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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 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:

Nobody can beat the system...or can they? 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:

Escoria See more »

Filming Locations:

England, UK See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

£250,000 (estimated)
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 earlier and original TV version of this movie, Scum (1991), made for the BBC, but banned by them, was never screened until around fifteen years later in 1991, after the director's death, and part of a season on censorship. The BBC said that they banned it because "There was too much incident packed into too short a time and that they doubted the veracity." So they thought it was pure fiction, but they also said that it "looked too much like a documentary". See more »

Goofs

When Carlin is being told to eat his breakfast and the chant begins, the scene moves along the dining hall and a crew member in a grey jacket operating a camera can be seen briefly in the top right hand corner. See more »

Quotes

[Angel, Davis and Carlin are all lined up against a wall]
Mr Sands: Right. I'm Mr. Sands, this is Mr Greaves. I'm the senior officer and I run A wing. I run it. Right, Carlin?
Carlin: Yes, Sir!
Mr Sands: I come down very heavy on anyone who doesn't grasp that fact. Right? Right?
Carlin: Yes, Sir!
[Mr Sands walks up to Angel]
Mr Sands: Angel, you're in a single room. Some of the lads are what you might call..."prejudiced". You're well advised to keep yourself to yourself. It's your first borstal, innit lad?
Angel: Yes, sir, apart from the Scrubs...
Mr Sands: [...]
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

Remake of Scum (1991) See more »

Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

difficult to watch, but worth seeing once
25 November 2004 | by didi-5See all my reviews

I've now seen this movie several times, although admittedly watching it can hardly be classed as a 'pleasure'. Alan Clarke made this feature after his TV play from two years earlier was banned, and perhaps had more freedom here to explore the issues.

Carlin (an early, showy appearance from Ray Winstone) is sent to Borstal where he quickly establishes himself as a tough boy with a regime of strength. Typical Winstone performance in many ways. In the prison with him are his shadow Richards (played by Phil Daniels); cynical, bare-footed Archer (Mick Ford, these days more often seen the other side of the law in such dramas as 'Silent Witness'); black inmate Angel (Davidson Knight); and quiet Davis, the boy who gets picked on for being a loner (a quite staggering performance from Julian Firth, who never really lived up to this early promise).

Scum is uncompromising - violent (there's a rape which leaves little to the imagination, a suicide, several fights); scathing in its condemnation of the 'system' (which thankfully is not like this now) - and yet finds time for character development and convincing plot. Without any music it is purely presented in documentary style, matter-of-fact 'this is how it is'.

Not a fun movie, but one which tries to make a point, and, if nothing else, has the power to shock and make you remember certain sections for a long time after viewing. Recommended.


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