The World's End

The World's End Information

The World's End is a 2013 British science fiction comedy film directed by Edgar Wright, written by Wright and Simon Pegg, and starring Pegg, Nick Frost, Paddy Considine, Martin Freeman, and Eddie Marsan. It is the third in the Cornetto trilogy, following Shaun of the Dead (2004) and Hot Fuzz (2007). The film follows a group of friends who discover an alien invasion during an epic pub crawl in their hometown. Wright has described the film as "social science fiction" in the tradition of John Wyndham and Samuel Youd.

The film is produced by Relativity Media, Big Talk Productions, and Working Title Films. Filming began in September 2012 at locations in Welwyn Garden City and Letchworth Garden City. Part of the film was also shot at High Wycombe railway station in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. Filming ended on 22 December 2012.

The film premiered on 10 July 2013 at Leicester Square in London and was released in the United Kingdom on 19 July 2013. It will be released in the United States on 23 August 2013.


Gary King (Simon Pegg), a hedonistic alcoholic, resolves to track down his estranged friends and complete the Golden Mile, an infamous pub crawl encompassing 12 pubs in their hometown of Newton Haven. The group attempted the crawl as teenagers, but failed to reach the final pub, the World's End.

Gary convinces Peter (Eddie Marsan), Oliver "O-Man" (Martin Freeman), Steven (Paddy Considine) and Andrew (Nick Frost) to join him in Newton Haven. While his friends have adult lives and responsibilities, Gary has changed little since 1990, remaining untrustworthy and impulsive. In the first pub, the First Post, the group is not met with the hero's welcome Gary expects. They are joined at the Old Familiar by Oliver's sister Sam (Rosamund Pike), who rejects a sexual advance from Gary. Steven has always loved Sam, and has never forgiven Gary for sleeping with her many years ago.

In the Cross Hands, Gary gets into a fight with a local teenager. To Gary's surprise, the boy is inhumanly strong and agile. Gary accidentally knocks his head off, exposing him as a robot. Gary's friends join him for another fight with more robot youths. Afterwards, they decide to continue the pub crawl to avoid attracting suspicion.

At the Two Headed Dog, the group meets Sam and Gary warns her of the robot invasion. At the Mermaid, robot schoolgirls attempt to seduce the group and steal their DNA. When Sam's childhood crush, Adrian, appears, she panics and drags the others from the pub, explaining that Adrian had died in a motorcycle crash years previously. At the next pub, Guy Shepherd (Pierce Brosnan), a teacher at their school, encourages the group to accept their fate and become robots. The group realise that Oliver has been replaced with a robot, initiating a brawl. Despite the danger, Gary insists on drinking a pint during the fight. He gets Sam to her car and tells her to leave Newton Haven.

At the bowling club, the friends accuse each other of being replaced with robots like Oliver. Steven, Peter and Andrew prove themselves with scars from their childhood, but Gary refuses to roll his sleeves up to reveal his elbow scar. Instead, he proves his identity by headbutting a pillar: no one else could be so stupid. The robots close in on the group, and Peter is captured, but Gary is determined to finish the pub crawl. At the next pub, he gives his keys to Andrew so he and Steven can escape. Abandoning Steven to the robots, Andrew chases Gary through the streets to the final pub, fighting hordes of robots along the way.

At the World's End, Andrew confronts Gary. He has never forgiven Gary for abandoning him when he saved Gary's life after a drug overdose, leaving Andrew to be arrested. They begin to fight; Gary's arms are revealed to be bandaged after a recent suicide attempt. Gary tearfully tells Andrew that the Golden Mile is "all he has" and that Andrew "has everything he wants". Andrew reveals that his marriage has broken down.

Ignoring Andrew's pleas, Gary pulls himself a final pint at the bar. The lever instead lowers the bar into a hidden chamber, where Steven, having escaped the robots, finds them. An alien (voiced by Bill Nighy) explains that the robot invasion is a "civilising" process for humanity's own good, responsible for the great advance in telecommunications in recent decades, and offers them eternal youth as robots. The three friends decline, arguing that humans should be allowed to be imperfect. Seeing that humans are more trouble than they are worth, the aliens agree to leave the planet and abandon the invasion. Sam arrives to drive them to safety as the town begins to self-destruct.

Some time later, Andrew is recounting this story around a campfire in the ruins of London, explaining how the aliens' withdrawal from the planet destroyed modern civilisation, setting humanity back to the Dark Ages. The abandoned robots have reactivated and are regarded with mistrust by surviving humans. Andrew's marriage has recovered, Steven is in a relationship with Sam, and Peter and Oliver, though now robots, have returned to a semblance of their old lives. In the ruins of Newton Haven, Gary reattempts the Golden Mile with the robot versions of his younger friends. They order five waters.



The World's End began as a screenplay director Edgar Wright wrote aged 21 titled Crawl, about a group of teenagers on a pub crawl. He realised the idea could work with adult characters to capture "the bittersweet feeling of returning to your home town and feeling like a stranger". Wright said he wanted to satirise the "strange homogeneous branding that becomes like a virus", explaining: "This doesn't just extend to pubs, it's the same with cafés and restaurants. If you live in a small town and you move to London, which I did when I was 20, then when you go back out into the other small towns in England you go 'oh my god, it's all the same!' It's like Bodysnatchers: literally our towns are being changed to death."

After the story was complete, Wright and Pegg examined a list of real pub names and "tried to make them like tarot cards" to foreshadow the events of the story. Wright explained: "So we said, 'OK this one's the Famous Cock, because this is where Gary is trying to puff up his own importance.' ... We did go through work out in each one how the pub sign was going to relate."

All twelve pubs in the film use identical signage on menus and walls, reflecting what Wright called "that fake hand-written chalk" common to modern British pubs. The exteriors of the fictional pubs were shot at locations in Welwyn Garden City and Letchworth Garden City, with altered signage.


Principal photography for The World's End began on 28 September 2012. Filming took place in Hertfordshire, at Elstree Studios, Letchworth and Welwyn Garden City.

Stunts were coordinated by Brad Allen of martial arts film director Jackie Chan's team. Wright said: "In [Chan film] Drunken Master, Jackie Chan has to get drunk to fight, but this is more the idea of Dutch courage. You know, when you're kind of drunk and you think 'ah, I can climb up that scaffolding!' Or just that you're impervious to pain. One of the things we talked about is this idea that [the characters] become better fighters the more oiled they get."


The film uses pop and rock music from the time of the characters' adolescence. Wright explained: "A lot of those songs are ones that really hit me and Simon hard when we were that age. .. [Gary's] character is still living by those rules. It's like he decided to take 'Loaded' and 'I'm Free' to heart and thinks the party's never going to end."


The World's End premiered on 10 July 2013 at Leicester Square in London and was released on 19 July 2013 in the United Kingdom. It will be released in the United States on 23 August 2013.


Box office

The World's End earned £2.1 million during its UK opening weekend, losing the top spot to Monsters University. Its weekend grosses were higher than Shaun of the Dead's £1.6 million but lower than Hot Fuzz's £5.4 million.

Critical reception

The film has received critical acclaim. It also has a 76% score on Metacritic based on 9 reviews.

Mark Dinning of Empire Magazine gave the film 4 stars out of 5, writing: "Bravely refusing to rigidly adhere to a formula that has been so successful, Wright, Pegg and Frost's Cornetto Trilogy closer has tonal shifts you won't expect, but the same beating heart you've been craving." Henry Barnes of the Guardian gave the film 4 stars out of 5, writing: "With this final film they've slowed down a bit, grown up a lot. And saved the richest bite until last."

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