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The Naked Civil Servant (1975)

The life and times of Quentin Crisp, an outrageous and flamboyant homosexual, coming of age and growing into old age in conservative England.


Jack Gold


Quentin Crisp (autobiography), Philip Mackie (screenplay)
3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
John Hurt ... Quentin Crisp
Liz Gebhardt Liz Gebhardt ... Art Student
Patricia Hodge ... Ballet Teacher
Stanley Lebor ... Mr. Pole
Katherine Schofield ... Mrs. Pole (as Katharine Schofield)
Colin Higgins Colin Higgins ... Thumbnails
John Rhys-Davies ... Barndoor
Stephen Johnstone Stephen Johnstone ... Young Quentin
Antonia Pemberton Antonia Pemberton ... Mrs. Longhurst
Lloyd Lamble ... Mr. Crisp
Joan Ryan Joan Ryan ... Mrs. Crisp
Frank Forsyth ... Family Doctor
Shane Briant ... Norma
Ron Pember Ron Pember ... Black Cat Proprietor
Roger Lloyd Pack ... Liz
Learn more

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The life and times of Quentin Crisp, an outrageous and flamboyant homosexual, coming of age and growing into old age in conservative England. Written by Chris Abbenhuis <keller@telebyte.nl>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TV-14 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


During filming, it was discovered that Sir John Hurt had painted Quentin Crisp when he was a life studies model at the art school that Hurt attended. See more »


(at around 1h 13 mins) As the 1975 segment begins, the pedestrians Crisp passes on the sidewalk include a woman in a white top and plaid skirt, and then a man in a lavender shirt and yellow pants. When the shot changes to one from Crisp's point of view, the same two pedestrians pass by again. See more »


[first lines]
Mr. Crisp: Do you intend to spend your entire life admiring yourself?
Quentin Crisp: If I possibly can.
See more »


Followed by An Englishman in New York (2009) See more »

User Reviews

An Outsider Brought To Life By A Brilliant Actor
28 January 2017 | by Theo RobertsonSee all my reviews

As someone who has recently entered early middle age there has been no doubt in my mind who has been the most consistent actor in my lifetime - John Hurt . He's not an actor who'd probably qualify as "Film Star" but has appeared in film , theatre and television and had always given a great performance where he steals every scene . When an actor dies I'm not the sort of person who seeks out the departed's resume by in the case of Hurt I have made an exception and watched his breakthrough role in THE NAKED CIVIL SERVANT as way of tribute

This is based on Quentin Crisp's autobiography . Now no matter your opinion of Crisp or homosexuality the ethos of the narrative is how a cruel , conformist society treats the outsider . As someone who was born in to an Edinburgh housing estate I grew up on a small Scottish Island . An urban lower working class prole growing up in a class conscious crushing environment . Society scorns "You're not one of us" and you're supposed to put up with that until your autopsy . Anyone who considers themselves to be an outsider can either sit there and take it or stick two fingers up at the world and declare "I am who I am" . It says a lot about Hurt that he elicits so much empathy or even sympathy from the audience

It should be remembered that THE NAKED CIVIL SERVANT was produced in 1975 . In those days THE BLACK AND WHY MINSTREL SHOW and LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR were massive television hits so homosexuality was treated as a subject of insensitive humour in much the same way as race relations were . In other words the homosexuality portrayed in 70s television is one of grotesque black comedy and one can see an Islington dinner party in 2017 being outraged by the portrayal of homosexuality seen here . There is nothing to be offended about and the only possible sin seen here is one of self parody , but it's done with such a sense of tongue in cheek fun it's impossible not to be carried along by it . This is mainly down to the lead actor , an actor whose greatest tour de force as an outsider would be in THE ELEPHANT MAN in 1980 and a role that was predated five years earlier by the one seen here . .

RIP John Hurt and thanks for all the great performances down the decades

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Release Date:

17 December 1975 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Wie man sein Leben lebt See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Thames Television See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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