The Great Rock 'N' Roll Swindle (1980)

DVD Cover (Sony Music)
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Overall Rating 64%
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Ranked #3,831
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A rather incoherent post-breakup Sex Pistols "documentary", told from the point of view of Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren, whose (arguable) position is that the Sex Pistols in particular and punk rock in general were an elaborate scam perpetrated by him in order to make "a million pounds." Silly and hard to follow at times, but worth seeing for some excellent Pistols concert footage, some wickedly amusing animated sequences, and Sid Vicious' eerily prophetic performance of "My Way." --IMDb
Malcolm McLaren
Malcolm McLaren
Steve Jones
Steve Jones
Paul Cook
Paul Cook
Sid Vicious
Sid Vicious
John Lydon
John Lydon
Review by Christopher
Added: August 20, 2004
The Great Rock 'N' Roll Swindle is ten lessons of the Sex Pistols story, told by their manager Malcolm McLaren. The lessons weren't really lessons. For example; one of the lessons is how to rip off your record company. Instead of showing how to rip off a record company, the was small clips of the Sex Pistols signing different contracts and telling why they got the boot. So instead of showing the viewer how to do said lesson, they just whip out something relating to the Sex Pistols and talk about that. The story part was more like 'Well, here's parts of stories about stuff that happened to the Sex Pistols'.

Most people take this movie to be a true look behind the Sex Pistols, when it was actually just something Malcom wanted to throw together to make more money. Of course there was some true story telling kicking around, but then there was the scenes where Malcom would talk about he created real punk. Afterwards showing a town running down the streets with life size dolls of the band and Malcom, to later hang them in the towns square. That was at the very beginning of the movie. I would think it to be dreadfully impossible to expect a serious film after those two parts. Suppose I can't speak for everyone though.

There was a numerous amount of music videos, which turned out to be the best part of the film. Unfortunately, most of the videos were cut. If the video wasn't started half way in, then it would cut away to Malcom talking or just some various scene, then it would cut back into the video, sometimes. Some of the very few videos that weren't cut were the worst, such as three done by Sid Vicious. Given he was the most popular member of the Pistols (as sad as that is) there wasn't much reason to throw his music onto this video. Every video by the Sex Pistols was awesome though, just wish I could have seen them in their entirety and uninterrupted.

Ten Pole Tudor's cover of "Who Killed Bambi" made it on this film. The video is Tudor playing a movie theater salesman and making the most ridiculous faces at the customers while singing the song in the most retarded way ever. If nothing else, that part alone would have made this video worth owning. The movie was pretty good, for the most part. It could have done without the Sid Vicious videos, along with Malcom talking about said lessons to a midget all through the film. If you're not a Sex Pistols fan, it would obviously not be a good idea to hunt this down, considering that's all the film is about.

Final Conclusion: 8/10
Big D #1: Big D - added 08/21/2004, 06:16 PM
WOW, a documentary about the Sex Pistols. For those of you that watch those behind the music (or whatever the hell they're called) shows on MTV and VH1, THIS is a must-see. :)
BuryMeAlive #2: BuryMeAlive - added 07/14/2005, 11:29 PM
If you want the true story of the band, see "The Filth & The Fury" the real movie about the band, now that is a must see... This movies is good, but it does not give a good picture of who Pistols really was.
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