Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
This classic rock opera is brought energetically to life by an outstanding cast including many stars of the rock music industry. Told through the remarkable music of The Who, this is the story of Tommy, who, when just a boy of six, wit¬nessed the murder of his father by his mother (Ann-Margret) and her lover (Oliver Reed). They command him, “You didn’t hear it, you didn’t see it, and you won’t say anything to any¬one…” As a result, the traumatized boy retreats into the shadows of his mind and becomes deaf, dumb and blind. Growing into manhood, Tommy (Roger Daltrey) is subjected to several bizarre cure attempts by The Acid Queen (Tina Turner), the Preacher (Eric Clapton), and the Specialist (Jack Nicholson). In spite of his handicap, Tommy defeats the Pinball Wizard (Elton John) and becomes the champ, attaining a devoted following. When he is finally cured, he is hailed by his fans as a “Messiah.”
If you've ever wanted to hear Jack Nicholson sing (or try to) or marvel at the sight of Ann-Margret drunkenly cavorting in a cascade of baked beans, Tommy is the movie you've been waiting for. As it turns out, the Who's brilliant rock opera is sublimely matched to director Ken Russell's penchant for cinematic excess, and this 1975 production finds Russell at the peak of his filmmaking audacity. It's a fever-dream of musical bombast, custom-fit to the thematic ambition of Pete Townshend's epic rock drama, revolving around the titular "deaf, dumb, and blind kid" (played by Who vocalist Roger Daltrey) who survives the childhood trauma that stole his senses to become a Pinball Wizard messiah in Townshend's grandiose attack on the hypocrisy of organized religion.
The story is remarkably coherent considering the hypnotic dream-state induced by Russell's visuals. Tommy's odyssey is rendered through wall-to-wall music, each song representing a pivotal chapter in Tommy's chronology, from the bloodstream shock of "The Acid Queen" (performed to the hilt by Tina Turner) to Nicholson's turn as a well-intentioned physician, Elton John's towering rendition of "Pinball Wizard," and Daltrey's epiphanous rendition of "I'm Free." Other performers include Eric Clapton and (most outrageously) the Who's drummer Keith Moon, and through it all Russell is almost religiously faithful to Townshend's artistic vision. Although it divided critics when first released, Tommy now looks likes a minor classic of gonzo cinema, worthy of the musical genius that fueled its creation. --Jeff Shannon
- Original 1975 Theatrical Quintaphonic Soundtrack, Digitally remastered for Dolby Digital 5.0 and 2-channel Dolby Surround
- Audio restoration essay
Would you like to tell us about a lower price?
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top customer reviews
Cons: Makes no sense sometimes, not all the songs are terrific
Pete Townsend, from British rock band The Who is credited for writing the first full-length rock opera. In 1969, The Who released a double-album simply titled, Tommy, which inspired other dreams into reality from other rock acts and writers. From Pink Floyd's The Wall to Jesus Christ Superstar to Rent and even Quadrophenia which was again written by Townsend. Only six short years later was Tommy translated into film form, and although quite altered from the original album, it still embodies Pete Townsend's original vision.
The movie begins with a romantic evening between Captain Walker and his wife Nora, which becomes interrupted by a call to duty for the fighter pilot to go to war. The captain fought valiantly, but he was shot at one too many times, and he went down. Captain Walker: MIA. Nora Walker receives the news and she is understandably distraught and heartbroken. Nora became pregnant because of that last night with the captain, and nine months later she gave birth to Tommy, and on the same day that the nations declared peace, war is over!
Nora raised Tommy for five years, and then she met a man named Frank who she became involved with intimately. Frank worked as a Greencoat at Bernie's Holiday Camp. Nora and Tommy return home from the holiday camp, and Frank moves in as well. That first night home when it was late, Captain Walker returned home first to see his son sleeping in his bed, and then he walks down the hall to see Nora. Tommy awoke to follow his father, and he witnessed Frank kill the Captain when they were discovered in bed together. Tommy went into shock, and he closed himself off from the world. Not only did he not talk anymore, but he closed up his sense of sight and hearing as well.
His mother and "Uncle" Frank had never given up hope that one day Tommy would regain his senses. Whether it be magic mirrors, acid-queen hookers, religious statues big and small, molestation from his wicked Uncle Ernie, or even a sheer ass-whooping from cousin Kevin - they would try anything and everything to try and jolt whatever emotional blockage is there that is keeping Tommy from being himself. In the meantime, Tommy had discovered the game of pinball and somehow he has a real knack for it despite his handicaps. Tommy faces the pinball wizard, the champion of the world, and wins. This title makes Tommy and his family rich beyond their dreams.
It appears that the "magic mirror" idea was the key to break the silent spell on Tommy. He regains his senses and he becomes somewhat of a local messiah for the youth. So, can Tommy reach the four corners of the earth and become the new Messiah? Will Uncle Ernie go to jail for his illicit behavior? Can Tommy's real father come back from the dead a second time? Find out when you watch the entire musical, Tommy.
I tend to divide this rock opera into two segments, the good half and the boring half. I feel that the music, the lyrics and the story are inspired by a different animal for the first part of the film than it was for the second half. The first seven songs are flawless and they include Prologue 1945, Captain Walker, It's a Boy, Bernie's Holiday Camp, 1951/What About the Boy?, Amazing Journey and Christmas. The first three songs are connected by brilliant segues; working as a sort of a stand-in Overture for the one removed that was present on the 1969 album. My two favorite songs here are 1951 / What about the Boy? and Amazing Journey, followed closely by Christmas. In my opinion the music and story peaked too soon, and the remainder can only go downhill from there.
If I happen to catch this on satellite television, as soon as I see Roger Daltry's face, I know it's time I turn off the film. Although this is not to say that the remainder is garbage. The whole Pinball Wizard scene is entertaining. Elton John outshines The Who's original with his band's version of the song and also the segue of the song Champagne performed by Ann-Margaret (Bye Bye Birdie, The Flintstones) and Roger Daltry is especially effective.
Speaking of Daltry, while most of us recognize him as the lead singer of The Who, he has been in a handful of films and television appearances. Daltry's performance in Tommy was very convincing as a handicapped person. In the middle section of the movie when he still couldn't talk (or sing for that matter), his blank stare and his helpless character forced the viewer to empathize for him as he was physically abused by both his cousin Kevin, and his wicked Uncle Ernie.
Ann-Margaret seems like an odd choice for a rock opera, but it turns out that she, more than anyone really makes this film work. And even though she sings in a Liza Minelli vaudeville sort of way, it actually works within these Who songs surprisingly. Oliver Reed (Burnt Offerings, Gladiator) who plays "Uncle" Frank is obviously hardly the singer, but perhaps director Ken Russell was looking for a man who was very English and with a mighty presence - and if so then Reed easily fills that need.
Tommy employs some of the big stars of the day back then to star in some of the smaller roles. Tina Turner is the Acid Queen, Eric Clapton is the preacher and of course Elton John is the pinball wizard. Tina and Eric were boring and their numbers seemed to drag on forever. Elton, at least had a great song to work with and was visually interesting. There's even a song with Jack Nicholson with the actor singing and making goo goo eyes at Ann-Margaret.
So while I believe that the first section of the movie is superior, I'm sure others will disagree. Aside from the fact that the songs aren't as good as the film drags on, there are also no big payoffs for our time's investment. If I put in the time to witness a story of how a boy had emotionally chosen to cut himself off from the rest of the world, I would need to feel the joy of when Tommy gets his sight and hearing back. Yet there is no joy, it's almost anti-climatic when Tommy starts to sing. For me, it's only a sad reminder that the movie has still some ways to go before it's over.
I recommend this movie to those of you who love musicals, and silliness. The music should be able to entertain you; it's cool to see some classic rock performers trying to make the best of what is given to them. Give it a try, if you like it, then great. If you don't enjoy yourself, don't say I didn't warn you. The whole movie balances out to being slightly above average, so it's more likely you'll like it a lot.
Directed by: Ken Russell (Altered States)
Written by: Ken Russell, Pete Townsend
Starring: Roger Daltry, Ann-Margaret, Oliver Reed, Paul Nicholas, Keith Moon, Elton John, Tina Turner, Eric Clapton
Length: 111 minutes
I have owned both the DVD and earlier VHS versions of Tommy, and the Bluray version is well worth the new investment. Audio and video are top-notch. The fact that Ann-Margaret and Oliver Reed don't have the best signing voices, is more than compensated for by Roger Daltrey's numbers. And then there are the Tina Turner and Elton John numbers, which are worth the purchase all by themselves. So let's recap: opera, rock n'roll, Roger Daltrey, Tina Turner, and Elton John. If none of these are not deal-killers for you, get this Bluray.
Most recent customer reviews
PS. CAN I BORROW 30-40 MILLION SONGS FOR $5-10 MONTHLY...
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Look for similar items by category
- Movies & TV > Cult Movies
- Movies & TV > Genre for Featured Categories > Drama
- Movies & TV > Genre for Featured Categories > Musicals
- Movies & TV > Movies
- Movies & TV > Music Artists > Clapton, Eric
- Movies & TV > Music Artists > John, Elton
- Movies & TV > Music Artists > The Who
- Movies & TV > Music Artists > Turner, Tina
- Movies & TV > Musicals & Performing Arts > Musicals
- Movies & TV > Studio Specials > Sony Pictures Home Entertainment > All Sony Pictures Titles
- Movies & TV > Studio Specials > Sony Pictures Home Entertainment > All Sony Pictures Titles