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Sid and Nancy (1986)

R  |   |  Biography, Drama, Music  |  7 November 1986 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 22,386 users  
Reviews: 122 user | 45 critic

Morbid biographical story of Sid Vicious, bassist with British punk group the Sex Pistols, and his girlfriend Nancy Spungen. When the Sex Pistols break up after their fateful US tour, ... See full summary »



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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 4 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Debby Bishop ...
Perry Benson ...
Tony London ...
Sandy Baron ...
Rusty Blitz ...
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Morbid biographical story of Sid Vicious, bassist with British punk group the Sex Pistols, and his girlfriend Nancy Spungen. When the Sex Pistols break up after their fateful US tour, Vicious attempts a solo career while in the grip of heroin addiction. One morning, Nancy is found stabbed to death and Sid is arrested for her murder. Written by Alexander Lum <aj_lum@postoffice. utas.edu. au>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Love kills


Biography | Drama | Music


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:



Official Sites:



Release Date:

7 November 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Sid and Nancy: Love Kills  »

Box Office


$4,000,000 (estimated)


$2,826,523 (USA)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


John Lydon commented on the film in his 1994 autobiography, Rotten: No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs:

I cannot understand why anyone would want to put out a movie like Sid and Nancy and not bother to speak to me; Alex Cox, the director, didn't. He used as his point of reference - of all the people on this earth - Joe Strummer! That guttural singer from The Clash? What the fuck did he know about Sid and Nancy? That's probably all he could find, which was really scraping the bottom of the barrel. The only time Alex Cox made any approach toward me was when he sent the chap who was playing me over to New York where I was. This actor told me he wanted to talk about the script. During the two days he was there, he told me that the film had already been completed. The whole thing was a sham. It was a ploy to get my name used in connection with the film, in order to support it.

To me this movie is the lowest form of life. I honestly believe that it celebrates heroin addiction. It definitely glorifies it at the end when that stupid taxi drives off into the sky. That's such nonsense. The squalid New York hotel scenes were fine, except they needed to be even more squalid. All of the scenes in London with the Pistols were nonsense. None bore any sense of reality. The chap who played Sid, Gary Oldman, I thought was quite good. But even he only played the stage persona as opposed to the real person. I don't consider that Gary Oldman's fault because he's a bloody good actor. If only he had the opportunity to speak to someone who knew the man. I don't think they ever had the intent to research properly in order to make a seriously accurate movie. It was all just for money, wasn't it? To humiliate somebody's life like that - and very successfully - was very annoying to me. The final irony is that I still get asked questions about it. I have to explain that it's all wrong. It was all someone else's fucking fantasy, some Oxford graduate who missed the punk rock era. The bastard.

When I got back to London, they invited me to a screening. So I went to see it and was utterly appalled. I told Alex Cox, which was the first time I met him, that he should be shot, and he was quite lucky I didn't shoot him. I still hold him in the lowest light. Will the real Sid please stand up?

As for how I was portrayed, well, there's no offense in that. It was so off and ridiculous. It was absurd. Champagne and baked beans for breakfast? Sorry. I don't drink champagne. He didn't even speak like me. He had a Scouse accent. Worse, there's a slur implied in the movie that I was jealous of Nancy, which I find particularly loathsome. There is that implication that I feel was definitely put there. I guess that's Alex Cox showing his middle class twittery. It's all too glib, it's all too easy. See more »


In 1975, when the Sex Pistols supposedly attacked Rod Stewart's Limousine, the Limo was a Cadillac made between 1980 and 1985. See more »


Nancy: [Pointing] No! Look, that's the Rollerama. Sid, I won a roller skating trophy there when I was six years old.
Granma: Nancy, don't fib.
Nancy: Fuck you, Grandma.
See more »

Crazy Credits

"And introducing the young Cat Vicious in the role of Smoky, Sid and Nancy's child." See more »


Referenced in Dawson's Creek: Living Dead Girl (2002) See more »


God Save The Queen
Performed by Andrew Schofield, Glen Matlock, Dave McIntosh, James Stevenson
Written by Steve Jones (as Jones) / Glen Matlock (as Maylock) / John Lydon (as Rotten) and Paul Cook (uncredited)
© Warner Bros Music/Glitterbest
See more »

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User Reviews

Convincing portrait of the wasted and the talentless.
18 May 2003 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Recent social history is very hard to capture through drama and Alex Cox must be grateful to have such a good plot device (a far from standard love story) to carry us through this difficult and much misunderstood period of history.

Punk rock was born to be a cult. Through all the headlines and publicity the central music barely scrapped the US charts: The Sex Pistols one studio album only just crept in to the American top 100 and they were viewed more as a novelty act than the next big thing. Only when the whole thing was tamed and popified did the thing take off, by then renamed "new wave" to differentiate between the new and old school.

(By this time the Pistols had long since self-destructed.)

In the beginning, the Sex Pistols were more a private party than a band, indeed they often played them instead of more normal gigs. The original punks were anti fashion and anti everything, attracting misfits of all kinds and colours; although art and fashion students made up the majority. This really was an open house with prostitutes, homosexuals and exhibtionists being equally welcome.

(This is accurately depicted in the movie.)

Sid and Nancy were from this hanging-on group and although joining the group as bassist and groupie respectively (Nancy tried to get it on with most of the band) they were never more than window dressing. The Pistol sound was Lydon/Rotten's voice and Steve Jones's power chords. Sid never even played on the records.

It is notable that many icons manage to have an icon haircut (Elvis, Rolling Stones, Beatles all set hair fashions) and amazingly SV even managed one himself with his perfect spikes. His look, his life and his early death made him a cult, but he didn't leave a legacy behind other than a series of half-hearted drunken rants.

Hard to see how Oldman could do more to be Vicious other than lose a few years. SV died at 21 and Oldman is clearly older (28 at the time of filming), but that is my only quibble. Chloe Webb (as Nancy) is also good, but annoying, like a dog that won't shut up barking and chewing the furniture, until you just accept it. A life consisting of drugs, sex and TV

  • often consumed all at the same time.

Alex Cox's direction (possibly because he knew the punk movement first hand rather than through the papers) is first rate - like Quentin Tarantino lite
  • but he is just as much a flash-in-the-pan as Sid and Nancy himself. He

can't make a mainstream movie, because all he is interested in is man's ugly underbelly and without major acting talent these things look self-indulgent and even amateurish.

However this is a moral look at drug taking - not the "fun before it gets serious" moral - the "its never a good idea full stop" one. Sid is a child, Nancy is barely any more than a child, but more street-wise. Too lazy for work she used oral sex like most people use a credit card.

I like this film because it has something to say about undeserved fame, what you do (or the few choices you have) after your fifteen minutes is up and how empty headed people with no agenda get treated in this big bad world. Whether you want to spend time learning all this is up to you, but it is very well done if you do.

67 of 114 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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