannot defeat.
- Tim Messenger: A journalist bringing the messages not only through the local newspaper but also with secret whispers behind the church. Well, that was his intent, anyway.
- Leslie Tiller: Simon Skinner’s cousin Leslie’s horticultural skills put Sandford on the map. Too bad she tripped and fell on her own sheers. Or did she?
- Sgt. Turner: An excellent gag here with comedian Bill Bailey. Turner is either one person with two different personalities and hairstyles or two very similar looking officers. At the end, we finally see them in the shot together.
- The Porters: Naturally, Roy and Mary Porter are the owners of the local pub.
10 Petty Crimes
- Underage drinking: When Angel is blinded by the light reflecting off a pub-goer’s braces on his first night in Sandford, he discovers that everyone in the pub is underage and promptly kicks them out.
- Graffiti: The local hoodies do a bit of graffiti on the fountain, but they actually become Angel’s ally when he returns to town and needs all the security cameras painted over.
- Drunk driving: Angel’s first encounter with his new police partner Danny Butterman is when Danny nearly crashes his car into him while drunk. Angel promptly arrests him, not knowing that he works at the police station. As a result, the station isn’t out of Chunky Monkey for the next month.
- Statue: The living statue, the biggest criminal in town as far as the neighborhood watch is concerned, is a man painted in gold who stands still at the village fountain.
- Public urination: After Angel kicks the kids out of the pub, he almost immediately finds each of them up to no good outside, including one kid peeing all over a wall. Later, George Merchant gets drunk and pees on the pub pinball machine. Angel and Danny have to carry the short man home. “We did get a little drunk,” Danny jokes.
- Shoplifting: Peter Cocker is caught on camera stealing from the supermarket, kicking off an epic chase scene through the streets and back gardens of Sandford.
- Clipping hedge rows that don’t belong to him: This is the crime that Angel, Danny, and Walker are called out for at Arthur Webley’s farm. Webley agrees that he can’t go around cutting down hedges that don’t belong to him, but he also unveils his massively illegal weapons collection.
- Speeding: In the shortest car chase of any movie, Angel and Danny pull over Martin Blower and Eve Draper on their way to rehearsal for Romeo and Juliet. Blower had been going 48 in a 30 zone, and after Angel writes down everything that Blower says, Blower apologizes and sends Angel some free theatre tickets.
- Loitering: This is what Skinner accuses Angel of when he spots him hanging around the produce section of his grocery store, and he invites Angel in for a chat. This is when Angel spies on the cameras Cocker shoving biscuits up his shirt.
- Hippies messing with the recycling: The final crime of the movie, and one that gets off relatively scott free considering most of the other offenders were killed for their petty crimes, is reported by Thatcher over the radio just before the final credits.
- Simon Skinner: Played by James Bond‘s Timothy Dalton, Skinner is the local supermarket owner. He teaches a life drawing class and is known as “Sissy Skinner” for his time studying ballet as a youth. These days, he’s more into fun running and concocting evil plots.
- Frank Butterman: Played by renowned Jim Broadbent, Butterman is the police chief and also Danny’s dad. His wife died in a traffic collision and he’s never fully recovered. Her dream was to win the Best Village Award, so now that is his dream.
- Tony Fisher: Played by comedian The Actor Kevin Eldon, Sgt. Fisher is disloyal, rude, inefficient, late, and unfit. We know this because of the white board behind him during his introduction. But he comes into his own during the supermarket siege.
- Doris Thatcher: Played by the versatile Olivia Colman, PC Thatcher is the station’s only policewoman. She is always making rude jokes.
- Bob Walker and Saxon: Played by Karl Johnson, PC Walker is almost impossible to understand for all his mumbling, but not has hard to understand as Webley. They need to take Walker to Webley’s to translate, but then Danny has to translate Walker to Angel. Saxon, played by Sampson, is Walker’s German shepherd.
- Tom Weaver: Played by Edward Woodward (God rest him), Weaver is the chair of the NWA, and the one baddie who escapes the big shootout in the town center.
- The Coopers: Bernard and Joyce Cooper, played by Eric Mason (God rest him) and Billie Whitelaw (God rest her), are the hotel managers at The Swan. Joyce likes a quiet night in doing the crosswords. Bernard likes sword fighting.
- Eve Draper: In angel wings, Ms. Draper plays Juliet at the local am drams. Her acting is probably as terrible as her co-star Martin Blower’s. Juliet kills herself by putting a gun to her head and going, “Bang!” This is followed by a dance number. Eve has a distinct laugh (which leads to her demise) and favors the older gentleman.
- Rev. Shooter: When Angel explains to the Rev. that he may not believe in God but knows the difference between right and wrong, the Rev. says, “Fuck off, grasshopper,” and whips out two pistols.
- Dr. Hatcher: During the big showdown, after having been shot accidentally with an air rifle by Danny at the church fair, the doctor says, “I brought you into this world, Danny. It’s rather fitting I should take you out of it!”
- Model village: Angel being a big cop in a little town is amplified when he lands in the model village during the final battle.
- The Swan: Because Angel’s accommodations aren’t ready yet, he’s stuck living in The Castle Suite at the local inn in the meantime. The Swan alludes to their chasing of the escaped swan later on, while the Castle alludes to where a lot of the mischief has been taking place.
- The Crown: This is the local pub where all the cops like to go have a drink at the end of the day. It is run by the Porters.
- Somerfield: This is Simon Skinner’s supermarket, which is based on the supermarket where Edgar Wright used to work. Skinner accidentally destroys the model village Somerfield and trips on the miniature grocery truck.
- Theatre: Martin Blower and Eve Draper put on a horrendous rendition of Romeo and Juliet at the am. drams. As far as Skinner is concerned, Blower murdered William Shakespeare.
- Merchant’s house: George Merchant’s house hardly fits in with the village’s rustic aesthetic. It’s so appalling, it gets blown up.
- Police station: One location that doesn’t survive the film, this is where a lot of the movie takes place. They have the NWA stationed upstairs, a swear box on the main floor, and plenty of sweets in the fridge.
- Church: It’s a well-known fact that the church roof is in dire need of repair. During a festival benefit, a piece of said roof actually “falls” off and clobbers Tim Messenger.
- Danny’s house: Angel finally lets his guard down and goes back to Danny’s for a night of beer and binge movie watching. After five years here, Danny still hasn’t managed to unpack, but he does have a walk-in closet dedicated to his DVD collection.
- London: Angel is from London and he is sad to leave the big city, but once “shit gets real,” in Sandford, he starts ignoring everyone who’s telling him that he’s getting calls from “Lon-don,” spoken like it’s a place they’ve never heard of.
- Steve Coogan: Coogan, most famous for Alan Partridge, is the only one of the three London police officers who has not appeared in other Cornetto films.
- Robert Popper: Creator of Friday Night Dinner, Popper’s only line in the film is “I’m not Janine.”
- Joe Cornish: Director of Attack the Block and The Adventures of Tintin, Cornish plays the masked Bob, the one that Angel wrongly suspects his girlfriend has been seeing behind his back.
- Stephen Merchant: Creator of The Office, Merchant plays Mr. Peter Ian Staker, the one who reported the missing swan.
- Cate Blanchet: Although you never see her full face, Cate Blanchet plays Janine, Angel’s girlfriend who is leaving him for Dave.
- Peter Jackson: Believe it or not, that man dressed as Father Christmas who stabs Angel’s hand in the beginning is actually Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson.
- Garth Jennings: Edgar Wright and director Garth Jennings always appear in each other’s movies. Edgar can be seen as a teacher in Son of Rambow and in the Deep Thought scene of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, while Garth can be seen as a crack addict in Hot Fuzz.
- Graham Low: You may not recognize the actor playing the living statue, but Edgar Wright’s first ever directing gig was a Western called A Fistful of Fingers starring Graham Low as the main cowboy Walter Marshall.
- Judges: For a moment, you see the three Village of the Year judges during all the chaos at the end. These are Pegg’s mom, Wright’s mom, and Wright’s high school drama teacher Peter Wild.
- Edgar Wright: Yes, the director can be seen or heard in all three of the Cornetto films. He plays one of many zombies in Shaun, as well as reads the news on TV. In The World’s End, he can be heard as the construction worker. For what it’s worth, he can also be spotted as one of Daisy’s roommates in the first episode of Spaced. He does that silly “Hello there” voice of Dave at the beginning of Hot Fuzz and can actually be spotted stacking shelves in the grocery store. At Vulture Festival 2017 Edgar Wright recalled the time they hired a hand model on Hot Fuzz to press a button, but he’d had too much coffee and couldn’t execute the task, so Wright had to use his own hand.
- Angel walks into a crime scene where everyone is wearing sanitation masks. He approaches his girlfriend who is breaking it off with him. Somberly, he says, “Janine, I’ve been transferred and I’m moving away for a while.” Jeanine says in a surprisingly manly voice, “I’m not Janine.”
- When Angel arrives at The Swan, the innkeeper Mrs. Cooper calls him fascist. He realizes she’s just figured out the answer to her crossword and helps her out with the next word, “hag.” During the shootout, Mrs. Cooper calls Angel a fascist and he calls her a hag. Ah, such report!
- While Angel is chasing the biscuit-stealing Peter Cocker, he lands in the alley to discover his way is blocked. “You mothers,” he mutters. It is revealed there is a group of women pushing prams down the narrow country road.
- Angel wakes up to a phone call. Groggily, he repeats in to the phone, “Decaffeinated?” A second later, we see the decapitated head of Martin Blower.
- When Angel is pretending to be Michael Armstrong on the walkie talkie, Skinner is asking him questions. It’s easy to pretend to be “Lurch” because all he ever says is “Yarp,” but when Skinner asks him a question to which the answer is “no,” Angel hesitates. “Narp?” he tries. This is satisfactory for Skinner and he doesn’t suspect that Michael is out cold on the floor.
- After a sober scene where Danny tells Angel that his mum is dead and Angel tells Danny why he joined the police service, Danny breaks the tension by stabbing himself in the eye with a fork. Blood spurts everywhere, frightening Angel until he realizes Danny had a ketchup packet in his hand. Danny is able to later use this trick to fool everyone into thinking he’s stabbed Angel in the chest.
- Standing in the rain, the Andys berate Angel for making them keep watch after hours. They finish their scolding with, “You and your monkey,” nodding vaguely to Danny. Once they leave, Danny lifts the big, cuddly monkey from the fair, which had been out of frame. “Did he mean me or that?“
- It’s a very quick joke: blink and you’ll miss it. At the church fair, Doris Thatcher is with a couple friends, looking at a roasted pig on a spit, and she says, “That’s me after a couple pints.”
- Angel and Danny have a lot of unlikely allies, as it turns out. One of which is the swan. When Frank takes Angel’s police car to make a get away, the last thing he expects is a swan in the back seat hissing like some kind of velociraptor.
- The grave scene is terrifying. We realize that everyone Angel has arrested for petty crimes has been scrubbed from the village, but this tension is broken when we see the dead living statue, locked into a wide-eyed mime-in-a-box pose for the rest of time.
Hot Fuzz is on DVD and Amazon Instant.