If...

( 3 )

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 ...
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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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Special Features

New, restored high-definition digital transfer, approved by director of photography Miroslav Ondricek and assistant editor Ian Rakoff; Audio commentary featuring film critic and historian David Robinson and actor Malcolm McDowell; A 2003 episode from the Scottish TV series Cast and Crew, featuring McDowell, Rakoff, director's assistant Stephen Frears, producer Michael Medwin, and screenwriter David Sherwin; New video interview with actor Graham Crowden; Thursday's Children (1954), an Academy Award-winning documentary about a school for deaf children, directed by Anderson and Guy Brenton and narrated by Richard Burton; A booklet featuring pieces by critic David Ehrenstein, screenwriter David Sherwin, and director Lindsay Anderson
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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.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/19/2007
  • UPC: 715515024426
  • Original Release: 1968
  • Rating:

  • Source: Criterion
  • Region Code: 1
  • Presentation: Wide Screen
  • Language: English
  • Time: 1:52:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 4,829

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
Ben Aris John Thomas, Undermaster
Robin Askwith Keating
Philip Bagenal Peanuts
Martin Beaumont Hunter
Sean Bury Jute
Geoffrey Chater Chaplain
Graham Crowden History Master
Ellis Dale Motorcycle Salesman
Richard Davies Machin
Richard Everett Pussy Graves
John Garrie Music Master
Tommy Godfrey School Porter
David Griffin Willens
Mary McLeod Mrs. Kemp, Housemaster's Wife
Michael Newport Brunning
Anthony Nicholls Gen. Denson
Charles Lloyd Pack Classics Master
Brian Pettifer Biles
Peter Sproule Barnes
Charles Sturridge Markland
Hugh Thomas Denson
Simon Ward
Rupert Webster Bobby Philips
Technical Credits
Lindsay Anderson Director, Producer
Roy Baird Executive Producer, 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

Disc #1 -- If.... - The Film
1. College House [20:13]
2. College [13:29]
3. Term Time [10:17]
4. Ritual and Romance [16:59]
5. Discipline [16:43]
6. Resistance [8:05]
7. Forth to War [14:52]
8. Crusaders [9:27]
9. Closing Credits [1:28]
1. Casting [20:13]
2. Power and Privilege [13:29]
3. Bobby Philips [10:17]
4. Full of Surprises [16:59]
5. Not Naturalistic [16:43]
6. Targets [8:05]
7. About Freedom [14:52]
8. A Contradictory Person [9:27]
9. The Last Word [1:28]
Disc #2 -- If.... - The Supplements
1. Introductions [10:40]
2. Anarchist Element [15:43]
3. Actors [3:13]
4. Fantasy and Reality [5:58]
5. Reaction [6:28]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- If.... - The Film
   Play the Movie
   Chapters
   Color Bars
   Commentary
      Commentary: Off
      Commentary: On
      Index
      Color Bars
Disc #2 -- If.... - The Supplements
   "Cast and Crew"
      Play
      Index
   Graham Crowden Interview
      Play
   "Thursday's Children"
      Play
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Iconic and Distinctly British

    Part look at English boarding school lads, part social commentary, part social satire. Many scenes are symbolic and arty with significant portions of the script acting as thinly-veiled social commentary. The surrealist elements are subtle and engaging and often just quirky and nonsensical enough to leave you wondering if it was symbolic of anything and then realise that it was too funny to really matter if the symbolism existed or not.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews