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Scum (1979)

 -  Crime | Drama  -  28 September 1979 (UK)
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 6,074 users  
Reviews: 83 user | 34 critic

This is the hard and shocking story of life in a British Borstal for young offenders. Luckily the regime has changed since this film was made. The brutal regime made no attempt to reform or... See full summary »

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Title: Scum (1979)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Mick Ford ...
Julian Firth ...
Davis
John Blundell ...
...
John Judd ...
...
Peter Howell ...
Governor
John Grillo ...
Ray Burdis ...
Alan Igbon ...
Meakin
John Fowler ...
Bill Dean ...
Duke
...
Hunt
Nigel Humphreys ...
Taylor
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Storyline

This is the hard and shocking story of life in a British Borstal for young offenders. Luckily the regime has changed since this film was made. The brutal regime made no attempt to reform or improve the inmates and actively encouraged a power struggle between the 'tough' new inmate and the 'old hands'. The film was originally made as a BBC play but it was banned before ever being shown. So 'Alan Clarke' and 'Roy Minton' got it re-made as a film. This is a tough and brutal film and should not be viewed lightly. Written by Steve Crook <steve@brainstorm.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The film they tried to ban! A brutal story of today. See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

28 September 1979 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Escoria  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

£250,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ray Winstone did not hit Phil Daniels with the sock containing the snooker balls despite the scene being done in one take. A crew member laid on the floor and handed Winstone another sock containing ping pong balls. Nevertheless, Daniels claimed it was very sore when Ray whacked him with the sock. See more »

Goofs

Archer, an intelligent character, refers to a Bible in Yugoslavian. There is no such language. See more »

Quotes

Richards: [to Angel] Stand up, coon. Name and number. Attention when I come in. I said up!
[Eckersley closes the door]
Richards: [grabs Angel] He said up, didn't he?
[Banks and Richards beats up Angel and scatter his gear on the floor. Eckersley, Banks and Richards leave]
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Ban the Sadist Videos! Part 2 (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Badly Bruised - Slightly Stowed
(uncredited)
Written by Colin Tucker
De Wolfe Music Ltd
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A raw, powerful film
12 July 2005 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

STAR RATING: ***** The Works **** Just Misses the Mark *** That Little Bit In Between ** Lagging Behind * The Pits

Tough thief Carlin (Ray Winstone) is transferred from his previous borstal after assaulting a prison officer to a much tougher institution where force and fear is the ultimate currency. The film follows the fortunes of him and the other inmates there and Carlin's relentless quest to come out as 'the daddy' among the other hard-case cons...

Nowadays, many people complain about the shambolic state of British Justice (once the envy of the world!) and, significantly, how Young Offenders Institutions are now just converted holiday-camps for those sent there who scoff at their lamentably lame punishment. Yet the very purpose of this film, made over 20 years ago, was to show the abuse of human rights that was taking place at the time in the borstals in Britain and to get something done in the way of changing it.

Having chosen a crime-free life in my youth and thus never being sent to a borstal (and not knowing of anyone who did!) I would have no way of knowing if the events portrayed in this film really took place, but if they were as bad as this, the film very chillingly gets them across. It's another one of those cult films where there's no real actual plot (i.e. Trainspotting) par se, but in it's drama function it very involvingly depicts the trials and tribulations of the inmates in their struggle to survive in the oppressive, violent world of the borstal and their individual characteristics that ultimately determine whether they'll come out on top or not. The bleakness of their world is further emphasized by the film's clever absence of a soundtrack.

As for the performances, Winstone cemented his future success with his ground-breaking performance here as the foul-mouthed, hard-cased, cockney to the bone 'daddy' who fights to come out on top in a world of aggression. All of the supporting cast do wonders in their individual roles do wonders to, especially those portraying the prison officers who are not far separated from the very thugs they're meant to be controlling.

Scum is a film that is thoroughly deserving of it's cult status, a film that spurned those in power into action and, though dealing with issues that are nowhere near as bad as back then, is no less as shocking and disturbing. *****


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Who are the two screws at the beginning of the film firebird_1984
Whats so bad about rape scene? JackLondon2004
Did ITV4 ruin it? jiminy80
Anyone Actually Been In Borstal? Mr_Pink_2003
why did they rape him? red_dragon8089
Moral of the story? metalcj
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