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Traumatised by the Battle of Waterloo, a young soldier, Joseph, returns to his loving but poor mill-working family in Manchester. The victor of Waterloo, Wellington, is handsomely rewarded in Parliament, and his subordinate, General Byng, is appointed to deal with unrest in the North of England. Post war, working people suffer unemployment, bad harvests, and restrictions on corn imports. They have no vote, and popular pro-franchise meetings are held by moderate radicals and more extreme firebrands. Joseph, his father and his brother attend these, but his mother is sceptical. The Manchester magistrates impose severe punishments, local and government spies abound, and in London the Home Office intercepts mail. The Prince Regent is attacked in public, so Parliament suspends citizen's rights. Lancashire radicals Bamford and Healey return home from the capital, enthusing about the famous orator Henry Hunt, whom they suggest be invited to address a proposed mass demonstration at St Peter's Field. This plan takes hold, Female Reformers join and momentum builds. Whilst the brutal anti-radical local yeomanry prepare their weapons, leading young radicals are imprisoned.

Arriving in Manchester, Hunt, furious to discover that the meeting has been postponed, reluctantly stays with the owner of the radical local newspaper. Committed to peaceful means, he overrides Bamford, who wants some marchers armed, and gets the hostile magistrates to promise he won't be arrested. They in turn discover that General Byng plans to be absent from the meeting, sending a deputy instead. Thousands walk miles on the day, Joseph's family among them. The magistrates dither and bicker before ultimately sending in the yeomanry and the military. The massacre ensues. Many are injured. Joseph is killed. Byng attends horse racing elsewhere. Surveying the carnage, journalists, recalling Waterloo, dub the event The Peterloo Massacre. The Prince Regent congratulates the magistrates. The family buries Joseph.

| 2019 | 2 hr 34 min | 6.4/10 | 66/100
Rory Kinnear, Maxine Peake, Pearce Quigley, David Moorst
Amazon Studios
Mike Leigh

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Official Trailer | Amazon Studios|1:22
Official Trailer | Amazon Studios|1:22

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