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Sid and Nancy (1986) , honest look at self destruction.
Spikeopath4 March 2008
Finally upgraded from VHS to the special edition DVD of this Alex Cox film about the ill fated Sid Vicious & his honey Nancy Spungen.

Watched it twice in fact , just had to hear the commentary from Cox because he is a director who I admire for trying to tap into the conscious of the subject he tackles.

As an old punk myself it would be easy for me to be biased and lean with a nostalgic slant with the film, but truth is this film doesn't glamorise the duo because they are portrayed as the pathetic self destructive couple they were. The film perfectly captures the time frame of what is indisputably the music and cultural phenomenon known as Punk Rock, the only blight on this great piece of work is the ending, which as Cox agrees is far too romanticised after the harshness the viewer has just sat thru. Yet this film ranks as one of the most honest and frank music biography movies out on the market, and I urge anyone who stays away from it because of an aversion to Punk and it's offshoots to seek it out ASAP.

The acting from Gary Oldman & Chloe Webb is nothing short of amazing, the photography from Roger Deakins is very impressive......

...witness a scene as Vicious leaves a New Jersey prison and walks across a deserted scrap heap with New York prominent in the background, the twin towers cloaked in cloud . The direction is smart, funny, and handled perfectly {till that ending }, and the music arrangement is done adroitly by all involved, but I have to say that viewing it now and hearing Joe Strummer sing Love Kills at the closing credits gives me an added emotional kicker {SO YES A LITTLE BIAS HERE FROM ME }.

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Sickeningly awesome tale of sex, drugs, and rock n roll
Some films tend to glorify rock and roll by showing off its glamorous side full of adventure and wonder. Sid and Nancy does no such thing. Instead it exposes the dirty, grimy, seedy underbelly of punk rock which is full of violence and drugs. Gary Oldman plays Sid Vicious, the bassist for British punk rock group the Sex Pistols. The film chronicles his life from when he meets his junky girlfriend, Nancy Spungen, to the tragic demise of that relationship. It is a loud, mean, ugly, and crass film that perfectly captures all that the Sex Pistols stood for... anarchy. Filled with all sorts of sex, drugs, and rock and roll, Sid and Nancy is a seriously wild ride.

If there's anything that makes this film, it's Gary Oldman and Chloe Webb. These two are incredible, Oldman more so. Oldman captures the self destructive tendencies of Sid excellently and takes it to a frighteningly believable extreme. It is a terrifying and shocking experience to watch him run amuck in this film, spray painting walls, nonstop drinking, shooting heroin every chance he gets, burning houses, etc. He is the true essence of anarchy, and yet somehow we feel sympathy for him. This is solely because of Nancy, the girlfriend. She is a character you love to hate. She is a pathetic excuse for a human being, always whining to get her way and her drugs, never contributing anything positive to Sid's life, and always screaming about her own problems. It is sickening and it makes the film all the more twisted and engrossing as we watch such self destruction unfold on screen.

It's not easy to tell a story where your two main characters are so easily hateable, but somehow this film does it. I think it is because of the balance between Nancy and Sid that we feel compelled to pity Sid and despise Nancy, making the film engaging in an offbeat and slightly deranged way. Their story is so backwards and so wretchedly obscene that we have to be interested in it somehow. It starts off simply enough. The Sex Pistols are all about anarchy and they go around beating people up, cursing, drinking, and all that sort of thing. But it isn't until Sid meets Nancy that things really start to explode as the story falls deeper and deeper into a twisted fit of depravity. Thing get worse and worse for the two as the film progresses and Sid's life slowly crumbles around him, with him too drunk or too high to even notice. The film does lag a little bit towards the middle as the conversations between Nancy and Sid begin to get a little repetitive, but we are then hit by an expected yet still powerful ending that closes out the film at just the right tone and atmosphere.

There is really nothing sane or reasonable about Sid and Nancy. It envelopes true chaos and discourse through the life of one man and his ridiculous girlfriend. It is a chore to watch this film as it does chronicle a life full of the most horrible habits and attitudes imaginable, but if you can stomach it all then Sid and Nancy is a fantastic film to experience. I loved this film and was truly fascinated by it. It displays a lifestyle a would never want to live. Instead, I only want to learn about it in vulgar detail from a great film like Sid and Nancy.
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Masterful performances by Oldman and Webb
saska-323 June 2003
When I was 15, I loved this movie because I loved the Sex Pistols and everything punk. Now that I am twice that age, I love this film for its unflinching portrayal of two people's lives, despite how uncomfortable it makes us, how little we sympathize with them as people, or how hard it is for us to comprehend the choices they made. I personally believe at least part of the discomfort comes from the fact that at some level, we DO understand Sid and Nancy, their love for each other, and the choices they make beneath the haze of addiction.

I realize, seeing it with adult eyes, why my parents were so shocked I was watching this film in 1987. But ironically, it was the best anti-drug message I could have seen in my teenage years. In performances so masterful they make me wince, fight off nausea, and weep for their misfortune, Gary Oldman and Chloe Webb constructed characters no one would ever want to be. The supporting cast deserves accolades as well - in particular, Andrew Schofield turns in a seamless portrayal of Johnny Rotten, who, unlike Sid, knows full well Malcolm MacLaren created him.

Having read "And I Don't Want To Live This Life" by Debora Spungen, and having seen more than a handful of documentaries with live footage of the band throughout the years, what impressed me most was the consistency of tone that Oldman and Webb bring to their performances. They are spot-on, not just in stupor and excess, but in tenderness and rare moments of clarity. The movie's ending was unique among biopics where the truth is in dispute, in that it did not profess to know the answer to that burning question (did Sid kill Nancy?) any more than Sid knew himself.

Why watch a film about a couple of junkies who came from unremarkable backgrounds and disappeared into the bleakness of drug addiction? We seem to want our films to be about something loftier than ourselves. I view "Sid and Nancy" more as a play than a movie - we allow our plays to be about uncomfortable subjects and unhappy people, but seem to think that celluloid must be as bright as the projector light behind it. This film is a study in love and dysfunction; its characters are painfully imperfect but perfectly portrayed and we cannot help but respond, even if our response is the deep, squirming discomfort that leads us to say we disliked the whole experience.

I rated this film a very rare 9.
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Love Kills
foolforlove258 February 2006
This movie is not historically accurate. Let's get that out of the way right off the bat. This is not about the history of the Sex Pistols. Details don't matter, this movie is about feeling. Two misguided, deluded outcasts who are so completely, desperately in love, that they won't leave each other, even though they are probably the worst people in the world for each other. They spiral into heroin addiction, (which is NOT glamorized. Some of the scenes with them bunkered down in the Chelsea Hotel are downright disgusting) and one of them is killed, although no one knows how exactly how. Punks are usually the unsentimental type, so they tend to give this film the two-finger salute. Well, screw them. It is a beautiful film, which speaks more honestly about love and addiction than any Oscar-grabbing shite that I can find in the New Release section. Gary Oldman and and Chole Webb are excellent, inhabiting their characters right down to marrow. The era is evoked wonderfully, and the film is littered with gorgeous, iconic images, the best of which being Sid and Nancy kissing in an alleyway while garbage rains down on them from above like rice at a wedding. Also, most people ignore how FUNNY this movie is, despite it's heartbreaking subject matter. This is an enjoyable movie, not a punishment, or a slog through the mud. After seeing this movie, a friend of mine was so moved, she packed up everything she had and moved to London, where she lived on the streets for a year, trying to form a punk band. I'd recommend this movie to anyone, not just punks or Sex Pistols fans. It's appeal is much more universal than that. To me, this movie exemplifies my idea of true love. It isn't always pretty. It can drag you over glass, lead you to your grave, debase, humiliate, and destroy you. But it's a connection so strong that you can't deny it. And it's so beautiful that you really don't care if it kills you.
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Intense and well acted but ultimately depressing and unrevealing look at the infamous punk rock couple.
lordguano3 August 2000
The brilliant performances of Gary Oldman and Chloe Webb in the title roles propel this bleak and depressing look into the calamitous relationship between Sex Pistols bass player Sid Vicious and American punk rock groupie Nancy Spungen. The characters are introduced to us in tragedy right from the opening scene, casting the rest of the film with a fatalistic sense of impending doom. These are two tortured souls in communion who seem at odds with just about every facet of society -- even the extreme punk rock counter-culture to which they both ostensibly belong.

A major problem with the film (and all the more reason to tip our hats to the two leads) is that Sid and Nancy are written as such abrasive and disagreeable characters, one is hard pressed to relate to them on any meaningful level.

And while the re-creation of their reckless and volatile rebelliousness is quite detailed and credible, we never get a sense of how they came to be so angry and tortured to begin with. Even the smallest glimpse at their inner turmoil would have gone a long way in creating sympathy and concern from the audience. Instead, director Cox relies on the pureness of their genuine love for each other to provide that hook. That strategy succeeds to the extent it does ONLY because of Oldman's and Webb's amazing transformation into these parts.

If you own a DVD player, try to get a hold of the Criterion Collection edition of this film. That disc contains some excellent, revealing footage of the REAL Sid and Nancy that was shot for a contemporary documentary on the Sex Pistols ill-fated 1978 tour of the USA. If nothing else, the footage will increase your appreciation for these two splendid performances.
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An Indie Surprise
OutsideHollywoodLand2 February 2010
Sid and Nancy is a movie about the tortured relationship between Sid Vicious and his whiny girlfriend, Nancy. Please, somebody turn down the volume on this one, simply because her voice is just too irritating on this critic's last nerve! (Did she really talk like that, or was Ms. Webb in serious need of a voice coach? We may never know.) Most of Sid and Nancy revolves around the two titled post-teen's attempt to maintain some semblance of a real relationship in the midst of a lot of drugs and self-induced violence. What stopped me from turning off this sad statement of a generation was the performance of Gary Oldman. His sneering imitation of Sid's contempt for almost everyone around him masked a touching vulnerability when it came to Nancy and – yep, even their pet kitty.

And I've got to give the truly unforgettable award to Sid and Nancy, based on one single cinematic moment in the film--- you know what that moment is, don't you? Yeppers - Sid belting out a searing rendition of Old Blue Eye's favorite, "My Way". Set against a backdrop of stairs (that call to mind every high school assembly), Oldman scratches and claws at this song with such a ferocious intensity I'd give him the gold statue right now.

Because that's what a cinematic moment really is, the sum total of the character, presented to the audience in a kernel of truth. Gary Oldman – an actor whose gold statuette is long overdue — captures the twin torments of a twisted teen that really just wants to be loved and doesn't know how to get past his own angry angst.
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Convincing portrait of the wasted and the talentless.
Peter Hayes18 May 2003
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.
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Cox's intelligence and potential are evident in an uncompromising film…
Nazi_Fighter_David18 December 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Given the discipline of a strong director, Alex Cox has revealed overwhelming ambition, and a ferocious imagination in his films…

"Sid and Nancy" was impressive, turning the dirty and depressing true story of Sid Vicious and his lover Nancy Spungen into a surprisingly moving romance…

Clear-eyed in his cautious celebration of the punk movement's rebellion against the oppressive realities of Thatcher's Britain, and similarly lucid about the difficulties of sudden fame, Cox never glamorized his drug-addict protagonists; nor, even more remarkably, did he condemn them for their idiotic, anti-social, frequently pathetic odyssey towards self-destruction in New York's Chelsea Hotel…

Sadly, the film's tense, gripping authenticity of atmosphere and performance was to be repeated neither in the indulgent, unfunny spaghetti Western spoof "Straight to Hell," nor in "Walker," an uneven, allegorical satire on American imperialism in the form of a l9th-century colonialist who sets himself up as tyrant of Nicaragua…
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Not Romeo and Juliet
gsygsy3 January 2014
I missed SID & NANCY when it was first released. I wasn't expecting much when settling down to watch the DVD. I was pleasantly surprised to find a coherent, energetic but ultimately melancholy study of co-dependency, with two terrific central performances.

We get to know Chloe Webb's child-woman Nancy to a greater extent than we do Gary Oldman's wild-man Sid. Not the actors' fault. In fact it's not a fault at all. There is something inexplicable there. Whatever forces were at play in forming the young man who became Sid Vicious, it's to the credit of Alex Cox and his team that they don't waste time speculating upon them or trying to analyse them. Instead, the film lives up to its title, starting just before the relationship starts and ending just after Nancy's death.

The era in which the film was made is a significant factor in appreciating it. It was, in the UK at any rate, a time when the welfare state that had been so painstakingly put into place began to be systematically unravelled, a land where the notion of Society was belittled, in which hyper-individualism was lauded, where any sense of community was being abandoned, and the search for it becoming a joke. WALL ST, the'hero' of which was to famously declare Greed to be good, was released the year after SID AND NANCY. I remember all that only too well. And of course it's not over yet: the unravelling continues.

Sid and Nancy meet in a frenzy and finish in a fog. In between they shore each other up as best they can, two bits of flotsam on an indifferent sea. We're shown only a little of where Sid came from, mercifully not enough to help us theorise about how he came to be the embodiment of anarchy. Instead, through Oldman's bravura, we see his unmitigated charisma, at which the film's unctuous Malcolm McClaren (played by David Hayman) smiles knowingly and which he merrily exploits. We do see Nancy in the context of her family, but again, instead of attempting to use this encounter to explaining her, Cox gives us a sense of how pleased the family was to get rid of her. If Romeo and Juliet had been like Sid and Nancy, the Montagues and the Capulets would have paid to get them married and out of Verona altogether.
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This movie should by no means be taken as fact regarding ANYTHING...
Lauren Griffin5 August 2013
Nauseating Nancy Spungen (portrayed by Chloe Webb)has always made this movie hard for me to watch. I can't feel any sympathy for such an obnoxious person (and she was, more or less, just as horrid in reality). Sid Vicious was basically a sweet, naive kid who had a difficult time believing the truth about Nancy's days as a prostitute. He really did love her and most people don't believe he was the one who killed her (especially since he was reported to be UNCONSCIOUS on Tuinal on the night in question). This movie should by no means be taken as fact regarding ANYTHING; Andrew Schofield is especially terrible as Johnny Rotten. He was supposed to meet and study Rotten but then admitted to him that the scenes had already been shot and Cox just wanted to use Rotten's name in connection with the film. The Rockhead character who is supposed to be Johnny Thunders (the guitarist for the New York Dolls, Heartbreakers, etc.) is ridiculous; at least they didn't use J.T.'s actual name. Nancy wasn't in England to chase after Johnny; she was obsessed with Jerry Nolan, the drummer for the Heartbreakers/New York Dolls. Anyhow, we'd be here all night if I pointed out every inaccuracy in this movie. Gary Oldman is an excellent actor and does a good job, although he's playing Sid the stage persona as opposed to Sid the person. If you just watch the movie as the story of two tragic lovers and don't compare it to reality it's alright; I liked it a lot when I was a 14-year-old punk, heh. Cheetah Chrome's quote in Please Kill Me is amusing: "F*****g Nancy. If Sid hadn't killed her, I woulda, ha ha ha. Nancy was probably the most miserable person I've ever met in my life."
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love in the gutter
Michael Neumann3 January 2011
This vivid recreation of the last, not quite desperate days of Sex Pistol Sid Vicious and his junkie/lover Nancy Spungen celebrates all the pathetic excesses of punk rock anarchy, but without the overwrought clichés Oliver Stone would later use to embalm kindred rock martyr Jim Morrison. It would be hard to find a more honest and unsettling portrait of show biz degradation, and yet the two lovers shared an almost tender (if self-destructive) affection for each other, conveyed by director Alex Cox with a gritty, forthright lyricism (their silhouetted embrace amidst a hail of garbage provides the film's most telling image). If nothing else, the pair were certainly more loyal to the nihilistic punk aesthetic than their contemporaries, and the film chronicles their slow, co-dependent suicide from the gutters of swinging London to the alleys of New York City, with an ill-conceived detour to Nancy's white-bread Middle America homestead. Gary Oldman brilliantly captures the ignorant anger (and sometimes disarming innocence) of the man described by Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren as a "fabulous disaster", and Chloe Webb is equally fine as the ugly duckling drug addict Nancy.
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Even Gary Oldman can't save this.
jeff light21 October 2007
Warning: Spoilers
How does this movie have a 7/10 score? I wanted to like it, I really did. Gary Oldman is my favorite actor, and he's in fine form here, although his "Sid Vicious" accent degenerates into a kind of generic Brit accent by the end of the film. I was interested in the story of Sid and the Sex Pistols, but true to the title, the film focuses squarely on Sid's relationship with Nancy. The film assumes a general and broad knowledge of the life and events of Sid and the Sex Pistols. You get tidbits of reportedly 'real' happenings from infamous stories, but it plays out as a disconnected series of events, without any framework to ground you in the lives of any of the characters. The dialog is mostly semi-coherent drug-induced babbling while stumbling blindly from one downtrodden location to another. In short, the film, much like Sid's life, is a train-wreck. Is this intentional? Trying to capture the feeling of what it was like? Maybe, maybe not. But it's a moot point. The film's main fault is in failing to create any sympathy for it's characters. Unlike other films which show the unglamorous cycle of drug dependency such as Trainspotting and The Basketball Diaries, Sid & Nancy shows not one redeeming value in its 'protagonists'. I was actually grateful when Nancy is no longer a focus of the story because I couldn't stand hearing her whining and screaming on the screen anymore. I thought the end of the movie might pull it out and make the whole thing worthwhile now that the focus was squarely on Oldman. And what do I get instead? A meaningless sequence where he dances with children before a magical cab pulls up to escort him and his newly revived love off to Never-never-land. (Yes I'm aware the disco on the radio had meaning.) Well, this sequence is certainly a happier note to end on than what happened in real life. And why not toss in another sequence glorifying a destructive, co-dependent relationship based on drug use? Yes, the film has the audacity to imply that this is real love. If you're 13 and looking for a film to romanticize and justify your rebellious anti-everything feelings, and you have a lot of knowledge and fascination for Sid Vicious, you might enjoy this film. For everyone else, stay away. The details are fudged and fuzzy, the script is misguided, the directing is slipshod, and unless you just HAVE to see Courtney Love's first role, the acting isn't worth sitting through the film.
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Sex, Drugs & Rock'n'Roll (Punk-Rocker Style)
Dalbert Pringle5 August 2015
Warning: Spoilers
(Favourite movie quote) - "Never trust a junkie."

If you ask me, I think that director Alex Cox did a bloody fine job of thoroughly mocking the punk-rocker scene as it stood in Britain during the mid-1970s.

And, I don't think that Cox could've chosen a better band to ridicule than that of the all-mighty "Sex Pistols", who were headlined by such talentless slime as Johnny Rotten and sleazy Sid Vicious.

In this grungy, greasy, gooey "Romeo & Juliet" story (punk-rocker style) it seems that everyone (and, I do mean "everyone") goes out, in one way or another, in a literal "blaze-of-glory".

One of this film's biggest and most comical highlights (and there were certainly others) was Sid Vicious (during his "solo" career) performing "I Did It My Way!" for an outrageously over-the-top MTV video.

With its depressingly graphic depiction of low-life, drug addiction and its incessant use of the vilest profanity imaginable, Sid & Nancy certainly isn't a film for everyone's enjoyment. But, if nothing else, it definitely does give the viewer quite a revealing (though not totally accurate) look at a particularly peculiar era in the history of pop music.
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Sid and Nancy
zach-georgetown22 March 2010
Warning: Spoilers
I recommend checking out the Criterion version of "Sid and Nancy" if you're able to get it. It's got some real footage of Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen from the tragic 1978 tour of the US. About the Alex Cox movie itself: It's not a history of the Sex Pistols, which I think everybody knows. It's got a lot of fiction, but it's still a great look at drug addiction, misfits, outcasts, anarchists, and the punk world of that time...

Whatever you think about the punk movement, love or hate it, this is still worth checking out, if just on the basis of the screwd up romance. The amazing garbage scene when their kissing is enough to warrant this be seen. And check out Sid's ferocious singing of "My Way". What's really the best part are the unforgettable performances of Gary Oldman and Chloe Webb. 8 out of 10
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Great leading performances but a missed opportunity
JonSnowsMother6 April 2009
Warning: Spoilers
I think i should start off by saying that i am big Sex Pistols fan, But i'm an even bigger fan of Johnny Rotten, Which proved a disappointment as the film didn't give the audience an insight or enough time to eider Rotten (Lydon), Cook or Jones. But despite that Sid and Nancy is an entertaining biopic with great leading performances by both a young (and hard to recognise) Gary Oldman and Chloe Webb. But what this film captures the most is a great viewing of 1970's England and delivers a fantastic view of 1970's London

So overall Sid and Nancy has a great costume, make-up and interior design which gives the viewers a spectacular insight in the era of punk. So with the great insight and two very well done performances, but it could have been better so i hope it won't be the last film about the sex pistols and that the next film will be more focused on the band itself. But Sid and Nancy is still a pleasure to watch
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The greatest story of doomed love since Romeo and Juliet
AdamRant6 July 1999
Sid and Nancy is one of those rare films that has all the bursting exuberance of youth without all the negative side effects. There are no scenes that scream out "HEY LOOK AT US! WE'RE YOUNG, WE'RE TWISTED, DON'T YOU WISH YOU WE'RE US!?" Okay maybe it has a few, but none of them feel like they exist strictly for shock value, none of them feel the least bit contrived or unnecessary. That is what makes Sid and Nancy so great. Most film criticism stems from reaction to prior film releases. Reviewers like Siskel and Ebert tend to cling to comparisons as a safety blanket, and as an almost cop out for original thought. Director Alex Cox (Repo Man) tells a story of doomed love that tends to defy easy categorization. Its brilliant combination of ultra realistic biography and surrealistic conjecture create a film universe that had not been seen prior to its release. The film opens in a dingy New York City, Chelsea Hotel room. Sex Pistols bassist and Punk Rock icon Sid Vicious (Gary Oldman, in a staggering performance) is being questioned by police about the apparent murder of his girlfriend and world famous rock n' roll groupie Nancy Spungen (Chloe Webb, Twins, TV's China Beach). Smash cut to the punk rock era of 1977 London, where Sid meets Nancy in a world of anarchy and disillusion inhabited by kids who don't know quite what they are disillusioned about. After a brief first encounter there is no chemistry between these two classic lovers, but soon Nancy sees Sid at a Sex Pistols gig, jumping around on stage freely showing his lack of musical ability and its love at first sight. (Note: it is a documented fact that Sid Vicious barely knew two chords on the bass guitar.) When Sid, after asking Nancy to cop some heroin for him, bashes his head against a brick wall in a twisted attempt to empathize with her, Nancy's love is only reaffirmed by Sid's complete abandonment of personal safety. Before we know it the two are shooting up the drug, which immediately begins a cycle of codependency that only desperate youth could satisfy. So the question arises are they really in love? Or do they need each other to support their habit? Well the question is answered, at least in Alex Cox's eyes, in a scene where the Sex Pistols play a gig on a riverboat, which ends violently in a police clash with Sex Pistols fans. As the boat docks, the punk rock youth pour onto the dock to escape the Billy clubs. Sid and Nancy casually stroll through the chaos unscathed as if they know that their love will protect them. As corny as the above event my sound, Alex Cox quickly juxtaposes with a scene of pure brutal addiction where we get to witness one of the most frantic "fiending for drugs scenes" ever shot. Sid and Nancy's desperation does not only make us cringe, it also makes us laugh with a classic comic topper that has to be witnessed to gain full appreciation. There in lies the beauty of Sid and Nancy, a locomotive of a film that is always on the verge of jumping the tracks, but is saved at the breaking point by carefully placed contradictions that more often than not makes us laugh. As if the above were not enough to make an engrossing movie, the film is also a great example of integrating historical events into a story without distracting the viewer from the film's unifying themes. Sid and Nancy is a great anthology of the rise and fall of a social movement, which behind the spiked hair, and leather jackets, was a dead on assessment of the hypocrisy that existed in England and the United States circa the decadent 1970's.
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A road accident
mentalcritic6 November 2004
People often use the description of a road accident to describe an event that is so ugly they don't normally want to look at it, but is in turn so fascinating that they simply cannot look away. Alex Cox's depiction of the relationship between Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen fits that description to a T. It consists of so much ugliness that nobody in their right mind would normally watch it for pleasure, but it is done in such a fascinating manner that one can't help being fascinated.

Sid Vicious was definitely not one of humanity's finer specimens. His name was a total misnomer, given that he apparently couldn't fight his way out of a wet paper bag. His musical skills were so close to non-existent that I could probably play a better song than he does, in spite of never having played in a band before. So it is hardly a surprise that much of his daily activity consisted of destroying himself. Nor is it surprising that the girlfriend who tries to exploit his total lack of talent is even more vapid and idiotic than he is.

The real John Lydon refers to this biopic as the "Peter Pan version", and I don't doubt that this is to some extent true. No film studio in its right mind is going to pay to have what really happened with Sid Vicious and the people around him depicted on film, especially not now that one cannot bring a period piece with a decent cast to completion without spending a good fifty million. Interestingly, John Lydon also describes himself as being the only talented member of the Sex Pistols, and this is borne out by his musical output after their breakup, so it would be interesting to see a biopic about him.

Not having seen any original footage or performances of the real Sid Vicious, I am not going to comment on whether Gary Oldman captures the character or not. What he does capture is the general obnoxiousness of the scene. It takes genuine talent as an actor to capture the performance element of a musician so terrible that a genre known for terrible musicianship considers him among the worst. One's instinct when putting a bass guitar in their hand is to do at least a halfway competent job of playing it, so it must have taken some effort to restrain that.

Alex Cox, having just come off the production of Repo Man, obviously wasn't willing to give up his ideas about non-obvious humour. While there aren't nearly as many sight gags here, there's enough sequences that make one laugh in spite of themselves that they cannot help but wonder if it was unintentional. Oldman's impersonation of Vicious doing My Way as only Vicious would will make you laugh, cry, and reminisce, even if you were a mere toddler at the time Vicious died.

I gave Sid And Nancy an eight out of ten. There are some films that one is inclined to respond with a well-emphasised "good" with when old cranks talk about how they don't make films "like this" anymore. When people tell me they don't make films like Sid And Nancy anymore, I think it's a damned shame.
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Please don't think punk was like this...
wadechurton10 February 2012
I last saw this movie when it came out in the mid-1980s, and as a long-time aficionado of punk rock, one had to say that 'Sid and Nancy' was awful. Irredeemably awful. I saw it again just last night, and it was worse. Over the decades since Sid kicked Nancy's bucket and then his own, several documentaries, unearthed footage and books of reminiscences have strengthened our acquaintance with the 'punk rock' story and its myriad sub-plots. However, as the director and co-writer of 'Sid and Nancy', Alex Cox would have known the entire story back in the early 1980s. He just didn't want to film it. Instead we get a wildly inaccurate phantasmagoria starring two painfully overacting hams who look several years older than the historical characters they are meant to be portraying. The entire English punk scene is pulped down into a bunch of exaggeratedly lurching, moronic and pettily destructive idiots falling over repeatedly and making life difficult for themselves and others. What about the intelligence and originality of the Buzzcocks or the Banshees? What about the Clash's social conscience? What about the Sex Pistols' media-savvy and musical talent? Check 'The Punk Rock Movie'; Sid actually could play, albeit in a basic 'Dee Dee Ramone' manner, and if you'd like to listen to the live bootlegs, they bear little resemblance to the incompetent racket served up by the 'Sex Pistols' in 'S & N'. Moreover, couldn't Cox have staged the 'Pistols' English gigs with an audience who doesn't look like it was straight out of 1984? Check the half-mohawks and the 'positive punk' girls' puffed-up hair. Almost as bad as Spike Lee's 'Summer of Sam'. While we're at it, why are there no swastikas? So what if Alex Cox didn't want them in his precious movie; in 1976-77 they were right there in front of everybody. Again, check the footage. Sid Vicious made the swastika t-shirt an icon; he pretty much lived in one. You might as well try to do a bio-pic about the Grateful Dead and leave out the peace symbol. Look, as you can tell, I could easily spend 10,000 words telling you how insultingly bad, stupid and dishonest this movie is. Maybe one day I will, but suffice to say that with its focus on two of the most obnoxious, universally disliked and talent-free members of the 1970s punk movement it is a totally charm-free excursion into bio-pic territory. It is also intolerably bad history.
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Good, twisted and funny!
Knoxvicious2 July 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Before you see this film there is a big important point you must know. Only 50% of this film is fictional. A lot of Sex Pistol fans might as well be outraged if they see this and think that's it's nothing like the real Sex Pistols and a lot were. John Lydon for instance who is The Sex Pistols lead singer said that he thought this film was a piece of crap and a Peter Pan version. All respect to John. He has the right to say this out of anyone. Sid was his best mate. There were a lot of stuff about this film that weren't real. You must know this. If you're going to see this film and expect it to be 100% accurate you should probably stay away and see a movie called, "The Filth and the Fury," a more accurate documentary of The Sex Pistols. Or maybe read a book about The Sex Pistols, like John's book. But, seriously, if you're a Gary Oldman fan you must rent this movie right away! I gave it ten stars because I only liked it and this is coming from a obsessed Gary Oldman fan but still a big fan of the Sex Pistols and Sid Vicious. If you're not a Gary Oldman fan or a Sex Pistols fan I can't honestly know what to say to you. This film is depressing and sometimes had its very low points. It certainly brings out the worst of drugs out of anything. I'm sorry, if I can't really help you on this.
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Peach_Braxton8 February 2007
What can you say? Gary Oldman did the best with what he had. But what he had was a script that was derived from a story based on hearsay... and not from the Pistols themselves, but from The Clash! This is NOT the true of story of Sid and Nancy; the real people were far more pathetic and depressing than their on-screen counterparts. Alex Cox got the basic details correct: Sid and Nancy were low-life junkies; Sid was a replacement bass player for the Sex Pistols and couldn't play a lick; everyone hated Nancy; they lived in squalor; Sid ended up on Riker's Island, and Nancy ended up dead on a bathroom floor.

Nearly every other detail in the movie was terribly inaccurate, everything from Sid and Nancy first meeting to how Nancy was positioned when she was found dead. Also, some of these people were too old to play the characters; it's easy to forget that the Pistols and their contingent were all teenagers. Chloe Webb looked about forty, yet Nancy died when she was just twenty years old. Not only that, but the movie portrayed the rest of the Pistols as being mildly retarded, and seemed to enjoy and even opted to live like bums. In reality, even at the height of their success, the Sex Pistols were still very poor and unhappy with their surroundings. In John Lydon's autobiography, he remarks about one of the opening scenes that shows Sid and Johnny eating baked beans and champagne for breakfast. Back then, he couldn't even afford champagne. "Details don't matter; this movie is about feeling." Oh really? Tell that to the people who actually lived through this.

Go ahead and watch this movie for its cinematic enjoyment, but not as a biographical piece. It's been nearly thirty years since the train wreck called Sid & Nancy did themselves in... it would be nice if someone could make a new Sex Pistols movie that's based on facts, instead of some silly director's notion of who and what they were. And this time, no more romanticizing their story. What they had together wasn't love, but a very twisted co-dependent relationship. The silly cab ride to heaven somehow made Sid & Nancy some kind of a punk Romeo and Juliet, but they were just a couple of losers.
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Raya P17 December 2006
Warning: Spoilers
I just can't watch a movie which is based on life of a character who actually says that 'she was never anything' about herself and does not change her position. i try to avoid such people in life and now i'm stuck with this movie sitting on my shelf. Plus, it is supposed to be about a crazy twisted love. Well, i only see love on Sid's part, Nancy just needed someone to look after her and give her more drugs, because she wasn't capable of doing it herself (that is how the movie showed her, but i'm pretty sure she was the same way in real life). Also, the director tried to make the end scene sweet and romantic, that i find inappropriate with a relationship like that. I guess, it should have evoked pity for the main characters, but it only made me disgusted with them. although, i must admit that Gary Oldman saved me from stopping the movie in the middle of it. Great actor.
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He did it his way...
mattaspin15 November 2005
An often romanticised look back on the life of Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious. Regarded as unreliable by Lydon, Alex Cox's homage to the era in which he spent his teenage years does offer an interesting and enthralling interpretation on one of the theories regarding the deaths of Sid and Nancy, though it may never truly come to light about what really happened. Oldman, Webb and Schofield are fantastic as Sid, Nancy and Rotten alike and it's invigorating to watch the cast sing, spit and curse their way through the Pistols back catalogue. Unappreciated by many people, but well worth a look even if you never listened to the Pistols.
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never mind
fillherupjacko26 February 2009
This is a film made by someone who clearly has no love for the Sex Pistols or even any real knowledge of them. Research for this project appears to have been conducted purely through reference to the tabloid presses' depiction of the band – and who wants to see that? John Lydon, a man who wrote God Save The Queen among other things (a lyric surely comparable with anything by Lennon or Dylan) is portrayed as a talentless thug. Steve Jones, an amusing and engaging bloke on anyone's terms, seen here is nothing but a borderline psychopath. Gary Oldman, good actor that he is, does his best impersonation of Sid's lugubrious, cockney drawl but he's a little too healthy looking, in truth.

Even as a depiction of 1977, the film fails to convince. The Sex Pistols play to a room exclusively full of "punks" who resemble American punks contemporary to when the film was made, i.e. leather jackets and Mohicans. Check out archive footage of the Pistols and it didn't happen that way. The majority of the audience still had long hair and flares. Even some of the punk bands had members who weren't particularly punk. Spiky hair and ripped t-shirts were seemingly a step too far back then. Most shocking of all, the racial change that the singer of X-Ray Spex undergoes is more startling than Michael Jackson's.

The main problem with the film – or any retrospective Rock n Roll film – is the music. Actors - or hired session men - can never hope to emulate the voices/ presence/ energy of the original band. (Do you think the Beatles would ever have made it if they'd sounded like they did in Backbeat?) Here, the Sex Pistols are portrayed as nothing but a worthless gimmick; a construction of a Svengali manager who took any four hoodlums and placed them in sensational situations. It panders to readers of The Sun and clever people who think they're being fooled if they don't say "Oh yeh – nothing but a media gimmick, yeah – couldn't really play, yeh" – i.e. people who think they're clever but who are, in actual fact, idiots. Avoid.
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Cartoonish fan fiction
gut-619 August 2006
This film was responsible for putting me off biopics about people who are still alive. The reason being that we know what the individuals involved looked like then and look like now, and we are aware of what really happened, and can compare the real people to the fantasy version that the director chooses to put on screen. For example, Sid Vicious's famous swastika T-shirt gets bowdlerised into a hammer and sickle T-shirt, the latter apparently being more in-tune with director's PC totalitarian sensibilities. Yuck.

In this movie, the director comes off looking like the talentless, pretentious declassé wannabe that we always knew he was from his other films, a Will Self of the cinema. Alex Cox has totally bought into the synthetic cartoonish on-stage public image of the Sex Pistols and the punk movement, and mistaken it for the real people involved. The result resembles Star Trek fan fiction, a lame geeky attempt to rehash someone else's already shallow work of fiction by an overly obsessive fan, made all the more irritating because it is presented as if it was telling a true story. So we get Gary Oldman and Chloe Webb and the supporting cast mugging their one-note cartoonish punk caricatures throughout the length of this film, with occasional injections of out-of-touch intellectualisms. It's not entertaining and it's not funny, although the characters behave as if they believe they are. The plot, what little there is, moves quite slowly to its known and muddled conclusion. The low budget shows in the poor cinematography and weak script. The only emotion I felt by the end was embarrassment for the film-makers, combined with the fervent hope that they would change careers to suit their true vocations as checkout clerks and sociology lecturers.
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The most media maligned musicians ever get worked over yet again.
Brett Burton11 July 2005
I'll keep this brief. Gary Oldman is good - No surprise there. But aside from his snarling and slobbering portrayal of Sid, there's not much else to see here. In the brief intervals between Chloe Webb's whining, the film manages to veer into interesting visual territory. But ultimately it's unrewarding, at times treacly, heroin mythologizing, and historical inaccurate. What does director Alex Cox really know about the punk movement anyway? I would hardly rely on the impressions of an upper class intellectual, who was on his way to being a lawyer when punk happened. He was such an outsider that he turned to Joe Strummer of the Clash for help. Would no one from the Sex Pistols camp talk to him? He didn't even get Johnny Rotten's accent right. Skip this and watch Filth and the Fury instead.
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