6.6/10
17,900
197 user 56 critic

Tommy (1975)

PG | | Drama, Musical | 26 March 1975 (UK)
Trailer
2:09 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Prime Video

ON DISC
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 »
Reviews
Popularity
4,627 ( 573)
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Biographical film of the life of French sculptor Henri Gaudier-Brzeska.

Director: Ken Russell
Stars: Dorothy Tutin, Scott Antony, Helen Mirren
Lisztomania (1975)
Biography | Comedy | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Composer and pianist Franz Liszt attempts to overcome his hedonistic life-style while repeatedly being drawn back into it by the many women in his life and fellow composer Richard Wagner.

Director: Ken Russell
Stars: Roger Daltrey, Sara Kestelman, Paul Nicholas
Mahler (1974)
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Composer Gustav Mahler's life, told in a series of flashbacks as he and his wife discuss their failing marriage during a train journey.

Director: Ken Russell
Stars: Robert Powell, Georgina Hale, Lee Montague
Comedy | Musical | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

When the leading lady of a low-budget musical revue sprains her ankle, the assistant stage manager is forced to understudy and perform in her place, becoming a star and finding love in the process.

Director: Ken Russell
Stars: Twiggy, Christopher Gable, Max Adrian
Valentino (1977)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

In 1926, the tragic and untimely death of a silent screen actor caused female movie-goers to riot in the streets and in some cases to commit suicide - that actor was Rudolph Valentino. ... See full summary »

Director: Ken Russell
Stars: Rudolf Nureyev, Leslie Caron, Michelle Phillips
Quadrophenia (1979)
Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Jimmy loathes his job and parents. He seeks solace with his mod clique, scooter riding and drugs, only to be disappointed.

Director: Franc Roddam
Stars: Phil Daniels, Leslie Ash, Phil Davis
The Devils (1971)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

In 17th-century France, Father Urbain Grandier seeks to protect the city of Loudun from the corrupt establishment of Cardinal Richelieu. Hysteria occurs within the city when he is accused of witchcraft by a sexually repressed nun.

Director: Ken Russell
Stars: Vanessa Redgrave, Oliver Reed, Dudley Sutton
Women in Love (1969)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Two best friends fall in love with a pair of women, but the relationships soon go in very different directions.

Director: Ken Russell
Stars: Alan Bates, Oliver Reed, Glenda Jackson
Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Ten people are invited to a hotel in the Iranian desert, only to find that an unseen person is killing them one by one. Could one of them be the killer?

Director: Peter Collinson
Stars: Charles Aznavour, Maria Rohm, Adolfo Celi
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

The professional and romantic misadventures of an advertising executive in 1960s swinging London.

Director: Michael Winner
Stars: Oliver Reed, Orson Welles, Carol White
Biography | Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Piano teacher Peter Ilych Tchaikovsky struggles against his homosexuality by marrying, but unfortunately he chooses a nymphomaniac whom he cannot satisfy.

Director: Ken Russell
Stars: Richard Chamberlain, Glenda Jackson, Max Adrian
Action | Adventure
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A young swordsman comes to Paris and faces villains, romance, adventure and intrigue with three Musketeer friends.

Director: Richard Lester
Stars: Oliver Reed, Raquel Welch, Richard Chamberlain
Edit

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
Edit

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 »
Edit

Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

26 March 1975 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Tommy: The Movie See more »

Edit

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 »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

In an odd bit of continuity, Barry Winch (who plays Tommy as a child) has brown eyes while Roger Daltrey (who plays him as an adult) is blue-eyed. See more »

Goofs

In the "Pinball Wizard" scene the "Pinball Wizard" (Elton John) pulls the handle to launch the pinball on his machine. The ball is then lost when it goes below the paddles. During the rest of the scene there is a ball in the machine even though Elton John doesn't pull the handle to launch a ball again. See more »

Quotes

Nora Walker Hobbs: Do you think it's alright / To leave the boy with Uncle Ernie? / Do you think it's alright? / He's had a few too many tonight / Do you think it's alright?
Frank Hobbs: Yes, I think it's alright / Yes, I think it's alright
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 »

Connections

Referenced in Movie Music Mania (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Mother and Son
(uncredited)
Written by Pete Townshend
Performed by Pete Townshend, Ann-Margret, Roger Daltrey
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A fun if overblown rock opera with a cult following, shambolic plot with obvious attacks on religion and an eclectic cast
27 June 2004 | by bob the mooSee all my reviews

When her husband is lost in WWII, Nora Walker is left with an unborn baby to raise by herself. Years later she has a fantastic son, Tommy, and is being courted by 'Uncle' Franks Hobbs. However when Tommy sees Frank and his mother killing his real father, he becomes psychosomatically deaf, dumb and blind. This way he stays all the way through to adulthood regardless of what his mother tries to get him cured. Running away from home one night, Tommy finds himself in a junkyard where he finds an old pinball machine and begins to play it. When he turns out to be a natural born wizard on the pinball table it not only leads him to a cure but also causes a religious following to spring up around him.

Being born in the 1970's and not really being a retro type of person, I have never gotten into The Who but I am always willing to give a film a try no matter what period it is from or what genre it is. I approached Tommy with hesitancy aware that I may not like the music and that it had a reputation for being all over the place. Well, suffice to say that the latter is certainly true and if you're coming here looking for structure or decent plotting then you'll be not only disappointed but also a touch bewildered! The basic plot is an obvious swipe at religion and, as such, I'm rather surprised this film doesn't have a legacy of Catholic protests (it may do – but usually things like that stick with a film forever, like Life of Brian) following it given the amount of religious imagery in it. It doesn't totally work as it isn't clever enough to be really interesting or sharp enough to serve as a clever attack at religion. However it still manages to be great overblown fun from pretty much start to finish.

Credit where credit is due, Ken Russell doesn't run the risk of being remembered as someone who suffered in moderation – no, if he can have Ann Margaret rolling round on the floor then why not cover her in tinned food product? To that end his direction is relentlessly over the top and it actually helps the material because the plot and music are both over the top and revelling in 1970's excesses. It is never funny in a comedy sense but it is fun in the same way as going to a big show like Rock Horror can be, it's hard not to get caught up in the music, performances and sights of the film as everyone is really overdoing it and it's fun! Not being a fan of The Who, I was still won over by the music here – like a west end show mixed with rock and served on top of sliced ham, it is catchy, overblown and enjoyable to listen to. The cast also help and all manage to deliver their lines well even if some of them are not singers as their day jobs.

In fact the cast is a big part of this film working quite as well as it did – their performances mostly match the overblown feel of the film. Daltry isn't a great actor but he does well here apart from the odd slip up. Ann Margaret chews the scenery with every chance and her performance is memorable (and I think was Oscar nominated – but I may be wrong). Reed hams it up like a good'un and appears to be enjoying himself immensely – although given the people involved in this film and the legendary habits he had I would not be surprised if it was something other than the film itself that gave him that lecherous leer! The real gold in the film though is a collection of cameos that may not all work but all add to the film: Tina Turner IS The Acid Queen, Elton John gets the best song of the film, Clapton doesn't make as much of an impression as I would have liked and the presence of Jack Nicholson is as good as it is surprising!

Overall this is a silly, shambolic film that makes very little sense and is not clever enough to make the points about religion that it tries to. However it is overblown, musical and fun to watch with a great collection of people from the period in small roles all through the film. It may frustrate many, which is why it is a 'cult' film as opposed to a classic hit but, for all it's flaws, I found it enjoyable and fun in a big silly OTT way!


54 of 81 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 197 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Popular Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed