6.6/10
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193 user 55 critic

Tommy (1975)

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

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A psychosomatically deaf, dumb and blind boy becomes a master pinball player and, subsequently, the object of a religious cult.

Director:

Ken Russell

Writers:

The Who (by) (as 'The Who'), Ken Russell (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
Reviews
Popularity
4,743 ( 540)
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

Roger Daltrey is just less than three years younger than his screen mother Ann-Margret, and just over four years younger than his screen stepfather Oliver Reed. To top it all off, Daltrey is exactly three months older than his screen father Robert Powell. He is also two years older than Keith Moon, who plays his uncle Ernie. See more »

Goofs

In the "Pinball Wizard" scene, the Who's John Entwistle starts the scene playing a Gibson Flying V bass, and ends it playing a Gibson Thunderbird with a Fender Precision neck (a "Fender-bird"). He also starts the scene with long sideburns, and seems to finish it with a fully-grown beard. See more »

Quotes

The Specialist: [singing] He seems to be completely unreceptive. The tests I gave him showed no sense at all!
[pause]
The Specialist: His eyes react to light; the dials detect it. He hears but cannot answer to your call!
Tommy: [sings] See me! Feel me! Touch me! Heal me!
[sings again]
Tommy: See me! Feel me! Touch me! Heal me!
The Specialist: [singing to Tommy's mother] There is no chance, no untried operation. All hope lies with him and none with me. Imagine though the shock from isolation, when he suddenly can hear and speak and see!
Tommy: [sings again] SEE ME! ...
[...]
See more »

Alternate Versions

When shown on Anglia Television (part of the British ITV network) in 1989, the short 'blackout' scene during the Uncle Ernie sequence - consisting of sound effects of footsteps, gurgling, twanging and maniacal laughter over a completely blank screen - was deleted. See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

There's A Doctor
(uncredited)
Written by Pete Townshend
Performed by Ronnie Wood, Alan Ross, Kenney Jones, Chris Stainton,
Ann-Margret, Oliver Reed
See more »

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User Reviews

 
It helps to have an appreciation for Ken Russell, not Pete Townsend
29 June 2001 | by moonspinner55See all my reviews

This is a Ken Russell movie, make no mistake. It is relentlessly twisted, ugly, savage (for a sometimes humorous effect) and trippy. Russell may be the oldest flower child of all time. Surreal plot concerns a deaf-dumb-and-blind boy becoming the new Messiah to a pinball-crazed population, and the film has been accused of being too literal to The Who's rock opera source material. In this age of lavish music videos, it has also been tagged as archaic. Though nobody seems to care anymore how a film was perceived in its time, I would say the picture still succeeds in doing what was originally intended: shake an audience up with freaky visuals and propulsive music (nicely arranged). It also does something else: creates actual characters from the music, a plus due in part to the fine acting of Ann-Margret as Tommy's glamorous mother, Roger Daltrey as Tommy, Oliver Reed as Tommy's stepfather (Reed is hammy but quite game, while the role is designed as both a villain and a hero), and Tina Turner, an extremely scary presence as the Acid Queen. "Tommy" has some bummer scenes, and Russell's love for degradation occasionally made me wince, but it is a real cinematic experience. Whether it involves or alienates the viewer depends on their appreciation for the English director's constant penchant for the bizarre. **1/2 from ****


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