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Tommy (1975)

PG  |   |  Musical  |  26 March 1975 (UK)
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 14,512 users  
Reviews: 186 user | 45 critic

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



(screenplay), (rock opera), 2 more credits »
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Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
The Preacher
John Entwistle
Pete Townshend
Arthur Brown ...
The Priest
Victoria Russell ...
Sally Simpson
Ben Aris ...
Reverend Simpson


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


Your senses will never be the same




PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

26 March 1975 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Tommy by 'The Who'  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$5,000,000 (estimated)


SEK 1,152,866 (Sweden)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(5 channel Stereo)|


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The building that is seen to be on fire, part of Tommy's holiday camp, is in fact really burning down. It is South Parade Pier in Southsea. A fire was accidentally started during the filming and the crew decided to include the footage in the film. The fire-crews and the fire are genuine. The pier was rebuilt and is still in use today. See more »


When Nora throws Tommy through the mirror there are pieces of the mirror falling into the pool with Tommy. When Tommy comes back to the surface of the pool there are no mirror pieces in the pool. See more »


The Who: Outside the house Mr. Simpson announced that Sally couldn't go to the meeting. He went on cleaning his black Rolls Royce and she ran inside weeping.
See more »


Referenced in The Making of 'American Graffiti' (1998) See more »


Cousin Kevin
Written by John Entwistle
Performed by Tony Newman, Dave Wintour, Paul Nicholas
See more »

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User Reviews

It's all in the music!
2 August 2004 | by (Chicago) – See all my reviews

It's been interesting reading all the reviews here for this movie. It seems you either love or hate "Tommy". I find it odd that you could completely hate a movie with the music of "Tommy". If you love the songs there has to be something about it then right?

I happen to be an admirer of the film. It's not a masterpiece but it succeeds more then it fails. Director Ken Russell has brought his weird sensibilities and ideas to the film and made it more a series of scenes then a coherent story. Yes it is bizarre. Yes it is odd. But the music keeps the film alive and flowing.

It seems apparent that Russell the director may have let some scenes run on a bit too long (the Marilyn Monroe worship scene for one), perhaps because he was bereft of ideas. But he always had the music.

The performances range from terrific to downright awful. Ann Margret is the best thing about this movie. Her Oscar nomination was more then deserving. Her fabulous voice went well with the songs she is asked to perform. Oliver Reed was always a dependable performer but he can't sing worth a lick. Either he should have been dubbed or the part re-cast. Roger Daltrey is just fine in the title role. Basically all he does is sing and smile. For the female fans out there he does go shirtless a lot as well.

There are many cameos in the film worth noting. All the members of The Who are seen though only Keith Moon has a role to speak of. Pete Townshend and John Entwistle are relegated to performing on stage in the worship scene. Tina Turner is the Acid Queen in a bizarre scene that doesn't quite work. Jack Nicholson (and this may be the only time this can be said about him) may be the worst thing in the whole movie. His role as a doctor is short but not so sweet. He sings but is a terrible singer. It's an embarrassing scene and no surprise that he never mentions this role. Paul Nicholas, as cousin Kevin, who babysits Tommy and subsequently tortures him is terrific.

On the whole most of the sequences work. For me the two best sequences are the pinball wizard tournament (with Elton John) and the making of a groupie sequence. And just remember, it's all in the music.

20 of 25 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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