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4.2 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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(Feb 28, 2006)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Perverse conditions within a British reform school reach a boiling point.

The son of a bricklayer who also spent some time as a laborer before studying acting and directing in Canada, Alan Clarke (who died in 1990) got his start at the BBC in the 1960s. By 1977, he had directed his explosive and controversial television feature, Scum, starring Ray Winstone (Sexy Beast) as a survivor at a corrupt and brutal juvenile prison. Harrowing, claustrophobic, and deeply tragic, Scum was banned by the BBC for graphic brutality (and, quite likely, criticism of the justice system), leading Clarke to remake it with Winstone and the same script as a 1979 theatrical release. Both versions are included on this disc, and each is a unique experience. The earlier Scum is a lean, low-budget, relentlessly nightmarish drama while its second take is moodier, slower, and intermittently shocking. --Tom Keogh

Special Features

  • SCUM (Theatrical Version):
  • Audio Commentary with Star Ray Winstone
  • Interviews with Producer Clive Parsons & Writer Roy Minton
  • Poster & Still Galleries
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • SCUM (BBC Version):
  • Audio Commentary with Stars Phil Daniels and David Threlfall and Producer Margaret Matheson
  • Selected Scenes with Audio Commentary by Star Ray Winstone

Product Details

  • Actors: Ray Winstone, Mick Ford, Julian Firth, John Blundell, Phil Daniels
  • Directors: Alan Clarke
  • Writers: Roy Minton
  • Producers: Clive Parsons, Davina Belling, Don Boyd, Martin Campbell, Michael Relph
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, Limited Edition, NTSC, Subtitled
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
  • Studio: Blue Underground
  • DVD Release Date: February 28, 2006
  • Run Time: 98 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000096IAA
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #128,991 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Scum" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Ian Phillips on August 24, 2009
Format: DVD
"Scum" (1979) may now be over 30 years old, but its stunning power, notoriety and shock factor hasn't dwindled! Nor has its wide spread appeal. Films like "Scum" are just simply timeless in their power! This totally harrowing, often stomach-churning drama is a commendably daring (but then again its not really daring when you are merley depicting the truth - no matter how grim or appalling) and unflinching look at life inside a fictious boys juvenile centre (otherwise known as borstal).

Extremely edgy, startlingly powerful and completely shocking, "Scum" depicts brutal violence, racial predujice, homeosexuality and sexual abuse in a way that hits you right between the eyes! Not comfortable, easy viewing by any means - almost like sitting on a barbed wire fence its that painfully real. You could easily forget your watching, what is a superbly made drama, and think you were watching a documentary as it has that in-your-face, astoundingly stark effect! You really will not be able to take your eyes off this stuff - if you enjoy being kept on the edge of your seat and being continually shocked then "Scum" is definitely the film for you! The brutally stark realism in Ray Mintons written screenplay is richly complimented by razor-sharp direction from the innovative, award-winning Alan Clarke (one of his few feature films as he mostly worked in television).

The ever-excellent Ray Winstone excells in the lead role as tough-boy Carlin. The role seems as though it was tailor made for him!
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Format: DVD
This is one of the best underground films of the 70s I have never heard of that think I have seen. Its a bold, dark and relentless story of just how unforgiving unfair and brutal life can and does get inside of a boys reform school in England, or for that matter, just about anywhere where children are subjected to crude and unusual punishment at the hands of their own peers. And a corrupt reform system that simply doesnt work correctly because adults responsible for runing such programs effectively give over to turning a blind eye and the result is a corrupt way of thinking and lack of responsible rulership. This is truly a depressing and dark film that offers very little in the way of a positive message. There is however a moment here and there where one individual decides he will not be dominated by cruel and brutal human beings, and takes action. That is indeed a memorable segment of this film. While the movie has no social redeeming value, it does subject the viewer to consider just how completely rediculous the situation of incarceration for youngers can become when a beaurocracy that is meant to control it has no honorable leaders to implement it appropriately. The film is realistic, well acted, and moveing at moments, and I think its one of the better films you may have never heard of from the 70s. A better film than I expected.
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Format: DVD
I watched the first version of this film, but had to wait a couple of days before I viewed the latter version of two years later. It was THAT strong -- brutal and vile. "Man's inhumanity to man" fits this film perfectly.

Yes, out-of-control youth must be dealt with, but not by inhuman, depraved authoritarians! The administrators of this borstal (reformatory) were all sick, demented sex perverts, who seem to get pleasure out of watching these young men devour one another.

Both versions are brutal, but the remake went even further, especially the greenhouse rape. In the first version, there were two harmless-looking lads who attacked "James". In the sequel, three toughs were the perpetrators. The attact went on for what seemed, several minutes (screen time). For the victim, it probably felt like hours.

Both films are nearly identical with some of the same actors repeating their roles, especially the lead, Ray Winstone, but the actors were so good, it didn't matter that all of the originals didn't return. It was interesting to see other actors take on the parts.

The latter version does seem more "modern." But the sexual angle was played down. In the second version, Winstone's character didn't seek out a "wife" to take care of his sexual needs. Also, the suicide of the rape victim was more graphic, therefore shocking.

A hardcore version of the movie is now out called "Borstal Boy" and it provides what even SCUM couldn't: graphic sex, which was probably the major activity that went on in these institutions, out-ranking violence.
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Format: VHS Tape
This film made in 1979 pulls no punches in its depiction of life in a maximum security British Borstal institution. Set roughly in the 1960s, the main character, Carling, played by Ray Winstone(LOCK STOCK AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS) is sent to maximum security for punching a warden at his previous institution, and soon has to face up to a taste of his own medicine from both prisoners and wardens alike. But when he stands up to the 'daddies'(watch out for Phil Daniels of QUADROPHENIA and BREAKING GLASS fame as one of them!) that run the wing and becomes a leader himself, this only a small part of the story. Regular beatings and frame-ups from the wardens are an everyday occurrance. Racism is rife, the language used would never be allowed in a santised Hollywood production today! The violent scenes are extremely graphic, most notably when Carling confronts the daddy of another wing in the prison. Finally, during gardening duties, there is a brutal rape scene and a very disturbing aftermath. In amongst the brutality, a young prisoner called Archer is continually making life difficult for the wardens. The verbal exchanges between him and the Governor(a religious fanatic) are well worth watching and provide much-needed satirical comic relief! So if you can get hold of a copy(it's available in the UK much more easily now since the ban was lifted), it comes highly recommended, but be warned, it is not for the squeamish!
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