Great Train Robber Ronnie Biggs is to appear in a new documentary about the city of Rio, directed by Julien Temple.

The 83-year-old, who fled to the Brazilian city in 1970, will feature in Children of the Revolution: This Is Rio.

Biggs was part of the Great Train Robbery of 1963 and went on the run after escaping prison, fleeing to Australia. He moved on to Brazil when the police were close to apprehending him.

“He fell in love with Rio and lived there for 30 years,” Temple said of Biggs.

“I like that aspect of Rio that you get at the end of The Lavender Hill Mob. It’s a place where, if you get away with it, you go and hide out. Biggs is obviously part of that syndrome.”


It will mark the second time that the British criminal has worked with Temple, following his appearance alongside the Sex Pistols in The Great Rock’n’Roll Swindle (1980).

Biggs is not in good health and unlikely to travel back to Rio for the doc.

“He (Biggs) will have to write his answers and hold them up,” Temple said of the infamous robber

“I might take him to a big blow-up photo of Copacabana beach and sit him in a deck chair.”

Chris Pickard, who co-wrote Biggs’ autobiography Odd Man Out: The Last Straw, is a consultant on the doc.

Lawless society

Temple said: “Rio is an extraordinary subject for a film. On one level, it seems to be the most racially said city…everyone is every shade of every colour.

“On the other hand, it is probably the most segregated city in the world where the favelas are actually another world, lawless and outside society. There are a lot of contradictions there.”

The director added that the film would “reach back” into the “nature of the Brazilian identity, the whole slavery issue and how the music still very much comes from that root of the slave African music.”

City docs

Temple was speaking at IDFA where his film London: The Modern Babylon (sold internationally by Ealing Metro) has been screening.

Produced through Mike Downey and Sam Taylor’s Film & Music Entertainment, Children of the Revolution is the latest in Temple’s ongoing series of docs inspired by cities such as Requiem for Detroit (2010).

Marvin Gaye/The Kinks

The prolific film-maker has also confirmed that he is still hoping to make a biopic about singer Marvin Gaye during his time in Ostend, Belgium, when he recorded his celebrated Midnight Love album.

Temple has been working with the writer Matthew Broughton on the screenplay.

“We’ve got a script. We’re tweaking it and hoping to go out with it,” Temple commented.

Meanwhile, casting is expected to be announced shortly on his Kinks film You Really Got Me, produced by Jeremy Thomas.

Writers Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais are working on a second draft of the script and Temple said he hoped to shoot the film next year.