Bob Hoskins is Harold, the head of the London gangsters, looking to legitimize himself with a real estate deal. He's got cops and local politicians on his payroll, helping him secure his deal; he's lining up the American Mafia to help with cash flow. The IRA gets involved, however, and starts chipping away at his organization: stabbing a confidante, blowing up his mother's car while she's at church, setting off bombs in restaurants. Harold has to figure out who's after him - and stop them - before the Americans get cold feet and pull out of the deal.
There is a lot going on in this movie and it took some post-viewing internet research before Mr. Mouse and I figured out exactly what happened (and we're still not clear on one point). The violence and language is incredibly tame for a British gangster movie by today's standards. This was Hoskins's breakout role and he's quite good; Helen Mirren is his smart and gorgeous girlfriend Victoria, and she works just as hard as he does to try to resolve the conflict swirling around them. I'd be hard-pressed to give The Long Good Friday a grade, though, because while I enjoyed it and found it held my attention, I was frustrated by so often not knowing who the players were and just what they were doing.