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Who Killed Nancy? (2009)

Not Rated | | Documentary, Music, Mystery | 11 April 2009 (Japan)
2:35 | Trailer

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On October 12th 1978 New York Police discovered the lifeless body of a 20 year-old woman, slumped under the bathroom sink in a hotel room. She was dressed in her underwear and had bled to ... See full summary »


Alan G. Parker



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Alan Jones ... Himself - Friend of Sid and Nancy
Steve Dior Steve Dior ... Himself - Played in Sid's Last Band
George Slattery George Slattery ... Himself - Contributor (as George X)
Peter Gravelle Peter Gravelle ... Himself - Photographer (as Peter 'Kodick' Gravelle)
Ned Van Zandt ... Himself - Contributor
Elliot Kidd Elliot Kidd ... Himself - Contributor
Handsome Dick Manitoba Handsome Dick Manitoba ... Himself - Contributor
Glen Matlock ... Himself - Contributor
Don Letts ... Himself - Director, DJ
Zoe Hansen Zoe Hansen ... Herself - Contributor
Hellin Killer Hellin Killer ... Herself - Contributor
Howie Pyro ... Himself - Contributor
Alan G. Parker Alan G. Parker ... Himself - Sid's Biographer
Kathleen Wirt Kathleen Wirt ... Herself - Contributor
Kenny Gordon Kenny Gordon ... Himself - Contributor


On October 12th 1978 New York Police discovered the lifeless body of a 20 year-old woman, slumped under the bathroom sink in a hotel room. She was dressed in her underwear and had bled to death from a stab wound. The woman was Nancy Spungen, an ex-prostitute, sometimes stripper, heroin addict, and girlfriend of Sex Pistols' bassist Sid Vicious. In a trial by tabloid newspapers Vicious was pronounced guilty before noon the following day. But the case never had the chance to be brought to trial, and a number of New York cops weren't convinced. Less than six months later in a flat in New York's Greenwich Village, Sid, himself aged only 21, died of a heroin overdose. For the next 28 years the assumption was that Sid did it - case closed. Over time, the death of Sid and Nancy has passed into rock legend and has only added to the controversial and notorious image of the Sex Pistols and punk music. At the request of Sid's mother, who committed suicide in 1996, rock author and punk expert ... Written by Ed Barratt

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Release Date:

11 April 2009 (Japan) See more »

Also Known As:

Who Killed Nancy See more »

Filming Locations:

London, England, UK


Box Office


£300,000 (estimated)
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User Reviews

Poison in Paradise
17 November 2013 | by GoingbeggingSee all my reviews

"Just another dead junkie" - the laconic verdict of the New York police, who seemed not too interested in six lots of fingerprints around the walls, all of them belonging to known felons, and who simply charged Sid Vicious with the drug-fuelled murder of his girlfriend Nancy Spungen.

To the weird cast of interviewees who drive this sordid narrative, that is a vile slur on the sensitive and caring Sid of their increasingly dim and distorted memories. But if you die at 21, you soon morph into some kind of martyr-legend, so we are supposed to keep a straight face while the two of them are seriously compared to Romeo and Juliet. Near the beginning, a voice-over laments "Underneath that exterior, there was a really nice guy." Further in, we catch an example of this niceness, when he tortures and strangles a cat, which then has the impudence to release bodily fluids in its death-throes.

Sid's own death is given a lot too much prominence, considering that it is technically off-topic, having occurred a few months after Nancy's, and this is a sign of the shapeless direction of the film. It is mainly an impressionist picture of the Sid and Nancy story, showing that she was effectively murdered not by a person but by a particular culture, where the decencies are ridiculed, crime and debauchery glamorised, and all limits and restraints shoved aside. Significantly, the film is often padded-out with blurred images of slow-moving shadow-figures of uncertain gender, just drifting about in some limbo.

That is at least symbolic of the chaotic last months of their life together, holed-up in Manhattan's Chelsea Hotel, following the break-up of the Sex Pistols. The Chelsea, as presented, takes bohemianism to giddy heights - dealers everywhere, little groups meeting on the stairs, total strangers wandering in and out of rooms.

It may sound like a schoolboy's dream, this life of non-stop hedonism, but nobody could have called Sid and Nancy a happy couple. If the film reveals anything, it is just how well-earned was the label 'Nauseating Nancy'. Superficially, you could start to find her vaguely attractive in the pop-eyed Molly Parkin style, but a closer look reveals a terrifying madness. Women loathed her piercing voice, and just wanted to get away. And although she claimed she would make a good manager for Sid, that was not too likely, considering her habit of dropping banknotes all over the reception area without noticing. Indeed, some say it was a particular pile of banknotes, found missing from their room, that pointed to the killer, supposedly a mysterious gay dealer who thought he'd been swindled.

But any attempt to explain it in terms of likelihood or logic is doomed, against the general background of narcotic blundering about that clearly left Nancy bleeding to death, slumped awkwardly on that bathroom floor. 'Who Cares Who Killed Nancy?' might have been a better title. The cops knew what they were talking about when they said they had better things to do.

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