6.6/10
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121 user 40 critic

Head (1968)

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The Monkees are tossed about in a psychedelic, surrealist, plotless, circular bit of fun fluff.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Davy (as David Jones)
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The Big Victor
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I. Vitteloni
Charles Macaulay ...
T.C. Jones ...
Charles Irving ...
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Black Sheik
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Storyline

Running in from seemingly nowhere, Micky Dolenz, Davy Jones, Michael Nesmith & Peter Tork - better known collectively as The Monkees - disrupt a bridge opening ceremony. From where and why did they come to disrupt the proceedings? They were filming a series of vignettes in several different genres, including a wild west sequence, a desert war sequence, a Confederate war sequence, and a science fiction sequence. They disagree with much of what is happening around them, and try to figure out how to escape the oppression they feel - symbolized by a big black box in which they are seemingly imprisoned - by the forces around. That oppression is often shown in the form of "The Big Victor Mature". Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

What is HEAD all about? Only John Brockman's shrink knows for sure!


Certificate:

G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

20 November 1968 (USA)  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$750,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (director's cut)

Sound Mix:

Color:

| (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Five years after its premiere, the movie was shown in a 1973 Raybert retrospective, along with Five Easy Pieces (1970) and Easy Rider (1969), and finally gained a positive response from fans and critics. See more »

Goofs

Wires pulling the mermaids and Mickey through the water can be seen at the beginning of the film. Wires are also visible supporting the Monkees before getting sucked into the vacuum, and when falling from the sky into the street at the end of the film. See more »

Quotes

Mike: [singing] Hamilton, Smiling down, Telling more, Than before, And it looks we've made it once again, Yes it looks like we've made it to the end.
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Crazy Credits

The movie ends with a still shot of a stylized, apparently vintage Columbia Pictures logo. The "film" then: 1) skips a few frames, 2) gets tangled up in the projector mechanism, 3) catches fire and burns/melts, and 4) the film on which all of this has been filmed breaks as the soundtrack continues. As the music ends, the laugh of the woman kissing the Monkees in the first scene is heard again. See more »

Connections

References Ritual in Transfigured Time (1946) See more »

Soundtracks

Circle Sky
Written by Michael Nesmith
Performed by The Monkees (uncredited)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Actually, a film with a lot to say...
20 March 2003 | by See all my reviews

Well, after viewing this film dozens of times (I am a huge fan of the Monkees) I believe I have finally come to grips with it. The film can be taken on several levels. It is, on its face, a psychedelic romp with the Monkees in an endless cascade of set pieces in a seemingly plot less melange, with time out for six new songs/music videos. It is on that basis that first-time viewers should approach it, letting the fun sights, groovy music, and seemingly non-sequitor humor wash over them.

But really, Head is so much more than a colorful, drug-fueled weirdness. At its core, Head exposes the price of fame, the vacuousness of pop culture and the isolation of the individual in modern society.

Do you think I'm overreaching here, reading in meaning where there really is none?

I believe that Jack Nicholson and The Monkees (writers of the film, though only Jack was credited) took a carefully-applied scalpel to their situation in particular and society in general, dissecting and laying bare their frustrations in an artful manner. Ultimately HEAD is an allegorical tragedy that metaphorically, and with panache, tells the story of the Monkees' rise and their ultimate disillusionment with and revolt against, the star-making machinery that gave them fame and fortune. But what did it take away from them?

I can hear your objection now: where's the tragedy? What could be worse than famous rich people complaining about their situation?

Well, at the end of the whole affair, the group realizes that they have entered into a Faustian bargain where there is no winning. Ultimately, they are not Free Men, they are merely human puppets. Their roles as Monkees have them trapped in a locked, black box from which there is no escape. Even their decision to kill themselves cannot give them succor and release. They remain trapped in a sealed box, never to see light again, carted away at the end of the day like some giant studio prop. A dark, brooding existential fate to be sure, trapped beneath a psychedelic candy- coating.

The 1960's countercultural views informing this modern fairy tale may have been, by this time, largely discredited, and perhaps almost seem quaint. But there can be no doubt that in HEAD these views are expressed artistically and subtly, and with great songs to boot, which is an achievement that not every film can boast of.

In spite of the scoffing of others, I firmly believe that repeated viewings of this film will provide ongoing rewards for the thinking viewer.


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