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  • Alternative view 1 of Tommy
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3.9 11
Director: Ken Russell

Cast: Ann-Margret, Oliver Reed, Roger Daltrey


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Tommy (Roger Daltrey) is a "deaf, dumb and blind kid" who retreats into himself after the death of his father. His mother, Nora (Ann-Margret), and stepfather Frank (Oliver Reed) take him to see a specialist (Jack Nicholson) but Tommy is apparently a hopeless case. That is, until Tommy discovers that "he sure plays a mean pinball." Tommy gains fame when he defeats the


Tommy (Roger Daltrey) is a "deaf, dumb and blind kid" who retreats into himself after the death of his father. His mother, Nora (Ann-Margret), and stepfather Frank (Oliver Reed) take him to see a specialist (Jack Nicholson) but Tommy is apparently a hopeless case. That is, until Tommy discovers that "he sure plays a mean pinball." Tommy gains fame when he defeats the Pinball Wizard (Elton John) for the world championship. As a result, Tommy becomes such a celebrity that he even founds his own religious cult. But his fans begin to commercialize his fame, while Tommy wants to stick to the straight and narrow. When Tommy wants to end the commercialization of his message, his supporters accuse him of being hypocritical and turn on him. Ann-Margret, with a slinky red dress slit way up the side, was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar, losing out to Louise Fletcher in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Don Lieberman
Somewhere between Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and The Rocky Horror Picture Show floats 1975’s Tommy, a characteristically trippy cult classic from director Ken Russell, based on the Who's seminal rock opera. It is in every way an inspired interpretation, even if Russell’s approach steamrolls over some of the nuances Pete Townshend wrote into the material. From Tina Turner's electrifying turn as the Acid Queen to Ann-Margret’s jaw-dropping baked-beans bath, Tommy is a sensation. Who front man Roger Daltrey -- who starred in Russell’s Lisztomania the year before, portrays Tommy, the "deaf, dumb, and blind kid" who becomes a pinball wizard and miracle messiah. Ann-Margret’s performance as Tommy's increasingly unhinged mother, a camp masterpiece, earned her nominations for a Golden Globe and an Academy Award. Oliver Reed is perfect as her sleazy lover, and Keith Moon, the Who's madman drummer, is the wicked Uncle Ernie. Jack Nicholson, evidently unfazed by reviews of the vocal stylings he brought to On a Clear Day You Can See Forever, warbles weakly as the doctor who may be able to "cure the boy." Eric Clapton and Elton John also appear for quick look-at-the-rock-star cameos. Russell keeps pouring it on with operatic glee: His mind-bending, over-the-top, psychedelic imagery takes the familiar source material to dizzying new heights, and the viewer on an amazing journey. They don't make 'em like this anymore.
All Movie Guide - Perry Seibert
The Who's Tommy was the first rock opera. When it came time to adapt the material for the silver screen, director Ken Russell, with his penchant for irreverent interpretations of classical musicians' lives and works, seemed like a natural fit. Russell certainly shapes the material to fit his particular vision; one is hard-pressed to think of any other filmmaker who would have Ann-Margret roll around in baked beans. Elton John, Eric Clapton, and Jack Nicholson all show up to sing a song, but mostly so that the audience will say, "look, there's more famous people," than to add anything musically or cinematically (only Tina Turner's rendition of "The Acid Queen" improves on, or even equals, the original performances). The album is, despite its length, compact and powerful, while the movie is visually, emotionally, and musically gaudy. Russell's visuals make it continuously watchable, but the film version of Tommy sacrifices the fragile emotional core of Pete Townshend's work for grandiose spectacle. Townshend is more rock, and Russell is more opera. The film adaptation of Quadrophenia would eventually capture Townshend's vision more clearly, but less spectacularly.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Sony Pictures
[Wide Screen]
[Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Sales rank:

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Ann-Margret Nora Walker Hobbs
Oliver Reed Frank Hobbs
Roger Daltrey Tommy
Elton John Pinball Wizard
Eric Clapton Preacher
Jack Nicholson Specialist
Robert M. Powell Capt. Walker
Keith Moon Uncle Ernie
Paul Nicholas Cousin Kevin
Tina Turner Acid Queen
Barry Winch Young Tommy
Victoria Russell Sally Simpson
Who Actor
Ben Aris Rev. Simpson
Mary Holland Mrs. Simpson
Imogen Claire Nurse
John Entwistle Himself
Pete Townshend Himself
Arthur Brown Priest
Eddie Stacey Bovver Boy
Jennifer Baker Nurse
Susan Baker Nurse

Technical Credits
Ken Russell Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Stuart Baird Editor
Harry Benn Associate Producer
Jonathan Benson Asst. Director
George Blackler Makeup
Iain Bruce Sound/Sound Designer
Dick Bush Cinematographer
John Clark Art Director
John Comfort Production Manager
Roger Daltrey Score Composer
Paul Dufficey Set Decoration/Design
John Entwistle Score Composer,Screenwriter
Gillian Gregory Choreography
Keith Moon Score Composer
Peter Robb-King Makeup
Bill Rowe Sound/Sound Designer
Shirley Russell Costumes/Costume Designer
Christopher Stamp Executive Producer
Robert Stigwood Producer
Ronnie Taylor Cinematographer
Pete Townshend Score Composer,Musical Direction/Supervision
Beryl Vertue Executive Producer
Ian Whittaker Set Decoration/Design


Customer Reviews

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Tommy 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I saw this film for the first time in my life. I loved the music before knew all the texts. But the pictures are as great as the music. I have not been disappointed , bying the DVD (I own only a few really good DVDs) There are only 2 things, which I don't like. The first is the very poor sound quality.(sound like a bad record player this 2*4W Amp) The other one is , there are no text, to read while watching the film. If you show it to someone who do not know the lyrics , (s)he won't be able to understand the texts they are singing (sometimes) But in the end. Great art, Great musics. Kai (Germany)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Not the best musical, but a good one. The music is good, but it's all meaningless and delirant. That's not bad, I like it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
If a human being says Tommy is a bad film is because it doesn't know nothing about films and MUSIC! I think in general the film is excelent beacuse it shows the black face of humans, i mean all we know God, but not all know how to go to him, there are fanatic - comercial religions that promise you to take us to God, if you pay, and show it with Marilyn Monroe its a good form to explain this. When Tommy Is th Messiah you can see this too, how he is comersilizated. If you read the Bible you'll know than the only way to God is the faith, and the spiritual connection with him, im glad Pete Townshend make those scenes because he challenge those religions. Music!!! The Who (I think all is explained with these two words). Well all 22 songs are excellent, i dont know how can John Enwhistle do that with the bass! it seems like a guitar, Keith Moon, does he had four arms? what emotion give to the film Roger Daltrey with the vocals, he have multivoices, at last the Tommy-brain Pete Townshend at guitar, making all Tommy. I wouldnt recommend to rent it... BUY IT
Guest More than 1 year ago
This video enhanced version of Pete Townshends great album tommy, is fantastic for someone who likes music, unlike vanden02111 who apparently doesn't appreciate anything and watched the movie because he wanted to see the story. The purpose of the movie is the music.
Guest More than 1 year ago
it was the sweetest movie ever. if ur a fan of the Who, its a must see must buy!
Cosmic_Messenger More than 1 year ago
The Tommy movie is a great rock movie! I first saw this movie when it was originally released in theaters and I have loved it ever since. There are some of the best performances of The Who's songs in this movie and Roger's voice never sounded better. The Who were at the top of their game here and the addition of other artists adds more to the experience. Unlike most of the bland musical expression of modern culture, the 1970's were alive with a freedom of expression that is captured in this movie to some extent. I think this movie truly captures the ideas and the ideals of this period in rock in a very honest artistic expression of music, storytelling and the 1970's rock culture.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best movies I've ever seen!! I watched it 5 times!!! Townsend ironic vision of religion ain't to ban!! it's just ironic sarcastic vision of a world where money and fame count more than the real things.. pinball Wizard is awesome!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ReverendSteve More than 1 year ago
Loud, ostentatious David Bowie/Elton John strangeness for strangeness sake. This film is simply piles upon piles of the type of strange faux artsy mess that was plentiful in the seventies. Post-hippies seventies bellbottom throwup. "LOOK AT ME, I'M ARTSY!" Plus they completely butcher the music of The Who to suit various actors and made-up plot points. It's fun to watch and some of the music (kudos to Eric Clapton) is amazing. But for a TRUE Tommy experience, go see the play. Or buy the original rock CD and listen to it with your eyes closed. THAT is true Tommy!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Although I have seen many movies in my life, this one is the worst. What started out as a weird movie with some big names on it, became a bad movie, than a horrendous waste of any person's life. The reason I say this is due to several reasons, one of which being the disturbing nature of the movie's theme and it's sick satire of religion Anyone with any religious affiliations would be disgusted by the cultist representation of a Marilyn Monroe church in which communion is a drug in pill form and a swig of whiskey. The video and sound qualities were wretched. If I had actually enjoyed the movie¿s odd theme, I would have still been constantly irritated by the poor sound quality, so low that the conversation could hardly be heard. The scanty plot and controversial, over-the-edge images make this movie a ''Must Ban.'' I would recommend that no one rent, buy, or even glance at this film. It was that bad.