If.... 1968

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(131) IMDb 7.7/10
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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).~ Judd Blaise, All Movie Guide

Starring:
Rupert Webster, Arthur Lowe
Rental Formats:
DVD, Blu-ray

Product Details

Discs
  • Feature ages_15_and_over
Runtime 1 hour 47 minutes
Starring Rupert Webster, Arthur Lowe, Christine Noonan, Peter Jeffrey, David Wood, Geoffrey, Christina Noonan, Malcolm McDowell, Mona Washbourne, Robert Swann, Richard Warwick, Hugh Thomas
Director Lindsay Anderson
Genres Comedy, Drama
Studio PARAMOUNT HOME ENTERTAINMENT
Rental release 23 July 2007
Main languages English
Hearing impaired subtitles English
Discs
  • Feature ages_15_and_over
Runtime 1 hour 47 minutes
Starring Rupert Webster, Arthur Lowe, Christine Noonan, Peter Jeffrey, David Wood, Geoffrey, Christina Noonan, Malcolm McDowell, Mona Washbourne, Robert Swann, Richard Warwick, Hugh Thomas
Director Lindsay Anderson
Genres Comedy, Drama
Studio Eureka
Rental release 9 June 2014
Main languages English
Subtitles English

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 18 Feb. 2006
Format: VHS Tape
I don't wish to repeat the great comments by the other reviewers here, they've said it all.Just want to add, in a small way, that I am jealous of anyone who hasn't seen "If.." yet.That's because the new viewer is in for the treat of their lives.
This is surreal,stark, funny, sad and uplifting.Stars so many favourite actors of the late 60's and 70's(Arthur Lowe, Graham Crowden,Peter Jeffrey) but it's the trio of Malcolm McDowell,Richard Warwick and David Wood who make the movie. A complete joy,a film I always return to.DVD now please!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By marky77 VINE VOICE on 8 Jan. 2009
Format: DVD
I had never heard of this movie before but it was on Film4 last night and I watched it on a whim because it stars Malcolm McDowell and I enjoyed his performances in A Clockwork Orange and Caligula.

The movie is about a trio of friends who are in the 6th form at a boys boarding school, one of who is having a relationship with a younger boy and another who becomes increasingly fixated on guns and rebellion.

Parts of the film are realistic and seem like an ordinary boys school in the 60's but other parts of the movie are very strange and surreal such as random scenes shot in black and white, the bizzare dog-like fight involving a girl in a cafe, and of course the ending, which I found quite powerful because I wasn't expecting it at all.

Deffinatly agree with it being in Film4's "Movies to see before you die" series. I'm certainly glad I didn't miss it.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Mark Barry HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 26 Feb. 2014
Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
As you've probably gathered most of the reviews are for the 'DVD' version of Lindsay Anderson's incendiary 1968 'bucking-the-system' classic. And the BLU RAY is available in both the States and the UK. But which issue to buy?

Unfortunately the uber-desirable USA Criterion release is REGION-A LOCKED although it doesn't say so on Amazon.
So it WILL NOT PLAY on most UK BLU RAY players unless they're chipped to play 'all' regions (which the vast majority aren't).
Don’t confuse BLU RAY players that have multi-region capability on the 'DVD' front – that won’t help.

Luckily the "Masters Of Cinema" release on this side of the pond (which boasts the same cleaned up transfer) is REGION FREE – so that will play on UK machines.

Check you’re purchasing the right version before you buy the pricey Criterion release...
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Del 58 VINE VOICE on 23 July 2007
Format: DVD
One of my all time favourites, and long overdue (as is O Lucky Man) for a DVD release. The DVD transfer looks great, but it's a pity the same can't be said for the sound which is Mono and rather flat. Some good extras including a Commentary from Malcolm McDowell and David Robinson, a BBC 45 minute special talking to screenwriter, assistant director, cinematographer, producer etc. The inclusion of Lindsay Anderson's 1954 Academy Award winning short Thursdays Child is a bit of an odd addition, perhaps a documentary on Anderson himself would have been more appropriate?? But nevermind, its the film that really counts, and it's brilliant! I was at boarding school myself when this was first released in 1969, and I didn't get to see it until it was shown on TV in the mid seventies. Aside from the surrealistic side, the portrayal of life in an all boys public school was pretty much spot on. I guess Travis just got to do what mosy of us would have liked to do! Malcolm McDowell is superb as Travis, what a pity such a talented actor is now usually seen in cameos on TV, or playing nutters in so-so low budget movies. Still, beats working for a living I suppose. If you haven't seen it, buy it. If you have seen it you will no doubt have already purchased. Now can we have O Lucky Man....PLEASE!!??
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Greywolf TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 30 Jan. 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I was a 15-year-old Grammar school boy when Lindsay Anderson lobbed this cinematic hand-grenade into the heady brew of 1968's year of revolution. Due to my local cinema failing to clear people out between sittings, I saw it three times in one afternoon and evening. Yep, I liked it that much. Well, 'like' is far too weak a word. I was both stunned and hugely elated by it. The awful English public school Anderson portrays on screen was so like my own. Its teachers, mostly ghastly, often vacuous, frequently sadistic, occasionally well-meaning, could have been my own. The institutionalised bullying rang viciously true too.
Anderson uses the school as a stand-in for Britain, with its petty rules and restrictions, its out-dated, irrelevant, pointless and often surreal traditions, its suffocating class system and its glorification of poisonous ignorance. Mick Travis, if ...'s ultimate outsider hero, is the Guy Fawkes to this nauseous place, leading his tiny band of rebels against the cloying conformity of what passed for life in this microcosm of late 60s Britain.
It's a funny, surreal, satirical, occasionally shocking parable, reflecting with withering accuracy the chaos then enveloping much of the world as protests that had begun in opposition to America's brutal war in Vietnam spread to oppose stifling power elites around the world. Protesters took to the streets in their millions in cities from London to Tokyo, clashing with riot police and soldiers, students took over universities, revolution was in the air. Anderson's genius was to capture these troubled times and compress them into the enclosed environment of an English public school. One result that proved remarkably prescient was that Travis' little band were shown to be vastly outnumbered by the forces of conformity.
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