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If... (The Criterion Collection)

92 customer reviews

Additional DVD options Edition Discs
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(Jun 19, 2007)
"Please retry"
The Criterion Collection
$19.88 $16.27

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  • If... (The Criterion Collection)
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Editorial Reviews

Lindsay Anderson’s If.… is a daringly anarchic 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 violent savior against the draconian games of one-upmanship played by both students and the powers that be. Mixing color and black and white as audaciously as it mixes fantasy and reality, If…. remains one of cinema’s most unforgettable rebel yells.

Special Features

  • New, restored high-definition digital transfer, approved by cinematographer Miroslav Ondricek and assistant editor Ian Rakoff
  • Cast and Crew (2003), an episode from the Scottish TV series featuring interviews with McDowell, Ondricek, Rakoff, director’s assistant Stephen Frears, producer Michael Medwin, and screenwriter David Sherwin
  • New video interview with actor Graham Crowden
  • Thursday’s Children (1954), Academy Award–winning documentary about a school for deaf children, directed by Anderson and Guy Brenton and narrated by Richard Burton
  • Original theatrical trailers
  • A booklet featuring pieces by critic David Ehrenstein, screenwriter David Sherwin, and director Lindsay Anderson

Product Details

  • Actors: Malcolm McDowell, David Wood, Richard Warwick, Christine Noonan, Rupert Webster
  • Directors: Lindsay Anderson
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Criterion
  • DVD Release Date: June 19, 2007
  • Run Time: 112 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (92 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,494 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "If... (The Criterion Collection)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

164 of 177 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 21, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
When I was in high school, we had a tradition where we'd go out and rent bad movies. Gradually, this changed to renting weird movies and eventually segued into renting GREAT movies. One of our favorite actors was Malcolm McDowell, the smirking imp we'd seen in "A Clockwork Orange" and later in "O Lucky Man!", another collaboration with the great British director Lindsay Anderson ("This Sporting Life", "In Celebration", "Britannia Hospital", and, incredibly, "The Whales of August"!) I grew particularly fond of his blend of sarcasm and vulnerability (vainly believing I possessed same; I may have been right) and as a result became quite desperate to see this rare movie, which was actually supposed to be BETTER than "O Lucky Man!" I didn't get to do so until a few weeks ago, fully nine years since I graduated high school. I was not disappointed.
As it stands, "If..." isn't only a great Malcolm McDowell film, it's also a great movie about the 60s in both Western society and more specifically Britain in its post-imperial hangover (one of the last British imperial dramas before the Falklands, the conflict in and evacuation of Aden--present-day Yemen--reached completion in 1967, probably while "If..." was filming). The title itself apparently comes from the famous Kipling poem which embodied the highest ideals of imperial Britain. College House, the school attended by Mick Travis--McDowell--and his two friends, is dominated by prefects, or "whips," seniors who control the student body in the name of the weak-willed headmasters and teachers, who represent the 60s radical view of liberal democracy.
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53 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Fairportfan on February 21, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
When i got out of the Navy and moved to Atlanta in 1972, there was a great hole-in-the-wall cinema (174 seats, one broken) called "The Film Forum". George and Mike Ellis served the best fresh popcorn in town, and ran movies you just didn't see anywhere else in the early 70's -- I first saw "The Boys in the Band", "The Ruling Class" and "Phantom of the Paradise" at the Film Forum. I saw so many great films there that i can forgive them for running "Harold & Maude" about every fifth week...
In addition to two shows a night every evening of their regular feature for that week, they also ran a special $1 midnight movie on Fridays and Saturdays. (In later years, "Rocky Horror" became the midnight standard for a couple of years.)
And that is where i saw "...if..." for the first time.
I've been an anglophile most of my life (beginning at a rather tender age with "Swallows & Amazons"), so i had some idea of what English Public (private) School life was likely to be like, and may have understood what was happening here more quickly than some of my firends who saw it with me.
In the context of what starts out as a pretty starightforward-appearing school film, Anderson & MacDowell give us a rather Marxist allegory of modern class struggle, steadily but almost imperceptibly moving from realism to a surreal parable of revolution.
The final sequences, with the little old lady with the submachine gun blazing away screaming "Bastards! Bastards!", the school prefects organising the "good" (loyalist) students to fight the Revolution and pitched battle raging, have stayed with me ever since, even when i wouldn't see the film for years at a time.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By James Ferguson VINE VOICE on April 24, 2007
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I've been waiting for a release of If... for a long long time, and it is so good to see it will be given the deluxe treatment with Criterion. Lindsay Anderson created a landmark film which captured the talents of a young Malcolm McDowell at his best. You get the feeling that Wes Anderson took his cue from this film when he made Rushmore, but what sets If... apart is the surrealism that creeps into the movie and eventually takes it over, resulting in its wildly hallucinogenic climax. All the extras will make this anxiously awaited DVD a real treat, as hopefully we will be able to get a peek into the mind that created this film. The addition of Thursday's Children certainly makes this deluxe package worthwhile.
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43 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Daniel J. Hamlow HALL OF FAME on August 9, 2002
Format: VHS Tape
"Wisdom is the principal thing. Therefore get wisdom and with all thy getting, get understanding." --Proverbs IV:2
The opening quote from Lindsay Anderson's if... is what three sixth formers (one year away from being seniors) named Travis, Knightley, and Wallace strive for, in a revolutionary way. (Note: there are seven forms {grades to us Yanks} in a British school below university level).
This is also the story of Jute, the first former who's nervous in his debut at College House. It's a strange new world, but it's stifling, rigid, full of discipline, conformity, obedience, and an adherence to religion and national pride. Figures--since they lost an empire, now they turn on their own people for their mass state. Mr. Kemp, a professor, tells the first formers: "We are your new family and you must expect the rough and tumble that goes with any family life. We're all here to help each other. Help the House and you'll be helped by the House." Professors, the student whips, and the bishop are the authority figures to be reckoned with. Jute is pressured into learning the names of the seniors and pronouncing school terminology correctly--e.g. local girls are called local tarts. But this is a well-known slice of British culture, the British boarding school. The communal study areas, dining halls, rugby matches, mandatory church attendance, war games,... it's all there. Scenes in b&w at times underline the lifelessness and austerity of the school, but also serve as a moving photograph that mirrors that photos Travis collects in his dorm room.
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If... (The Criterion Collection)
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