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Tommy (1975)

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

Director:

Ken Russell

Writers:

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

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Cast

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 ... Himself
Keith Moon ... Uncle Ernie
Paul Nicholas ... Cousin Kevin
Jack Nicholson ... The Specialist
Robert Powell ... Captain Walker
Pete Townshend ... Himself
Tina Turner ... The Acid Queen
Arthur Brown Arthur Brown ... The Priest
Victoria Russell Victoria Russell ... Sally Simpson
Ben Aris Ben Aris ... Reverend Simpson
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

Your senses will never be the same

Genres:

Drama | Musical

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

26 March 1975 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Tommy: The Movie See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$34,251,525
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Quintaphonic (5 channel Stereo) (as Quintophonic Sound®)| Dolby (as Dolby System Noise Reduction - High Fidelity Optical Sound Track)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Pete Townshend, Oliver Reed had incredible problems recording his part of the soundtrack owing to his inability to sing, and he was able to complete it only because his singing parts were recorded in small bits. Because of this frustrating experience, Townshend was extremely suspicious towards Jack Nicholson when he was chosen to the role of the doctor. Townshend, however, finally agreed when he heard Nicholson singing effortlessly. See more »

Goofs

Visible during "Acid Queen." See more »

Quotes

All: These pricey deals don't teach us. Your freedom doesn't reach us. Awareness doesn't shape us. Enlightenment escapes us. How can all this trivia take us to the goal you reached? We came here to be like you, find the world you preach.
See more »

Alternate Versions

In the UK PAL version DVD, between the "Uncle Ernie scene" and the scene that Frank Hobbs walks up the blue lit staircase, there is a scene showing Nora and Frank coming through the front door of their flat and ponder for a moment where the strange noises are coming from. Proceeding this, Frank walks to the staircase and heads upstairs. See more »

Connections

Version of Tommy and Quadrophenia Live: The Who (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Tommy Can You Hear Me
(uncredited)
Written by Pete Townshend
Performed by Alan Ross, Chris Stainton, Ann-Margret
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Your senses will never be the same...you can say that again!
10 August 2006 | by lee_eisenbergSee all my reviews

I will say that the movie version of "Tommy" is not as good as The Who's original opera. I guess that it's hard to adapt something like that to the silver screen. But even so, this movie is an experience unlike any other. Watching it, you try to figure out how to digest all that you're seeing and make sense of it (although I would reject calling it sensory overload).

The plot of course has deaf, dumb, blind Tommy Walker (Roger Daltrey) becoming a pinball champion and developing a cult following. Daltrey has no trouble getting into the role, especially when he sings "I'm Free". Equally good - and quite perceptive - is Ann-Margret as his mother Nora, using his celebrity to enrich herself; I really liked the scene where she hallucinates soap, beans and chocolate pouring out of the TV set. Oliver Reed seems a little bit wooden as Frank, whom Nora marries when she hears that her husband has gotten killed in WWII, but he still passes. Tina Turner really goes over the top as the Acid Queen, who tries to cure Tommy. Elton John is OK as the Pinball Wizard, but I guess that anyone could have done that role. Probably the most surprising cast member is Jack Nicholson as The Specialist; I mean, who would have ever imagined Jack Nicholson of all people in a musical?* Peter Townshend, John Entwistle and Keith Moon also appear.

All in all, director Ken Russell instills this movie with the same sensibility that we find in the rest of his movies. Maybe it seemed better in the cinema, with its quintaphonic sound. But it's still something that I recommend to everyone. In conclusion: See it...feel it...touch it...heal it.

*Just imagine musical versions of "Five Easy Pieces", "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest", "The Shining" and "As Good As It Gets"!


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