A psychosomatically deaf, dumb and blind boy becomes a master pinball player and, subsequently, the object of a religious cult.

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(by) (as 'The Who'), (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
The Preacher
...
Himself
...
...
...
...
...
Himself
...
Arthur Brown ...
The Priest
Victoria Russell ...
Sally Simpson
Ben Aris ...
Reverend Simpson
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Storyline

Nora Walker is told that her British fighter pilot husband is missing in action and presumed killed in World War II. On V.E. Day, Nora gives birth to their son, who she names Tommy. While Tommy is an adolescent, Nora marries Frank, a shifty camp counselor. Shortly thereafter, Tommy suffers an emotionally traumatic experience associated with his father and step-father, which, based on things told to him at that time, results in him becoming deaf, dumb and blind, a situation which several people exploit for their own pleasure. As Nora tries several things to bring Tommy out of his psychosomatic disabilities, Tommy, now a young man, happens upon pinball as a stimulus. Playing by intuition, Tommy becomes a pinball master, which in turn makes him, and by association Nora and Frank, rich and famous. Nora literally shatters Tommy to his awakening, which ultimately leads to both the family's rise and downfall as people initially try to emulate Tommy's path then rebel against it. Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Your senses will never be the same

Genres:

Drama | Musical

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

26 March 1975 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Tommy by 'The Who'  »

Box Office

Budget:

$5,000,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(5 channel Stereo) (as Quintophonic Sound®)| (as Dolby System Noise Reduction - High Fidelity Optical Sound Track)

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ann-Margret largely improvised the infamous bean scene. Ken Russell simply told her that her character was having a nervous breakdown and that she could do whatever she wanted. Unfortunately, at one point during filming, her hand accidentally struck the broken glass of the TV screen and Russell had to rush her to hospital for stitches. See more »

Goofs

During "There's A Doctor I've Found", Nora sings, "Let's see him tomorrow," but her lips stop moving and her voice continues. See more »

Quotes

Cousin Kevin: [Starts singing while playing on the piano] We're on our own, Cousin; all alone, Cousin! Let's think of a nice game to play... while the grown-ups have all gone away!
[pause]
Cousin Kevin: You won't be much fun, being blind, deaf and dumb, but I've no one to play with today!
[He grabs Tommy's head and places a brown bag over him while he continues singing]
Cousin Kevin: Do you know how to play hide and seek? To find me it would take you a week!
Cousin Kevin: [pause]
[Cousin Kevin grabs a chair and hits Tommy with it]
Cousin Kevin: But tied to that chair ...
[...]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Latter Days (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

There's A Doctor
(uncredited)
Written by Pete Townshend
Performed by Ronnie Wood, Alan Ross, Kenney Jones, Chris Stainton,
Ann-Margret, Oliver Reed
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User Reviews

 
Fantastic Rock Opera!
5 July 2004 | by (Midlands, England) – See all my reviews

I first saw this movie a few years back whilst going through my Uncle's collection of records, tapes and videos etc. To be fair I was fairly sceptical about the prospect of spending at Saturday night drinking and watching a musical film involving "The Who" (a band I had obviously heard of, but not actually really listened too) with my Uncle. However my Uncle has great taste in music and has introduced me to many great bands and albums over the years, especially 60's rock music.

I think my initial reaction to the film was it had some great scenes, mixing fantastic music with iconic imagery, some very interesting cast members, and a very strange dark humour throughout most of it.

The scenes which I were first really drawn to were 1951/what about the boy? (whether Oliver Reed can sing or not without severe editing, he fits his part perfectly and both he and Ann-Margaret shine during this scene), Acid Queen (an amazing performance by Tina Turner) and Amazing Journey.

Due to enjoying these songs/scenes so much I revisited the film a few times and then really found the true depth of the movie. The songs are top notch, with the above mentioned and others such as Christmas, Pinball Wizard, I'm Free, Sally Simpson and Listening To You amongst the best. Every scene is almost mesmerising in it's own way (apart from Eyesight to the blind, although I love Eric Clapton, I just do not enjoy this part at all).

I had been looking for this on DVD for sometime, and in the meantime had purchased the original CD (interesting how some songs are better on the CD whilst others translate better in the movie) as a substitute. I was of course extremely pleased at the recent 2 Disc Collectors Edition release and did not hesitate to make my purchase.

OK, the story is not your run of the mill, easy to understand type and I think it is open to all kinds of interpretations, the main thing is the movie is a visual and musical feast almost like an extended ultra good pop video.


27 of 32 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Tommy: Best album made into worst movie. brinsonmh
ABSOLUTELY HORRIBLE MUSIC!!! reiswig789
There should be a new 'Tommy' film. techalex-418-622302
How many saw this on the big screen? lenono68
I wonder whatever happened to barry Winch... alisotom
Oliver Reed + Ann-Margret Question... pl122
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