John Lydon (the former Johnny Rotten) was originally approached for the role of Jimmy and even screen-tested for the role. However the distributors refused to insure him for the part and he was replaced.
The scene in the pie shop where Jimmy goes for a bite of "pie, mash and liquor" was shot inside A. Cooke's Pie & Mash shop at 48 Goldhawk Road, Shepherd's Bush, London. The Who began their career in Shepherd's Bush, performing their early gigs at the Goldhawk Social Club (205 Goldhawk Rd).
The scene where Jimmy & his mates are on their bikes overlooking the sea & pier & says 'That is Brighton', is actually Eastbourne. That's why beachy head is on their right, when it should be on their left if they were in Brighton.
When the table is thrown through the window, this is done by Alan Curbishley, the former manager of Charlton Football Club. This was arranged by Alan's brother Bill Curbishley who is the manager of The Who.
While regarded as multiple 'goofs' the various cars filmed that aren't in the proper time period were explained by the movie makers,with them stating that as they hadn't legally had the roads closed for filming the scenes with the Mods and Rockers on their Scooters and Bikes,the onus was seen as more important to keep an eye out for the Police,as the helmet laws had changed by the time of filming. Arranging road closures and ensuring proper period cars were included would have considerably raised the budget of the movie.
Directed by Frank Roddam, who also devised the tv series "Auf Wiedersehen Pet". Several actors appeared in both Quadrophenia and AWP, including Gary Holton, Timothy Spall, Ray Winston, Michael Elphick and Vincenzo Nicoli.
On the front of the scooter that Jimmy steals from Ace are the yellow initials "GS". These initials do not actually stand for Gordon Sumner, the real name of Sting, who plays the part of Ace Face. 'GS' stands for Grand Sport, a popular model of Vespa scooter in the 1960s.
In the original script, the sex scene between Jimmy and Steph took place in a basement and detailed that she would be shown naked. Leslie Ash made it clear she wouldn't do nudity, even if it meant losing the part. In the end the producers agreed to shoot the scene clothed - and changed the location to an alleyway.
Before shooting commenced, several of the cast were taken to the Metropolitan Police Training College in Hendon, North London, where they were taught how to ride their scooters properly by a met police motorcyclist.
During shooting Mark Wingett (Dave) turned up on set with a huge love bite on his neck, earning him a major dressing-down from the assistant director. The 16-year-old Wingett decided to quit the film but director Franc Roddam was determined to keep him. He persuaded Wingett to stay by giving him a shirt once owned by Sid Vicious, which Vicious had vomited all over (it still had the stains) after he had visited John Lydon and Lydon had hit him with an axe.
When director Franc Roddam first met Pete Townsend, Townsend brought with him tapes of orchestral arrangements of the score that he had produced, assuming that the film would be made in the style of a 'rock opera' in the same way Ken Russell had made "Tommy". Roddam explained he wanted to do the complete opposite and make it much more realistic in tone and style, although the score would still, obviously be very prominent and important on the sound track.
Pete Townsend, a longtime admirer of The Kinks, includes the scene where Jimmy is in a bathhouse; the bather next to him is singing Gene Vincent's Be-Bop-A-Lula. Jimmy responds with The Kinks' You Really Got Me, widely regarded as marking the transition from rock and roll into rock.
The trivia item below may give away important plot points.
Despite the slightly ambiguous ending, Franc Roddam, Phil Daniels and other cast members all agree that 'Jimmy' does not commit suicide at the end. He more likely, abandons "Mod" life and drifts into a more conforming and normal, adult existence.