If...

If...

4.0 3
Director: Lindsay Anderson

Cast: Lindsay Anderson, Malcolm McDowell, David Wood, Richard Warwick

     
 

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Rebellious students at an English private school plan a violent revolt against their repressive environment in director Lindsay Anderson's highly acclaimed but extremely controversial drama. Centering on a small group of non-conformists led by Mick Travis (Malcolm McDowell), the film paints a distinctly negative picture of the British school system and, by extension,… See more details below

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Overview

Rebellious students at an English private school plan a violent revolt against their repressive environment in director Lindsay Anderson's highly acclaimed but extremely controversial drama. Centering on a small group of non-conformists led by Mick Travis (Malcolm McDowell), the film paints a distinctly negative picture of the British school system and, by extension, English society. Seeing the powers-that-be as humorless, bureaucratic, and needlessly restrictive, Mick and his cohorts indulge in small acts of rebellion, including sneaking into town to romance a local waitress. Their actions are discovered and punished with harsh beatings, leading the students to plot revenge. This effort culminates in the film's most famous sequence, a surrealistic depiction of a bloody uprising by the students against the adult world. Daring and unpredictable in content and form, If... mixes color and black-and-white cinematography as easily as it mingles satire with dark fantasy. The film's ambiguous attitude toward violence caused controversy at the time, as many commentators saw the film as a potential incitement to violence. It became a great success among younger, counter-culture audiences who appreciated the audacious shock tactics and embraced the satirical, anti-establishment message. Often compared to Jean Vigo's French classic Zéro de conduite, which also featured surrealistic boarding-school rebellion, If... has become a high point in the cinema of youth rebellion. Anderson and McDowell later collaborated on O Lucky Man! (1973), Look Back in Anger (1980), and Britannia Hospital (1982).

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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Surreal and satiric, If... is both a withering critique of British society and a fantasy rooted in the spirit of schoolboy anarchy. Fairly controversial when it was released in Britain in 1968, the film still has the power to shock, not so much because of its sex and violence (fairly tame by today's standards) but because of the manner in which they are presented. Resembling a landlocked Lord of the Flies, If... remains most startling for its depiction of savagery, on the part of both society (represented by the school and its authorities) and the young men it produces. It is a casual, offhand savagery, seemingly as much a part of British society as tea and scones. Lindsay Anderson's ambiguous approach to the film's violence is consistent with the film's blackly satirical tone, mirroring the aim being taken at societies across the world at the time by their dissatisfied youth. If... can be seen as Anderson's metaphor for the changes occurring across the world in 1968, but it goes further than mere protest, culminating in a show of all-out rebellion that remains one of the high points of the cinema of youthful discontent.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/30/2011
UPC:
0715515085014
Original Release:
1968
Rating:
R
Source:
Criterion
Region Code:
A
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Time:
1:52:00
Sales rank:
6,443

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Malcolm McDowell Mick
David Wood Johnny
Richard Warwick Wallace
Christine Noonan Girl
Robert Swann Rowntree
Peter Jeffrey Headmaster
Arthur Lowe Housemaster
Mona Washbourne Matron
Ellis Dale Motorcycle Salesman
Richard Davies Machin
Richard Everett Pussy Graves
Tommy Godfrey School Porter
Simon Ward Actor
John Garrie Music Master
Rupert Webster Bobby Philips
Hugh Thomas Denson
Peter Sproule Barnes
Anthony Nicholls Gen. Denson
Mary McLeod Mrs. Kemp, Housemaster's Wife
Geoffrey Chater Chaplain
Ben Aris John Thomas, Undermaster
Graham Crowden History Master
Charles Lloyd Pack Classics Master
Robin Askwith Keating
Philip Bagenal Peanuts
David Griffin Willens
Brian Pettifer Biles
Michael Newport Brunning
Charles Sturridge Markland
Sean Bury Jute
Martin Beaumont Hunter

Technical Credits
Lindsay Anderson Director,Producer
Roy Baird Executive Producer
Betty Blattner Makeup
Miriam Brickman Casting
Brian Eatwell Art Director
Albert Finney Producer
David Gladwell Editor,Production Designer
Jocelyn Herbert Production Designer
John Howlett Original Story
Gavrik Losey Production Manager
Michael Medwin Producer
Miroslav Ondrícek Cinematographer
David Sherwin Screenwriter
Christian Wangler Sound/Sound Designer
Marc Wilkinson Score Composer,Musical Direction/Supervision

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Scene Index

Audio commentary featuring film critic and historian David Robinson and actor Malcolm McDowell; Episode of the Scottis TV series Cast and Crew from 2003, featuring interviews with McDowell, Ondricek, Rakoff, director's assistant Stephen Frears, producer Michael Medwin, and screenwriter Ddavid Sherwin; Video interview with actor Graham Crowden; Thursday's Children (1954), an Academy Award-winning documentary about a school for deaf children, directed by Lindsay Anderson and Guy Brenton and narrated by actor Richard Burton; Plus: a booklet featuring an essay by critic David Ehrenstein as well as reprinted by Sherwin and Anderson

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