6.6/10
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191 user 54 critic

Tommy (1975)

16 | | Drama, Musical | 26 March 1975 (UK)
Trailer
2:09 | Trailer
A psychosomatically deaf, dumb and blind boy becomes a master pinball player and, subsequently, the object of a religious cult.

Director:

Ken Russell

Writers:

The Who (by) (as 'The Who'), Ken Russell (screenplay) | 3 more credits »
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Oliver Reed ... Frank
Ann-Margret ... Nora
Roger Daltrey ... Tommy
Elton John ... The Pinball Wizard
Eric Clapton ... The Preacher
John Entwistle ... Himself
Keith Moon ... Uncle Ernie
Paul Nicholas ... Cousin Kevin
Jack Nicholson ... The Specialist
Robert Powell ... Captain Walker
Pete Townshend ... Himself
Tina Turner ... The Acid Queen
Arthur Brown Arthur Brown ... The Priest
Victoria Russell Victoria Russell ... Sally Simpson
Ben Aris Ben Aris ... Reverend Simpson
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Storyline

Nora Walker is told that her British fighter pilot husband is missing in action and presumed killed in World War II. On V.E. Day, Nora gives birth to their son, who she names Tommy. While Tommy is an adolescent, Nora marries Frank, a shifty camp counselor. Shortly thereafter, Tommy suffers an emotionally traumatic experience associated with his father and step-father, which, based on things told to him at that time, results in him becoming deaf, dumb and blind, a situation which several people exploit for their own pleasure. As Nora tries several things to bring Tommy out of his psychosomatic disabilities, Tommy, now a young man, happens upon pinball as a stimulus. Playing by intuition, Tommy becomes a pinball master, which in turn makes him, and by association Nora and Frank, rich and famous. Nora literally shatters Tommy to his awakening, which ultimately leads to both the family's rise and downfall as people initially try to emulate Tommy's path then rebel against it. Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Your senses will never be the same

Genres:

Drama | Musical

Certificate:

16 | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

26 March 1975 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

The Who's Tommy See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$5,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$34,251,525
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Quintaphonic (5 channel Stereo) (as Quintophonic Sound®)| Dolby (as Dolby System Noise Reduction - High Fidelity Optical Sound Track)

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The pinball machine played by Tommy (Roger Daltrey) is Gottlieb's "Kings & Queens". See more »

Goofs

Crew reflections are visible in pinball machines' glass during end scene in pinball park. See more »

Quotes

The Who: She knew from the start deep down in her heart, she and Tommy were worlds apart. But her mother said 'never mind, your part is to be what you'll be'.
See more »

Alternate Versions

When shown on Anglia Television (part of the British ITV network) in 1989, the short 'blackout' scene during the Uncle Ernie sequence - consisting of sound effects of footsteps, gurgling, twanging and maniacal laughter over a completely blank screen - was deleted. See more »

Connections

Featured in The 48th Annual Academy Awards (1976) See more »

Soundtracks

Smash the Mirror
(uncredited)
Written by Pete Townshend
Performed by Kenney Jones, John Entwistle, Alan Ross, Ann-Margret
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A cult classic if ever there was one. You'll either love it, or hate it.
13 July 2005 | by speleorat2003See all my reviews

This movie is all over the place. Ken Russell's penchant for garishness and bad taste runs rampant throughout the film, and the imagery consequently gives the film a very surrealistic feel (when it doesn't simply just get too weird for its' own good which it most definitely does indeed do at times). It should also be said that some of the casting is questionable to say the least. Jack Nicholson should never, ever have taken this role. His cameo is short, but rather painful to watch. Not to mention painful to listen to. And Oliver Reed? Think ham. He must have had a ball doing this movie, though. But in an odd sort of way, he fits in the role of Frank like a glove. Watch the movie, and you'll see what I mean. Just don't ask him to sing at your wedding. You'll regret it. Deeply. And plot? Almost none here to be found. At least none that cannot be easily summarized in two or three pithy sentences. That being said, I know I didn't go to see it in the seventies because I thought I was going to see Oscar caliber performances or a tight and thoughtful script. I went to see it because of the music. And it still holds up well to this day because of that. The music still carries the day. Tommy is one of The Who's best and shining moments. And between the songs, some of the performances shine..... just enough to make this a worthwhile viewing. But God help you if you go into this expecting anything approaching serious cinema. You will be seriously and grievously disappointed. Tommy is mostly played off as camp and is meant to be that way.

Best performances...... Elton John as the pinball wizard, (who does so well in this that I think he decided afterwards to retire from making movies while he was still ahead) while Ann Margret chews up the scenery much better than I had certainly expected, and Tina Turner as the Acid Queen gives a performance in a cameo that you have to see to believe. Paul Stevens as Cousin Kevin also gives an energetic turn in a rare (for this movie) comedic moment.

I give it 7 out of 10. Too flawed to be a classic, but definitely a solid piece of work overall. You may never look at another body pillow without pork and beans and Ann Margret springing immediately to mind ever again.


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