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The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle (1980)

| Music | 1981 (Italy)
A rather incoherent post-breakup Sex Pistols "documentary", told from the point of view of Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren, whose (arguable) position is that the Sex Pistols in particular ... See full summary »

Director:

Julien Temple

Writer:

Julien Temple
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Malcolm McLaren ... The Embezzler
Steve Jones ... The Crook
Paul Cook ... The Tea-Maker
Sid Vicious ... The Gimmick
John Lydon ... The Collaborator (as Johnny Rotten)
Ronald Biggs Ronald Biggs ... The Exile (as Ronnie Biggs)
Liz Fraser ... Woman in Cinema
Jess Conrad ... Jess
Mary Millington Mary Millington ... Mary, The Crook's girlfriend
James Aubrey ... B.J
Julian Holloway ... Man
Johnny Shannon ... Man in Prison Cage
Helen Wellington-Lloyd Helen Wellington-Lloyd ... Helen (as Helen of Troy)
Edward Tudor-Pole ... Tadpole (kiosk attendant) (as Tenpole Tudor)
Faye Hart Faye Hart ... Secretary
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Storyline

A rather incoherent post-breakup Sex Pistols "documentary", told from the point of view of Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren, whose (arguable) position is that the Sex Pistols in particular and punk rock in general were an elaborate scam perpetrated by him in order to make "a million pounds." Silly and hard to follow at times, but worth seeing for some excellent Pistols concert footage, some wickedly amusing animated sequences, and Sid Vicious' eerily prophetic performance of "My Way." Written by 1

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Taglines:

The filth and the fury of punk rock. See more »

Genres:

Music

Certificate:

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Did You Know?

Trivia

The images at the end of the film showing newspaper headlines of the death by heroin overdose of Sid Vicious was included at the request of the BBFC. See more »

Goofs

Towards the end of Sid Vicious' Punk rendition of Paul Anka/Frank Sinatra's "My Way", he pulls a revolver out of his pocket and starts shooting at the audience. He fires eight shots, which is more bullets than a revolver can hold. See more »

Quotes

Girl with ants on face: The Sex Pistols - a walking abortion. The Sex Pistols are nothing but a bunch of irresponsible half-dead lumps. But the best are born.
The Crook: I was only in it for the birds after the show.
Girl with ants on face: You, Steve Jones, are nothing but a walking dildo doing a good plumbing job. You'd swim through a river of snot, wade nostril deep through a mile of vomit, as long as you thought there was a sexy cunt at the end of it - and those cunts! Daddy's girl! Daddy's girls are in awe of the Sex Pistols! They really believe ...
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Connections

Referenced in St Trinian's 2: The Legend of Fritton's Gold (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

My Way
(Comme d'Habitude)
Music by Claude François and Jacques Revaux
French lyrics by Gilles Thibaut
English lyrics by Paul Anka
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User Reviews

 
A tissue of lies
5 December 2006 | by tonygillanSee all my reviews

To this day, Malcolm McLaren is telling anyone daft enough to believe him that the Sex Pistols were his idea and that the band members were his puppets to be used to make him money. There is a good reason for him doing this, namely that he is a liar.

Here are some real facts.

* McLaren was actually approached by the band to be manager, not the other way round.

* The Pistols were a proper, organic band and not created by McLaren or anyone else. Jones and Cook were childhood friends. Rotten and Vicious went back a long way too. This is something that has led to unfair criticism of the Pistols down the years as they have been likened to manufactured boy bands.

* The band and no one else wrote the songs, recorded them, played live, created the publicity and gave the interviews.

* McLaren did not instigate the Bill Grundy incident. The Pistols only appeared on the programme because Queen had pulled out. According to the band, McLaren was cowering in the back in case arrests were about to be made.

* Johnny Rotten walked out of the band. He was not sacked.

* Far from outwitting the Sex Pistols, John Lydon (Rotten) actually successfully sued him in the 1980s for control and a considerable sum of money. Some of the evidence used by Lydon's lawyers was from McLaren's boasting in 'The Great Rock & Roll Swindle'. This would suggest that McLaren is none too bright despite his affectations.

* The sackings and subsequent pay offs from A & M and EMI were, again, not engineered, it was merely the way things panned out.

* McLaren boasts about the money he made from the band. If he had been competent, he could have made a great deal more. It seems he coudn't even organise gigs properly.

* McLaren's claim at the start of the film that he invented punk rock can be disproved in about ten seconds. The Pistols were not the first punk band, merely the most high profile.

This is a terrible film. The only parts worth watching are the genuine footage of the band, later put to much better use in 'The Filth And The Fury'.


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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

1981 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

Het grote Rock 'n Roll schandaal See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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