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How Many Movies Have a Scapegoat Traffic Warden?

The traffic warden is an under-used trope in film-making

Think about it, it's the perfect profession, an acceptable target. Everything about what the traffic warden does is designed to make us ordinary folk have a bad day. Parking offences are not exactly crimes are they? No-one ever thinks "I deserved that ticket."

Most of us would put ourselves firmly in the group "not a traffic warden", and that leaves all those in the "Traffic Warden" group pretty much fair game for whatever the director wants them to endure.

But how often is the traffic warden used to vent our general frustration on in movies?

How many British films can you name with a traffic warden?

The answer is less often than you would think. Leaving aside the many documentaries about the humble real-life traffic warden in the wild. (probably the best of which is "Confessions of a Traffic Warden" by Olly Lambert.) And not counting the short films of 2007 and 2004, both called traffic warden, I can only find 8 examples of a traffic warden in mainsteam British movies.

The top 8 British Movies with traffic Wardens, have you seen them all?

Can't you just say 'hello' like a normal person?

Possibly the most well know scene would be the drenching received by the traffic wardens by James Bond's boat in the 1999 "The World Is Not Enough". Interestingly, the traffic warden in this scene is real parking enforcer Ray Brown, who gained notoriety in the reality tv show "Clampers". At the time, Ray was one of the most despised men on British TV and allegedly he wasn't told by stunt co-ordinator Vic Armstrong just how soaked he was going to get.

I fucking hate traffic wardens

My personal favourite traffic warden scene is in Guy Ritchie's "Lock Stock And Two Smoking Barrels" (1998). The lads discover an unconscious traffic warden among their spoils and Bacon (Jason Statham) tries and fails to knock him back out. Until they all realise how much they hate traffic wardens and bundle into the back of the van to give him another beating.

Is that an official position, or have you just bought yourself a yellow coat?

Ok so I know this one is not exactly a traffic warden, but the character is deployed in the same way. In "Paddington 2" (2017) Peter Capaldi's irritating "commander of the community defence force" is just as acceptable to abuse as a traffic warden and the film certainly capitalses on the close resemblance of his makeshift uniform, playing up to a common feeling that traffic wardens are low rent coppers and not, in fact doing a real job.

You are not disabled! Ehhh so you are mocking disfortunate people! You know God is watching you, God is watching you!

Eddie Kadi gives a great performance as a self-righteous singing traffic warden Tunde in coming of age wannabe gangster movie "Anuvahood" (2011). His follow up insults to the rest of the cast are also genius.

Next time you park around here read the fucking signs! Open your mouth.

The traffic warden in "The Guvnors" (2014), a surprisingly overlooked British Crime movie, reminds me of Trainspotting's volatile thug Begbie. He epitomises corruption and aggression and is surprising choice of profession for an ex football-holigan, but thinking about it, it might be a good thing to put on the application form!

And what a dirty rotten, low down, double crossing devil he is.

Peter Cook plays the "horned one" in the original "Bedazzled" (1967) and manifests as a traffic warden, which is an obvious choice as it's relatively easy for us to believe that some wardens might be incarnations of the devil. Classic performance from Peter Cook.

I was half way through nicking him and he drove off

It's an interesting use of the love to hate traffic warden in Morecambe and Wise's "That Riviera Touch" (1966). We don't feel sorry for them for their balls-up up at work because we don't ever feel sorry for traffic wardens do we? But we can't help but like them and root for them to win out in the end.

Buggered if I'm gonna be shot by a traffic warden!

Quite possibly the scariest film ever made. "Threads" (1984) is the most obscure film on this list. Originally made by the BBC for tv, this film gave Guardian film reviewer Peter Bradshaw "cold sweats" as it follows two Sheffield families through the 13 years in a post nuclear fallout Britain. A bandaged traffic warden was a huge part of the marketing imagery.

So you see, not too many examples of traffic wardens in mainstream feature length movies over the last 60 years.

New and coming soon

In pre-production now, The Moment Trap, it's got several traffic wardens and guess what? You're going to hate them all because they're bent!

I would like to add that we do not, in any way, condone the abuse of trffic wardens and that some traffic wardens may find some of our content upsetting.


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