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Tommy (Special Edition) [DVD] [1975]

Roger Daltrey , Ann-Margret , Ken Russell    Suitable for 15 years and over   DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
Price: 19.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Frequently Bought Together

Tommy (Special Edition) [DVD] [1975] + Quadrophenia [DVD] [1979] + McVicar [DVD] [1980]
Price For All Three: 28.77

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Product details

  • Actors: Roger Daltrey, Ann-Margret, Oliver Reed, Elton John, Eric Clapton
  • Directors: Ken Russell
  • Writers: John Entwistle, Keith Moon, Pete Townshend, Ken Russell
  • Producers: Beryl Vertue, Christopher Stamp, Harry Benn
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles For The Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Odyssey
  • DVD Release Date: 14 Jun 2004
  • Run Time: 107 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00028HCD8
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 12,647 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)



Even by the standards of a genre not characterised by restraint, the 1974 rock opera Tommy is endearingly barmy, a bizarre combination of Pete Townshend's disturbed inspiration and director Ken Russell's wildly eccentric vision. Even if you gamely try and read allegorical meaning into it, the story is frankly odd: a child becomes psychosomatically deaf, dumb and blind after witnessing the murder of his father by his stepdad and goes on to become rich and famous as the world pinball champion (since when was pinball a world-class competitor sport?), before setting himself up as a latter-day messiah. It's about the travails of the post-war generation, the disaffection of youth, the trauma of childhood abuse, the sham nature of new-age cults, and many other things besides. At least, that's what Townshend and Russell would have you believe. But what's really important is the many wonderful, utterly bonkers set-pieces--effectively a string of pop videos--that occur along the way, performed by great guest stars: Tina Turner as the Acid Queen, Eric Clapton as the Preacher, Keith Moon as Uncle Ernie, Elton John's mighty rendition of "Pinball Wizard", even Jack Nicholson doing a turn as a suave specialist.

Roger Daltrey is iconic in his signature role, and Oliver Reed makes up for a complete inability to sing with a bravura performance as his sleazy stepdad, but best of all is Ann-Margret as Tommy's mother Nora: her charismatic presence holds the loose narrative together and she richly deserved her Academy Award nomination; the sight of her in a nylon cat suit being drenched in baked beans and chocolate from an exploding TV set is worth the price of admission alone.

On the DVD: Tommy comes to DVD in a two-disc set, with the feature on disc one accompanied by three audio tracks: Dolby Stereo or 5.1 surround, as well as the original "Quintaphonic" surround mix--a unique experience with effectively two pairs of stereo tracks plus a centre track for the vocals. The anamorphic picture adequately recreates the original theatrical ratio. The second disc has a series of lengthy and illuminating new interviews with the main (surviving) players: Townshend, Russell, Daltrey and Ann-Margret, in which we learn among other things, that Daltrey wasn't Townshend's first choice for the role, that Stevie Wonder was the original preference for the Pinball Wizard, and that Ken Russell had never heard of any of these rock stars before agreeing to helm the movie. There's also a feature on the original sound mix and its restoration for DVD. All in all, a satisfying package for fans of one of the daftest chapters in the annals of rock music. --Mark Walker

Product Description

Classic Seventies rock opera composed by Peter Townsend of The Who and directed by the eccentric Ken Russell. The story follows a deaf, dumb and blind kid who sure plays a mean pinball, acquiring a messianic status as he tours the country. The star-studded cast includes Jack Nicholson, Tina Turner and Elton John.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
I first became aquainted with Tommy through such films as Yellow Submarine-films that use music to create a story and keep audiences hooked from beginning to end. Although Yellow Submarine is more of a film based on the music, Tommy is a film OF music. The Who had created an amazingly original and beautiful story when they released the album Tommy; about a boy struck deaf, dumb and blind following a childhood trauma who went on to become a pinball wizard and a cult figure. The film not only takes the music one step further by adding colour and drama but it captures the spirit and imagination of the 1970s.
What astounded me was the emotion and power of the music, clearly striking a chord within my music lovin' soul and keeping me entertained. The cast are irriplacable; Tina Turner is fabulous as the acid queen, Paul Nicholas leaves a lasting mark as the sadistic cousin Kevin and there is no other person on earth who could have played the main man himself- Roger Daltrey IS Tommy.
So finally, I would recommend this film to those who enjoy the finer things in life- music, champagne, colour...and pinball!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars interesting bit of fun 20 Aug 2004
This film is fun! Ken Russell or no, it would be hard for any director to make a coherent one and a half hours (or whatever) out of it. But does it matter? Hardly, in my opinion. Its a great film, with some interesting performances and cameos, ace soundtrack, the famous baked bean bath scene of course and lots more - in fact, probably too much. Lets not be too hasty in slating the technical performance of Jack Nicholson and Oliver Reed: surely its more entertaining the fact that they are in a musical at all - ?? It all adds to the wierdness of the whole thing. Its one of those films, for one of those days. Essential.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:VHS Tape
Back when directors and film projects were allowed to be amibitious, Ken Russell tackled the rock opera by the Who. Aided by a cast of actors and rock stars, Russell took the original album, updated the story to WWII rather than I, and added surreal touches to otherwise "normal" scenes. The film has been accused of being loud and garish, but would anyone actually want to see a rock opera film that was quiet and conventional? The best scenes occur in the first half, but there's something of interest in nearly every scene. The cast is superb, with anxious-eyed Ann-Margret earning a Best Actress Oscar nomination as Tommy's guilt-ridden mother. Oliver Reed is a wonderfully Dickensian villain, and Roger Daltrey makes a huge visual impact as Tommy. The "Acid Queen" sequence is probably hands-down the best rock scene in movies thanks to Tina Turner and Russell's staging--check out the touching and disturbing shot of Daltrey decked out as St. Sebastian of the Arrows during the LSD sequence as the camera pans down his body and then discovers Ann-Margret writhing in horror on the floor. Only Ken Russell could dream up this kind of shot and get away with it. Though Ken Russell's career has indeed been an erratic one, he merits more attention than he receives. "Tommy," along with Russell's "The Devils," "Women in Love," "Savage Messiah," and "Mahler" are unique in the pantheon of 70's cinema.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A period piece movie but still powerful 29 May 2009
With its typically over -the-top production by Ken Russell and big musical arrangements of the originally sparse songs, Tommy is something of a decadent 70s interpretation of Pete Townsend's' rock opera. Despite this, it is still excellent and thought provoking, mainly due to Townsend's superb songs and mind-blowing story as well as a fine, often unheralded lead performance by Roger Daltrey.

Tommy tells the story of a traumatised "death, dumb and blind kid" who is horrifically abused by various family members and supposed cure healers. He is then amazingly cured as an adult and is elevated to something of a Messiah figure, a role he ultimately, spectacularly rejects.

Russell's film looks at the themes of religion, the exploitation of Tommy as a product and so much more with one-song cameos by many of the stars of the day such as Tina Turner, Eric Clapton, Jack Nicholson and Paul Nicholas. All of this adds to the sense of decadence to the movie which, although a period piece, is still powerful today due to Townsend's amazing vision and Daltrey's believable performance.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hear me, See me......... 25 Sep 2004
By A Customer
Tommy (the film) had several audiences to potentially annoy. Die hard fans of The Who album may have cringed at some of the vocal performances (Oliver Reed, springs to mind for so many reasons). Fan's of Ken Russell's earlier, 'not so odd' movies blame Tommy for his so-called downward spiral into films like Whore and Lair of the White Worm. It's true that the film has dated and that it's themes are laddled in with a very heavy hand. But ... !
ZOUNDS! It just goes to show how daft people are.
This film has it all brilliant music, perfectly performed, (it's far more electrifying than the original album, I don't care what anyone says). The imagery has that uneasy hotness that one gets from flicking through the wrong type of tabloid paper, (after an evening of accessive absinth abuse). Ken Russell is a unique artist 'who' though uniquely British, ironically would be venerated if he had emerged on the continent. This film cuts through one's brain like a white hot wire through lard and so what if it's dated? The Mona Lisa isn't?
It's got Oliver Reed in it ! Reed, another victim of the British habit for ignoring genius in their midst, is perfect in his role. So what if he can't sing, he's in character as a common teddy boy he isn't meant to sing properly. The Who are on top form, Tina Turner is brilliant beyond belief. And Miss Magrite is a sensation -- even Paul Nicholas is perfect!
I defy anyone who watches this film not to wish you could cartwheel like Roger Daltry, (he can't be a member of the same species as I...can he?)
Watch this film over and over again. I emplore you!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Some good music and OK story line but
Didn't know what to expect and must be to young to appreciate all the fuss that was made over this when it came out. Some good music and OK story line but...
Published 1 day ago by A-J
2.0 out of 5 stars Overrated
Too much kitsch, nonsense direction, caothic and camp scenes. I watched this film after knowing its soundtrack for ages and was quite let down by the way Ken Russel staged it. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Elleppi
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
If ya like rock opera, then you'll love this, it is peppered with some of the who's greatest songs
Published 6 days ago by s hammond
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 1 month ago by amy phillips
5.0 out of 5 stars Great music from The Who supported by great acting from ...
Great music from The Who supported by great acting from Ollie Reed, Anne Margaret and Keith Moon's Uncle Ernie!!! Elton John fantastic in Pinball Wizard. Read more
Published 1 month ago by MR THOMAS FITZGERALD
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
remember original
Published 2 months ago by panda
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
good disc and very good value
Published 2 months ago by c trussler
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic
Amazing film with fantastic music.
Casting and acting were great.
It's a film we will be watching again and again
Published 3 months ago by diane burgering
4.0 out of 5 stars Up to expectations
Having seen this at the cinema when it was first released, it was a wonderful trip down memory lane and every bit as good as I remembered it
Published 5 months ago by Mme Elisabeth Chafer
5.0 out of 5 stars Great film and great music
I can remember going to the cinema to see this film as a teenager and I have really enjoyed watching it again. A quality Ken Russell film with a great cast.
Published 5 months ago by Mr N
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