Franc Roddam's terrifically energetic movie, set to music from the Who's Quadrophenia, is--at the very least, the best film ever based on a rock album (and, yes, that includes, Tommy, Pink Floyd: The Wall, and Jesus Christ... more » Superstar). Actually, this tale of the battle between two early '60s youth subcultures--Mods and Rockers--in the seaside teenage wasteland of Brighton, England, isn't so much a cinematic "version" of the Who's 1979 double-record rock opera as it is a story based on the sequence of songs on the album. Quadrophenia is about that crucial time in teenhood when the lion's share of your sense of identity is tied up in the music you listen to, the clothes you wear, and the groups you hang out with. Jimmy (Phil Daniels) identifies himself with the sharp-dressing, scooter-riding Mods, who listen to American soul and British pop-rock (The Who themselves were once rather Mod). The Rockers, on the other hand, are leather-jacketed, black-booted, motorcycle-riding tough guys who listen primarily to classic American rock & roll. The film captures this minor pop-culture revolution perfectly. Look for Sting as a club-hopping slickster, who's shameful secret is that he's a hotel bellboy by day. --Jim Emerson« less
Chris K. Wilson | Dallas, TX United States | 12/24/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When "Quadrophenia" first came out in 1979, I think most people were expecting a "Tommy"-like rock opera, with music by The Who blasting from the speakers and Roger Daltry playing pinball adorned in a mask. Much to most people's surprise, "Quadrophenia" is a story about teen angst in England, with background music by The Who. The story is the key, and "Quadrophenia" details the historic Mod/Rocker riots of the 1960s. The riots were fueled by teen rebellion, rock music and a youthful generation seeking its identity.The beauty of "Quadrophenia" is the film's themes of youths trying to find their place in the world is timeless and internationally identifiable. You don't have to be a British lad to love this story. Several scenes are so emotionally harrowing as to be disturbing. The protagonist Jimmy Michael Cooper (brilliantly played by Phil Daniels) begins to self destruct as the movie progresses. He loses his home, his job, his girlfriend and eventually his identity in a haze of drugs and misguided motivation. The scene where he begs his ex-girlfriend to explain herself, to which she answers "It was just a giggle" will bring a tear to most eyes. It is the saddest form of rejection and as emotionally truthful a scene one is most likely to see.I think many teenagers eventually go through a process similar to what is seen in "Quadrophenia." One's identity when growing up is always related to the music, the parties, the mode of dress and the friends one chooses. The world is seemingly yours. As the Mods begin their march in Brighton, chanting, screaming, arms wrapped around one another, they are a force. They can change the world. So when the world rudely interrupts the dream, as the police break up the riots, as people move on to the next day, one uncomfortably realizes it really was all just a "giggle." This is the sad quandry Jimmy Michael Cooper must confront. When watching "Quadrophenia," specifically the final scene where he rides the stolen scooter along the cliffs of Brighton, you're never sure what choice Cooper is going to make. The Mods most certainly fueled the eventual punk movement, and I think many people who love this film came from that 1980s generation. The clothes and the hairstyles (including Sting, in an early role as the coolest Mod) are identifiable to the punk generation. What Jimmy Michael Cooper eventually confronts is similar to the conflicts of the punk generation (or any teen generation for that matter). Sadly, the movement must be left behind and we must ask ourselves what the meaning of it all was. To reach maturity, many of us must travel the same path of Jimmy Michael Cooper - and he's faced with some difficult choices.The Who produced this film, and they must be applauded (as should director Franc Roddam) for creating a classic work about teen rebellion. The music of The Who, including "The Real Me," "Love Reign O'er Me," "Bell Boy," and "I Am the Sea" has been expertly used throughout. "Quadrophenia" is a great film not just because it details British teen angst, but timeless, international teen angst."
Brilliant look at the brink between adolescence & adulthood
C. Heinrich | Oyster Bay, NY USA | 07/05/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This film deserves to be in the pantheon of classic teen angst films (though it will really speak to adults reflecting on their years more so than it will for teens). I think it's the best film I've ever seen in that genre (and is based on probably the best album that ever covered such ground). There is real grit to the film, real emotion and pathos (but also a teriffic sense of humor). The cast is also outstanding (why Phil Daniels didn't become a big star is anybody's guess). But add to this the knockout soundtrack (from the "Quadrophenia" LP and other radio hits of the 60s), and you practically have a perfect film (I'm always hesitant to say anything is truly perfect). But I wouldn't change anything here. It is an unqualified success. It helps to understand the milieu of the film, so read up here on the mods and rockers so that you understand the time and place. But then hang on for a long, LOUD ride! This movie just knocks me out! I wish I had seen it when I was a teenager. Better late than never!...Don't miss it! And I will say this movie was much better the second time around (especially at a theatre). The film is so loaded with atmosphere and cultural references that you can't possibly take it all in in one sitting."
Steve Guardala | ????? | 07/16/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is not really about teen angst. It truly is about the character of Jimmy & the band itself. The concept of a mod growing up in the 1960's tumult was refreshing, because this youth was not actually a malcontent. A theme that has been played out ad infinatum over the decades. Peter Townsend's theme is the song "Love Reign Oe'r Me, Daltrey's is Helpless Dancer, Moon's is Bell Boy, & Entwhistle's is I'm One."
Like "Tommy," Quadrophenia told the tale of a young man who suffers a personality split. Before long this nonconformist finds vast dissillusionment with what he thought would make him happy. Predictably, he falls into the pit of alcohol & drugs. In the end Jimmy's fate remains uncertain, a pleasant surprise for the imagination.
Musically, Quadrophenia's songs are linked by the Love Reign Oe'r Me & the fine synthesizer that balances it. I also preferred the full length songs, when compared to tommy's several short tunes. All in all, a fine collective creation by a band that truly worked well together."
One of the best rock films to date
Rocco Dormarunno | Brooklyn, NY | 03/20/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Very few movies based on rock albums are ever any good. "Quadrophenia" is the exception to this theory. Considering the relative inexperience of cast and crew alike, the producers have pulled off the unexpected: a rock film that doesn't bow down to the egos of the rock stars; a low budget, anti-special effect film; a teen film that doesn't condescend to the teens in the film and the audience; and, ultimately, a script that is not dictated to by the songs on the album. In fact several key songs from the album aren't even in the film--not the least of which is "The Punk Versus The Godfather".
What I enjoyed about the film, also, was that it doesn't just portray the working-class teen as a malcontent who can't identify with anything. Instead, Jimmy (played brilliantly by Phil Daniels) rebels against Rockers, the "establishment", older people, etc.; however, his desire for independence only goes so far because he MUST be a Mod. And here is the real ambivalence of adolescence--the desire to be free and the need to fit in.
This edition has some fun extras. The director's commentary, although occasionally bogged down in technical stuff, is eye-opening to the era represented in the film. The high-speed London to Brighton trip is enjoyable. The Mod/Rocker Quiz was also fun--but beware of one of the endings! In sum, this is a worthwhile film to own."
STILL one of the definitive movies of a lost era...
Erik S. Johnson | Yamhill County, OR | 07/13/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This release of Quadrophenia is very good, but doesn't quite reach the superb mark. Dramatically improved from the VHS release of many moons ago, the DVD release recaptures some of the sound and fury that I recall when I first saw the movie upon its release in 1979. Visuals are improved and colors enhanced, though discretely, but there are still a number of visual flaws in the transfer (e.g., scratches in the film are preserved, as well as occasional film artifacts). The sound reinforcement REALLY improved the experience, adding depth and presence to what was once a very tinny sounding film.All of that being said, I believe Rhino did a wonderful job in the transfer, with the logical next step of preservation being a digital polishing (digitally removing scratches and artifacts, reregistering each frame, digital smoothing, etc.) I'm not sure what else can be done to improve the audio track, as apparently it was pulled from the optical track on the film master (no separate mag tapes?) Rhino is not Lucasfilm, and they don't have access to the $100MM post-processing digital labs of the latter, so I have no expecations of any digital magic on an indie cult classic like Quadrophenia. Hey, this is a movie about '60's Brits, and it definitely retains that '60's feel!! Isn't that what indie flicks are all about?This is a wonderful remastered movie, with great extras, and it retains the same visceral punch as it did when first released. A superb companion to the masterpiece album by The Who that is its namesake, I highly recommend it. Four stars of five.P.S. If you've never seen Quadrophenia before, I strongly suggest listening to and studying the entire musical album two or three times prior to viewing the movie. The emotion and fury unleashed by The Who in this album is virtually unmatched by any other album or artist at any time -- it truly is a modern musical masterpiece, and far surpasses Pete's original (and overhyped) opera, Tommy, in scope, range, and maturity. Twenty five years later, and this album is still as incredible and vital as the day it was released. Finally, go in peace, Ox, for we do miss you..."