207 user 62 critic

Tommy (1975)

PG | | Drama, Musical | 26 March 1975 (UK)
2:09 | Trailer
A psychosomatically deaf, dumb and blind boy becomes a master pinball player and, subsequently, the figurehead of a cult.


Ken Russell


The Who (by) (as 'The Who'), Ken Russell (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Oliver Reed ... Frank
Ann-Margret ... Nora
Roger Daltrey ... Tommy
Elton John ... The Pinball Wizard
Eric Clapton ... The Preacher
John Entwistle ... Self
Keith Moon ... Uncle Ernie
Paul Nicholas ... Cousin Kevin
Jack Nicholson ... The Specialist
Robert Powell ... Captain Walker
Pete Townshend ... Self
Tina Turner ... The Acid Queen
Arthur Brown Arthur Brown ... The Priest
Victoria Russell Victoria Russell ... Sally Simpson
Ben Aris Ben Aris ... Reverend Simpson


Nora Walker is told that her British fighter pilot husband is missing in action and presumed killed in World War II. On V.E. Day, Nora gives birth to their son, who she names Tommy. While Tommy is an adolescent, Nora marries Frank, a shifty camp counselor. Shortly thereafter, Tommy suffers an emotionally traumatic experience associated with his father and step-father, which, based on things told to him at that time, results in him becoming deaf, dumb and blind, a situation which several people exploit for their own pleasure. As Nora tries several things to bring Tommy out of his psychosomatic disabilities, Tommy, now a young man, happens upon pinball as a stimulus. Playing by intuition, Tommy becomes a pinball master, which in turn makes him, and by association Nora and Frank, rich and famous. Nora literally shatters Tommy to his awakening, which ultimately leads to both the family's rise and downfall as people initially try to emulate Tommy's path then rebel against it. Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Your senses will never be the same See more »


Drama | Musical


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


At one point when casting was proving problematic, Tiny Tim was considered to portray the Acid Queen. See more »


During the instrument trashing routine for 'Pinball Wizard', Keith Moon first kicks over his right-hand bass drum; next shot, the kit is complete again, and he starts to topple the same 22" kick. Finally, it's the left~hand bass (with the single 14 x 8" tom) that's already displaced, and the right-hand bass (with 2 toms) gets a third tipping. See more »


Cousin Kevin: [Starts singing while playing on the piano] We're on our own, Cousin; all alone, Cousin! Let's think of a nice game to play... while the grown-ups have all gone away!
Cousin Kevin: You won't be much fun, being blind, deaf and dumb, but I've no one to play with today!
[He grabs Tommy's head and places a brown bag over him while he continues singing]
Cousin Kevin: Do you know how to play hide and seek? To find me it would take you a week!
Cousin Kevin: [pause]
[Cousin Kevin grabs a chair and hits Tommy with it]
Cousin Kevin: But tied to that chair you...
See more »

Alternate Versions

The close-up shot of "Holy Marylin Monroe"'s crotch was deleted from the "Eyesight To The Blind" song scene in the syndicated television version of the film. See more »


Featured in Elton John: The Nation's Favourite Song (2017) See more »


Captain Walker
Written and Performed by Pete Townshend
See more »

User Reviews

A great musical movie. Loads of fun.
16 September 2006 | by theshadow908See all my reviews

Tommy tells the story of a woman who loses her husband in the war and gives birth to their son soon after. Six years later she falls for a new man, but Captain Walker returns home, having been in a POW camp for years. Mrs. Walker's new love kills the boy's father right in front of him, and together they drill into him that he didn't see it, he didn't hear it, and he won't say nothing to no one ever in his life. This causes the boy to fall deaf, dumb, and blind, much to his mother's bewilderment. The movie follows his adventures from the strange attempts at curing him (including drugs and cult worship), and the torture he endures (a sadistic cousin and a perverted uncle), all the way to when he becomes a pinball champion, and becomes such a celebrity that he even starts a religion. Based on the 1969 concept album by The Who, Tommy tells a good story and is loads of fun to watch.

Tommy is a great musical film because it has what musicals need to be successful...Great music. The Who's album Tommy is an amazing album with some really great songs. It is credited as being the first rock opera ever written. The plot line of the album is vague, and you're forced to make guesses, but here in this movie you can get the whole story. The music in the movie is different from the album. It features more instruments, including synthesizer, which I love. Every song in the movie makes you bob your head and tap your feet. The sets and the story are very good. The movie features some really weird imagery in some scenes, but it makes the movie fun. I only have one real problem with the film. The first half of the film is a blast. The awesome songs and characters (my favourite being Cousin Kevin), the great story, everything. However, once the Pinball Wizard scene is over, the movie begins to drag ever so slightly, but when Tommy is cured and starts his own religion, the movie begins to grow too long. I would have liked it better if the movie ended with Tommy being cured. All the fun is gone once Tommy is cured.

The performances in this movie are great for the most part. There are some really great singers and actors involved in this movie. Oliver Reed and Ann-Margaret give great performances as Tommy's parents, though Reed can't really sing. Elton John and Keith Moon give memorable and hilarious performances as the Pinball Wizard and Uncle Ernie. Jack Nicholson did pretty good as the Doctor for someone who's not a singer. Eric Clapton and Tina Turner did good in their roles as well. Roger Daltrey was the perfect Tommy even though all he had to do was stare with a blank look on his face.

Overall, Tommy is a great 70's musical with fantastic performances, but after a while it starts to lose momentum. There might be some boredom near the end.


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Release Date:

26 March 1975 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Tommy: The Movie See more »


Box Office


$5,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

3 Channel Stereo (as Quintophonic Sound®) (5.0 SQ Matrix)| Dolby (as Dolby System Noise Reduction - High Fidelity Optical Sound Track)| 70 mm 6-Track



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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