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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 »

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Cast

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

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>

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Crime | Drama

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Did You Know?

Trivia

The borstal location was an old, empty folks-home in Redhill, London. See more »

Quotes

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

Remade as Scum (1979) See more »

Soundtracks

Wide Boy
Written by Rick Lloyd
Performed by The Amazing Mike Kahn Band
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User Reviews

 
Scum — the dress rehearsal.
5 June 2015 | by See all my reviews

Scum (1977) was originally produced as part of the BBC's Play for Today series, but the result, shot in a gritty docu-drama style, was considered too harrowing for broadcast and was effectively banned. Two years later, director Alan Clarke remade his play as a film, which became one of the most talked about movies in British school playgrounds during the early 80s thanks to its unrelenting violence, racist language, and a particularly notorious rape scene.

So, how do the two versions compare? Well, barring one or two minor scenes, the original TV play and the 1979 film are almost identical to each other in terms of basic content and structure, with much of the same dialogue, many of the same cast members, and Clarke using the same set-ups and angles for his shots. However, the two versions do differ from each other in terms of performances: although the cast are more than adequate in the TV version, the play feels a bit like a dress rehearsal when compared with the movie, the cast seemingly still working out how best to tackle their roles. Two years down the line, and everybody absolutely nails it, but here there are one or two performances that fall a little flat.

That said, the play is still a fine piece of work, a powerful and highly controversial drama—one that, to this day, I find it hard to believe the BBC even contemplated showing in 1977.


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