In a depression-ravaged northern English mining town, a group of miners refuse to work a dangerous seam. The ensuing struggle sees two friends escape their underground destiny; Davey Fenwick wins a university education, while Joe Gowlan leaves for a life of commerce. As they grow up - one idealistic and determined, the other cunning and opportunistic -their paths and love lives clash and cross, before meeting in a thrilling climax back in their home town. This was the film that established the credentials of Carol Reed, arguably Britain's greatest ever director. Although he had already made several well-received films, here he had the budget, the stars and the source material (A.J. Cronin's impressive 1935 novel) to deliver the visual sense, character treatment and political sensitivity that would famously feature in his later films like The Third Man, Trapeze (1956), Our Man in Havana (1960), The Running Man (1963) and Oliver! (1968).