5.6/10
2,787
43 user 25 critic

Absolute Beginners (1986)

In 1958 London a young photographer seeks media stardom to keep the love of a beautiful, aspiring fashion designer.

Director:

Julien Temple

Writers:

Colin MacInnes (based on the novel by), Michael Hamlyn (developed for the screen by) | 4 more credits »
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Two disgruntled restaurant employees (David Bowie, Rosanna Arquette) decide to rob their employers (Buck Henry, Andre Gregory).

Director: Richard Shepard
Stars: Rosanna Arquette, David Bowie, Eszter Balint
Sci-Fi | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

An alien must pose as a human to save his dying planet, but a woman and greed of other men create complications.

Director: Nicolas Roeg
Stars: David Bowie, Rip Torn, Candy Clark
David Bowie: Lazarus (Video 2016)
Short | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.1/10 X  

David Bowie's last music video released prior to his death depicts him on a death bed, entering a better world through a closet.

Director: Johan Renck
Stars: David Bowie
B.U.S.T.E.D (1999)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

In the Pepperhill Estate of Manchester, an ongoing battle rages between Triad gangs and street gangs. Gang leaders Ray (Andrew Goth) and Terry (Goldie), who are cousins and lifelong friends... See full summary »

Director: Andrew Goth
Stars: Rachel Shelley, Clint Dyer, David Baker
The Hunger (1983)
Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A love triangle develops between a beautiful yet dangerous vampire, her cellist companion, and a gerontologist.

Director: Tony Scott
Stars: Catherine Deneuve, David Bowie, Susan Sarandon
Jazzin' for Blue Jean (Video 1984)
Short | Comedy | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Extended video for the song Blue Jean about Vic who falls for a girl and promises her tickets for the hottest act in town - rock star Screaming Lord Byron. He attains only one ticket, gives it to her and tries to find another way in.

Director: Julien Temple
Stars: David Bowie, Louise Scott, Chris Sullivan
Drama | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

During WWII, a British colonel tries to bridge the cultural divides between a British POW and the Japanese camp commander in order to avoid bloodshed.

Director: Nagisa Ôshima
Stars: David Bowie, Tom Conti, Ryuichi Sakamoto
Documentary | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

The July 3rd, 1973 historic concert of the 'leper Messiah'. This was to be David Bowie's last concert with the Ziggy persona and the Spiders from Mars. A great medley of 'Wild Eyed Boy From... See full summary »

Director: D.A. Pennebaker
Stars: David Bowie, Mick Ronson, Trevor Bolder
Comedy | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

Over the course of one night, a beaten down L.A. engineer accidentally meets, falls for and tries to help a beautiful jewel thief on the run from some extremely dangerous people.

Director: John Landis
Stars: Jeff Goldblum, Michelle Pfeiffer, Stacey Pickren
Just a Gigolo (1978)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

After World War I, a war hero returns to Berlin to find that there's no place for him--he has no skills other than what he learned in the army, and can only find menial, low-paying jobs. He decides to become a gigolo to lonely rich women.

Director: David Hemmings
Stars: David Bowie, Sydne Rome, Kim Novak
Short | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

David Bowie's official music video for 'Valentine's Day'.

Director: Indrani Pal-Chaudhuri
Stars: David Bowie
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A top secret chemical formula has been stolen by STENCH (the Society for the Total Extinction of Non-Conforming Humans), and so Agent Simpkins and his three trainees are hot on the trail, ... See full summary »

Director: Gerald Thomas
Stars: Kenneth Williams, Barbara Windsor, Bernard Cribbins
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Patsy Kensit ... Suzette
Eddie O'Connell Eddie O'Connell ... Colin
David Bowie ... Vendice Partners
James Fox ... Henley of Mayfair
Ray Davies ... Arthur
Mandy Rice-Davies Mandy Rice-Davies ... Mum
Eve Ferret ... Big Jill
Tony Hippolyte Tony Hippolyte ... Mr. Cool
Graham Fletcher-Cook ... Wizard
Joseph McKenna Joseph McKenna ... Fabulous Hoplite (as Joe McKenna)
Steven Berkoff ... The Fanatic
Sade ... Athene Duncannon (as Sade Adu)
Edward Tudor-Pole ... Ed the Ted (as Tenpole Tudor)
Bruce Payne ... Flikker
Alan Freeman Alan Freeman ... Call-Me-Cobber
Edit

Storyline

A musical adaptation of Colin MacInnes' novel about life in late 1950s London. Nineteen-year-old photographer Colin is hopelessly in love with model Crepe Suzette, but her relationships are strictly connected with her progress in the fashion world. So Colin gets involved with a pop promoter and tries to crack the big time. Meanwhile, racial tension is brewing in Colin's Notting Hill housing estate... Written by Michael Brooke <michael@everyman.demon.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The music, the movement, the romance, the passion . . . all explodes on the BIG SCREEN. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Musical | Romance

Certificate:

PG-13 | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 April 1986 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Absolutamente Principiantes See more »

Edit

Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$83,743, 20 April 1986, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$930,211
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

70 mm 6-Track (70 mm prints)| Dolby (35 mm prints)

Color:

Black and White | Color (Rankcolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Julien Temple asked David Bowie to write music for the film. After reading the book and then the script, Bowie agreed to Temple's offer if he could also play the part of Vendice Partners. See more »

Goofs

During the riot scenes, in one shot a double decker bus is on fire. In the next shot, it isn't burning. In the next shot, it is. (During the T.V. announcers speak to the viewing public about the 'race riots'). See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Colin: [narrating] I remember that hot, wonderful summer. When the teenage miracle reached full bloom and everyone in England stopped what they were doing to stare at what had happened. The Soho nights were cool in the heat, with light and music in the streets. And we couldn't believe that this was really coming to us at last. Nobody knew exactly why. But after so many dreary years of bombs and blitz and slow rebuilding; no sugar, no jam, nothing sweet anywhere; with the whole English ...
See more »


Soundtracks

Santa Lucia
Performed and composed by Ekow Abban
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Unjustly overlooked 80's musical
20 August 1999 | by SKG-2See all my reviews

I had just graduated high school(in California) when this movie came out, in the summer of 1986. Given the heavy promotion given it by MTV(I believe they had a contest whose winner would appear in the film, though I may have remembered that wrong), and given that David Bowie, whose music career was on the upswing, had a starring role(along with a mix of musicians like veteran Ray Davies(of the Kinks) and newcomer Sade), you'd expect the movie would be a hit. Instead, it barely made a dent in America(in their year-end issue, Rolling Stone called it one of the hype jobs of the year), and seems to have been largely forgotten(though in an interview with Rolling Stone about a year later, Bowie claimed it was a cult hit). In fact, while star Patsy Kensit has had an erratic career, Bowie continued to make music and the occasional movie, and director Julien Temple, after this and EARTH GIRLS ARE EASY, went back to his forte, music videos, it's sort of ironic that the most successful person to come from that movie is Robbie Coltrane(TV's CRACKER), who only had a small role here.

Why am I boring you all with this? Because ABSOLUTE BEGINNERS is one of the unsung classics of the 80's. Of course, having grown up on old-time musicals(my dad was a fan), I'm probably more receptive to them than the average person seems to be today, but this is one of the best ones of the last two decades. Not only are all the numbers well-written and well sung(in addition to Bowie, Davies, and Sade, jazz great Gil Evans wrote the instrumental score, and Style Council contributes a song. Also, female lead Patsy Kensit sings one, while male lead Eddie O'Connell lip-syncs his numbers), they're also imaginatively staged. A good example is "Motivation," one of two numbers Bowie sings(the other being the title song), which includes parodies of Busby Berkley-type numbers. There's also a wicked parody of teen pop.

As for the story, Temple has the fine novel to fall back on(by Colin MacInnes), and while there's probably too many ideas trying to burst out(teen alienation, racism, "Selling Out"(the name of another song), he juggles them all with finesse. And the cast handles things with aplomb, with the exception of, surprisingly, Bowie; while he's appropriately super-smooth as the oily executive, his voice(intended to be an American accent?) is annoying. But O'Connell and Kensit are both fresh and appealing, Anita Morris and James Fox both play well in their typecast roles(as, respectively, a sexpot gossip columnist and an effete fashion designer), there's a nice turn by Mandy Rice-Davies(who, you may remember, was in real life involved in the Profumo scandal), and a host of others in small but memorable parts(the ones I can remember are Steven Berkoff(BEVERLY HILLS COP) and Bruce Payne(PASSENGER 57) as fascists, and Paul Rhys(VINCENT AND THEO) as a mod). All in all, well worth tracking down.


22 of 30 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 43 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed