7.6/10
19,059
159 user 105 critic

If.... (1968)

R | | Drama | 21 May 1969 (France)
In this allegorical story, a revolution led by pupil Mick Travis takes place at an old established private school in England.

Director:

Writers:

(screenplay), (original script: "Crusaders") | 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Mick: Crusaders
... Johnny: Crusaders
... Wallace: Crusaders
... The Girl: Crusaders
Rupert Webster ... Bobby Philips: Crusaders
Robert Swann ... Rowntree: Whips
Hugh Thomas ... Denson: Whips
Michael Cadman ... Fortinbras: Whips
Peter Sproule ... Barnes: Whips
... Headmaster: Staff
... General Denson: Staff
... Mr. Kemp: Staff
... Matron: Staff
Mary MacLeod ... Mrs. Kemp: Staff (as Mary Macleod)
Geoffrey Chater ... Chaplain: Staff
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Storyline

In an indictment of the British public school system, we follow Mick and his mostly younger friends through a series of indignities and occasionally abuse as any fond feelings toward these schools are destroyed. When Mick and his friends rebel, violently, the catch phrase, "which side would you be on" becomes quite stark. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Which side will you be on?

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

|

Release Date:

21 May 1969 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Se...  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

| (Eastmancolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The BFI voted this the 12th greatest British film of all time. See more »

Goofs

When Bobby Phillips is summoned by Rowntree back to the Whips' study, there is a Yale-type lock on the outside of the study door. The next shot of him entering the study taken from inside, shows the lock on the outside of the door missing. See more »

Quotes

Mick Travis: There's no such thing as a wrong war. Violence and revolution are the only pure acts.
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Crazy Credits

The film's opening prologue states: Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding PROVERBS IV:7 See more »

Connections

Featured in Free Cinema (1986) See more »

Soundtracks

Toccata, 5th Organ Symphony Opus 42 No 1
(uncredited)
Composed by Charles Marie Widor
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User Reviews

 
One of the greatest of all British films
3 January 2008 | by See all my reviews

The best film ever made about school life; the rituals, the drudgery, the humiliation and ultimately the excitement. Anderson's masterpiece works on a number of levels, not least as one of the cinema's great pieces of surrealism. It's a state of the nation movie, a fantasy, an account of public school life told with an almost documentary-like precision and it's as fresh today as it was when it first appeared, (hard to believe that was almost 40 years ago or that Malcom McDowell was ever this young).

Using Jean Vigo's "Zero De Conduite" as a template, (it's not a remake), Anderson's movie is quintessentially youthful and so accurately does it depict its milieu as to appear almost arrogant. He handles revolution with a grandstanding authority and homosexual, (and heterosexual), schoolboy yearning more romantically than any other film I can think of, (Wallace's display in the gymnasium as blonde, beautiful, tousle-haired Bobby Phillips looks on is blissfully homo-erotic), and he does this with a masterly control of the medium. (His comments about financial restraints dictating the fluctuations between black-and-white and colour photography may well be true but the choices seem inspired, nevertheless and the great Miroslav Ondricek's camera-work is superb).

He was also a great actor's director, often working with many of the same actors both in theatre and in cinema and he extracts marvellous performances from the likes of Arthur Lowe, Peter Jeffrey, Mona Washborne and Geoffrey Chater representing the Establishment as well as pitch-perfect performances from David Wood, Richard Warwick, Rupert Webster, Robert Swann and Hugh Thomas, all new to cinema, as the students.

The film made Malcom McDowell a star and for a few short years, (here, in "O Lucky Man", as Alex in "A Clockwork Orange"), that star burned brightly before he sold out to Hollywood and his career began to flounder in a series of mediocre American movies, reaching a nadir with "Caligula". But his performance as Mick Travis is a marvel and both it and the film that first encapsulated it remain among the finest achievements in British cinema.


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