6.5/10
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26 user 43 critic

The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle (1980)

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 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 filth and the fury of punk rock. See more »

Genres:

Music

Certificate:

See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 March 1981 (Australia) 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

Julien Temple replaced original director Russ Meyer and original writer Roger Ebert as a result of creative differences. 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: With the line-up complete, we immediately set about to putting our plan into effect: to swindle ours way to the top of the rock and roll industry. It was a plan that within 2 years was bring us close on a million pounds, and a household name as the most notorious, filthy, disgusting, dirtiest rock and roll band in your bloody world.
See more »

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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.


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