MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 1,198 this week

The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle (1980)

6.6
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.6/10 from 1,343 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 »

Director:

Writer:

0Check in
0Share...

On Disc

at Amazon

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 43 titles
created 21 Sep 2011
 
a list of 1000 titles
created 04 Sep 2012
 
a list of 35 titles
created 21 Oct 2012
 
a list of 36 titles
created 10 months ago
 
a list of 6 titles
created 6 months ago
 

Related Items


Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

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

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

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle.

User Polls

Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Documentary | Music | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

On October 12th 1978 New York Police discovered the lifeless body of a 20 year-old woman, slumped under the bathroom sink in a hotel room. She was dressed in her underwear and had bled to ... See full summary »

Director: Alan G. Parker
Stars: Viviane Albertine, George Ancock, Sophie Boyes
Rude Boy (1980)
Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A young British punk and roadie for The Clash navigates life in socially torn 1970s England.

Directors: Jack Hazan, David Mingay
Stars: Dave Armstrong, Barry Baker, Terry Barry
Short | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Julien Temple's wartime documentary parody "Punk Can Take It" (1979) - a theatrically released promo for the UK Subs, complete with narration by BBC voice-over veteran John Snagge - paints ... See full summary »

Director: Julien Temple
Stars: Julia Binstead, John Snagge, Edward Tudor-Pole
Punk: Attitude (TV Movie 2005)
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A documentary on the music, performers, attitude and distinctive look that made up punk rock.

Director: Don Letts
Stars: K.K. Barrett, Roberta Bayley, Jello Biafra
Documentary | Biography | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

As the front man of the Clash from 1977 onwards, Joe Strummer changed people's lives forever. Four years after his death, his influence reaches out around the world, more strongly now than ... See full summary »

Director: Julien Temple
Stars: Joe Strummer, Steve Jones, Mick Jones
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A career retrospective of British punk band The Clash, featuring exclusive interviews with the entire band.

Director: Don Letts
Stars: Terry Chimes, Terence Dackombe, Topper Headon
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

The story of Dr Feelgood, four men in cheap suits who crashed out of Canvey Island in the early '70s, sandpapered the face of rock'n'roll, leaving all that came before a burnt-out ruin - ... See full summary »

Director: Julien Temple
Stars: Lee Brilleaux, Wilko Johnson, John Martin
Drama | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  

A rock singer goes to Brazil to shoot a video, but winds up getting kidnapped and turned over to the oversexed owner of a banana plantation.

Director: Julien Temple
Stars: Mick Jagger, Rae Dawn Chong, Dennis Hopper
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Based on the life of a classic french cineast Jean Vigo, the story follows his daily struggle with sanity, normal life and uncompromising filmmaking. Story also focuses on his relationship ... See full summary »

Director: Julien Temple
Stars: James Frain, Romane Bohringer, Nicholas Barnes
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A documentary on punk rock.

Directors: Adam Small, Peter Stuart
Stars: Dennis Danell, Brent Liles, John Macias
Glastonbury (2006)
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A documentary on the 30th anniversary of Britain's best-known music festival.

Director: Julien Temple
Stars: David Bowie, Björk, James Brown
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
Director: Julien Temple
Stars: Grant Doyle, Christa Hughes, Lara Mulcahy
Edit

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
Edit

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:

See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

12 March 1981 (Australia)  »

Also Known As:

Who Killed Bambi?  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Marianne Faithfull was to play Sid's mother in the original draft of the film, but backed out at the idea of a sex scene. 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: Lesson seven: cultivate hatred; it is your greatest asset. Here at home, create a tour that no one can turn up to. Throw the groups name away, and leave a question mark in its place. Create confusion. The Sex Pistols made sure that they failed to turn up at certain venues. Reading false rumours wherever they could.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Sid and Nancy (1986) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
A weird, disjointed, dishonest bore
15 July 2009 | by (Guelph, Ontario, Canada) – See all my reviews

The brief existence of the Sex Pistols and the making of this film after the controversial, groundbreaking English punk band's break-up both happened before I was born. However, I started listening to their only album, "Never Mind the B*&%@#&s, Here's the Sex Pistols", in 2003, when I was a teenager, and quickly became a big fan. I didn't see "The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle" until 2006, but saw it a couple times that year, and thought it was pretty good (certainly not great, but pretty good), even if I could only remember bits of it, and didn't see how it all connected. Seeing it a third time, nearly three years after the second, I didn't care much for it at all. I'm not even sure what I found so good about most of it in the first place (can't remember now).

This film is a mockumentary, in which Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren tells his side of the story of the band and its members; guitarist Steve Jones, credited here as "The Crook"; drummer Paul Cook, credited as "The Tea-Maker"; bassist Sid Vicious, credited as "The Gimmick"; and John Lydon (a.k.a. Johnny Rotten) credited as "The Collaborator." McLaren claims that he created the band (and even the genre of punk rock) as a scam to make money. He tells much of the story to Helen Wellington-Lloyd (a.k.a. Helen of Troy), in various places where they go together. It's basically a hodgepodge of McLaren talking, Pistols songs, live footage of the band, fictional scenes (often silly, strange ones), several cartoon sequences, etc., all put together in one film, to tell the Pistols manager's side of the story in a bizarre way!

It has been well proved that McLaren is a liar, I know many have already pointed this out, including band members themselves. He was NOT the driving force of the band, he didn't create them (nor did he invent punk rock, and the Sex Pistols weren't even the first punk band, though they were unique). The band members were the ones who made the band what it was. "The Filth and the Fury", a much more believable film about the band from Julien Temple, who made this film, is told from the point of view of the band members, who contradict McLaren's claims. However, the dishonesty of "The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle" is not my biggest problem with it. If it were actually entertaining (which I used to think it was to a certain extent), I would be able to overlook that, like I obviously used to be able to do. During my third viewing, apart from Sex Pistols songs, some live footage, and at least one mildly amusing cartoon sequence, it was pretty dull! I found the "Who Killed Bambi" song mildly amusing at first, but it got tiring very quickly.

Is this mockumentary worth watching for Sex Pistols fans? It seems a good number of fans would say it is, not to learn about the true story of the short-lived but groundbreaking 70's punk band, but for entertainment. That was once my opinion on "The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle". After the first time I watched it, I couldn't remember a thing McLaren said, and by the time I saw it the second time, I was aware of what the Pistols manager was using this film to imply, but could still barely remember anything I heard him say! Obviously, other aspects of the film were what I found impressive. Now, after my third viewing, I can definitely remember some of the things McLaren says, but it still wasn't 100% clear. Like most of the film, I guess his words are not that memorable, probably because of the way they are presented. If you're a Pistols fan, I guess it wouldn't hurt to give "Swindle" a try, but to me, for the most part, it's just an incoherent, boring mess that tries to be funny but fails.


4 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Lonely Boy boujoir
Malcolm McLaren's influence? trigger_gospel
Tona De Brett stigger108
Who's that revolting woman with the flies on her face.......?! sbarclay2004
Really that Dirty? boujoir
that song video_freak666
Discuss The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle (1980) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for:
?