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Absolute Beginners (1986)

Patsy Kensit , Eddie O'Connell , Julien Temple  |  PG-13 |  DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

Price: $7.97 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Product Details

  • Actors: Patsy Kensit, Eddie O'Connell, David Bowie, James Fox, Ray Davies
  • Directors: Julien Temple
  • Writers: Christopher Wicking, Colin MacInnes, Don MacPherson, Michael Hamlyn, Richard Burridge
  • Producers: Al Clark
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, Full Screen, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: MGM (Video & DVD)
  • DVD Release Date: April 15, 2003
  • Run Time: 108 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000089737
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,488 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Absolute Beginners" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Photo gallery

Editorial Reviews

Colin is a brazen 19-year-old with his finger on the pulse of Soho's burgeoning scene of artists. But when his beautiful girlfriend Suzette tires of their poor and struggling existence, Colin finds himself losing touch with himself and her. And when an older, richer man sweeps Suzette away, a devastated Colin embarks on a desperate journey to win her back!

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Format:VHS Tape
"I remember that hot wonderful summer, when the teenage miracle reached full bloom, and everyone in England stopped what they were doing to stare at what had happened."--opening narration
I also remember the number of times I tuned into MTV for David Bowie's video, which included clips from that movie. I finally saw it on TV and I was blown away.
Colin is the main character and narrator of this story. It's the long hot summer of 1958. Rationing was over, and Britain was rebuilt, thanks to the Marshall Plan--now it was time for Britain to have fun with their own pop culture explosion. Colin has a lot of colourful friends. There's Wizard, pickpocket and entrepreneur out for a fast pound, Cool, the African trumpet player, the flamboyant Fabulous Hotlife, described as "our own Oscar Wilde," Dean Swift, "a modern jazz creation," and Big Jill, a hefty but friendly lesbian. And yes, there's the luscious Suzette, Colin's love interest, whose wanting to make it to the fashion big-time causes a rift between them.
Suzette does make it big, attracting the attention of her boss, Henley of Mayfair (James Fox). She comes onstage in a daring glittering black mini, and does the hot jazz number "Va Va Voom" with some African dancers.
Colin spends time taking snaps at the neon glitter and sights of the London nightlife, but doesn't want to go mainstream. "It's not that I've got anything against money. It's just what you have to do to get it." He eventually does pictures for Harry Charms (Lionel Blair), an oily talent searcher and agent with a penchant for young boys. It's actually gratifying when his protege Baby Boom shoves a microphone full force in his happy sacks.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mindblowing classic! March 15, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
I recently spent weeks trying to dig up a copy of "Absolute Beginners" on VHS. Needless to say, it was out of print, so it's exciting to see it available again. Julien Temple, the director of "A.B" is one of the architects of the rock video. In the early days of MTV, he was "the" director of all the best videos including Duran Duran's "Rio". Needless to say, "A.B" is chock-full of 80's music stars, & the colors & editing are fabulous. There are some sequences in this film that should be required viewing for film students. The opening 10 minutes is the longest uninterrupted, uncut sequence in modern film & it's complexity is staggering. The musical number "Selling Out" will leave you gasping at it's audaciousness. The set-piece "A Quiet House" featuring Ray Davies (the Kinks) could be a music video in it's own right. I could go on and on listing wonderful bits of film-making, clever visual asides, amazing sets but I'd rather you saw the film for itself. Please, give "Absolute Beginners" a viewing & see if you agree this film is a must-see!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Visually Stunning Musical Directed by Julien Temple November 8, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
When you watch the opening sequence from ABSOLUTE BEGINNERS, the first thought that might come to your mind is that it's shot a lot like Janet Jackson's "When I Think of You" video. There is a reason for that -- they were both directed by Julien Temple. His background as one of the top music video directors comes to good use here. All of the musical sequences are superbly staged and choreographed. As an added benefit, you get a rare chance to see both Sade and R&B pioneer Slim Gaillard perform in a motion picture. Sade is absolutely stunning as she sings "Killer Blow," a song which she also co-wrote. The soundtrack is filled with other great songs including Slim Gaillard's "Selling Out," "Having it All" (performed by Patsy Kensit), "That's Motivation" and the title cut. The latter two songs were performed by David Bowie. In terms of plot, the makers of the film took a big chance by going beyond the basic boy-meets-girl story found in most classic musicals. The romance is still there, but it also attempts to deal with some serious social issues, including the gentrification of a community. For the most part the film succeeds in its somewhat lofty ambitions. Overall, the cast gives credible, if somewhat broad performances, but this is to be expected within the musical genre. An initial hurdle for American audiences will be to decipher the thick British accents. However, with the second viewing that shouldn't be a problem, particularly given the fact that this release comes closed captioned. Thank God for closed captioning! I previously purchased the earlier, non-captioned version, but because the film has been so popular with my friends, I had no choice, but to buy a second copy. Read more ›
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Incredible musical! June 26, 2001
Format:VHS Tape
I've owned my VHS copy of this movie for many, many years. It is well worn, and I am eagerly awaiting its DVD debut.
Despite what many critics may say, this is an awesome movie/musical. It's kind of like "The Music Man" meets "Quadrophenia" meets "Streets of Fire." Very cool indeed.
Story involves the emergence of Soho in the very early 1960's. The whole Mod scene was just catching on and times were about to get very interesting, as the whole Northern Soul and R&B sound was about to explode. Features an awesome David Bowie, and, as always, the dazzling (despite being somewhat talent-hungry) Patsy Kensit. Add to this, an impeccable soundtrack.
I recall that when it came out, I first got the soundtrack lp just for the Vespa on the front. (Since I collect them, as well as Lambrettas). Then, I flipped the lp over and saw the features. Three words sealed the deal for me: "The Style Council." Paul Weller and Mick Talbot are still among my personal idols.
Get this movie. It's very good and I know you won't regret it. Also get for "Quadrophenia" featuring very young "bell-boy" Sting. It too captures the mod scene very well, and the clashes with greasers and the infamous "Rumble in Brighton" of which Sezter (a la the Stray Cats) sang.
Also, check out "Streets of Fire" and "Something Wild." Particularly the latter has an INCREDIBLE soundtrack.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars A well-aged piece of cheese
I loved this movie when it first came out, and it was worth the wait to see it all again. Even for a "period piece", a staged musical, and a product of the 80s, it remains a great... Read more
Published on October 22, 2011 by Karen Murphy
5.0 out of 5 stars "Absolute Beginners" Required Viewing for the Serious Film Buff
As previously mentioned ABSOLUTE BEGINNERS is a absolute required view for the 'serious film buff'. Every aspect from production to lighting is flawless! Read more
Published on October 13, 2010 by Paul Davis
5.0 out of 5 stars Revisiting Absolute Beginners
Absolute Beginners was a real "Blast from the Past". a star-studded adventure set in the post-blitz era of mod bohemian England. Read more
Published on October 10, 2010 by Paul Davis
4.0 out of 5 stars A different kind of musical
I saw this film in its initial theatrical release in 1986, and enjoyed it quite a bit. For the most part, it holds up many years later. Read more
Published on October 9, 2010 by Grant Lupher
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolute Beginners
A Must Have for any Bowie Fan, Plus a pretty good musical with a Sade cameo as a jazz singer.
Published on February 22, 2009 by Darlene
4.0 out of 5 stars Fabsolutely Abulous
Absolute Beginners was released in 1986, but it harkens back to those halcyon days of 1958, when England was shaking off its drab shades of grey, gray, and greyer, and embracing... Read more
Published on May 10, 2008 by C. CRADDOCK
2.0 out of 5 stars Dance. Song. Racism. What a heck of a town!
With my new desire to get back to the unknown, I decided to start at the beginning with a little musical that I heard nothing about, never once caught a tune from a song, nor would... Read more
Published on October 27, 2007 by A. Gyurisin
3.0 out of 5 stars Great movie; DVD not so great.
One of the things I loved about this movie was the set design and costumes, all in spectacular colors. Read more
Published on June 4, 2007 by snapper
4.0 out of 5 stars Absolute entertainment
This year I had the opportunity to read both Absolute Beginners and City of Spades, both by Colin MacInnes. Both deal with racial tension in London. Read more
Published on January 5, 2007 by C. B Collins Jr.
4.0 out of 5 stars 4 stars for the music but 1 for the movie
I've had the soundtrack to this movie for years, the double album no less. It is an absolute masterpiece. The movie is a bit of a let down after finally seeing it. Read more
Published on June 26, 2004 by Dan Mastous
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