6.6/10
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Tommy (1975)

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

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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 ... 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
Learn more

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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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Did You Know?

Trivia

Some of the scenes with Robert Powell parallel his scenes in Mahler (1974), also directed by Ken Russell. See more »

Goofs

Crew reflections are visible in pinball machines' glass during end scene in pinball park. See more »

Quotes

Acid Queen: [singing] Gather your wits and hold on fast, your mind must learn to roam. Just as the Gypsy Queen must do, you're gonna hit the road! My work is done, now look at him, he's never been more alive! His head, it shakes, his fingers clutch; watch his body writhe!
[pause]
Acid Queen: I'm the gypsy, the Acid Queen! Pay me before I start. I'm the gypsy, I'm guaranteed... to break your little heart!
See more »

Alternate Versions

New CGI shots have been added to the DVD version of the film. These include:
  • digital burning embers to the RAF planes being shot down in Tommy's first hallucination in the "Amazing Journey" song scene.
  • A birds'-eye-view shot of Tommy falling down through the shattered mirror into the water in the transition between the "Smash The Mirror!" song scene and the "I'm Free" song scene.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Painted Hills (1993) See more »

Soundtracks

Sally Simpson
(uncredited)
Written by Pete Townshend
Performed by Phil Chen, Nicky Hopkins, Eric Clapton, Graham Deakin,
Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey
See more »

User Reviews

 
A crazy but wonderful interpretation of a legend's music
17 May 2005 | by sev127See all my reviews

I first came across Tommy when I saw the West End theatre production about 10 years ago, and I instantly fell in love with the music and the plot. However, at the time I was only 11 years old and couldn't really appreciate the many levels to Tommy. I did watch the film pretty soon after but was constantly comparing it to the show and to me it didn't even come close.

Now I'm a little older (and hopefully wiser), I have watched the film a lot in the past couple of years and all I can say is WOW! The music is fantastic, Pete Townshend is a genius, and the way he uses it to tell the story is awesome. When you listen to the original Who album a lot is left open to the imagination as regards plot, and I think its important to realise that Ken Russell's film version is merely one interpretation of the story told by the music.

Having not seen any of Russell's other work, it's impossible for me to say that this is typical of him. However, what I will say is that the imagery he uses in the film really does spark a lot of interest, for example the hypocrisy of organised religion and icon worship (particularly when Tommy causes Marlyin Monroe to crash to the floor after the rest of the church have been "brainwashed" by the priests).

A lot of people criticise the film for its cast, particularly Oliver Reed and Jack Nicholsons' debatable singing abilities. However I feel that this only adds to the sleaziness of their characters, especially Reed's - I think if he was note perfect it would be out of character. I think Ann Margret is fantastic as Nora - it's obvious that as Tommy's mother she feels torn between the love for her son and the love for fame and money, and she portrays that really well. As for Roger Daltrey, what a voice and what a body!!

I think it's important not to take the film too seriously though, like I said it's just one interpretation. I feel that "Tommy" as a whole - the music, words, story etc can only be fully appreciated if you listen to and watch as many versions as you can in order to make your own opinion of it.


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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

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$34,272,986
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

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

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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