Quadrophenia (1979)

QuadropheniaPosterBy: Oberst Von Berauscht & Bill Leon (A Toast) –

-Oberst: An adaptation of the Rock Opera by The Who, the story focuses on Jimmy Cooper (Phil Daniels); a young adult growing up in London. Two major cultural movements divided the youth of England between the “Mods” and the “Rockers”.  The Mods listen to Rock, R&B and Soul, and dress in suits, the rockers listen to older 1950’s style rock and dress in leather.  Jimmy seems drawn to the Mod culture, but also wants to be individualistic.

A Toast

-Bill L.: There is honest to god effort put forth in this movie and it speaks for itself. The use of music here is groundbreaking. In 1978, using rock music in a film to help tell the story as accompaniment was nearly unheard-of. After seeing so many bad rock music movies, I’m honestly at a loss for words here. Quadrophenia is good. Really good. Possibly even the best “music video movie” with a narrative. 

-Oberst: Many films deal with the coming of age struggle seen by teenagers, pre-teens, and children, but few focus on the challenges faced by 20-somethings.  At this age many are entering career-path based jobs for the first time, and suddenly are expected to have responsibilities.  These expectations can be overwhelming, and often can lead to outright disenchantment with society. The Quadrophenia story is one of youth in revolt, and director Franc Roddam has created a film perfectly capturing the spirit of that rebellion.

-Bill L.: The angst is palpable. Although the British-ness of this film might cause some of its very important messages to be lost in translation, Jimmy’s situation is an incredibly relatable one due in large part to Phil Daniels’ subtle but effective performance.

Jimmy has a sad 🙁

-Oberst: Unlike Tommy (1975) which directly adapted The Who’s Rock Opera into a musical film, Quadrophenia takes a subtler approach.  Many songs from the album are used, but are complemented by a host of music from other artists.  Artists such as The Kingsmen, The Ronettes, and Booker T. & The M.G.’s perfectly set the film within the mid 1960s while never feeling like clichéd choices.

-Bill L: Sting is in this movie and he’s the coolest kid in town. All the girls want him and all the boys want to be him. Especially Jimmy…

Jimmy has a Sting :)
Jimmy has a Sting 🙂

-Oberst: At first, the decision to use less of The Who’s music might seem counterintuitive, but by not slavishly relying on The Who’s music to carry the weight, the actors are able to bring more emotion to the story.  The plot remains fairly faithful to the album, but with newly written dialogue to propel the story. The screenplay focuses heavily on conversation, with the characterization of the youth feeling authentic to the time and place in which the film is set. At first some might be put off by the thickness of the English accents on display, but this is all part of setting the film’s tone of authenticity. The audience is dropped into a fully realized and alien culture which somehow manages to reflect their own youthful roots meaningfully.


-Bill L: Quadrophenia successfully blends film-making, music, and story telling in unique and innovative ways. It is a window into a time and a place that had an inevitable expiration date.  But the impact our protagonist and his emotional arc has on the audience is truly timeless.


Drinking Game

Take a Drink: whenever Jimmy pops Blue pills

Take a Drink: each time the Mods and the Rockers pick a fight with each other

Take a Drink: for every song from the album Quadrophenia– including “I am the Sea”. If you haven’t listened to the album QuadropheniaDo a Shot

Do a Shot: every time Jimmy does something rash

About Oberst von Berauscht

Oberst Von Berauscht once retained the services of a Gypsy to imbue in him the ability to accurately describe the artistic qualities of a film up to seven decimal points. To maintain this unique skill, he must feast on the blood of a virgin every Harvest Moon, or failing that (and he usually does), he can also make a dog do that thing they do where they twist their heads slightly (you know, when they're confused about something) at least a few times a week. I've gotten way off track here... The point is, Oberst is one of the website's founders, so... yeah

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