6.6/10
672
16 user 27 critic

Radio On (1979)

| Drama, Music, Mystery | 1979 (UK)
Set in 1970's Britain, a man drives from London to Bristol to investigate his brother's death. The purpose of his trip is offset by his encounters with a series of odd people.

Director:

Christopher Petit

Writer:

Christopher Petit (script)
Reviews
1 win & 1 nomination. See more awards »

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Two sisters both fight for women's rights. Juliane is a journalist and Marianne a terrorist. When Marianne is jailed, Juliane feels obligated to help her despite their differing views on how to live.

Director: Margarethe von Trotta
Stars: Jutta Lampe, Barbara Sukowa, Rüdiger Vogler
Documentary | Biography | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

As the front man of the Clash from 1977, Joe Strummer changed people's lives forever. Four years after his death, his influence reaches out around the world, more strongly now than ever before.

Director: Julien Temple
Stars: Joe Strummer, Steve Jones, Mick Jones
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
Fantasy | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A scholar, tasked to copy a sutra, meets with a mysterious old lady and her daughter in the mountains.

Director: King Hu
Stars: Chun Shih, Feng Hsu, Sylvia Chang
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

An art director in the 1930s falls in love and attempts to make a young woman an actress despite Hollywood who wants nothing to do with her because of her problems with an estranged man and her alcoholic father.

Director: John Schlesinger
Stars: Donald Sutherland, Karen Black, Burgess Meredith
Immoral Tales (1973)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

An erotic collection of short stories, an anthology comprised of tantalizing tales about sexual desire and its diverse manifestations.

Director: Walerian Borowczyk
Stars: Lise Danvers, Fabrice Luchini, Charlotte Alexandra
Drama | Fantasy | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A newly wed woman goes to the local shaman to get some help with her lovelife, but instead gets turned into a white reindeer vampire.

Director: Erik Blomberg
Stars: Mirjami Kuosmanen, Kalervo Nissilä, Åke Lindman
Bait I (2019)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Martin is a fisherman without a boat, his brother Steven having re-purposed it as a tourist tripper. With their childhood home now a get-away for London money, Martin is displaced to the estate above the harbour.

Director: Mark Jenkin
Stars: Edward Rowe, Mary Woodvine, Simon Shepherd
Monte Walsh (1970)
Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

An aging cowboy realizes that the West he knew and loved will soon be no more--and that there will be no room for him, either.

Director: William A. Fraker
Stars: Lee Marvin, Jeanne Moreau, Jack Palance
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Kelly, a prostitute, traumatised by an experience, referred to as 'The Naked Kiss,' by psychiatrists, leaves her past, and finds solace in the town of Grantville. She meets Griff, the ... See full summary »

Director: Samuel Fuller
Stars: Constance Towers, Anthony Eisley, Karen Conrad
Saint Jack (1979)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Jack Flowers, an American hustler in early 1970s Singapore, dreams of building a fortune by running a brothel and returning to the States to lead a life of luxury.

Director: Peter Bogdanovich
Stars: Ben Gazzara, Denholm Elliott, James Villiers
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

A woman is being taken from her German hotel to be interrogated by police agents.

Director: Christopher Petit
Stars: Tusse Silberg, Paul Freeman, Lisa Kreuzer
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
David Beames David Beames ... Robert
Lisa Kreuzer ... Ingrid
Sandy Ratcliff ... Kathy
Andrew Byatt Andrew Byatt ... Deserter
Sue Jones-Davies Sue Jones-Davies ... Girl
Sting ... Just Like Eddie
Sabina Michael Sabina Michael ... Aunt
Katja Kersten Katja Kersten ... German Woman
Paul Hollywood Paul Hollywood ... Kid
Adrian Jones Adrian Jones
Cyril Kent Cyril Kent
Bernard Mistovski Bernard Mistovski
Nina Pace Nina Pace
Joseph Riordan Joseph Riordan
David Squire David Squire
Edit

Storyline

Set in 1970's Britain, a man drives from London to Bristol to investigate his brother's death. The purpose of his trip is offset by his encounters with a series of odd people.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Music | Mystery

Certificate:

See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

UK | West Germany

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

1979 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Radio on See more »

Filming Locations:

M4, London, England, UK See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Connections

References Empire of Passion (1978) See more »

Soundtracks

Ohm Sweet Ohm
Written by Florian Schneider-Esleben and Ralf Hütter
Performed by Kraftwerk
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

One of the great road movies

The road movie is among my favorite genres, and "Radio On" ranks with the best of them. Co-produced by Wim Wenders, the master of the existential road movie (whose production company is called "Road Movies," no less), it was made in 1979 by Christopher Petit, who had been a film critic for London's "Time Out" and received funding from Wenders and the British Film Institute to make this film. One very clearly sees an admiration here for Wenders' road trilogy, particularly "Kings of the Road," but "Radio On" extracts the essence of Wenders' style and the soul of the road movie and forms a sort of concentrate from it. This is a meditation *on* the road movie, but on lots of other things, too.

In a film with very long shots and many lonesome scenes with no dialogue, nothing feels superfluous. Lengthy, lingering shots from behind the driver's seat of a moving car with music from Kraftwerk's "Radio-Activity" could very well come across as empty, but in this movie, they don't. Each shot is given ample time to sink in, and they do. Petit has made a movie, rich in its sparseness, that depicts alienation and inward-seeking as effectively as any Wenders film, and like Wenders, there are echoes of Edward Hopper's paintings here in the evening streets lit by streetlights, and in the beautiful moment where we see two characters, British man and German woman, each standing behind separate hotel room windows, staring out pensively as we pass by from a motorway bridge.

The man in the window is Robert, the film's central character, and he is traveling from Camden to Bristol to seek information about the death of his brother. That his name is Robert will likely slip the viewer's mind, as what's important about "Radio On" and the road movies of Wim Wenders is that the central characters are not too sharply drawn, and only a vague set of circumstances are established to give their journey the semblance of purpose. This way, the characters are ciphers, blank slates, and we take this journey with them by inhabiting them, by projecting our own sensibilities onto them, and to that extent, films like "Kings of the Road," "Radio On," and Wenders' later and similar "Until the End of the World" are as purging as a road trip itself.

All of the characters in "Radio On" look like they are brooding, but they don't talk about why, they simply brood and they keep moving while doing so.

Angst and alienation are both factors, but so is the fact that the world is changing. From a small, wintry spot on the globe, change is just around the corner and the characters feel it in their bones, if not yet in their heads.

The energy of the music of David Bowie, Wreckless Eric, Devo and others penetrates the meditative pace and makes these imminent changes palpable in the film's ambiance, or more accurately, in its aura. The movie's calm is an eerie and temporary one, like when the shoreline recedes prior to a tidal wave.

As the title would suggest, the music is one of the principal elements here.

I will indelibly associate Bowie's "Heroes" and Wreckless Eric's "Whole Wide World" with this film. Here, they are like the sun of a new decade rising to melt the snow of the 1970s. Or like a curtain call for an age.

And there is genuine poetry in the dialogue.

The German tourist explains to Robert that her friend hates men. Robert observes, "There's no word for that in English. The only word is for a man who hates women," and we understand that there is sadness in this fact, even if we can't articulate why.

The movie is beautifully conceived and structured, and it is structured both loosely and mindfully. It moves slowly, but it's spontaneous. Sting appears briefly as a filling station attendant, in a wonderful scene where he talks about the death of Eddie Cochran, strums his guitar, and sings "Three Steps to Heaven" from the back of his camper. The film ends as we hear Kraftwerk's "Ohm Sweet Ohm" beaming out from a car radio on the edge of a cliff, and home sweet home is precisely nowhere. This movie is quiet, slow, low-key, but it gets under the skin and is ultimately quite stirring.


32 of 35 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 16 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Free Movies and TV Shows You Can Watch Now

On IMDb TV, you can catch Hollywood hits and popular TV series at no cost. Select any poster below to play the movie, totally free!

Browse free movies and TV series



Recently Viewed