6.5/10
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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
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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 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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The staggering story of the group who wrung the neck of rock 'n' roll See more »

Genres:

Music

Certificate:

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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

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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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 Gimmick: Ok, ready to rock!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Sid and Nancy (1986) See more »

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User Reviews

A Rollicking Rock 'n' Roll Movie
15 September 1999 | by Mr.KSee all my reviews

Julien Temple's inaccurate depiction of the rise and fall of British punk pioneers the Sex Pistols is nevertheless an entertaining tale of life in the music industry. Told from the perspective of the group's erstwhile manager Malcolm Mclaren, it charts the creation, development, hyping and subsequent implosion of the Sex Pistols, up to early 1979, when bass player Sid Vicious committed suicide.

Drawing on archive footage (not all of which is authentic), mixed with animation, newsreels and Mclaren's narration - the film is often as haphazard and random as the genre it speaks of, but, bolstered with music by the Sex Pistols (And peculiar partnerships of the group with odd guests, such as Great Train Robber Ronald Biggs), the film trundles along at a cheerful pace.

Much of the film is in exceptionally bad taste (The nude teenager "Sue Catwoman" - whose underwear was visibly chromakeyed in when the censors refused to pass the scene, the pedophile music boss, Martin Boormann singing "Belsen Was A Gas", for example), and its rambling plot bears testimony to the numerous rewites needed over the three years it took to produce, during which time the director was replaced (Russ Meyer was originally to direct), the financial backers changed more than once, the Sex Pistols formally split up, the film was retitled from "Who Killed Bambi?", and Sid Vicious died having (allegedly) killed his girlfriend.

In real terms, the film is not brilliant, and its factual inaccuracies have since been proven in court, but as an artistic statement and a chronicle of the punk scene in London in 1978, it's very enjoyable, and should form part of any serious music-fan's "History" section.


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