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

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Down 32% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Colin MacInnes (based on the novel by)
Michael Hamlyn (developed for the screen by)
View company contact information for Absolute Beginners on IMDbPro.
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:
A Very British, Pre-"Moulin Rouge" Extravaganza See more (40 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Patsy Kensit ... Suzette
Eddie O'Connell ... Colin

David Bowie ... Vendice Partners

James Fox ... Henley of Mayfair

Ray Davies ... Arthur
Mandy Rice-Davies ... Mum
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

Paul Rhys ... Dean Swift

Julian Firth ... The Misery Kid
Chris Pitt ... Baby Boom
Lionel Blair ... Harry Charms

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
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
G.B. Zoot Money ... Chez Nobody Barman
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 ... Dancer (as Andree Bernard)
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)
Deborah Leng ... Unknown (uncredited)

Derek Lyons ... Teddyboy (uncredited)

Eric Sykes ... Arcade intendant (uncredited)

Directed by
Julien Temple 
Writing credits
Colin MacInnes (based on the novel by)

Michael Hamlyn (developed for the screen by)

Richard Burridge (screenplay by) and
Christopher Wicking (screenplay by) &
Don MacPherson (screenplay by) (as Don Macpherson)

Terry Johnson (additional dialogue by)

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 film is based on a novel first published in 1959. One of the incidents portrayed in the story was based on the Notting Hill race riots of August, 1958.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:
Rodrigo BaySee more »


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13 out of 17 people found the following review useful.
A Very British, Pre-"Moulin Rouge" Extravaganza, 8 March 2003
Author: britishdominion

Julien Temple's "Absolute Beginners" is probably more well known for it's breathtaking and legendary opening tracking shot through a gloriously campy backlot version of London's SoHo District (so influential it even served as an in-joke in Robert Altman's "The Player") AND for the film's behind-the-scenes B.O. failure both at home (where it was trumped up as to herald the coming of the "new" British cinema) and abroad. But upon a fresh look in the days after the visual assault of "Moulin Rouge" and the puffery of "Chicago", smarter DVD viewers will certainly (hopefully) now find "Absolute Beginners". MGM's timing couldn't be more perfect: the film should find an audience that has caught up with the form, patient enough to sit through the razzle-dazzle with a cast that frequently, joyously, breaks into song when the moment is right.

Director Temple - he of the Sex Pistols' "The Great Rock And Roll Swindle", "Earth Girls Are Easy" and a career of 80's short and long-form rock videos - takes what was a very-dead movie genre and breathes life into a freewheelingly complex - perhaps overreaching - story of "England's First Teenagers". The idea is pure Temple: pop art, pop culture and commercialism all served up in a beautiful, thoughtful package if as inherently artificial as the people and era it documents. The film crosses classic kitchen-sink drama and the dreamy ambition of the "youth" pictures of the day - albeit with a knowingly 80's sensibility.

"Absolute Beginners" follows its two young "teen" stars - amateur photographer Eddie O'Connell and the lovely Patsy Kensit as a neophyte fashion designer - as they discover that their blooming talents put them in the right-place-right-time of late 50's London, and that these same talents are a highly desired and marketable currency in the pop idol-crazed Blighty. All of the "adults" in the film (David Bowie as a oily American marketing guru and James Fox as a foppish and callous fashionista are standouts) are the force out to co-opt and corrupt our two young lovers, and their love does get called into question in the pursuit of success and the almighty British Sterling. A sub-plot of sorts involving nasty Steven Berkoff ("Beverly Hills Cop") wedging a "Keep England White" racial cleansing of the soddy London White City ghettos coldly highlights the cultural plasticness of the navelgazing fad-frenzy time, which leads to the film's firey denouement.

And this is a musical! But what a musical it is: each of the picture's numbers is a virtual showstopper set-piece. There's Ray Davies of "The Kinks" as a Landlord in an awesome "Quiet Life" eye-popper that features the Brit-Rock legend chasing his boarders through an artificial three-level house all the while singing and soft-shoeing up a storm; the formerly mentioned Bowie's "That's Motivation!" a hilarious lesson on the evils of mass-marketing; and a wild Jamaican-Jazz fusion fashion show that Kensit makes all her own. The film's musical director was the late Gil Evans, and his contribution gives this film a classy, thoughtful pedigree that the story tries very hard to match. Watch for Sade Adu, Robbie Coltrane, Anita Morris and Mandy Rice-Davies in bit parts.

Yes, the film's serious reach hardly exceeds its glitzy grasp, but it's difficult to fault a movie that attempts to exhume the movie musical, tries to tell a overly complicated tale in which people still break into song, crams the edges of its widescreen aspect ratio in energetic cinematography, colorful scenery and engaging performances by its leads, PLUS offers a great jazzy soundtrack and kicky musical numbers.

A great double bill with this title would be the Cliff Richard artifact, "The Young Ones".

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