IMDb > Tommy (1975)
Tommy
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Tommy (1975) More at IMDbPro »

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Overview

User Rating:
6.6/10   13,466 votes »
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Director:
Writers:
Ken Russell (screenplay)
Pete Townshend (rock opera)
(more)
Contact:
View company contact information for Tommy on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
26 March 1975 (UK) See more »
Genre:
Tagline:
Your senses will never be the same
Plot:
A psychosomatically deaf, dumb and blind boy becomes a master pinball player and the object of a religious cult because of that. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Awards:
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
An Introduction to Opera for Pop Fans See more (180 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Oliver Reed ... Frank Hobbs

Ann-Margret ... Nora Walker

Roger Daltrey ... Tommy Walker

Elton John ... The Pinball Wizard

Eric Clapton ... The Preacher

John Entwistle ... John Entwistle

Keith Moon ... Uncle Ernie

Paul Nicholas ... Cousin Kevin

Jack Nicholson ... The Specialist

Robert Powell ... Captain Walker

Pete Townshend ... Pete Townshend

Tina Turner ... The Acid Queen
Arthur Brown ... The Priest

Victoria Russell ... Sally Simpson
Ben Aris ... Reverend Simpson
Mary Holland ... Mrs. Simpson
Gary Rich ... Rock Musician
Dick Allan ... President Black Angels
Barry Winch ... Young Tommy

Eddie Stacey ... Bovver Boy
Liza Strike ... Vocal Chorus (voice)
Gillian McIntosh ... Vocal Chorus (voice)
Simon Townshend ... Vocal Chorus / Newsboy (voice)
Vicki Brown ... Vocal Chorus / Nurse #2 (voice)
Mylon LeFevre ... Vocal Chorus (voice)
Kit Trevor ... Vocal Chorus (voice)
Billy Nicholls ... Vocal Chorus (voice)
Helen Shappel ... Vocal Chorus (voice)
Jeff Roden ... Vocal Chorus (voice)
Paul Gurvitz ... Vocal Chorus (voice)
Margo Newman ... Vocal Chorus / Nurse #1 (voice)
Alison Dowling ... Vocal Chorus / Young Tommy (voice)
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Jennifer Baker ... Nurse #1 (uncredited)
Susan Baker ... Nurse #2 (uncredited)
Peter Brace ... Man with Knife (uncredited)
Imogen Claire ... Nurse at the Specialist's Practice (uncredited)
Christine Hewett ... Lady in Black Beauty Chocolate Commercial (uncredited)
Gillian King ... Handmaiden to the Acid Queen (uncredited)
Juliet King ... Handmaiden to the Acid Queen (uncredited)
Steven Longhurst ... Tommy accolyte (uncredited)
James Payne ... Man in Strip Club Collecting a Program (uncredited)
Alex 'Alien' Russell ... (uncredited)

Ken Russell ... Cripple (uncredited)

Directed by
Ken Russell 
 
Writing credits
Ken Russell (screenplay)

Pete Townshend (rock opera)

John Entwistle (additional material) &
Keith Moon (additional material)

Produced by
Harry Benn .... associate producer
Ken Russell .... producer
Christopher Stamp .... executive producer
Robert Stigwood .... producer
Beryl Vertue .... executive producer
 
Cinematography by
Dick Bush 
Robin Lehman (special material)
Ronnie Taylor 
 
Film Editing by
Stuart Baird 
 
Art Direction by
John Clark 
 
Costume Design by
Shirley Russell 
 
Makeup Department
George Blackler .... makeup artist
Joyce James .... hair stylist
Peter Robb-King .... makeup artist
 
Production Management
John Comfort .... production manager
 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Jonathan Benson .... assistant director
Gareth Tandy .... third assistant director
Gary White .... second assistant director (uncredited)
 
Art Department
Terry Ackland-Snow .... assistant art director
Jack Carter .... construction manager
Paul Dufficey .... set designer
Christopher Hobbs .... sculptor
Tim Hutchinson .... set designer
Harry Newman .... property master
Bryn Siddall .... buyer
Ian Whittaker .... set dresser
 
Sound Department
Iain Bruce .... sound recordist
Les Healey .... assistant sound editor
Dushko Indjic .... playback operator
Charlie McFadden .... boom operator
John Mosely .... quintophonic sound developer
Bill Rowe .... dubbing mixer
 
Special Effects by
Colin Chilvers .... special effects supervisor
Nobby Clark .... special effects
Chris Corbould .... special effects assistant (uncredited)
 
Visual Effects by
Malcolm Bubb .... special optical effects
Sheldon Elbourne .... special optical effects
 
Camera and Electrical Department
Bob Bremner .... gaffer
Eddie Collins .... camera operator
Dickie Lee .... key grip
Robin Lehman .... camera operator: special material
Brian Smith .... best boy
Malcolm Vinson .... focus puller
 
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Richard Pointing .... wardrobe supervisor
Leonard Pollack .... assistant costume designer
 
Editorial Department
David Bernstein .... colorist (digitally restored version)
Sati Tooray .... colorist
 
Music Department
Richard Bailey .... musician: drums
Howie Casey .... musician
Phil Chen .... musician: bass
Eric Clapton .... musician: guitar
Dave Clinton .... musician
Ray Cooper .... musician
Geoff Daley .... musician
Graham Deakin .... musician: drums
Bob Efford .... musician
John Entwistle .... musician: bass, brass
Martyn Ford .... music arranger
Nicky Hopkins .... music arranger
Nicky Hopkins .... musician: piano
Elton John .... musician: piano
Davey Johnstone .... musician: guitar
Kenney Jones .... musician: drums
Mike Kelly .... musician: drums
Keith Moon .... musician: drums
Dee Murray .... musician: bass
Ron Nevison .... music recordist
Tony Newman .... musician: drums
Nigel Olsson .... musician: drums
Caleb Quaye .... musician: guitar, lead guitar
Mick Ralphs .... musician: guitar
Terry Rawlings .... music editor
Alan Ross .... musician: acoustic guitar
Ronnie Ross .... musician
Fuzzy Samuels .... musician: bass
Gerald Shaw .... musician: theatre organ
Chris Stainton .... musician: organ and acoustic guitar
Tony Stevens .... musician: bass
Ray Thomas .... musician: drums
Pete Townshend .... musical director
Pete Townshend .... musician: arp synthesizer, guitar, keyboards, piano
Dave Wintour .... musician: bass
Ron Wood .... musician: guitar
 
Other crew
Lee Bolon .... location manager
Ricky Green .... location manager
Gillian Gregory .... choreographer
Kit Lambert .... original album producer
Kay Mander .... continuity
Ken Messenger .... flyer
James Payne .... utility stand-in
Dave Raymond .... flyer
Pete Townshend .... synthesizer programmer
Michael Anderson .... runner (uncredited)
Robin Demetriou .... cast and crew chef (uncredited)
 
Thanks
Bill Curbishley .... special thanks
 

Production CompaniesDistributorsSpecial EffectsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Tommy by 'The Who'" - USA (complete title)
"Tommy: The Movie" - USA (promotional title)
See more »
Runtime:
111 min
Country:
Language:
Color:
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Quintaphonic (5 channel Stereo) | Dolby
Certification:
Argentina:16 | Australia:M | Canada:PG (Ontario) | Canada:G (Quebec) | Denmark:15 (DVD rating) | Finland:K-15 (uncut) (2001) | Finland:K-16 (cut) (1977) | France:-12 | Iceland:L | Ireland:15 | Italy:T | Japan:PG-12 | New Zealand:R16 | Singapore:PG | Sweden:15 | UK:15 | UK:AA (original rating) | USA:PG (Approved No. 24081)
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
Roger Daltrey was taught sign language for this film by Hampshire vicar Canon Raymond Young, but unfortunately the gesture-song scene in this movie is a parody of signs.See more »
Goofs:
Continuity: In the "Pinball Wizard" scene, the Who's John Entwistle starts the scene playing a Gibson Flying V bass, and ends it playing a Gibson Thunderbird with a Fender Precision neck (a "Fender-bird"). He also starts the scene with long sideburns, and seems to finish it with a fully-grown beard.See more »
Quotes:
Nora Walker Hobbs:Got a feeling '51 is gonna be a good year, especially if we see it out together.
Frank Hobbs:So you think '51 is gonna be a good year? We'll marry now and see it out together.
Nora Walker Hobbs:I have no reason to be over optimistic, but somehow when you smile I can brave bad weat
See more »
Movie Connections:
Featured in Ken Russell: A Bit of a Devil (2012) (TV)See more »
Soundtrack:
ChampagneSee more »

FAQ

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
17 out of 20 people found the following review useful.
An Introduction to Opera for Pop Fans, 1 February 2009
Author: mstomaso from Vulcan

Anybody generally familiar with opera will immediately recognize that the Who's Tommy suffers from neither a weak nor outrageous nor terribly surreal nor even bizarre storyline in comparison to what passes for plot in many classic operas.

And anybody generally familiar with 1970s cinema will note that Ken Russell's envisioning of this film was actually one of a very small handful of intelligent and serious musicals produced during that decade, not a psychedelic experiment or a contribution to the avant-garde.

Many of the less complementary comments offered here on IMDb concerning this movie appear to be driven by commenters' personal opinions or prejudices about The Who or about Ken Russel, and seem to have very little to do with this film.

In 1969, The Who released their wildly innovative breakthrough album "Tommy". Written almost entirely by 23-year old Pete Townshend, Tommy was, like many albums of its time, an early example of album-oriented rock. But unlike similarly assembled LPs by the likes of Pink Floyd, Jefferson Airplane, The Beatles, etc., Tommy told a story through music and lyrics.

Tommy knew his father - Captain Walker - mainly through the photograph which has stood on the nightstand next to his bed all of his young life. His mother, Nora (Ann Margaret), a war widow, has shacked up with "Uncle Frank", a well-off and well-intentioned but rather low-brow gentleman (Oliver Reed). One night, Captain Walker comes home to find his beloved wife in bed with Uncle Frank, and Uncle Frank, in a panic, kills him. Tommy witnesses this and Nora and Frank expand the trauma by shouting silence and near-catatonic autism into the young boy with the classic lines "You didn't hear it, you didn't see it, you won't say nothing to no one, never tell a soul... what you know is the truth."

So Tommy grows up in a state of trauma-induced deafness, muteness and blindness. Guilt and sincere love drive his mother and her new husband Frank to seek every possible cure, and Townshend (and Russel) waste no opportunity to skewer religion, medical science, traditional family dynamics, and testosterone-influenced views of sexual rites of passage.

Eventually, Tommy and his mother will find their own cures - in quite unexpected places. And Tommy will offer his apparently miraculous awareness to the rest of the world as a universal form of salvation.

Although the medium of the album and the film is rock music, Tommy strings together many of the most powerful elements of classical opera. Religion plays an important, though atypical, role in Townshend's story. Allegory is a key to understanding the entire process. And both the lyrics and the film incorporate widespread and often incisive social criticism - touching on broad intellectual themes such as the escape from freedom, the subjectivity of truth, and the inherent futility and silliness of most efforts to improve the lot of humanity.

If you let yourself 'go with it' Tommy will likely take you places you've never been. I won't promise that you will like it, but rather, that if you keep your mind open and let it pour in, like most operas, Tommy will move you.

WITH REGARD TO THE FILM:

Facing a nearly impossible task, Ken Russel enlisted Townshend, Daltrey, and a host of very talented and popular musicians and actors to make Tommy. Most of the time, this works - Ann Margaret, Roger Daltrey, and cameos by Jack Nicholson, Elton John, Tina Turner and Keith Moon are all outstanding. Unfortunately, Oliver Reed, as well-cast as he was, has no vocal talent to speak of, and Eric Clapton has the on-screen charisma of a desk lamp.

Despite the common 21st century wisdom concerning the amount of experimentalism in 1970s films, films like Tommy, Rollerball, Deathrace 2000, French Connection, Solyaris, 2001, etc, were actually very few and far between during that decade. In fact, most of the films released in the 1970s were so uninventive and uninteresting that they can only be found on public domain download sites and budget mega-pack DVD sets.

Although Russell was a shoe-in for directing this film - given his longstanding interest in visualization of classical music (http://pro.imdb.com/name/nm0001692/) and more challenging subjects, Tommy was - even for Russell - a wildly innovative film:

- NO DIALOGUE -

a singing cast tells the story, set against The Who's original music, and Russell's visual story-telling is as powerful and striking here as it was in Gothic and many of his better-known films. Oliver Reed's bellowing vocalizations are a bit overbearing, and too much synthesizer is added to embellish a score which was 6-years old by the time the film was released. But the problems with the sound track are at least partly made-up for by fabulously campy musical cameos by Tina Turner and Elton John, and - FINALLY - by Daltrey's excellent performance once Tommy himself gains a voice. Ann Margaret's singing is also quite good, but, unfortunately, several of her songs are infected by Reed's brutish howling.

All considered Tommy is a must-see for open-minded film enthusiasts, and particularly those interested in the evolution of the modern musical.

Recommended.

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Message Boards

Discuss this movie with other users on IMDb message board for Tommy (1975)
Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Tommy: Best album made into worst movie. brinsonmh
ABSOLUTELY HORRIBLE MUSIC!!! reiswig789
The soundtrack album cover freaked me out when I was a kid cryptical70
Why Oliver Reed? laffinboy331
marilyn monroe nickbatt93
There should be a new 'Tommy' film. techalex-418-622302
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