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Plunkett & Macleane

Plunkett & Macleane is a 1999 period movie directed by Jake Scott, starring Robert Carlyle, Jonny Lee Miller and Liv Tyler. It follows the story of Cpt. James Macleane (Miller), and Will Plunkett (Carlyle), two men in 18th century England who are both struggling to survive. The characters are loosely based on two genuine highwaymen of the eighteenth century, James MacLaine and William Plunkett although the story bears little relation to their actual lives.


Captain James Macleane (Jonny Lee Miller)

Will Plunkett (Robert Carlyle)

Lady Rebecca Gibson (Liv Tyler)

Thief Taker General Chance (Ken Stott)

Lord Rochester (Alan Cumming)

Lord Gibson (Michael Gambon)


Before they meet, Plunkett is a criminal working with a partner. However, very soon into the film his partner is killed by Thief Taker General Chance, and Plunkett finds himself on the run from the local constabulary.

This incident was witnessed by Captain James Macleane, who was being taken to a debtor's prison. He also sees Plunkett's partner swallow a ruby, which he sees as his ticket out of debt, and, after narrowly escaping discovery by Chance, he goes to the cemetery and tries to exhume the body and retrieve the ruby.

Unknown to him, Plunkett is also at the cemetery, and he forces Macleane to give the ruby to him. He then also swallows it, as they are both found by Chance's men. They go together to prison, and Plunkett realises that, because of Macleane's nobility, he can give the ruby to Macleane and he can use his influence to buy them both out of prison. This, despite protests from Macleane, starts a partnership which could be very successful, where they use Macleane's title to get to know the rich, and Plunkett's brains and planning to rob them later on. However, this all goes haywire when Macleane falls for the beautiful Lady Rebecca and lets their secret slip.

Eventually, Plunkett's plans to escape the country to America are spoilt by Macleane's uncontrollable spending, and Plunkett leaves him to the gallows. However, Plunkett comes back at the very last minute to save his friend, and all three leave for America.

At the very end we see Plunkett get his own back on Chance, as he shoots him in the sewer.

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