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Scum (1979)

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1:08 | Trailer
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:

Once the Vicious Scourge of the Streets ... Now Sadistic Animals of Borstal Prison! 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:

Scum 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 film has almost no music throughout except for the music played on Eckersley's radio during the scene when he frames Davis for 'stealing' it. See more »

Goofs

Archer, an intelligent character, refers to a Bible in Yugoslavian. There is no such language. See more »

Quotes

[Carlin walks in to the lounge and takes three snooker balls from the snooker table and puts them in an extra sock. The two people playing snooker look confused]
Carlin: Carry on.
[Carlin continues moving and stands at a corner. Richards is kicking Woods]
Woods: [to Richards] Ah! Leave it out, Stripey! I ain't hurting you!
Richards: Yer in my bleedin' way!
Archer: Oi!
Woods: It's all right, Ben.
Richards: What's up with you, weirdo? You want stripin' do ya? You might get left alone 'ere, but I'll cut you to bleedin' ribbons if I get any of yer ...
[...]
See more »

Alternate Versions

A heavily censored version was shown on Channel Four Television in the UK in the early nineties, with the rape of Davis and his subsequent gory suicide considerably trimmed to diminish their impact. More recently, Channel Four have shown the film in its uncut form. See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Principal (1987) See more »

Soundtracks

Robertson's Marmalade Jingle
(uncredited)
Music by John Kongos
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Mecca, Archer?
11 June 2005 | by philkessellSee all my reviews

The grandaddy of 'incarceration' films - this is one of the best, oft copied but never bettered.

I liked it because it's so damn British. The one liners are legion; you all know what they are and where, but among a stellar list 'Mecca, Archer' rises just above and never fails to have me in fits. The way Goodyear looks at the Governor just after this great outburst is also revealing; as is the look of satisfaction on Archer's face when he finally succeeds in riling the 'religious maniac'.

Of course, there's a serious message in here; expedited best in the conversation between Archer and Mr Duke over 'coffee'. Analysing the situation, as Archer attempts to do, will simply not be tolerated and is interpreted as dissent by a man who embodies the 'system' and is intellectually and emotionally unequipped to deal with his own, and the State's ultimate failure to deliver.

Like true class acts, this film works on several levels; it's a no nonsense drama bedecked with Taj Mahal one liners everyone loves, yet it also works on a deeper level; you cannot punitively 'correct' all offenders with violence and cruelty. You are not corrected, you are merely broken, as Davis and Toyne are. If you're not broken, you run amok, but the point is you're not 'cured'.

When this film was on TV in 1983, just after Channel Four started broadcasting, they edited the notorious potting shed sequence to such an extent that the heinous act committed was virtually excised, thereby diluting the dramatic effect to virtually zero. Interestingly enough, they also edited out the bit where Mr Greaves ignores Davis' second press of the bell. Why? Presumably because they feared the ire of the State at the highlighting of its inadequacies? I suppose they can be forgiven, Channel Four was new then after all, but it's quite revealing nonetheless.

If I'm home alone, I quote this film as I'm wandering around the house. I don't quite know why. It's all about the importance of individuality, standing up for yourself and not just 'accepting' things. That's probably the reason. Now, where's your tool?


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