The Phantom of the Open: film release date, running time, trailer, cast with Mark Rylance, is it a true story?

Oscar winner Mark Rylance stars in a heart-warming British comedy which tells the story of aspiring golfer Maurice Flitcroft

Mark Rylance in Phantom of the Open Photograph eOneMark Rylance in Phantom of the Open Photograph eOne
Mark Rylance in Phantom of the Open Photograph eOne

The Phantom of the Open tells the extraordinary story of Maurice Flitcroft, a 46 year old happy-go-lucky crane driver, from Barrow-in-Furness.

He decided on a whim that golfing was his new calling in life, so with the support of family and friends, he managed to find himself qualifying for the 1976 British Open - despite never even playing a round of golf before.

Is The Phantom of the Open a true story?

This film is adapted from the Simon Farnaby book, ‘The Phantom of the Open: Maurice Flitcroft, the World’s Worst Golfer’.

Director, Craig Roborts creates a genuine celebration of being the eternal optimist, that never lets flaws and inadequacies bring them down, and stands in the way of dreams and infinite possibilities.

It’s a true underdog story, as all he really had was his sheer pluckiness and self-belief to help him succeed.

The film originally premiered with excellent reviews, at the BFI London Film Festival, on October 12, 2021. This preview also included a Q&A with director Craig Roberts, writer Simon Farnaby and actor Mark Rylance.

Mark Rylance at The  Phantom of The Open premiereMark Rylance at The  Phantom of The Open premiere
Mark Rylance at The Phantom of The Open premiere

Rylance recalls:“The script appealed to me right away, as well as the book Simon had written with Scott. Both are written with great enjoyment and language and fun. It had a sense of respect and enjoyment of Maurice Flitcroft, and his whole family.”

“I like to be part of stories that I enjoy, and feel like you can come out of them feeling like you’ve eaten a good meal, like you’ve gotten some nourishment, as well as enjoyment and taste.”

The Flitcroft name became notorious after he hit a score of 121 in the qualifying competition for the 1976 Open Championship, which was the worst score ever recorded. This led to widespread media attention, and being referred to as “the world’s worst golfer.”

Maurice however, declared that he was a professional.

When is The Phantom of the Open coming out at cinemas?

You can head to cinemas to enjoy this uplifting, moving, comedy-drama from Friday 18 March. It is rated PG-13, due to scenes of smoking and some bad language - with a runtime of 1 hour and 46 minutes.

Who stars in the Phantom of the Open?

The Phantom of the Open stars many actors known for their exceptional performances, including Academy Award winner Mark Rylance as Maurice, who recently starred in Netflix’s apocalyptic, black-comedy ‘Don’t Look Up’.

Academy Award Nominee Sally Hawkins as his wife Jean, who starred in critically acclaimed best picture - ‘The Shape of Water’, and the family favourite ‘Paddington’.

It also stars Welsh Bafta nominee Rhys Ifans as Maurices’ nemesis Mackenzie. Rhys has a number of mega-hit movies under his belt, ranging from Notting Hill and The Amazing Spider-Man to Harry Potter and The King’s Man.

What happens in The Phantom of the Open trailer 

The trailer shows the generous and whimsical Maurice hinting at attempts to succeed in professional golf, in the 1970s. Before anyone had even heard of the likes of Eddie the Eagle - there was Maurice, the true underdog. As he says: “I didn’t choose golf, it chose me”. He becomes a British folk hero in the process, earning his nickname - Phantom of the Open.

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