Quadrophenia (1979) Poster

(1979)

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8/10
The British Rebel Without A Cause...
Peter Hayes4 October 2002
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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10/10
life's core brutally and artfully revealed - 10+++
delphivagi12 August 2002
What a wonderful film. If you ever thought you were safe, or that your world was impregnable, then you must see this film. Watch as every important elements of a young man's (Jimmy's) life is stripped away, piece by piece, until he has no anchor, no magnet, and no direction in life.

Without his familiar crutches (hooliganism, drugs, girlfriends, Mod clansmen, job, parents, home and 'scooter'), Jimmy is faced with a terrifying realization that he - alone - must completely rebuild and reinvent himself.

In a way that is hard to describe in words, director Franc Roddam exposes the raw core of life, unadorned by all the temporal things by which we measure success, worth and happiness. Better still, he forces the viewer to examine the very definition of 'a life'.

The movie generates ever increasing momentum, culminating in one of the most intensely disturbing realizations ever captured on film, with the white cliffs of Dover as the foreground, and the The Who's equally monumental and haunting "Love Reign O'er Me" in the background.

With the possible exception of Bill Murray's version of "The Razor's Edge", this is about as perfect a chance as we are ever afforded to examine the foundations of our own lives (...what more can you ask of a film?). Though this is not an uncommon cinematic theme, it has never been so brilliantly achieved.

An emotional and spiritual tour de force, and simply one of the best films ever made.
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An underrated masterpiece
Mutant-216 January 1999
One of the main criticisms at the time "Quadrophenia" came out was that it was noisy and violent rubbish. Quite how this opinion was ever formed is puzzling because the film I saw was a brilliant realistic portrayal of a mod in the 60's. The film has directorial flair, an excellent soundtrack and some underrated scripting and performances. It perfectly captures the angst and disillusionment of its protaganist to a level that has never been seen on film before or since.
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10/10
Excellent
preppy-329 June 2001
I hated this film when I saw it as a teenager back in 1979. The reason was the movie was realistic--too realistic! I identified (in some respects) with the main character Jimmy, and his life was bleak and depressing. Seeing it over 20 years later, I love it! It's a superb mix of the 1960s British "Angry Young Men" films, the Who's great album and 1979 sensibilities. It's about Jimmy (excellent performance by Phil Daniels) and his friends. It takes place in 1964 London and there are constant battles between the Mods (Jimmy and friends) and the Rockers. The film is full of violence, sex, VERY strong language (good luck with the accents), anger, alienation...the works. However, there is a strong sense of humor (a break in at a drug store is hilarious) and it does have a (sort of) happy ending. But it is very dark and depressing.

The music score is excellent. It's not just the Who, but other 1960s groups are used also. The direction by Franc Roddam is wonderful--it perfectly merges the music, imagery and story (especially with "Love, Reign Over Me"). My only real complaint--why not use the whole album "Quadrophenia"? Only about 1/8 of the two record set is used! Also interesting to see Sting in his first movie. Don't miss this one!
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10/10
Not only a great adaptation of The Who's landmark, but one of the greatest motorcycle movies ever made.
MisterWhiplash14 August 2004
Franc Roddam, the director of Quadrophenia, did not disappoint me with his interpretation of The Who's rock opera (unlike Tommy, which had it's moments but didn't was all over the map so to speak). He lets a viewer, who may not be entirely familiar to what occurred between the mods and the rockers in the early to mid 1960's Britain, in on what the energy, the attitudes were like among the young and old. It's not even classifiable as a rock opera as a film, because it becomes a hybrid- it's part motorcycle flick, with some well staged, intense fight scenes, rumbles, riots, etc; it's part anti-establishmentarianist take on what it's like to be at an age when you don't know what to do you with your life, and outside of the pleasures of being with friends and kicking' ass you tend to be aimless or work for people you don't like. It's also, major in fact, a psychological character study of one of these anti-establishment kids, a mod named Jimmy (Phil Daniels), who may be a little off balance in the head due to a fueling desire to be both with the excitement of his gang and with his need to find himself by himself, as well as to the "blues" pills.

There isn't as much of a story as there is character development, which sticks true to the source material, written by the clever and driving force of The Who, Pete Townsend. As Jimmy goes through parties, fights, a little love with a girl (Steph, played well by Leslie Ash), a riot, and problems with his parents and job, he enters a downward spiral. This is a tricky sort of story and character to pull off, because lay it on too thick and the audience could see the character as naive (and perhaps the character is, which makes sense in a sense), but add on the toughness and one-dimensional side of the biker attitude and it becomes a B-movie motorcycle flick. This doesn't happen.

Somehow the elements come together in the film, with the performances (by the way, Sting's debut performance is both mysterious and, ultimately, kinda funny), the documentary-style direction and editing (by Brian "Trainspotting" Tefano), and the music. The Who themselves serve as musical directors, and it's highly interesting for both Who and non-Who fans in how they choose only parts of songs sometimes (Punk and the Godfather, Dr. Jimmy) and leave some out completely (Sea and Sand, Drowned, two songs I hoped would've made the final cut). By the time the third act reaches it's heated peak, the music starts to perfectly embody what the character's going through. It also doesn't come off as cheesy due to the power of the songs.

Maybe I might be a little biased in writing this review- when I was around seventeen, eighteen years old, this was my favorite album behind Jimi Hendrix's Are You Experienced. Besides it containing some of the Who's most daring, somber, and fun work (5:15, Bell Boy, I'm One), the story was something that I could identify with strongly, as its themes are very knowing of what it's like for any guy at that point of crossing the bend from childhood to adulthood. Not to mention it rivaled Tommy in its ambition via the compositions, the entertainment value, etc. So I was almost hesitant to watch the film, as I thought I might have my expectations raised too high and it would be too loosely translated and made as not my kind of rock musical (i.e. like Tommy). For me, the experience was contradictory to what I thought- I ended up learning more about this atmosphere, the essence of living in Brighton by the beach and feeling the need for competition, acceptance, and then anger and loneliness. By the end of Quadrophenia I looked at Jimmy as being a character in the tradition of Humphrey Bogart in Treasure of the Sierra Madre- an anti-hero that may be doomed, but a viewer can still care about him.

Overall, an un-expected treat, and will surely please both Who and non-Who fans alike, though for Who fans the added treat is that the the emotion and strength of the group and songs translate excellently in the film. A+
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Classic tale of teen rebellion
planet_mamoo16 May 2004
This is a fabulous movie that goes far beyond the usual one-dimensional teenager- struggles-with-society's-conformity tale. In it, the main character, Jimmy, has got a good job but which seems pointless to him. He's a member of a posse of "Mods," a mid-sixties image- group that included quasi-Beatles-style clothes and haircuts, the use of Vespa scooters, and of course sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll.

Jimmy hates the conformity as symbolized by his TV-watching, emotionally-detached parents and dreads the prospect of becoming an ice-cold working stiff. Bus as time passes he begins to squirm in the conformity imposed by being a Mod, a conformity so ruthless it costs him a friendship.

Everything that seems to be a key to happiness, whether it's romance with Steph, a beautiful member of his posse, or taking part in a kind of "Mod Woodstock," or adoring the "King of the Mods" (played perfectly by Sting), or even just trying to escape it all aboard his trusty Vespa, becomes a dead end of conformity.

Throughout the movie, his frustration is building, and he can't figure out why. In the end, he finally realizes the source of his anguish, and, without giving anything away, addresses the heart of the matter.

Excellent performances in this movie (though the accents will be downright impenetrable for some viewers), great directing, strong writing, and of course it marvelously portrays the Mod lifestyle. All the groups shown in the movie can be taken as symbols for just about any community you could think of.

Best of all, the soundtrack is superb. Unfortunately, you can't really get the sense of it just watching the movie, so pick up the CD if you like The Who; it's one of their very best.

Overall, a must-see.
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9/10
That's why I'm a Mod see, because I don't want to be like everyone else.
Spikeopath4 March 2008
As the years have wore on, Quadrophenia has broken free of tagged cult classic status to emerge as a bona fide candidate for best British youth movie ever. The iconography of its main protagonist has subsided to let the core sensibility of the movies theme shine thru, this is pure and simple a perfect depiction of fallen youth during a heady time, a tale of ones ideology crumbling so sadly over the course of one weekend.

The period is captured vividly by director Franc Roddam, the stark threat of violence mixed in with the best music the 60s had to offer, serves to let the viewer feel they were there at the time, and the result is a perfect period piece. The story follows Jimmy {a tremendous Phil Daniels} on a voyage of discovery that is funny at times, yet also very sadly tragic, and for anyone who was once a teenager searching for identity and purpose........ then this film will have maximum resonance.

Wonderful 9/10.
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7/10
Mad Mod
jc-osms11 January 2013
I'm almost finished reading Pete Townshend's autobiography "Who I Am" and have been listening a lot to the Who's original double album of the same name so the time was right to finally watch the big-screen dramatisation of the record. I'm just a bit too young to remember anything about the vicious Mods v Rockers pitched battles at Brighton or the Mod lifestyle (I'm not sure just how far north it made it up to Scotland, it always seemed to me principally a London-based movement).

Nevertheless, the broader themes in the film of the generation gap between teenagers and their parents, the pain of rejection, youthful revolt against authority plus the less intellectual need for young kids to get drunk, drugged, violent and sexed up are universal and seemingly constant, which with the background of great 60's music, made for an engrossing and enjoyable if occasionally challenging watch.

This is Phil Daniel's Jimmy Fenton's worm's eye-view of life in the mid-60's, working in a dead-end job, out of touch with his parents and although on the face of it, there doesn't appear to be much to rebel against, sure enough, he loses his way and his mind as he suffers rejection from his employer, said parents, would-be girlfriend Leslie Ash and after seeing his Mod Hero '"ace-face" played by Sting, meekly conform to society mores carrying bags at a hotel, he gets pushed over the edge (literally). His only way out of the tormenting feelings he's experiencing for the first time sadly involve just a one-way ticket.

The film adopts a realistic, warts and all approach, with no let-up in the levels of bad language used, scenes of drug use (although it is "only" pill-popping "uppers" or "blues" as they're called in the film) and of course the centre-piece of the film, the recreation of the infamous Mods and Rockers "Battle Of Brighton" of 1965. There's some earthy humour though to leaven things, particularly two Mods encounter in the dark with a bunch of sleeping rockers, although one or two stray elements of sentimentality (Jimmy's heart-to- heart with his long-suffering dad, his friendship with an old pal turned rocker) slightly jar. Fan as I am, I could have done too without the too obvious genuflecting to the film's producers The Who (Jimmy putting on the "My Generation" single at a party, then gazing in awe at the band on "Ready Steady Go"), I guess he who pays the piper and all that.

Central to the movie is a superb performance by Daniels as Jimmy, his mood-swings oscillating violently as he takes or comes off his pills, wired to the moon as we say today. His energy and vividness set the tone for the whole film. Interestingly director Franc Roddam (later the creator of "Auf Weidersehn Pet" and, ...er "Masterchef" on TV), changes the ending and placement of songs from the album, but there's no denying the memorable climax to the piece.

In the end I was transported not only back into the era depicted, but more importantly into the head of "helpless dancer" Jimmy and would state that the movie well complements the great album The Who originally released, a rarity in "rock" movies.
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9/10
Near-perfect illustration of a music masterpiece
pauldiemer27 February 2005
First, as you perhaps can tell by my name, I'm a die-hard The Who fan and have been for a long time. Listening to the original Quadrophenia rock opera is almost a religious act for me. I also have to add that I was born in 1984, and the sixties for me are some kind of paradise perished forever. I had to wait several years after listening to the album before seeing the movie. During the first half hour, I was disappointed how few of the music was in it, but then the movie began to fascinate me by itself, it really dragged me in. This is mostly due to the great Phil Daniels. It is his portrait of Jim that really keeps the film alive. He *is* the mod of the sixties, he shows in every single scene why they were mods and why it couldn't last. The other actors also do a good job, nothing spectacular, but solid. Sting is entertaining, too. There are several changes in the story compared to the "Quadrophenia" CD booklet, but they make sense and work well. It would have been interesting to stay still closer to the rock opera, but, regarding that, when the movie was made, more than a decade had passed since the time depicted, it is understandable that the movie makers wouldn't want to go totally "musical" as in the pathetic "Tommy" film. "Quadrophenia", in my opinion, is better than "Tommy" because the story isn't torn to pieces and then mixed with tons of whatever they had left on the cutting room floor; it is a coherent line of events with the songs put in in the right moment (except, perhaps, for the divine "Love reign o'er me"). Over all, the movie really thrilled me. It is a very good adaptation of the rock opera, but also a great youth film in its own right. Call it cult if you don't like it, it has deserved it.
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5/10
How much you appreciate this film probably has a lot to do with where you are from and when you were born.
MartinHafer26 August 2013
"Quadrophenia" is a movie that is based in part on the album of the same name by The Who. It also was co-written by Pete Townshend and some of the executive producers included the four members of the band. It's set in the early-mid 1960s in England and concerns Jimmy and his group of 'Mod' friends. The Mods were well before my time but apparently they liked to dress stylishly, drive mopeds and tended towards R&B instead of popular rock 'n roll. Also, the Mods in this film are mostly angry, directionless and seem in many ways like precursors to the punks of the 1970s--though with a much greater fashion sense. Plus, I really cannot imagine punks riding around in motor scooters. But, they both seemed to share a love of violence, drugs and anger.

As far as the plot goes, the film is much like the Mods--rather directionless. This isn't a complaint and the film deliberately chose to show the lack of structure and anger of the Mods. For the most part, these teens drink, fight, take amphetamines, listen to music and stay up all night. Jimmy seems to be among the angriest and most likely to get himself killed. Later in the film, Jimmy and his blokes head to Brighton for a holiday and mayhem ensues. Exactly what happens, you'll need to see for yourself.

As I said above, how much you like the film will depend a lot on you. If you grew up at the same time and place as these hooligans, then perhaps you'll have a feeling of nostalgia watching it. As for me, although the film was well made, it was also unpleasant and I got a bit tired of all the pointlessly angry and disaffected youth. It just wasn't my thing and it's hard to love a film where you cannot stand any of the characters.

A few final observations: I don't think it was unintentional that the leading man, Jimmy, sure looked quite a bit like Townshend. The film sure could have used captions. I saw it on HULU and had to really pay attention to get what they were saying due to the accents. There's also a bit of male frontal nudity--though considering all the violence and anger, I doubt if it's a film you'd show your mom or your kids! Also, the music was very nice--the best part of the film, really.
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4/10
We are the mods! We are the mods! Hail, hail, hail, hail. (spoilers)
Pepper Anne26 December 2004
'Quadrophenia' is pretty much a like it or hate movie, and understandably so considered a cult classic. This is a movie that largely focuses on one rather eccentric young man who is party to the ongoing nonsense rivalry between Mods and Rockers in the mid 60s. Although the soundtrack is quite good, largely with tracks from The Who (the title comes from a Who album), the story, at least for me (since I have little interest in or sympathy for the story's arrogant young characters) is quite dull. True, one might identify with the lead's impatience for the distance between he and his parents, or the mundane work detail as a mailroom clerk, or that he can't seem to hang on to the girl he desires whenever they meet, or the contest for attention between he and the 'head' mod (played with little emotion by Sting), but unless you want to watch a character drown himself in his miseries and not do much else, then you probably won't have much fun with this film. Not to mention the poor sound quality that prevents much of the early dialogue from being heard. Nonetheless, it is one of the few (if not only) movies that I have seen that was about mod.
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5/10
Can You See The Real Me ?
ShootingShark19 September 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Jimmy is a mod in sixties London. He wears a parka, rides a Lambretta scooter, listens to The Who and gets into gang-fights with rival rockers. He reckons he's a face, but when he gets tired of fitting in, getting loaded with his mates, fighting with his parents and his girlfriend slutting around, he has some hard decisions to make.

This is a pretty good teenage angst movie, a kind of nineteen-sixties British version of Rebel Without A Cause or Pump Up The Volume. The backdrop is fairly unique - London and Brighton in 1964, as the mod movement was just peaking and burning out, and the movie does an excellent job of recreating the times, especially the notorious beach-fights. Although an original movie script, it's inspired by The Who's classic 1973 concept album and its story by Pete Townshend and book photography by Ethan A. Russell. For me it has some great moments when the music is playing, albeit briefly, such as when Jimmy stares at the canal and Townshend sings I'm One. Where it runs out of steam for me is the kitchen-sink drama, which is played okay, but is pretty boring. Daniels is good in the lead as the likably unlikeable Jimmy, and Elphick and Winstone give good support, but the rest of the cast aren't very exciting, with the exception of a young Sting as the iconic Ace Face. When Jimmy's on the move or thinking things through it's good, but his lame antics with his buddies and brainless rows with Steph are kinda tedious. An interesting flick nonetheless, with a cult following and a terrific soundtrack. Shot in Brighton and around Shepherd's Bush, Acton and Wembley in west London, where The Who all grew up. For a better movie of a record by The Who, check out Ken Russell's Tommy instead.
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8/10
Working Class AntiHero.
Cinema_Fan6 November 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Directed by Franc Roddam and produced by The Who, this partnership brings us one of most grittiest and realistic movies of the late 1970's, set in London during the Swinging Sixties at the height of the clash of the two dominating working class subculture's: Mod's and Rocker's. During their heyday, the Mods and Rockers would converge in the Seaside town of Brighton, and their differences would end in extreme conflict.

The Who were the biggest Mod band during the sixties, feeding off each other for inspiration's, such as dance moves and fashion's for example's. What they also had in common were the use of drug's, both the Mod's and The Who would be taking Speed, a drug that would help keep them awake and hyperactive far longer than the body and mind could sometimes cope.

After the sixties had ended and the Mods and Rockers had passed away and other fads, fashions and ideals had emerged during the Glam Rock day's of the early Seventies, The Who produced a concept album, the reminiscent: Quadrophenia. A double vinyl album that came out in 1973, and the story being about Jimmy the Mod. Being a mental condition similar to schizophrenia, were the illness is spilt into two traits, the Quadrophenia sufferer has a four way split, though not hearing voices as such, but still a mental degeneration in it's own right. Jimmy, who is the recipient of this condition, due to the over use of the drugs and booze that his working class life style dictates.

As time went by, the late '70's had arrived and The Who were delving into movie production. Quadrophenia the movie had arrived. Starring up and coming English actresses and actor's as Phil Daniels as Jimmy, Leslie Ash as Steph and Toyah Wilcox as Monkey. This movie, too, contains some of the most realistic and extremely harsh language that I have heard in a movie, the London locations are great as well as the wonderful scooters that are ridden by these pilled-up Wild Ones, very nostalgic. To see Jimmy and his two mates riding along Tower Bridge late at night to score drugs for the Brighton meet is, well, nice.

The musical score is as you would expect from a Who soundtrack: Thunderous and poignant, and Townsends' lyrics' delving into the troubled mindset of this young protagonist as a Physiatrist that delves and then reports his findings to his audience.

During the opening scene a silhouette of Jimmy walking back up from the cliff tops is seen. You have to remember that the movie is of Jimmy the boy, the boy who is betrayed by his best friend, his girlfriend and let down by his parents. To make his life more incomplete he loses his job, then he trashes his scooter, and his Mod hero "Face" turns out to be just another ordinary guy working for "The Man", a sheep in wolfs clothing. To the end of the movie he steals the Faces scooter, rides along the cliff tops and throws it over the side. He has finally grown up, he's had enough. The irony is that being a Mod is not to be like anyone else, to be different from the heard. To be able to grow up is to also conform, to a higher level of responsibility, to also be different and individual.

To be Adult.
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Good sense of period and culture but it is the poignant and convincing portrayal of Jimmy that makes it worth seeing (minor SPOILERS)
bob the moo5 May 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Jimmy Cooper works the daily grind in the mail room of a local advertising firm. It is a dreary and lowly position and one that offers him nothing that he wants from life. In stark contrast, being part of the Mod scene offers him identity, acceptance, attention and the chance to "be somebody". The big weekend down in Brighton beckons, with all the fun that comes with it, not to mention the chance of a run in with some rockers and Jimmy continues to live at night while suffering through the working day.

It was with some surprise and an element of disgust that my colleague reacted when I simply said "you know, I've never seen Quadrophenia" so I figured that I should probably make a bit of time to see what is considered a classic of modern British cinema. Watching it I found an interesting film that successfully mixes characters with a convincing sense of time and place. It is worth me saying that I'm too young (and from Northern Ireland) so I have no knowledge of this scene or time but the few aging Mods I know assure me that it is not a million miles off the wider experiences. So for me it serves as a snapshot of a time that has since moved on and has become more of a minor fashion statement than a "scene" but it is the strength of the film that the themes and characters are what keeps the film relevant regardless.

Specifically of course this is evident in the troubled and confused (Chr1st I'm middle-aged) youth Jimmy. The film convincingly portrays his neediness to be part of something to define himself, the joy of being there, the acting-out that comes when even within his group he is left out and the emotional collapse that comes when he fails to find anything to find the joy of being part of the mob in Brighton. It is a well observed and surprisingly honest and critical depiction of the character and of the wider struggle of youth. To me this is the core of the film and it is a solid piece of character drama, written with a real understanding of the feelings of those of this age. The period stuff is obviously very important too and the look, feel and soundtrack are all really well done and very enjoyable if you have any affection for any part of this culture (and I do for the music).

Daniels leads the cast really well with a performance that makes the film and delivers on the content in the script. He is a tragic and sympathetic figure and I imagine that many viewers will have some experiences that can make them connect with his turn. He is well supported by less well developed characters but still solid performances from a host of British acting talent. Ash is not brilliant but is OK and has not been in anything better since. Davis, Sting, Winstone, Elphick and others all support well but mostly the film belongs to Daniels and his performance is worthy of this responsibility. Writer/director Roddam pulls it altogether really well (some of it almost feels like news footage), with memorable images and shots, although it is hard to forget that his recent world has not really lived up to the standard he set early (unless you happen to be a big Master Chef fan, in which case he has).

Overall then this is an enjoyable but yet also impacting portrayal of the pain of passing from youth to adult. The convincing delivery of period and place only serves to make it better and, while this may date it, the strength of the character and of Daniels' delivery keeps it relevant and engaging almost thirty years later.
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9/10
If you like Mods, watch this!
British_Revolver24 June 2005
"Quadrophenia" is a great story about a teenager living in Britain during the Rockers vs. Mods movement. Phil Daniels captured the film as Jimmy Cooper, the cool, yet, sophisticated, drugged out Mod who goes through many obstacles. I really think that The Who did a great job with this film and I wished that they could've done another one like this. It was also a good film because of Sting (Ace).

Not many people know about the Mods or what teenage life was like back then in 1963; so I'm glad that this came out. I would recommend this movie to anybody who likes The Who or just wants to lay back and watch a British drama.
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All the Young Dudes
givnaw14 October 2002
I'm about as old as Sting is now.

When I was the age of the kids in this film, in my area of the world, we had two groups of kids, and you were either one or the other, unless you were a total loser, or just didn't care. In the movie, Jimmy and his crew were the mods; we had what were called the "baldies", because of the close-cropped hair. I placed my allegiance with the baldies. We wore what would be called "preppie" attire now: khaki trousers, button-down collar "Gant" shirts with the little loops in the back, high-polished leather oxfords in shell or wingtip styles, v-neck sweaters, and belts with big round buckles. The shoes were important in that the soles were heavy enough to inflict some damage in a fight. The shirts and trousers had to be perfectly pressed, and the shoes spit-shined. Yes, to any self-respecting baldie, appearance was extremely high on the list of importance. It was all about image, you see. Favorite baldie smoke: "boros"; favorite beverage: malt liquor.

In place of the rockers, we had the "greasers", for obvious reasons. Very similar to the rockers portrayed in the movie, with their black leather jackets, engineer boots, denims, and early Elvis-type hair. The greasers were more of your lower or lower middle class working kids, while the baldies were generally in a higher economic class. Music-wise, the baldies went for the Beatles, Stones and other British groups; the rockers hung onto Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins. Your typical greaser smoked Camels and drank Grain Belt beer, or booze.

Others had mentioned "The Outsiders". If I remember correctly, in that film, the "Soc's" (pronounced "sowshuz) equated with the mods/baldies, but I can't recall what the rockers/greasers were called. Anyone?

I guess the point is that all young men go through this stuff, to varying degrees, all over the place. You have that dangerous period where you are not a little kid anymore but not yet a man, the hormones are screaming, you think your parents are the stupidest people on earth, you HAVE to make sure you get your share. You desperately need to prove your manhood, because you're not a man and you're insecure about that whole deal. So you fight, to measure yourself against the next guy. And your buds are much more important to you than your parents.

The Vespas in the movie were something we didn't have around here: more car-oriented, though the greasers did have their Harley's. If there was a popular bike, it would have been the Honda 50! Sort of shows you how old and decrepit I am now.

I really was blown away when I first saw the film. Seemed real raw and honest, and loved the "Britishness" of the whole thing. But we could all totally relate, because as you see, the English kids were alot like us.
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10/10
Quadrophenia......IS the way of life.
sharkattack19781 March 2008
This is a film that has stayed with me throughout my life. It was a film I grew up with and has always been a film close to my heart. Quadrophenia is the story of Jimmy, a mod who rides fast on his lambretta and lives faster fuelled by drugs, drink and a huge ego. Back in the 1970's Quadrophenia was a mere idea of musical rebellion on vinyl. Later with Franc Roddam (who later directed "Auf Wiedersehen, Pet") they brought flesh and blood to a now legendary rock opera to the big screen. With key British talent playing the youth of tomorrow, Quadrophenia the movie was born. No-one at the time knew what cult classic it would become later in life but it has and will forever be. Quadrophenia is a movie where you can relate to the characters and you feel you are right with them through all the loud parties and the runs on the scooters right up to the fights and the arguments. Jimmy is after being the "face" the leader of the mods and as we journey through this film we can see that his wish may be the nightmare that he doesn't want. Filled with anger and hate, Jimmy's world slowly begins to crumble, he stands to lose everything that he holds dear to his heart. His world of delusions is dragging him kicking and screaming back to the real world. Phil Daniels gives a heartwarming performance as Jimmy that makes you believe exactly what the character is going through and makes you eventually sympathise with Jimmy. Ray Winstone is great and sometimes funny as his mate Kevin who has a new surprise for Jimmy. It's good to see Two of the cream of London Cockney's working together in a film that boasts the old trait of MADE IN Britain. The first time that they worked together was as rivals in the brutally realistic movie SCUM. I'd love to see another movie with these two sparring off against each other. Toyah "it's a mystery" Wilcox does a star turn in this as the girl who wants to get off with Jimmy, Dave Wingett makes you laugh as Dave, Jimmy's best mate, Phillip Davis provides some laughs as Chalky (check out the scene in the chemist) Leslie Ash does well in the role as Steph, the girl who Jimmy wants, and Sting as the face of the mods who Jimmy tries to outstage in Brighton. Backed by The Who's rocktastic soundtrack, Quadrophenia is a movie about what it's like to think you're somebody when you ain't and then get brought back to reality with a thud. The spectacular ending to this is the cream on top of this cult classic soufflé with the song that perfectly compliments the final scene sung with gusto by Roger Daltrey "I'VE HAD ENOUGH" which clearly words exactly what is going through Jimmy's mind at that particular point of the film. My advice is see it now if you haven't seen it before someone spoils the ending for you. Can you see the real me.......can ya?.........CAN YA?!!!
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8/10
The 400 Wild Ones
jldmp127 March 2007
The Mods v. Rockers thing draws from "The Wild One", but plainly this is a direct descendant of Truffaut's "Les Quatre Cents Coups". Visually, this is evident from the rooftop camera angles, and narratively, in the youth at bay for being unable to conform to 'the rules'.

The Who's double album was rather ambitious stuff...an arena rock opera that is about the Mod scene from ten years earlier, but without the slightest hint of retro-rock. Townshend and Co. ultimately stated that they were dissatisfied with the album.

But, enter the UK's 'New Wave' revival of Mod affectations in the late 70s, marry this to Truffaut's 'New Wave' film-making, and you have a worthy reinvention of the project.

The lyrical 'concept' is a manic-depressive youth who self-medicates, with bad results...the movie is imagined as a youth who chafes against the 'movie world'; that is, a world of actors playing 'actors' playing roles...and the youth is the only one who can't handle the dissonance when the other actors drop their facades, i.e., Sting appearing to be a rebel, the girl appearing to be a genuine love interest. Cinematically, it works quite well.

What held this back, I think, is the dubbing in of the music from '73, which is so out of place, the result is a complete thematic mish-mash. Roddam should have taken the approach that was used in the '75 "Tommy" all-star musical; that is, to cut all ties with the extant music, and record period reinterpretations to fit in with the visual and narrative components.
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10/10
The best rock opera put to film.
Rutland_Forever4 June 2005
Tommy was a total waste of film and Lifehouse is only a dream in the back of Pete Townshend's mind, so what do Who fans have in the way of rock opera films? Quadrophenia. This was my favorite Who album and I was anxious to see how it would be brought to life. From Townshend's sprawling, philosophical album, Franc Roddam brings about a real story. This tale of teenage angst is not for everybody. But for anyone who has experienced feeling lost and helpless, not really knowing where to go or what to do with your life, this is for you. If you've ever enjoyed the Who's rock music and want some stunning visuals to go along with it, this is for you. If you want to know what it REALLY feels like to be young again, then this is for you.

Phil Daniels gives the film's best performance as the tortured Jimmy, torn between doing things the way he always has and the growing emptiness inside of him. He's dedicated to his mod friends, but is repeatedly let down by them and his way of life.

It's not a flawless film, but it is the best example of a rock opera movie adaptation, and it keeps in the spirit of the brilliant Quadrophenia album.

Transport yourself back to the mod days. Don your parka, polish your Vespa, break out the French blues and grab your copy of "My Generation", because this is an incredible trip.
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8/10
An underrated cult gem
tomgillespie20023 May 2016
I knew little to nothing about the 'mods' and 'rockers' of Swinging Sixties London and the fierce rivalry that bristled between them before going into the film, but Quadrophenia, Franc Roddam's film based on The Who's rock opera of the same name, completely immerses the viewer in their world. The images I tend to conjure of this important era in Britain's history is that of The Beatles running from a screaming crowd of ecstatic girls in A Hard Day's Night (1964). While Richard Lester's film has the fortune of being made at the time this movement was thriving, it's light-hearted fare, albeit a terrific one.

Quadrophenia doesn't pull its punches, and portrays the mods, in particular the young, alienated Jimmy (Phil Daniels) in all of their rough-and-tumble, amphetamine-popping glory. Adorned in the latest fashion and riding around London on his customised scooter, Jimmy funds his lifestyle by begrudgingly working as a post room boy for the kind of stiff-upper-lipped types he loathes. Outside of his job, he is a living nightmare for his parents, constantly out all hours listening to rock music with his friends and popping blue uppers to keep him on edge.

He is romantically invested in Steph (Leslie Ash), who is currently involved with another chap, but after he does finally sleep with her, he discovers that the experience didn't have the same lasting effect it did on him. Jimmy also learns that his friend Kevin (Ray Winstone), fresh out of the army, is a rocker and therefore an enemy. A sense of alienation builds inside of the protagonist, with only the sense of belonging within the gang and cheap drugs to help drag him through his depression. It all builds up to a visit to Brighton where, along with super-cool mod Ace Face (Sting), meet up for a huge brawl with a gang of rockers.

Backed by a terrific soundtrack from The Who, Quadrophenia recreates a fashion craze now long-gone, and does so convincingly with a real sense of time and place. Jimmy and his gang are all working-class, slumping through dead-end jobs to fund their lifestyle in spite of their humble upbringings, infusing the film with a sense of social- awareness. The group show no desire whatsoever to fit in the social structure of a society they feel is unfair, with Jimmy in particular feeling left hung out to dry. But the most impressive aspect of the film is the young Phil Daniels as the raging tearaway whose character often treads dangerously close to being plain loathsome. He plays the role with an irresistible charm and swagger that make him entirely sympathetic. An underrated cult gem.
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6/10
Coming-of-age drama with neat music and a great cast
Leofwine_draca3 May 2015
QUADROPHENIA is a cult classic movie that explores the life and loves of a Mod living in Britain in the 1960s. The lead character is played by Phil Daniels, a familiar face from British television, and he gives an exemplary performance as an awkward but likable youth struggling to grow up and make it in the adult world.

Produced by The Who, QUADROPHENIA offers as its backdrop a portrait of 1960s era Brighton and the like, where battles between the Mods and Rockers are just around the corner and a great soundtrack generally accompanies the action. I'll be the first to admit I'm not a huge fan of this era - I missed it by a long shot - but this likable drama paints a solid picture of the times.

It's also remarkable as a "before they were famous" movie, featuring performances from the likes of Ray Winstone, Timothy Spall, Leslie Ash, Phil Davis, Michael Elphick, even Sting before they hit the big time. Barely a minute or two goes by without a familiar face, and it's fair to say that everyone is putting plenty of effort into their performances. It's this level of enthusiasm all round which has led to QUADROPHENIA's well-deserved cult status.
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8/10
classic teen drama with great music
FWeger5106524 September 2004
I first saw Quadrophenia in a cinema in the early 80s. Its a great story with really good actors and of course a great soundtrack. Franc Roddam managed a brilliant transition from a - what we call a Themenalbum in German, don't know the right English translation..an album with an ongoing story, into a movie. I hardly ever saw a movie that managed to catch the problems of an adolescent that good. Today its funny to see Sting as a rebellious youth, but he did great as all actors did. Its a rather atmospheric movie and a real must for those who are interested in the 60s.
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5/10
A time capsule that takes a while to warm up...
dfle311 March 2009
This movie was recently screened on one network's second digital channel here in Australia. To be honest with you, I found the first half hour or so rough going...did feel the urge to switch channels as I didn't find the movie very engaging. However, I stuck with it, and did find it passable after a while.

The English rock band The Who are behind this movie, which tells the story of Jimmy Cooper, a "Mod" who draws his entire social identity from this social group. 'Mods' listen to certain sorts of music and take drugs and ride motorcycles and generally hang out together.

"Quadrophenia" was released about a decade after this particular social movement had reached its peak. In the movie, you will see Jimmy and his friends grooving to the music of The Who, so the band didn't waste the opportunity to market their own music, which, in their favour, would have been the music of choice for mods at that time, no doubt.

After the tiresome first half hour, things get more interesting as we see the conflict between The Mods, and The Rockers (a rival gang/social movement) escalate.

This movie is interesting for seeing a long dead scene brought back to life by the members of The Who. If you were around at this time, you may get a kick out of the nostalgia that this movie represents. If you weren't around the time this film was set, you may get a certain novelty value from seeing the quaint mode of transport which the Mods favour!

If psychological portraits of gang members appeals to you, this movie will please, as there is much on how Jimmy requires his gang to feel he has a place in this world. But, if the idea of gang movies appeals for the prospect of violence, then the movie does keep you waiting a while for this.

By the by, I think I noticed some continuity errors in this film: if you look at the scene where the Mods are near a cinema, the movies showing seem anachronistic. More annoyingly, the ending is not clear cut. You assume that something has happened, but if you rewind and look closer, it's not at all clear that what you think happened did in fact happen. Presumably this is just bad editing and cinematography.

So...if you are a fan of The Who, or of 60s culture in England, this movie could appeal to you. However, it just took me a while to warm to it, and I didn't find it particularly good-in contrast to the magazine "Total Film" which ranked it the 35th greatest British movie of all time.
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10/10
Grewing up....
Zappa18 July 2005
I'll grew up with this movie and The Who at that time....I was very impressed when i saw this movie...

It is still a good one, good acting and beautiful music....

When i was on vacation in England i visited Brighton, and still there are hanging several pictures from the movie and The Who....

pretty cool....

I guess there are still in England groups like mods and rockers

Later at the time i bought several editions from Quadrophenia on cd, and watch a concert from The Who, playing Quadrophenia....

Quadrophenia is still very important for me...
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