Great Rock ‘n’ Roll Swindle

Year: 1980
Production Co: Boyd's Company
Studio: Virgin
Director: Julien Temple
Writer: Julien Temple
Cast: Malcolm McLaren, Steve Jones, Paul Cook, Sid Vicious, Johnny Rotten, Ronnie Biggs
This is a film about the multiple levels of deception that was Malcolm McLaren's joke on the music world.

If you can believe it, he collected a bunch of yobbos together who hung around his London clothes shop and fashioned them into a punk band (knowing firstly that they'd hate each other and more importantly that they had no talent) with the explicit purpose of swindling the record companies out of money.

McLaren might have actually intended to create a genre-defining band at the time, and when the wheels fell off his gravy train and it all went pear-shaped, The Great Rock and Roll Swindle might have been his last ditch effort to make a bit more money out of the Sex Pistols name - it suits his style to do so.

Whichever the truth is, the movie is very entertaining. If the Sex Pistols were before your time, it gives you at least a glimpse into the life they led if nothing else. McLaren narrates the story of the formation, extortion and collapse of the movement in a series of increasingly surreal vignettes accompanied by his companion, a midget woman.

There was enough live footage to combine with animations and McLaren's imagined trip through the story to bring the Pistols to life on screen one more time, and even if the movie itself is just one more swindle, it feels like one of those great films that gives you a peek behind the scenes of the media.

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