Starring Phil Daniels, Leslie Ash, Philip Davis and Sting
Screenplay by Franc Roddam,
Pete Townsend, Dave Humphries and Martin Stellman
Directed by Franc Roddam
Running time 114 minutes
United Kingdom 1979
Our last film, the WW1 satire Oh! What A Lovely War, was shot in and around Brighton and it is the iconic seaside town that links that film to this one. Based on the 1973 rock opera by The Who Quadrophenia is not a rock musical like the earlier Tommy but rather a drama with music inspired by Pete Townsend’s libretto.
It tells the story of Jimmy Cooper, a London Mod who works in the post room of an advertising agency but gets his kicks riding his scooter and popping pills with his mates. When they go to Brighton for a bank holiday ride they find themselves involved in a running battle with the motorcycle-riding Rockers. In the midst of the fighting Jimmy finds himself alone with Steph - the girl he has admired from afar and the two have sex. When the weekend is over Jimmy finds he cannot return to everyday life and trouble begins...
Franc Roddam, whose feature debut this is started out in commercials and graduated to movies like his contemporaries Ridley Scott, Alan Parker and Hugh Hudson. Unlike them however he has also been prolific in British TV and is the creator of a number of highly successful formats - most notably the long-running Masterchef. Roddam directs with infectious energy and a nice eye for period detail getting excellent performances from his young cast - in particular Phil Daniels.
The Who all hailed from Acton (with the exception of Keith Moon) and were educated at Acton High. There are several local streets to be seen in the movie - in particular Wells House Road in North Acton which is the location for Jimmy’s family home.
Quadrophenia boasts a great rock soundtrack which features not only tracks by The Who but also James Brown, Booker T, The Chiffons and The Ronettes.
Look out for Sting in a small acting role as the Ace Face.