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Scum (1979)

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An uncompromising story of life in a British juvenile offender institution in the 70's.

Director:

Alan Clarke

Writer:

Roy Minton
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ray Winstone ... Carlin
Mick Ford ... Archer
Julian Firth ... Davis
John Blundell ... Banks
Phil Daniels ... Richards
John Fowler John Fowler ... Woods
Ray Burdis ... Eckersley
Patrick Murray ... Dougan
Herbert Norville Herbert Norville ... Toyne
George Winter George Winter ... Rhodes
Alrick Riley ... Angel
Peter Francis Peter Francis ... Baldy
Philip DaCosta Philip DaCosta ... Jackson (as Philip Da Costa)
Perry Benson Perry Benson ... Formby
Alan Igbon ... Meakin
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Storyline

An uncompromising story of life in a British juvenile offender institution in the 70's.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A fact of life. (double-bill release with Quadrophenia whose tagline is A way of life). See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook [Japan]

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 September 1979 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Scum See more »

Filming Locations:

England, UK See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

GBP250,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,948, 18 June 2017

Gross USA:

$6,461

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$6,461
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The movie is actually a remake of a TV version, Scum (1991), which had only been made a couple of years earlier in 1977. See more »

Goofs

We see Archer's feet in close up without shoes. When they walk past F wing, he has shoes on his feet. See more »

Quotes

Archer: [Carlin offers Archer a sausage] No strings?
Carlin: Get it down you, sharpish.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The Odyssey video release (UK) has a much louder sound effect when Carlin hits Baldy with the iron pipe than can be heard on the supposedly unedited TV version. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Fear, Panic & Censorship (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

Badly Bruised - Slightly Stowed
(uncredited)
Written by Colin Tucker
De Wolfe Music Ltd
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Shocking and realistic portrayal of a young offender's institution
23 April 2009 | by The_VoidSee all my reviews

The story on which Scum is based was originally penned to be a part of a BBC series 'Play For Today' but was not shown at the time. It was made into a film two years later by Alan Clarke; and the reason it was not shown earlier is clear to see; as Scum is a shocking and unflinching account of life in Britain's now defunct Borstal system. The film is gritty and realistic and features no shortage of violence, so it's hardly a surprise that it didn't go down particularly well with Britain's conservative film censors. The film revolves around a young offender's institution in Britain. The place is shook up upon the arrival of a young man named Carlin. Carlin was moved from another institution for fighting with a guard, and arrives with his reputation already in front of him. He soon finds out how the prison works and quickly seeks to take out "the daddy" and his cronies to take control of the place himself.

Ray Winstone would go on to have a good career playing hard man types; and this is where it all started. The actor has a much younger look about him than the grizzled actor many will know better; but he still fits the bill well here and is always believable in his role. The film also features a number of faces that will be familiar to anyone who knows anything about British TV. Scum doesn't just rely on violence to deliver its shocks; the whole atmosphere of the central location is thoroughly grim and the guards' attitude towards the inmates does not inspire confidence in the system that the film is portraying. The film does not generally directly expose the flaws of the prison system; although this is given some attention by way of Mick Ford's Archer character; that cleverly condemns the system through dialogue. The story runs smoothly for the first two thirds of the film, while the final third is dedicated to the film's most shocking scenario; a sequence of events that is most likely, from anything in the film, to stay with the viewer once the film is over. Overall, this is an excellent little film that deserves to be viewed by anyone that considers themselves a fan of wayward cinema.


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