6.5/10
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27 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 film that incriminates its audience. 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:

La grande truffa del rock'n'roll 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

Contrary to popular belief the woman shot by Sid Vicious during his performance of "My Way" was not his mother Anne Beverley. She later stated in an interview that she was approached by Malcolm McLaren to play the role but turned him down, saying that "they used someone else in the end, an actress that didn't look like me at all, but because no one had seen me they all believed that it was me". 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: We're better than anyone, ain't we? Except for The Eagles; The Eagles are better than us.
See more »

Connections

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

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User Reviews

 
I feel swindled every time someone gives this credit...a fan speaks!.
12 December 2008 | by SpikeopathSee all my reviews

It really surprises me that anyone can say this is remotely important in the pantheon of Punk Rock. It's an incoherent abomination formulated by someone so submerged in his own world he forgot to tell a story of note. The story of The Sex Pistols has now, here in the new millennium, finally been laid down to some semblance of truth, a truth that thankfully shows the manager of the band to be the oblivious money grabber he was. When you watch director Julien Temple's brilliant documentary, The Filth And The Fury, and then come back to this mess of a picture, you wonder how in gods name it has achieved cult status.

Its worth (I own it) comes down to the songs and the videos of those tunes, I mean where else are you going to get to see Sid Vicious' videos? Ones that show us he would have made a great Punk singer had he not spiralled out of control and met a foggy heroin fuelled death. The animated ending as Friggin In The Riggin plays out is enough to warrant this as a small price purchase, but please folks can we have some focus, I lived it, I still live it in fact, but it's an appalling picture, badly edited, badly told and saved purely by the music alone. Music that the band's manager had no creative input into at all, he shall forever be nameless to me, where once he proclaimed to be a puppet master, time now shows him to purely be a Muppet and most definitely not a master of anything.

The Great Rock And Roll Swindle, 5/10 for the music alone.


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