Rent Tommy (1975)

3.3 of 5 from 93 ratings
1h 47min
Rent Tommy Online DVD & Blu-ray Rental
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If you've ever wanted to hear Jack Nicholson sing or marvel at the sight of Ann-Margret drunkenly cavorting in a cascade of baked beans, Tommy is the movie you've been waiting for. The Who's brilliant rock opera is sublimely matched by director Ken Russell's penchant for cinematic excess during the peak of his filmmaking audacity. It's a fever-dream of musical bombast, revolving around the titular 'deaf, dumb, and blind kid' (Roger Daltrey) who survives the childhood trauma that stole his senses to become a Pinball Wizard.
Tommy's odyssey is rendered through wall-to-wall music, from the bloodstream shock of 'The Acid Queen' (Tina Turner) to Elton John's towering rendition of 'Pinball Wizard' and Daltrey's epiphanous rendition of 'I'm Free'. Other star performers include Eric Clapton and (most outrageously) the Who's drummer Keith Moon. Tommy is a classic of creative rock cinema, worthy of the musical and filmmaking genii who fuelled its creation.
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Robert Stigwood, Ken Russell
Voiced By:
Liza Strike, Gillian McIntosh, Simon Townshend, Vicki Brown, Mylon LeFevre, Kit Trevor, Billy Nicholls, Helen Shappel, Jeff Roden, Alison Dowling, Margo Newman, Paul Gurvitz
Pete Townshend, Ken Russell, John Entwistle, Keith Moon
Peter Townshend
Prism Leisure
British Films, Classics, Music & Musicals
Release Date:
Run Time:
107 minutes
English Dolby Digital 2.0, English Dolby Digital 5.1
English Hard of Hearing
DVD Regions:
Region 0 (All)
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 1.78:1 / 16:9
  • Full-Length Film Commentary by Ken Russell
Release Date:
Run Time:
112 minutes
English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.0, English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen 1.85:1
BLU-RAY Regions:
(0) All
  • Audio Commentary with Ken Russell and Mark Kermode
  • Ken Russell on Tommy
  • Pete Townshend Interview
  • Roger Daltrey Interview
  • Ann-Margret Spills the Beans
  • The Story of the Sound
  • Theatrical Trailer

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Reviews (2) of Tommy

Complete & Utter Seventies Madness! - Tommy review by Count Otto Black

Spoiler Alert

This movie is quite possibly the most seventies thing ever. You can see exactly why punk had to be invented the following year; they just couldn't take a chance on anything more excessive than this happening! You can also see how a man once hailed as a towering colossus of British cinema would eventually end up making movies on video in his back garden.

This utterly bonkers tale, in which we simply have to take it on trust that competitive pinball is the ultimate spectator sport, is stuffed from beginning to end with imagery so bizarre that it frequently resembles "2001 - A Space Odyssey" directed by Terry Gilliam and starring the Monkees. The music, which since this is a rock opera is non-stop, ranges from excellent in a seventies kind of way to dreadful in an even more seventies kind of way, but although the one song people still remember is usually Elton John's "Pinball Wizard", even though if you haven't seen the film it makes no sense whatsoever, Tina Turner definitely steals the show as the feral Acid Queen who gives Tommy the least appropriate amateur psychotherapy imaginable!

The acting is equally variable. As the catatonic Tommy, Roger Daltrey, who would only win an Oscar if there was one for Least Worst Actor In The Who, is better cast than he was as Franz Liszt, and Oliver Reed, just beginning to show the first signs of his slide from handsome brute to bloated wreck, is memorably vile as Tommy's hedonistic monster of a stepfather, though I could have done with a bit less of his singing voice (and rather more of Jack Nicholoson's, which is surprisingly good). Still, with a plot and scenery like this, you can't blame most of the cast for overacting.

Unfortunately, although the parts of the movie where Tommy is still locked up in his own head are an astonishing visual and conceptual assault on your eyes and brain, the overly blunt satire of fake religions in the last half hour drags a bit, and rather too much of it consists of a very smug Roger Daltrey singing hymns in praise of himself. The barking mad Church of Marilyn Monroe we encounter earlier on makes the same point just as well, and is far funnier. But the bits that really work aren't quite like anything else you'll ever see, except perhaps in other films from Ken Russell's "starting to go nuts but still getting decent budgets" period. If you're in the right mood, it's a hoot! I mean, what's not to like about a movie in which Tina Turner morphs into a psychedelic torture robot?

2 out of 2 members found this review helpful.

Ground breaking - Tommy review by HM

Spoiler Alert

Most rock/pop movies have lame scripts and drop the band into a commercial vehicle to let us gawp at the good looking twerps therein. This however is a creative masterpiece that is ground breaking in itself and if anything, enhances the ground breaking rock opera Tommy. Ken Russell was born to team up with a rock band.

The songs are a tower block above the weak La La Land and other unmemorable musicals of late, let alone their delivery (Let Cats be a lesson to you!). Each segment of the movie is a foretaste of music videos to come. Tommy is the first complete 'concept album' as Sgt Pepper was a couple of tracks that alluded to that 'concept' then was a collection of great songs.

The sound quality is worthy of a home cinema 5.1 outing so go for it. A unique slice of rock movie brilliance.

1 out of 1 members found this review helpful.

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