IMDb > Scum (1979)
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Scum (1979) More at IMDbPro »


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Popularity: ?
Down 26% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Roy Minton (writer)
View company contact information for Scum on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
28 September 1979 (UK) See more »
Once the Vicious Scourge of the Streets ... Now Sadistic Animals of Borstal Prison! See more »
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... See more » | Full synopsis »
User Reviews:
Easily One Of The Finest Studies Of Conformity I Have Ever Seen. A Blistering, Unseen Social-Commentary and An Attack On A Unbelievably Flawed System See more (88 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Ray Winstone ... Carlin
Mick Ford ... Archer

Julian Firth ... Davis
John Blundell ... Banks

Phil Daniels ... Richards
John Judd ... Mr Sands

Philip Jackson ... Greaves
Peter Howell ... Governor
John Grillo ... Goodyear
Ray Burdis ... Eckersley
Alan Igbon ... Meakin
John Fowler ... Woods
Bill Dean ... Duke

P.H. Moriarty ... Hunt
Nigel Humphreys ... Taylor
Jo Kendall ... Matron

Patrick Murray ... Dougan
Herbert Norville ... Toyne
George Winter ... Rhodes
Alrick Riley ... Angel
Philip DaCosta ... Jackson (as Philip Da Costa)
Peter Francis ... Baldy

Andrew Paul ... Betts

Sean Chapman ... James
Ozzie Stevens ... Smith
Ricky Wales ... Chambers
James Donnelly ... Whittle
Joe Fordham ... Reg
Ray Jewers ... Gym Instructor
Ian Liston ... White
Charles Rayford ... Philpott
John Rogan ... Escort
Perry Benson ... Formby
rest of cast listed alphabetically:

Danny John-Jules ... Extra (uncredited)

Matthew Sim ... Inmate (uncredited)
Michael Tarn ... Extra (uncredited)

Directed by
Alan Clarke 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Roy Minton  writer

Produced by
Davina Belling .... producer
Don Boyd .... executive producer
Martin Campbell .... associate producer
Clive Parsons .... producer
Michael Relph .... executive producer
Cinematography by
Phil Meheux 
Film Editing by
Michael Bradsell 
Casting by
Esta Charkham 
Beth Charkham (uncredited)
Art Direction by
Michael Porter 
Makeup Department
Debbie Scragg .... makeup artist
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Raymond Day .... first assistant director
Michael Hamlyn .... assistant director
Chris Rose .... assistant director
Art Department
Bob Hedges .... props (as Bobby Hedges)
Judith Lang .... assistant art director
Sound Department
John Chandler .... boom operator
David John .... sound mixer
Tony Message .... sound effects editor
Terry Poulton .... sound editor
Steve Spencer .... assistant sound editor
Hugh Strain .... dubbing mixer
Camera and Electrical Department
Terry Edland .... gaffer
Joe Felix .... grip
Graham Hazard .... focus puller
Paul Jordan .... clapper loader
Joe Pearce .... still photographer
Mike Proudfoot .... camera operator
Billy Brooks .... electrician (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Monica Howe .... wardrobe mistress
Editorial Department
Roy Burge .... assistant editor
Other crew
Sallianne Branson .... production assistant
Terry Connors .... production accountant
Geoff Freeman .... unit publicist
Alison Thorne .... continuity
Rik Walters .... researcher (uncredited)
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
98 min
Color (Eastmancolor)
Aspect Ratio:
1.37 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Australia:R | Canada:13+ (Quebec) | Finland:K-16 | France:-16 | Germany:16 (re-rating) (2006) | Iceland:16 | Japan:R15+ (2014) | New Zealand:(Banned) (original rating) | New Zealand:R18 (re-rating) | Norway:18 (1980) | Sweden:15 | UK:18 (video rating) | USA:R | West Germany:18 (original rating)
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

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 »
Errors made by characters (possibly deliberate errors by the filmmakers): Archer, an intelligent character, refers to a Bible in Yugoslavian. There is no such language.See more »
Duke:Look at you sitting there with that daft smile on your face. Why aren't you over there with the rest of them?
Archer:I'm an atheist.
Duke:What do you think that lot are, Disciples?
See more »
Movie Connections:
References A Clockwork Orange (1971)See more »
Dirty Last NightSee more »


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17 out of 18 people found the following review useful.
Easily One Of The Finest Studies Of Conformity I Have Ever Seen. A Blistering, Unseen Social-Commentary and An Attack On A Unbelievably Flawed System, 15 May 2007
Author: Det_McNulty from London

Alan Clarke first released Scum in 1977 as a BBC TV-film, yet the BBC disapproved of the film due to the amount of raw, harrowing realism which had been packed into a short running-time. Therefore the BBC banned the version, and it was not until fifteen years later that the TV-version was aired on the UK's Channel 4. Though, to get around not being able to release the TV version of Scum Alan Clarke opted in for developing a remade, feature-length version to be aired at cinemas, this was released in 1979. The film sent shockwaves through cinemas across Britain, causing huge controversy from the media, government and British public. Some people saw the film as a "visceral image of a flawed system", while others saw the film as "exploitive trash in the form of a documentary".

Scum is a disturbing look at a British Borstal's futile attempt at rehabilitating young offenders, the inmates of the Borstal range from adolescent teen to young adult. Most of them (if not all) have little hope in achieving anything in their life, except for just moving from prison to prison for their antisocial crimes. The film focuses of on brutality of a flawed and corrupt system whereby the inmates have no hope of rehabilitation due to the infantile regimes. The film shows how survival through brutality is the only way of getting through the system and even then there is still no sign of release for any of the prisoners. Thankfully in today's Britain, Borstals are inexistent, since they were (as is quite apparent in Scum) deemed unfit for people, due to the despicable infliction of violence and vicious corruption.

Scum is undoubtedly a film which will prompt viewers to question to entire rehabilitation process used for society's undesirables. Scum makes you wonder whether it is morally incorrect for even the most disgusting of individuals to get such vile treatment. As the brutal treatment is only prompting the individual to become even more sadistic and inhumane. The film details what men will do to "comply" with a system they loathe and how they will form their own rules and beliefs to suit the system in a way which will benefit them. There is a strong element of wasted talent etched into the film, this is in the respect of intelligent men who have potential, yet do not know how to use it. Scum takes you inside a world where young men have been reduced to their most primitive form; a place where violence breeds violence and respect is shown through class and power, rather than morals. I beg of you to think about what Scum is attempting to say and question through its subtext.

The performances from the entire cast are pulled off with raw, natural intensity. Ray Winstone's debut performance as –nicknamed "the daddy"- Carlin is one of the most unflinching and uncompromising performances I have ever seen. It is a performance which bursts with adolescent rage and masochism. He is a boy who has been demoralised by the life he has grown up in. It is distressing to see a man of complex capabilities be destroyed by his primitive brutality, which has been forced upon him by the human instinct of survival.

The technical prowess of Scum helps to create and delve inside the bland, grim and unpleasant environment of the Borstal. Making the film feel even more genuine in its atmosphere through its documentary style editing and camera techniques, the use of long-haul, close-ups and tracking-shots add to the film's aggressive ingenuity. In some of the more violent scenes of the film the camera is held for longer takes, which helps to provoke more emotional power. The camera feels somewhat intrusive, this is because of how Alan Clarke is achieving to shed light on a conformity situation people were afraid to question and examine, yet Alan Clarke is unadulterated when it comes to presenting realism and so tries to make his film-making as tight as possible. There is no use of score either, nor any form of music to accompany scenes, making scenes feel all the more haunting and prolonged.

Scum is an engrossing, convincing and complex example of British film-making at the top of its game. It is a story you will never forget, and remains a film which contains scenes that once viewed will be etched into the depths of your mind. Scum should be compulsory viewing for everyone as it remains a highly affective film of searing emotional intensity.

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Message Boards

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Recent Posts (updated daily)User
Mr Sands or Carlin legendofthefuture7
Pointless scene AlexTheGreatest
Anyone Actually Been In Borstal? Mr_Pink_2003
Who Are The Titular "Scum" Of This Film? Lukozer
Who are the two screws at the beginning of the film firebird_1984
Archer eating a sausage.. suzanne_grey
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