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If.... (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] (1969)

Malcolm McDowell , David Wood , Lindsay Anderson  |  R |  Blu-ray
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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If.... (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray] + O Lucky Man! (Two-Disc Special Edition)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Malcolm McDowell, David Wood, Richard Warwick, Christine Noonan, Robert Swann
  • Directors: Lindsay Anderson
  • Writers: David Sherwin
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, NTSC, Special Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen, Color
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: The Criterion Collection
  • DVD Release Date: August 30, 2011
  • Run Time: 112 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005152CAU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #47,928 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

If…., directed by Lindsay Anderson (This Sporting Life), is a daringly chaotic vision of British society, set in a boarding school in late-sixties England. Before Kubrick made his mischief iconic in A Clockwork Orange, Malcolm McDowell made a hell of an impression as the insouciant Mick Travis, who, along with his school chums, trumps authority at every turn, finally emerging as a violent savior against the vicious games of one-upmanship played by both students and masters. Mixing color and black and white as audaciously as it mixes fantasy and reality, If…. remains one of cinema’s most unforgettable rebel yells.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars BLU-RAY EDITION IS A MUST HAVE October 20, 2011
Divisive, entrenched, English class struggle is at the heart of Lindsay Anderson's much-lauded but controversial film about students at a private school who revolt against their repressive, bureaucratic environment. Malcolm McDowell is non-conformist Mick Travis who, with his like-minded friends, stages small acts of rebellion and defiance for which they are punished with severe beatings.

At the time of initial release, the movie was considered dangerous and a possible incitement to violence against the powers-that-be. And in many ways, it was (and still is)!

The film was editorialized as a dangerous, irresponsible film (not unlike A CLOCKWORK ORANGE or Z). Edited with jolting but effective use of color and black and white footage, the most famous scene is the surrealistic and bloody student uprising against the reserved, humorless, restrictive adult world. Daring and unpredictable, the film was a great success among the youth of the time and further empowered the counter-culture that included that other English import, the Beatles. The new Blu-ray edition is one for the library.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review of Blu Ray Disc only October 2, 2011
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I will confine myself to a review of this Criterion Blu Ray Edition.

The transfer is every bit as good as you would expect from Criterion and even if you have the Criterion DVD, its worth the upgrade. The extras are excellent, not least the commentary tracks and booklet. My only hope is that before too much longer Criterion do justice to Oh Lucky Man!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The original script of IF.... (1968) was entitled "Crusaders," which is also the name of the eighth and last chapter of this movie.

It's an arty film done in both Eastmancolor and b&w that's probably considered very un-PC in these post-Columbine (and other school tragedy) days.

The boys' college depicted, with its corporal punishment, poor food, multiple strict rules and sharply defined hierarchy, seems more suited to 1868 than a century later. The character played by Malcolm McDowell, who came to prominence with his maverick role here, is labeled "Guy Fawkes" by a classmate; a peg that fits the boy well, for anarchy is what Mick Travis "majors" in.

It all seems so wrong. The parents of these children of wealth pay £623 per annum to have their sons harrassed, cold-showered, humiliated, whipped and browbeat into the sort of men who will one day send their own progeny to such a backward thinking institution.

Traditions are set in stone. It's a miserable life for otherwise privileged kids, but rebellious Mick has his own agenda, a way to fight back that's ironically foretold in a Bible passage heard during a Sunday sermon. He and three other "Crusaders" set off a smoke bomb under the floorboards of their venerable school chapel, and await from rooftop perches a panicked exiting crowd of mostly elders....if....
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Released in 1968, directed by Lindsay Anderson with a screenplay by David Sherwin, IF... is a story of three non-conformist schoolboys played by Malcolm McDowell, Richard Warwick and David Wood, who plot revenge. Organized as a series of tableaux separated by title cards, IF... spends its first half depicting the harsh rules that these boys live under at their elite public school, and the arbitrary punishments given out by senior boys, headed by the sinister Rowntree (Robert Swann) and the distant school officials. This is all in an environment of bizarre old rituals, Latin refrains, and hardly more intelligible English public school slang (and of course, it wouldn't be a classic story of British public school life without some innuendo about buggery.) In the second half of IF..., as the storytelling takes on an increasingly surreal tone where we question what is real and what is fantasy, the boys and a girl from town get their hands on weapons and ultimately commit a massacre.

The 1960s was a time of war in Vietnam (and other violent conflicts brought to viewers globally by the media) and youth uprisings in the United States and France. Plus, these elite British school also featured compulsory military drill. In IF..., the walls of these boys' dormitory is covered with magazine cutouts of war photographs, as if to say that in a violent world, it is no surprise if the young too made recourse to violence. In this respect it feels very much like a precursor to Aki Kaurismäki's THE MATCH FACTORY GIRL. IF... also reflects the new sexual freedom of 1960s Britain, and the frustration kindled in these young men who see such open sexual expression in magazines and town streets but cannot have any of it.
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