The Mod and the Rocker were two of the most iconic images of the 20th century. The clash of designer threads with scruffy jeans and a leather jacket, the aesthetic conflict between a stylish Vespa scooter and a roaring Triumph motorcycle all complemented the vicious and often deadly rivalry between the two tribes.

Quadrophenia is old school cool all the way with the feisty relations between the two gangs providing a backdrop for angst-ridden teenager Jimmy’s (Phil Daniels) personal quest for thrills and spills. Along with Dave (Mark Wingett), Chalky (Philip Davis) and Spider (Gary Shail) the Mods descend on Brighton for a Bank Holiday Weekend filled with drugs, booze and violence, the only problem being that the Rockers are in town too!

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Although critically panned upon its release in 1979 Franc Roddam’s feature directorial debut has since become a cult classic. The abundance of sex, violence and drugs were seen as vulgar and unnecessary by a country only just recovering from the mammoth hangover of the Sixties. As years have gone by though, the film has become increasingly popular and is deemed by many to be among the most influential British films of all time along the likes of Trainspotting and Withnail and I.

At the very centre of the film, along with a masterful and mesmerising performance by a young Phil Daniels, is social and political introspection of Seventies culture. The sheer disenfranchisement of young Britain is accentuated through the medium of gang culture and Jimmy’s journey is largely indicative of that of the country as a whole. Our protagonist's initial quest for a sense of purpose culminates in the realisation that the modus operandi of Mod society is hollow prompting Jimmy to thoroughly trash the scooter of Mod messiah Ace Face (Sting).

Roddam’s picture is a tour de force and rightly claims its place among the cannon of cult British films. From the Seventies onward into the Nineties the lasting influence of Quadrophenia can be seen throughout this country's cinema and more particularly in the work of Danny Boyle and Nick Love. The fervent debate over the films climactic scenes - regarding the 'real' end of the movie - only serves to illustate the passionate following the film now enjoys.

If you’re after a movie to rock your world then Quadrophenia is the ticket, for all its pomp, style and youthful vigour, it is a film that forces us to ask questions of both ourselves and the society we live in. If you’re not in the mood for existential questions on life in the seventies then simply sit back and enjoy a truly masterful film, and more importantly the legend that is Sting!

Reviewed on: 01 Dec 2006
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"I don't give a monkey's arsehole about Mods and Rockers. Underneath, we're all the same, 'n't we?" Special edition of the cult classic.
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Director: Franc Roddam

Writer: Franc Roddam, Dave Humphries

Starring: Phil Daniels, Sting, Leslie Ash, Toyah Willcox, Ray Winstone, Philip Davis, Mark Wingett, Kate Williams, Trevor Laird, Gary Shail, Garry Cooper

Year: 1979

Runtime: 115 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: UK


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