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The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle (1980)

A rather incoherent post-breakup Sex Pistols "documentary", told from the point of view of Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren, whose (arguable) position is that the Sex Pistols in particular ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
The Crook
Paul Cook ...
The Tea-Maker
...
...
The Collaborator (as Johnny Rotten)
Ronald Biggs ...
The Exile (as Ronnie Biggs)
Liz Fraser ...
Woman in Cinema
...
Jess
Mary Millington ...
Mary, The Crook's girlfriend
James Aubrey ...
B.J
...
Man
Johnny Shannon ...
Man in Prison Cage
Helen Wellington-Lloyd ...
Helen (as Helen of Troy)
...
Tadpole (kiosk attendant) (as Tenpole Tudor)
Faye Hart ...
Secretary
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Storyline

A rather incoherent post-breakup Sex Pistols "documentary", told from the point of view of Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren, whose (arguable) position is that the Sex Pistols in particular and punk rock in general were an elaborate scam perpetrated by him in order to make "a million pounds." Silly and hard to follow at times, but worth seeing for some excellent Pistols concert footage, some wickedly amusing animated sequences, and Sid Vicious' eerily prophetic performance of "My Way." Written by Marty Cassady <martyc@vt.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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The staggering story of the group who wrung the neck of rock 'n' roll See more »

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Comedy | Music | Musical

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Release Date:

12 March 1981 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

Who Killed Bambi?  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Sting appeared in a brief scene as the leader of a gay band, The Blow Waves, which attempts to kidnap Paul Cook, but the footage was cut. It later reappeared in the documentary The Filth and the Fury (2000). See more »

Goofs

Towards the end of Sid Vicious' Punk rendition of Paul Anka/Frank Sinatra's "My Way", he pulls a revolver out of his pocket and starts shooting at the audience. He fires eight shots, which is more bullets than a revolver can hold. See more »

Quotes

The Embezzler: (How to Manufacture Your Group) "Find yourself four kids. Make sure they hate eachother. Make sure they can't play."
See more »

Connections

Referenced in St Trinian's 2: The Legend of Fritton's Gold (2009) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A tissue of lies
5 December 2006 | by (England) – See all my reviews

To this day, Malcolm McLaren is telling anyone daft enough to believe him that the Sex Pistols were his idea and that the band members were his puppets to be used to make him money. There is a good reason for him doing this, namely that he is a liar.

Here are some real facts.

* McLaren was actually approached by the band to be manager, not the other way round.

* The Pistols were a proper, organic band and not created by McLaren or anyone else. Jones and Cook were childhood friends. Rotten and Vicious went back a long way too. This is something that has led to unfair criticism of the Pistols down the years as they have been likened to manufactured boy bands.

* The band and no one else wrote the songs, recorded them, played live, created the publicity and gave the interviews.

* McLaren did not instigate the Bill Grundy incident. The Pistols only appeared on the programme because Queen had pulled out. According to the band, McLaren was cowering in the back in case arrests were about to be made.

* Johnny Rotten walked out of the band. He was not sacked.

* Far from outwitting the Sex Pistols, John Lydon (Rotten) actually successfully sued him in the 1980s for control and a considerable sum of money. Some of the evidence used by Lydon's lawyers was from McLaren's boasting in 'The Great Rock & Roll Swindle'. This would suggest that McLaren is none too bright despite his affectations.

* The sackings and subsequent pay offs from A & M and EMI were, again, not engineered, it was merely the way things panned out.

* McLaren boasts about the money he made from the band. If he had been competent, he could have made a great deal more. It seems he coudn't even organise gigs properly.

* McLaren's claim at the start of the film that he invented punk rock can be disproved in about ten seconds. The Pistols were not the first punk band, merely the most high profile.

This is a terrible film. The only parts worth watching are the genuine footage of the band, later put to much better use in 'The Filth And The Fury'.


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