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Scum (1979)

 -  Crime | Drama  -  28 September 1979 (UK)
7.7
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 6,077 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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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 The film was originally made as a BBC play but it was banned before ever being shown.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:

In borstal survival rules! 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

David Threlfall, who originally played Archer in the BBC version of Scum (1977), was offered the role in the movie but was unavailable owing to prior commitments with the Royal Shakespeare Company. 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 Little Britain: Biggest House of Cards (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

difficult to watch, but worth seeing once
25 November 2004 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I've now seen this movie several times, although admittedly watching it can hardly be classed as a 'pleasure'. Alan Clarke made this feature after his TV play from two years earlier was banned, and perhaps had more freedom here to explore the issues.

Carlin (an early, showy appearance from Ray Winstone) is sent to Borstal where he quickly establishes himself as a tough boy with a regime of strength. Typical Winstone performance in many ways. In the prison with him are his shadow Richards (played by Phil Daniels); cynical, bare-footed Archer (Mick Ford, these days more often seen the other side of the law in such dramas as 'Silent Witness'); black inmate Angel (Davidson Knight); and quiet Davis, the boy who gets picked on for being a loner (a quite staggering performance from Julian Firth, who never really lived up to this early promise).

Scum is uncompromising - violent (there's a rape which leaves little to the imagination, a suicide, several fights); scathing in its condemnation of the 'system' (which thankfully is not like this now) - and yet finds time for character development and convincing plot. Without any music it is purely presented in documentary style, matter-of-fact 'this is how it is'.

Not a fun movie, but one which tries to make a point, and, if nothing else, has the power to shock and make you remember certain sections for a long time after viewing. Recommended.


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