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Scum (1977)

| Crime, Drama | TV Movie
This is the hard and shocking story of life in a British borstal for young offenders. The brutal regime made no attempt to reform or improve the inmates and actively encouraged a power ... See full summary »


Alan Clarke


Roy Minton

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Ray Winstone ... Carlin (as Raymond Winstone)
David Threlfall ... Archer
Martin Phillips Martin Phillips ... Davis
Davidson Knight Davidson Knight ... Angel
John Blundell ... Banks
Phil Daniels ... Richards
Ray Burdis ... Eckersley
Patrick Murray Patrick Murray ... Dougan
Ian Sharrock Ian Sharrock ... Rhodes
Tony London Tony London ... Woods
Peter Kinley Peter Kinley ... Betts
Sheridan Earl Russell Sheridan Earl Russell ... Jackson
Colin Mayes Colin Mayes ... Sumner
Trevor Butler Trevor Butler ... Toyne
Philip DaCosta Philip DaCosta ... Formby (as Philip Da Costa)


This is the hard and shocking story of life in a British borstal for young offenders. The brutal regime made no attempt to reform or improve the inmates and actively encouraged a power struggle between the 'tough' new inmate and the 'old hands'. Written by Steve Crook <steve@brainstorm.co.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Crime | Drama


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Parents Guide:

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Also Known As:

Отбросы See more »

Filming Locations:

Redhill, London, England, UK

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Had originally, in the script, two suicides but had one taken out to avoid repetition and it becoming too harrowing. See more »


Formby: [In the self-help meeting] Why am I so far away from home Matron?
Eckersley: Because you murdered that kid.
See more »

Alternate Versions

There are differences between the TV and the theatrical version:
  • It is shown in 1.33:1 aspect ratio.
  • Any punches, slaps or kickings are muffled.
  • There is a scene with the 3 new arrivals having a bath in the TV version and not in the theatrical version. Davis complains about the water being too warm and gets slapped.
  • No strong language was used in the TV version.
  • Archer and Carlin talking to each other for the first time differs between the two versions. In the TV version, they talk to each other in the laundry whereas in the theatrical version, a changing room.
  • Banks bullying Davis is slightly different. In the tv version Banks grabs Davis and slaps him and tells him that he is the daddy here and pays his dues like the rest. When Davis says he doesn't smokes, Banks slaps him again. In the theatrical version, he does something similar but kicks Davis as he stood up and shoves him back onto the bench.
  • In the TV version, Davis getting bullied again. Richards pours hot tea on him and Mr. Sands shouts at Davis for being a slob.
  • The TV version omits a scene with Archer talking to the Matron about vetos on books.
  • In the TV version, Mr Greaves asks Carlin about his bruised face. The theatrical version is similar but Mr Sands asks Carlin about his face.
  • The TV version omits Meakin asks the Matron when is she going to call them by their first names.
  • Bank's beating by Carlin is similar in both versions. In the tv version, Carlin dunks Bank's head in the sink and hits him a few times and calmly declares himself the new daddy. He finally kicks kicks him once in the groin. The theatrical is similar but Carlin is more angrier.
  • Baldy's beating by Carlin is fairly brief. The sound effect when Carlin beats him with the pipe is muffled.
  • Toyne's suicide is deleted in the TV version.
  • There is a brief scene with Archer painting "I am happy" on a wall. This is not in the TV version
  • Carlin's homosexual relationship with another inmate is in the TV version.
  • Davis' rape is brief and non graphic compared to the graphic and prolonged film version. His suicide is not as graphic as the theatrical version.
  • After the riots, Carlin is taken to the punishment block and beaten up. The theatrical version is similar but more graphic.
  • The credits has music unlike the theatrical version.
See more »


Remade as Scum (1979) See more »


Wide Boy
Written by Rick Lloyd
Performed by The Amazing Mike Kahn Band
See more »

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User Reviews

I Thought The Film Version Was Better
22 August 2004 | by Theo RobertsonSee all my reviews

I'll try not to comment on the controversy of this television drama . Everyone knows it was banned by the BBC prior to being shown on its PLAY FOR TODAY slot in 1977 and it wasn't until the early 1990s that the BBC relented by showing it with little fanfare .

Over all I thought the film version was better . Structure wise Roy Minton's script is more or less the same as the movie version with one added strand here where Carling is allowed to have a " wife " , in reality one of the younger prisoners , as a perk for being a daddy , a story strand that doesn't really work in my opinion . Director Alan Clarke would later re-employ nearly the entire cast for the movie version with the exception of Archer , and I couldn't thinking while watching the movie that Archer was written as a type of hippy . Here David Throfall plays Archer as .... A hippy . I don't want to criticise Mick Ford's performance in the movie but here we see the role played as it was written and is the superior version , but this is the only aspect where the original teleplay out scores the movie

I think because the movie version can get away with so much more than a television drama ( At least one made in the 1970s ) this version isn't so gritty and compelling . The film includes extreme language in every scene which adds to the realism and as has been mentioned the infamous rape scene isn't as shocking and depressing as the one in the movie version so compared to the 1979 cinema release the original television drama might be something of a disappointment leading the viewer to ask what was the controversy about in the first place ?

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