In 1951 England, young Tommy Walker watches as his mother and stepfather murder his biological father, long thought lost in the war. The trauma renders the youngster deaf, blind, and mute, and he becomes a problem child that nobody wants. But when Tommy develops mad skills at pinball, and even beats the grand master Pinball Wizard, he becomes a proselytiser to the masses in search of enlightenment … In his adaptation of The Who’s rock opera, eccentric British director Ken Russell interprets Pete Townshend’s family line-up as a glamorous satire of the pop music industry. Hits and hysteria, pomp and pop art coalesce into a symphonic synthesis of the arts. Recorded for playback on a Quintaphonic Sound system, this extravagant coming-of-age drama is told entirely in song. Among the greats of rock-and-roll and Hollywood who sang those parts were Elton John, Eric Clapton, Tina Turner, Jack Nicholson, and Ann-Margret, who was nominated for an Oscar for her portrayal of the mother of all mothers.
by Ken Russell
with Ann-Margret, Oliver Reed, Roger Daltrey, Elton John, Eric Clapton, John Entwistle, Keith Moon, Jack Nicholson, Pete Townshend, Tina Turner
United Kingdom 1975 English 111’ Colour Rating R16


  • Ann-Margret
  • Oliver Reed
  • Roger Daltrey
  • Elton John
  • Eric Clapton
  • John Entwistle
  • Keith Moon
  • Jack Nicholson
  • Pete Townshend
  • Tina Turner


Director Ken Russell
Written by Ken Russell, The Who
Story Pete Townshend
Cinematography Dick Bush, Ronnie Taylor
Editing Stuart Baird
Music The Who
Sound Iain Bruce
Art Director John Clark
Costumes Shirley Russell
Make-Up George Blackler, Peter Robb-King
Producer Robert Stigwood, Ken Russell

World sales

Park Circus Limited, Glasgow

Produced by

Robert Stigwood Organisation

Additional information

DCP: Park Circus Limited, Glasgow

Ken Russell


Bio- & filmography as of Berlinale 2022