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London, 1965: Like many other youths, Jimmy hates the philistine life, especially his parents and his job in a company's mailing division. Only when he's together with his friends, a 'Mod' clique, cruising London on his motor-scooter and hearing music such as that of 'The Who' and 'The High Numbers', does he feel free and accepted. However, it's a flight into an illusionary world. Written by
Tom Zoerner <Tom.Zoerner@informatik.uni-erlangen.de>
When Jimmy boards the train to Brighton, the locomotive shown is a Class 50, number 50 008. This number was applied in 1974, and the class was used exclusively on Paddington services, at the time of filming. See more »
A young man joins the British mod movement and gains a feeling of belonging and importance, but this makes him even more disenfranchised from his boring 9 to 5 life.
Britain's answer to Rebel Without A Cause is based around a fair-to-middling Who concept album (they financed the movie too) and was made on a modest budget, but has far too much going for it to be ignored. Especially if you are working class and come from the UK.
(How it is viewed elsewhere is beyond my telling, but reading reviews on this site I get the impression that people from all over the world can relate to its central themes - even if the locations and accents are alien.)
Director Franc Roddam was smart enough to cast a young Phil Daniels in the central role of Jimmy. Daniels is a good actor, but he is neither smooth or particularly good looking. This prevents him being accused of glamorising some of the things that he gets up to.
Jimmy is, indeed, also a bit naive. He has a boring job in the post room of an advertising agency (note the satire about pushing smoking - this is the "no health warning" 60's!) and rides around on a scooter with lots of lights on the front.
Life, for him, is about getting through the day and partying at night/weekends to the hip sounds of the day - the non-Who soundtrack album is a taster to mid 60's Brit Pop.
(His parents don't understand him either - but this could be taken as read in this style of movie!)
As most of us know, and a few even tell Jimmy in the movie proper: Life cannot be all parties, cheap thrills and gang fights, but he doesn't seem to want to listen. He is one of the world's great "there must be more to life than this" merchants - in this he is right, but you need to be brighter, better educated or better looking to have it.
There is a good cast of British new wavers on show here: Leslie Ash plays Jimmy's love interest and Sting gets to be the "Ace Face" - the good looking top dog mod that Jimmy wants to be. The home truth about this character leaves Jimmy even more exposed.
Quadrophenia is one of the greatest films about being a teenager ever made and thank god we have video cassettes, DVDs and cable/sat TV so people can actually see it. A low budget classic that deserves to seen at least once by all film buffs and several times if it reflects your life in any way.
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