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The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle (1980)

6.6
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 1,305 users  
Reviews: 25 user | 10 critic

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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Title: The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle (1980)

The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle (1980) on IMDb 6.6/10

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Steve Jones ...
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 Conrad ...
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

Taglines:

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

Genres:

Comedy | Music | Musical

Certificate:

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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

12 March 1981 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle  »

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

To receive an 'X' certificate the BBFC required cuts to the final print. Full-frontal shots of 'Sue Catwoman' in Malcolm McLaren's bathroom were optically enhanced to remove images of her lower regions (banned under the Protection of Children Act) and a long shot of her was cut by adding black panties to cover up the offending area. The cinema scene was also cut by removing shots of Steve Jones's genitals during the sex scene with the Brazilian girl and Mary Millington's visible pubic area in her sex scene with Jones. A shot of Sid Vicious waving a flick-knife was moved back into the sequence to avoid equating sex with violence. The BBFC also demanded the inclusion of newspaper headline footage referring to the deaths of Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen. All later releases feature this same print. 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

Girl with ants on face: The Sex Pistols - a walking abortion. The Sex Pistols are nothing but a bunch of irresponsible half-dead lumps. But the best are born.
The Crook: I was only in it for the birds after the show.
Girl with ants on face: You, Steve Jones, are nothing but a walking dildo doing a good plumbing job. You'd swim through a river of snot, wade nostril deep through a mile of vomit, as long as you thought there was a sexy cunt at the end of it - and those cunts! Daddy's girl! Daddy's girls are in awe of the Sex Pistols! They really believe ...
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Connections

Featured in Sex and Fame: The Mary Millington Story (1996) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Ever get the feeling you're being cheated?
15 January 2013 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

Some reviewers have criticized this movie for not being a truthful record of the life and times of the Sex Pistols. They are missing the point.

This is Malcolm McLaren's fictionalized version of events. Right from the start, McLaren makes it obvious that this is not "real". Malcolm knows that you, the audience, are smarter than the media (including this film). You, the audience, know what situationism means. You, the audience, know this IS a swindle.

Is this a good film? Is it worth watching? If you loved the Sex Pistols and their music, YES. Their talents and flaws are revealed for all to see.

Sid wearing a swastika? Truly disgusting but watch him swagger along the streets of Paris and compare him with other so-called rock stars. Was he a stupid thug? Probably but this is someone who bowed down before ABBA in an airport - he wasn't all bad!

Steve and Paul playing on a beach in Brazil with a convicted robber and an actor pretending to be a Nazi? Cringe worthy but listen to this pair play the intro to "Pretty Vacant" and you are listening to rock history.

Glen Matlock airbrushed out of the picture completely? It's like telling the story of the Rolling Stones without mentioning Brian Jones but watch the cartoon at the end and see who Johnny kicks off the boat.

As for Johnny Rotten, that laser beam stare and sneer says "I am not a puppet and never will be."

If you want accuracy, watch the "Never Mind the B*llocks" episode of "Classic Albums". If you want a swindle ("and we don't care"), watch this.


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