6.5/10
1,865
26 user 43 critic

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
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Documentary | Biography | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A film about the career of the notorious punk rock band, the Sex Pistols.

Director: Julien Temple
Stars: Paul Cook, Steve Jones, John Lydon
Documentary | Biography | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

The story of the punk rock band The Ramones.

Directors: Jim Fields, Michael Gramaglia
Stars: Rick Rubin, Tommy Ramone, Dee Dee Ramone
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A documentary on punk rock.

Directors: Adam Small, Peter Stuart
Stars: M. Otis Beard, Dennis Danell, Brent Liles
D.O.A. (1980)
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Documentary chronicaling the rise and fall of the punk movement with rare interview footage of Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen. Also concert and news footage.

Director: Lech Kowalski
Stars: Stiv Bators, Terry Chimes, The Clash
Rude Boy (1980)
Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

A young British punk and roadie for The Clash navigates life in socially torn 1970s England.

Directors: Jack Hazan, David Mingay
Stars: Dave Armstrong, Barry Baker, Terry Barry
Documentary | History | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

The Los Angeles punk music scene circa 1980 is the focus of this film. With Alice Bag Band, Black Flag, Catholic Discipline, Circle Jerks, Fear, Germs, and X.

Director: Penelope Spheeris
Stars: Alice Bag Band, Black Flag, Catholic Discipline
Documentary | Biography | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A feature-length documentary chronicling early 80's punk rock band the Minutemen, from their beginnings in San Pedro, California, to their demise after the death of singer D. Boon in 1985.

Director: Tim Irwin
Stars: Milo Aukerman, Joe Baiza, Kevin Barrett
Documentary | History | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

The History of American Punk Rock 1980-1986

Director: Paul Rachman
Stars: Greg Ginn, Ian MacKaye, James Drescher
Instrument (1999)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A collaboration between filmmaker Jem Cohen and the Washington D.C. band Fugazi, covering the 10 year period of 1987-1996. Far from a traditional documentary, this is a musical document; a ... See full summary »

Director: Jem Cohen
Stars: Brendan Canty, Joe Lally, Ian MacKaye
Documentary | Biography | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

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

Director: Julien Temple
Stars: Joe Strummer, Steve Jones, Mick Jones
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A documentary on the music, performers, attitude and distinctive look that made up punk rock.

Director: Don Letts
Stars: K.K. Barrett, Roberta Bayley, Jello Biafra
Jubilee (1978)
Comedy | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Queen Elisabeth I travels 400 years into the future to witness the appalling revelation of a dystopian London overrun by corruption and a vicious gang of punk guerrilla girls led by the new Monarch of Punk.

Director: Derek Jarman
Stars: Jenny Runacre, Nell Campbell, Toyah Willcox
Edit

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 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
Edit

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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The film that incriminates its audience. See more »

Genres:

Music

Certificate:

See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

1981 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

Het grote Rock 'n Roll schandaal See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Former soft-porn actress Rosemary England turned down the role of Sid Vicious' mother. 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

The Embezzler: (How to Manufacture Your Group) "Find yourself four kids. Make sure they hate eachother. Make sure they can't play."
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Gift: The Great Saxophone Swindle (1997) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
The Inflated God Awful Dwindle
31 August 2009 | by Pretentious_crapSee all my reviews

As I've had the sound track for many years, I finally took the opportunity to watch the movie. My initial response was that this movie seemed so sliced and diced, it made the editing of "Manos: The Hands of Fate" look like brain surgery by comparison. My guess is that Malcolm McLaren had multiple cans of Sex Pistols footage lying around, and was having a difficult time trying to make a film out of it. To get his creative juices flowing, he'd cut segments from every reel; roll them up; snort lines of cocaine with them, and finally tell Julian Temple "to fix that bit of film with this bit I just used". Whilst in the process, the coke inflated McLaren's ego, and he came up with the idea to make the incomplete "Who Killed Bambi" into a documentary explaining how he orchestrated everything!

This movie tries so hard to be clever, instead it just seems immature and uninspired. All there is going on, is that we have band members doing dumb things; McLaren claiming credit though without any proof backing up anything he's saying, and some decent footage of Sex Pistols shows.

Some many years later, the film was pretty much confirmed as a lie, in that time McLaren wasn't known to repeat the same method and end up with the same results. These days this film is considered a tongue-in-cheek mockumentary instead of a pile of crap. So, there really was no reason to make this film, other than money.

The only value this film has is that it contains archival footage, other than that it really didn't need to be told in the fictitious tale of McLaren. It would've done better if it was narrated to the audience like it was a scrapbook. But, because it's told in such a fictitious manner the audience is left possibly irritated, or numb.

I'd give it a 8/10 because it contains decent live footage of a band I love. But, I'd give it 3/10 because the movie is a lie; so poorly edited, and presented to the audience that it is supposed to be an actual film. I meet in the middle at 5/10.


6 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 26 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Check Out What's Playing on IMDb Freedive

See what movies and TV series you can watch for free today, and visit IMDb Freedive for even more. Select any poster below to play the movie!

Find more things to watch

Stream Action and Adventure Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular action and adventure titles available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed