IMDb > Absolute Beginners (1986)
Absolute Beginners
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Absolute Beginners (1986) More at IMDbPro »

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Release Date:
18 April 1986 (USA) See more »
The music, the movement, the romance, the passion . . . all explodes on the BIG SCREEN. See more »
A musical adaptation of Colin MacInnes' novel about life in late 1950s London. Nineteen-year-old photographer... See more » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
Unjustly overlooked 80's musical See more (37 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Patsy Kensit ... Suzette
Eddie O'Connell ... Colin, Photographer / Narrator

David Bowie ... Vendice Partners

James Fox ... Henley of Mayfair, Dressmaker to the Queen

Ray Davies ... Arthur, Colin's Dad
Mandy Rice-Davies ... Flora
Eve Ferret ... Big Jill
Tony Hippolyte ... Mr. Cool
Graham Fletcher-Cook ... Wizard
Joseph McKenna ... Fabulous Hoplite (as Joe McKenna)

Steven Berkoff ... The Fanatic

Sade ... Athene Duncannon (as Sade Adu)

Edward Tudor-Pole ... Ed the Ted (as Tenpole Tudor)

Bruce Payne ... Flikker
Alan Freeman ... Call-Me-Cobber

Anita Morris ... Dido Lament, Gossip Columnist

Paul Rhys ... Dean Swift
Julian Firth ... The Misery Kid
Chris Pitt ... Baby Boom
Lionel Blair ... Harry Charms, Record Producer

Gary Beadle ... Johnny Wonder

Robbie Coltrane ... Mario
Jess Conrad ... Cappuccino Man
Smiley Culture ... D.J. Entertainer

Ronald Fraser ... Amberley Drove
Slim Gaillard ... Party Singer
Irene Handl ... Mrs. Larkin
Peter-Hugo Daly ... Vern, aka Jaws
Amanda Jane Powell ... Dorita
Johnny Shannon ... Saltzman

Sylvia Syms ... Cynthia Eve
Ekow Abban ... Santa Lucia Club Owner
Robert Austin ... Slim Brother
Gerry Alexander ... Ton-Up Vicar
Jim Dunk ... Slim Brother
Johnny Edge ... Trader Horn

Carmen Ejogo ... Carmen
Paul Fairminer ... Eddie Sex
Hugo First ... Maltese Lodger
Pat Hartley ... Ms. Cool Snr
Astley Harvey ... Mr. Cool Snr
Colin Jeavons ... Pamphleteer
Alfred Maron ... Bert the Tailor
Zoot Money ... Chez Nobody Barman (as G.B. Zoot Money)
Sandie Shaw ... Baby Boom's Mum

Bruno Tonioli ... Maltese Lodger
Roland Alexander ... Dancer
Shaun Alexander ... Dancer
Ayo Antaeus ... Dancer
John Aron ... Dancer
Hoyle Baker ... Dancer
Chris Baldock ... Dancer
Andrée Bernard ... Trad Gang Leader
Warren Bird ... Dancer
Richard Bodkin ... Dancer
Timothy Brennan ... Dancer
Mo Bright ... Dancer
Roland Brine ... Dancer
Kelvin Carter ... Dancer
Imogen Claire ... Dancer (as Imogen Clare)
Clive Clarke ... Dancer
Kirsty Davide ... Dancer
Vince Debono ... Dancer
Dennis Elcock ... Dancer
Sylvia Ellis ... Dancer
King Masher Fontaine ... Dancer
Wayne Fowkes ... Dancer
David Foreman ... Dancer
Lucille Gaye ... Dancer
Elliot Gilbert ... Dancer
John Gordon ... Dancer
Lorna Gray ... Dancer
John Greaves ... Dancer
Robert Grimsey ... Dancer
Robert Grose ... Dancer
Michael Ho ... Dancer
Isobel Hurll ... Dancer
Johnny Hutch ... Dancer
Kim St. James ... Dancer
Peter Jessup ... Dancer
Clive Johnson ... Dancer
Chua Kaa-Joo ... Dancer
Val Joeph ... Dancer
Trevor Kelly ... Dancer
Tony Kemp ... Dancer
Chrissie Kendall ... Dancer (as Chrissie Kendal)
Olivia Komlosy ... Dancer
Viv Law ... Dancer
Madeleine Lawrence ... Dancer
Paul Leonard ... Dancer
Kenny Linden ... Dancer

Tom Lock ... Dancer
Tricia Lockhart ... Dancer
Jerry Manley ... Dancer
Peyton Martin ... Dancer
Robin Martyne ... Dancer
Jack Migdalek ... Dancer
Bob Newent ... Dancer
Albin Pahernik ... Dancer
Neil Patterson ... Dancer
William Perrie ... Dancer
Shanti Ruchpaul ... Dancer
Corinne Russell ... Dancer
Les Saxon ... Dancer
Gary Sellars ... Dancer
Alan Spencer ... Dancer
Chris Sullivan ... Dancer
Paul Telford ... Dancer
Michelle Thorne ... Dancer
Christina Thornton ... Dancer
Carl Trevors ... Dancer
Oke Wambu ... Dancer
Anthony Wellington ... Dancer
Elizabeth Wendon ... Dancer
John Willet ... Dancer

Sabra Williams ... Dancer
Barrie J. Wilkinson ... Dancer
Glen Wilkinson ... Dancer
Barrie Young ... Dancer
David Morgan Young ... Dancer
rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Lynne Hazelden ... Teddy Girl (uncredited)

Derek Lyons ... Teddyboy (uncredited)

Eric Sykes ... Arcade intendant (uncredited)

Directed by
Julien Temple 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Richard Burridge 
Michael Hamlyn  developer
Terry Johnson  additional dialogue
Colin MacInnes  novel
Don MacPherson  (as Don Macpherson)
Christopher Wicking 

Produced by
Chris Brown .... producer
Al Clark .... executive producer
Robert Devereux .... executive producer
Nik Powell .... executive producer
David Wimbury .... associate producer
Stephen Woolley .... producer
Original Music by
Gil Evans 
Cinematography by
Oliver Stapleton (director of photography)
Film Editing by
Richard Bedford 
Michael Bradsell 
Gerry Hambling 
Russell Lloyd 
Casting by
Leonara Davis 
Susie Figgis 
Mary Selway 
Production Design by
John Beard 
Art Direction by
Stuart Rose 
Ken Wheatley 
Costume Design by
Sue Blane 
David Perry 
Makeup Department
Lynda Armstrong .... assistant makeup artist
Elaine Bowerbank .... chief hair stylist
Peter Frampton .... chief makeup artist
Sue Love .... assistant hair stylist
Daniel Parker .... assistant makeup artist
Chris Taylor .... assistant hair stylist
Production Management
Peter Kohn .... production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Tony Aherne .... third assistant director
Ray Corbett .... assistant director
Kieron Phipps .... second assistant director
Art Department
Peter Bryant .... supervising prop dresser
Bob Devine .... assistant construction manager
Richard Dicker .... supervising drape (as Dick Dicker)
Geoff Kingsley .... construction manager
Ken Powell .... supervising plasterer
Adrian Start .... supervising painter
Peter Walpole .... prop buyer
Derek Whorlow .... supervising stagehand
Arthur Wicks .... property master
Joanne Woollard .... set dresser
Andrew Ackland-Snow .... draughtsman (uncredited)
Steve Furneaux .... carpenter (uncredited)
Barry Gibbs .... set dresser (uncredited)
Emma Harrison .... scenic artist (uncredited)
Darryl Paterson .... dressing props (uncredited)
Sound Department
Paul Cridlin .... sound maintenance
David Grimsdale .... sound editor
Derek Holding .... sound editor
Gerry Humphreys .... dubbing mixer
David John .... sound mixer
Eddy Joseph .... sound editor
Howard Lanning .... sound editor
Matthew Launay .... boom operator
Tim Partridge .... dolby sound consultant (uncredited)
Lionel Strutt .... adr mixer (uncredited)
Special Effects by
Andy Williams .... special effects technician
Neil Corbould .... special effects technician (uncredited)
Stephen Hutchinson .... special effects trainee (uncredited)
Mark Meddings .... special effects supervisor (uncredited)
Visual Effects by
David Smith .... optical cameraman (uncredited)
Nick Wass .... Rostrum camera: titles (uncredited)
Camera and Electrical Department
Graham Attwood .... still photographer
Stuart Game .... camera loader
Frank Heeney .... gaffer
Colin Manning .... grip
Roger Mayne .... original period photography
David Morgan .... focus puller
Mike Proudfoot .... camera operator (as Michael Proudfoot)
Carlos Melville .... electrician (uncredited)
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Roger Burton .... costume consultant
Barbara Rutter .... assistant costume designer
Joyce Stoneman .... wardrobe supervisor
Editorial Department
Clive Barrett .... assistant editor
Paul Conway .... assistant editor
Stuart De Jong .... assistant editor
Mary Dockwrey .... second assistant editor
Helen Eley .... assistant editor
Leonard Green .... assistant editor
Mark Latimer .... assistant editor
Ian Moore .... second assistant editor
Andy Stears .... assistant editor
Kevin Phelan .... unit projectionist: Mercury Theatres, London (uncredited)
Music Department
Michael Clifford .... music editor
Gil Evans .... conductor
Gil Evans .... music arranger
Clive Langer .... music mixer
Clive Langer .... music producer
Cynthia Lole .... music coordinator
Don Mcpherson .... music coordinator
Colin Purbrook .... musical associate
Daniel Secunda .... music coordinator
Ray Williams .... executive music supervisor
Alan Wistanley .... music mixer
Alan Wistanley .... music producer
David Bedford .... orchestrator (uncredited)
Transportation Department
Mark White .... transportation
Other crew
Matthew Binns .... location unit manager
Tim Coghlan .... assistant to producer
Jennifer Collen-Smith .... unit publicist
Jane Cotton .... dance stage manager
Valerie Craig .... production coordinator
Tracy Drew .... title designer
Stewart Hadley .... crew
Mary Holdsworth .... script supervisor
Ray Jones .... supervising rigger
Amanda Pirie .... assistant to director
Jenny Pollitt .... assistant to producer
David Saggs .... production accountant
Kathy Sykes .... production coordinator
Jonathan Thornton .... assistant choreographer
Sue Thornton .... assistant dance stage manager
David Toguri .... choreographer
Jordan Stone .... set production assistant (uncredited)
Crew believed to be complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Absolute Beginners - The Musical" - International (English title) (poster title)
See more »
108 min
Black and White | Color (Rankcolor)
Aspect Ratio:
2.20 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints) | Dolby (35 mm prints)

Did You Know?

The production, in common with the rest of the British film industry at the time, had severe financial problems. Shooting stopped for several weeks due to lack of funds.See more »
Boom mic visible: When Harry Charms is auditioning young singers with Colin, there is a boom mic visible when Harry and Colin first enter the studio.See more »
[first lines]
Colin:[narrating] I remember that hot, wonderful summer. When the teenage miracle reached full bloom and everyone in England stopped what they were doing to stare at what had happened. The Soho nights were cool in the heat, with light and music in the streets. And we couldn't believe that this was really coming to us at last...
See more »
Movie Connections:
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18 out of 24 people found the following review useful.
Unjustly overlooked 80's musical, 20 August 1999
Author: Sean Gallagher ( from Brooklyn, NY

I had just graduated high school(in California) when this movie came out, in the summer of 1986. Given the heavy promotion given it by MTV(I believe they had a contest whose winner would appear in the film, though I may have remembered that wrong), and given that David Bowie, whose music career was on the upswing, had a starring role(along with a mix of musicians like veteran Ray Davies(of the Kinks) and newcomer Sade), you'd expect the movie would be a hit. Instead, it barely made a dent in America(in their year-end issue, Rolling Stone called it one of the hype jobs of the year), and seems to have been largely forgotten(though in an interview with Rolling Stone about a year later, Bowie claimed it was a cult hit). In fact, while star Patsy Kensit has had an erratic career, Bowie continued to make music and the occasional movie, and director Julien Temple, after this and EARTH GIRLS ARE EASY, went back to his forte, music videos, it's sort of ironic that the most successful person to come from that movie is Robbie Coltrane(TV's CRACKER), who only had a small role here.

Why am I boring you all with this? Because ABSOLUTE BEGINNERS is one of the unsung classics of the 80's. Of course, having grown up on old-time musicals(my dad was a fan), I'm probably more receptive to them than the average person seems to be today, but this is one of the best ones of the last two decades. Not only are all the numbers well-written and well sung(in addition to Bowie, Davies, and Sade, jazz great Gil Evans wrote the instrumental score, and Style Council contributes a song. Also, female lead Patsy Kensit sings one, while male lead Eddie O'Connell lip-syncs his numbers), they're also imaginatively staged. A good example is "Motivation," one of two numbers Bowie sings(the other being the title song), which includes parodies of Busby Berkley-type numbers. There's also a wicked parody of teen pop.

As for the story, Temple has the fine novel to fall back on(by Colin MacInnes), and while there's probably too many ideas trying to burst out(teen alienation, racism, "Selling Out"(the name of another song), he juggles them all with finesse. And the cast handles things with aplomb, with the exception of, surprisingly, Bowie; while he's appropriately super-smooth as the oily executive, his voice(intended to be an American accent?) is annoying. But O'Connell and Kensit are both fresh and appealing, Anita Morris and James Fox both play well in their typecast roles(as, respectively, a sexpot gossip columnist and an effete fashion designer), there's a nice turn by Mandy Rice-Davies(who, you may remember, was in real life involved in the Profumo scandal), and a host of others in small but memorable parts(the ones I can remember are Steven Berkoff(BEVERLY HILLS COP) and Bruce Payne(PASSENGER 57) as fascists, and Paul Rhys(VINCENT AND THEO) as a mod). All in all, well worth tracking down.

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Ray Davies song cookie_boy2000
Off-the-wall Question. doomsday_freak
Suitable for kids? gumbyman91
What was the budget? ibex_t
That trivia information doesn't sound right nxylas
Thank God Colin McInnes wasn't here to watch this imbicta
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