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Scum (1979)

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An uncompromising story of life in a British juvenile offender institution in the 70's.

Director:

Alan Clarke

Writer:

Roy Minton
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ray Winstone ... Carlin
Mick Ford ... Archer
Julian Firth ... Davis
John Blundell ... Banks
Phil Daniels ... Richards
John Fowler John Fowler ... Woods
Ray Burdis ... Eckersley
Patrick Murray ... Dougan
Herbert Norville Herbert Norville ... Toyne
George Winter George Winter ... Rhodes
Alrick Riley ... Angel
Peter Francis Peter Francis ... Baldy
Philip DaCosta Philip DaCosta ... Jackson (as Philip Da Costa)
Perry Benson Perry Benson ... Formby
Alan Igbon ... Meakin
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Storyline

An uncompromising story of life in a British juvenile offender institution in the 70's.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

A brutal story - the uncut, uncensored version See more »

Genres:

Crime | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook [Japan]

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 September 1979 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Escoria See more »

Filming Locations:

England, UK See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

GBP250,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,948, 18 June 2017

Gross USA:

$6,461

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$6,461
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color (Eastmancolor) (uncredited)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The earlier and original TV version of this movie, Scum (1991), made for the BBC, but banned by them, was never screened until around fifteen years later in 1991, after the director's death, and part of a season on censorship. The BBC said that they banned it because "There was too much incident packed into too short a time and that they doubted the veracity." So they thought it was pure fiction, but they also said that it "looked too much like a documentary". See more »

Goofs

When Carlin enters the 'games' room for the first time, he passes three lags playing snooker. The score board on the wall behind them changes between one score and another and then back and then back again. See more »

Quotes

Archer: Sometimes, someday I somehow get the strangest notion they're trying to break my spirit.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Norwegian cinema version was cut in the rape scene and the suicide scene. Later video versions are uncut. See more »

Connections

References The Concrete Jungle (1960) See more »

Soundtracks

Dirty Last Night
(uncredited)
Music by John Dickson and Elfed Hayes
De Wolfe Music Ltd
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A raw, powerful film
12 July 2005 | by davideo-2See all my reviews

STAR RATING: ***** The Works **** Just Misses the Mark *** That Little Bit In Between ** Lagging Behind * The Pits

Tough thief Carlin (Ray Winstone) is transferred from his previous borstal after assaulting a prison officer to a much tougher institution where force and fear is the ultimate currency. The film follows the fortunes of him and the other inmates there and Carlin's relentless quest to come out as 'the daddy' among the other hard-case cons...

Nowadays, many people complain about the shambolic state of British Justice (once the envy of the world!) and, significantly, how Young Offenders Institutions are now just converted holiday-camps for those sent there who scoff at their lamentably lame punishment. Yet the very purpose of this film, made over 20 years ago, was to show the abuse of human rights that was taking place at the time in the borstals in Britain and to get something done in the way of changing it.

Having chosen a crime-free life in my youth and thus never being sent to a borstal (and not knowing of anyone who did!) I would have no way of knowing if the events portrayed in this film really took place, but if they were as bad as this, the film very chillingly gets them across. It's another one of those cult films where there's no real actual plot (i.e. Trainspotting) par se, but in it's drama function it very involvingly depicts the trials and tribulations of the inmates in their struggle to survive in the oppressive, violent world of the borstal and their individual characteristics that ultimately determine whether they'll come out on top or not. The bleakness of their world is further emphasized by the film's clever absence of a soundtrack.

As for the performances, Winstone cemented his future success with his ground-breaking performance here as the foul-mouthed, hard-cased, cockney to the bone 'daddy' who fights to come out on top in a world of aggression. All of the supporting cast do wonders in their individual roles do wonders to, especially those portraying the prison officers who are not far separated from the very thugs they're meant to be controlling.

Scum is a film that is thoroughly deserving of it's cult status, a film that spurned those in power into action and, though dealing with issues that are nowhere near as bad as back then, is no less as shocking and disturbing. *****


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