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Tommy (1975)

PG  |   |  Musical  |  26 March 1975 (UK)
6.6
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 14,094 users  
Reviews: 180 user | 42 critic

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

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(screenplay), (rock opera), 2 more credits »
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Title: Tommy (1975)

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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:
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...
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The Preacher
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John Entwistle
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...
...
...
...
Pete Townshend
...
Arthur Brown ...
The Priest
...
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:

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'  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$5,000,000 (estimated)

Gross:

SEK 1,152,866 (Sweden)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(5 channel Stereo)|

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Pete Townshend, Oliver Reed had incredible problems recording his part of the soundtrack owing to his inability to sing, and he was able to complete it only because his singing parts were recorded in small bits. Because of this frustrating experience, Townshend was extremely suspicious towards Jack Nicholson when he was chosen to the role of the doctor. Townshend, however, finally agreed when he heard Nicholson singing effortlessly. See more »

Goofs

Visible during "Acid Queen." 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

Spoofed in Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Smash the Mirror
Written by Pete Townshend
Performed by Kenney Jones, John Entwistle, Alan Ross, Ann-Margret
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Your senses will never be the same...you can say that again!
10 August 2006 | by (Portland, Oregon, USA) – See all my reviews

I will say that the movie version of "Tommy" is not as good as The Who's original opera. I guess that it's hard to adapt something like that to the silver screen. But even so, this movie is an experience unlike any other. Watching it, you try to figure out how to digest all that you're seeing and make sense of it (although I would reject calling it sensory overload).

The plot of course has deaf, dumb, blind Tommy Walker (Roger Daltrey) becoming a pinball champion and developing a cult following. Daltrey has no trouble getting into the role, especially when he sings "I'm Free". Equally good - and quite perceptive - is Ann-Margret as his mother Nora, using his celebrity to enrich herself; I really liked the scene where she hallucinates soap, beans and chocolate pouring out of the TV set. Oliver Reed seems a little bit wooden as Frank, whom Nora marries when she hears that her husband has gotten killed in WWII, but he still passes. Tina Turner really goes over the top as the Acid Queen, who tries to cure Tommy. Elton John is OK as the Pinball Wizard, but I guess that anyone could have done that role. Probably the most surprising cast member is Jack Nicholson as The Specialist; I mean, who would have ever imagined Jack Nicholson of all people in a musical?* Peter Townshend, John Entwistle and Keith Moon also appear.

All in all, director Ken Russell instills this movie with the same sensibility that we find in the rest of his movies. Maybe it seemed better in the cinema, with its quintaphonic sound. But it's still something that I recommend to everyone. In conclusion: See it...feel it...touch it...heal it.

*Just imagine musical versions of "Five Easy Pieces", "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest", "The Shining" and "As Good As It Gets"!


11 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Tommy: Best album made into worst movie. brinsonmh
ABSOLUTELY HORRIBLE MUSIC!!! reiswig789
An uncredited superstar? kevinjamez
There should be a new 'Tommy' film. techalex-418-622302
How many saw this on the big screen? lenono68
Roger Daltrey made this movie incredibly difficult to watch. carlyj94
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