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Quadrophenia (The Criterion Collection) [Blu-ray]

4.3 out of 5 stars 188 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

The Who’s classic rock opera Quadrophenia was the basis for this invigorating coming-of-age movie and depiction of the defiant, drug-fueled London of the early 1960s. Our antihero, Jimmy (Meantime’s Phil Daniels), is a teenager dissatisfied with family, work, and love, who identifies with the fashionable, pill-popping, scooter-driving mods, a group whose opposition to the motorcycle-riding rockers leads to a climactic riot in Brighton. Director Franc Roddam’s rough-edged film is a quintessential chronicle of youthful rebellion and turmoil, with Pete Townshend’s brilliant songs (including “I’ve Had Enough,” “5:15,” and “Love, Reign O’er Me”) providing emotional support, and featuring Sting (Dune) and Ray Winstone (Sexy Beast) in early roles.

Special Features

  • New high-definition digital restoration of the uncut version
  • New audio commentary featuring director Franc Roddam and Tufano
  • Interview with Bill Curbishley, the film's coproducer and the Who's comanager
  • New interview with the Who's sound engineer, Bob Pridden
  • On-set and archival footage
  • Behind-the-scenes photographs
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
  • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Nick James

  • Product Details

    • Actors: Phil Daniels, Leslie Ash, Philip Davis, Sting, Raymond Winstone
    • Directors: Philip Davis, Franc Roddam
    • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Color, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC, Subtitled, Surround Sound, Widescreen
    • Language: English
    • Subtitles: English
    • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
    • Number of discs: 1
    • Rated:
      R
      Restricted
    • Studio: Criterion Collection
    • DVD Release Date: August 28, 2012
    • Run Time: 120 minutes
    • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (188 customer reviews)
    • ASIN: B0083V2VW8
    • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #63,073 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

    Customer Reviews

    Top Customer Reviews

    By Chris K. Wilson on December 24, 2003
    Format: DVD
    When "Quadrophenia" first came out in 1979, I think most people were expecting a "Tommy"-like rock opera, with music by The Who blasting from the speakers and Roger Daltry playing pinball adorned in a mask. Much to most people's surprise, "Quadrophenia" is a story about teen angst in England, with background music by The Who. The story is the key, and "Quadrophenia" details the historic Mod/Rocker riots of the 1960s. The riots were fueled by teen rebellion, rock music and a youthful generation seeking its identity.
    The beauty of "Quadrophenia" is the film's themes of youths trying to find their place in the world is timeless and internationally identifiable. You don't have to be a British lad to love this story. Several scenes are so emotionally harrowing as to be disturbing. The protagonist Jimmy Michael Cooper (brilliantly played by Phil Daniels) begins to self destruct as the movie progresses. He loses his home, his job, his girlfriend and eventually his identity in a haze of drugs and misguided motivation. The scene where he begs his ex-girlfriend to explain herself, to which she answers "It was just a giggle" will bring a tear to most eyes. It is the saddest form of rejection and as emotionally truthful a scene one is most likely to see.
    I think many teenagers eventually go through a process similar to what is seen in "Quadrophenia." One's identity when growing up is always related to the music, the parties, the mode of dress and the friends one chooses. The world is seemingly yours. As the Mods begin their march in Brighton, chanting, screaming, arms wrapped around one another, they are a force. They can change the world.
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    Format: VHS Tape
    This film deserves to be in the pantheon of classic teen angst films (though it will really speak to adults reflecting on their years more so than it will for teens). I think it's the best film I've ever seen in that genre (and is based on probably the best album that ever covered such ground). There is real grit to the film, real emotion and pathos (but also a teriffic sense of humor). The cast is also outstanding (why Phil Daniels didn't become a big star is anybody's guess). But add to this the knockout soundtrack (from the "Quadrophenia" LP and other radio hits of the 60s), and you practically have a perfect film (I'm always hesitant to say anything is truly perfect). But I wouldn't change anything here. It is an unqualified success.
    It helps to understand the milieu of the film, so read up here on the mods and rockers so that you understand the time and place. But then hang on for a long, LOUD ride! This movie just knocks me out! I wish I had seen it when I was a teenager. Better late than never!...
    Don't miss it! And I will say this movie was much better the second time around (especially at a theatre). The film is so loaded with atmosphere and cultural references that you can't possibly take it all in in one sitting.
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    Format: DVD
    Very few movies based on rock albums are ever any good. "Quadrophenia" is the exception to this theory. Considering the relative inexperience of cast and crew alike, the producers have pulled off the unexpected: a rock film that doesn't bow down to the egos of the rock stars; a low budget, anti-special effect film; a teen film that doesn't condescend to the teens in the film and the audience; and, ultimately, a script that is not dictated to by the songs on the album. In fact several key songs from the album aren't even in the film--not the least of which is "The Punk Versus The Godfather".

    What I enjoyed about the film, also, was that it doesn't just portray the working-class teen as a malcontent who can't identify with anything. Instead, Jimmy (played brilliantly by Phil Daniels) rebels against Rockers, the "establishment", older people, etc.; however, his desire for independence only goes so far because he MUST be a Mod. And here is the real ambivalence of adolescence--the desire to be free and the need to fit in.

    This edition has some fun extras. The director's commentary, although occasionally bogged down in technical stuff, is eye-opening to the era represented in the film. The high-speed London to Brighton trip is enjoyable. The Mod/Rocker Quiz was also fun--but beware of one of the endings! In sum, this is a worthwhile film to own.
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    Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
    Earlier this year I bought, from Amazon UK, the Universal Pictures 2011 Blu-ray of Quadrophenia - which is a genuine full 1080p transfer from film, and with almost exactly the same extra features as for their 2009 "2 Disc Special Edition" DVD. That Blu-ray provides an amazing amount of extra detail over what the DVD produced, and the audio was noticeably (but slightly) better than the DVD version (which sounded excellent). I was surprised to find a Criterion edition announced several months later, and I ordered it (from Amazon USA) for the several different extra features, and I hoped that the video and audio might even be a touch better.

    I've compared the two Blu-ray editions in an A-B test, and I believe that the Universal Blu-ray has significantly better detail. For some strange reason The Criterion edition is slightly and annoyingly zoomed, cutting away details which the Universal edition proves were clearly meant to have been seen in the widescreen frame. The Criterion video is much brighter (which is not necessarily an improvement) - and although it is slightly fuzzy, it is definitely more pristine (the Universal has a small number of barely noticeable glitches, which are not visible on the Criterion).

    I haven't heard the Criterion commentary track yet (director Franc Roddam and cinematographer Brian Tufano), but I certainly enjoyed the Universal one with Franc Roddam and actor Phil Daniels.

    The audio for both Blu-ray editions is excellent - both for the restored original stereo and for each edition's sometimes starkly different 5.1 surround options (with the Criterion having the superior edge). The answer is to ideally own both editions to enjoy the best of each.
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