8.2/10
3,254
48 user 22 critic

The Kids Are Alright (1979)

From the early black and white days to their colourful hedonistic era, you will Rock! See them at their most creative, and destructive, and experience The Who: Here!

Director:

Jeff Stein

Writer:

Jeff Stein
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Roger Daltrey ... Himself (The Who)
John Entwistle ... Himself (The Who)
Keith Moon ... Himself (The Who)
Pete Townshend ... Himself (The Who)
Tom Smothers ... Himself (as Tommy Smothers)
Jimmy O'Neill ... Himself
Russell Harty Russell Harty ... Himself
Melvyn Bragg ... Himself (as Melvin Bragg)
Ringo Starr ... Himself
Mary Ann Zabresky Mary Ann Zabresky ... Herself
Michael Leckebusch Michael Leckebusch ... Himself
Barry Fantoni Barry Fantoni ... Himself
Jeremy Paxman ... Himself
Bob Pridden Bob Pridden ... Himself
Keith Richards ... Himself (as Keith Richard)
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Storyline

Through concert performances and interviews, this film offers us an "inside look" at this famous rock group, "The Who". It captures their zany craziness and outrageous antics from the initial formation of the group to its major hit "Who Are You", and features the last performance of drummer keith Moon just prior to his death. Written by Concorde - New Horizons (with permission).

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

One film that won't f-f-f-f-fade away See more »

Genres:

Documentary | Music

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 November 1979 (Denmark) See more »

Also Known As:

The Who: The Kids Are Alright See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

The Who Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The band's performance on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour (1967) ends with "My Generation" and their trademark wrecking of their equipment - the climax being the explosion of the drum kit. During rehearsal, Keith Moon ("Patent British Exploding Drummer") had persuaded stage hands to load more flash powder into the kit than usual (possibly by bribery) so that when the explosion occurred at the very end of the performance, it was so big that it temporarily blinded the TV cameras and injured the rest of the band. Singer Roger Daltrey was deaf for a long period after the show, Moon was cut on the arm by a cymbal, and guitarist Pete Townshend's hair was singed - he can be seen in the film with smoke coming from his head. Townshend later attributed his partial hearing loss to the incident, though years of extreme on-stage sound levels are probably more to blame. Backstage, other guests of the show were also affected: Bette Davis fainted into Mickey Rooney's arms. See more »

Goofs

Rick Danko of The Band is listed in the end credits as appearing in the film, even though his segment was deleted from the final print. See more »

Quotes

Pete Townshend: Kit turned around to me and said, "I think you should write something linear, something with continuity. Perhaps a ten-minute song." So I said, "You can't write a ten-minute song!" I mean, rock songs are two-minutes-fifty - by tradition! It's one of the traditions, you know, they only allowed you one modulation, four chords, or five - you know, five chords, you might be up before the committee. Ten minutes? It's ridiculous!
See more »

Crazy Credits

Various clips of stage goodbyes from live appearances of The Who through the years are shown during the closing credits. See more »

Alternate Versions

On the newly re-mastered DVD release of 2003, the Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus clip of The Who performing "A Quick One" has been restored to its entirety, and this time it appears in full-frame without the marquee lights. See more »

Connections

Features Monterey Pop (1968) See more »

Soundtracks

A Quick One While He's Away
Written by Pete Townshend
Performed by The Who
Fabulous Music Ltd.
See more »

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User Reviews

One of the Best Rock Movies ever
11 February 2005 | by McGonigleSee all my reviews

While "The Last Waltz" is usually the critics' favorite rock movie, "The Kids Are Alright" has always done it for me. Basically, we have a career overview of one of the greatest rock bands ever, with numerous characteristics that make it truly exceptional.

Here's what makes this movie really unique: First, it was made by a fan, which gives it a fan's perspective (often more perceptive than a band's own self-image or, needless to say, the perception of a record company employee). But more importantly, the Who, always one of the most "down-to-earth" (and self-critical) rock bands, were willing to co-operate with the filmmaker (Jeff Stein), even going so far as to perform two exclusive concerts for the purpose of filming.

The movie thus comes together as a fan's dream: a comprehensive selection of live clips that span the band's career up to that point (including brilliant early footage and such career-defining performances as Woodstock and the band's appearance on the Smothers Brothers' TV show), along with truly insightful interview footage.

One comes away from this movie with a genuine appreciation for the combination of creativity and humility that really made the Who unique among "superstar" rock bands. Can you imagine Led Zeppelin referring to their own work as crap in the middle of "The Song Remains The Same"? The Beatles created their own career-spanning retrospective 15 years later with "The Beatles Anthology", but that film, made 25 years after the band broke up, seems much more concerned with defining and cementing the band's place in history (especially the McCartney interview segments) than with presenting the band "warts and all".

Even in "The Last Waltz", while much of The Band is somewhat disparaging about their early careers, there is still a real sense that Scorcese and Robertson are attempting to define a historically significant moment in time rather than just capturing The Band as it was (I've read that the rest of the Band members didn't even know Robertson was planning to break up the Band until after the concert!).

By contrast, "The Kids Are Alright" provides us with a refreshingly honest portrait of a band who have always tried to be honest with their fans. By combining the perceptive eye of a true fan with a cooperative band who weren't concerned with protecting (or defining) their "image", we are left with a true rarity: a documentary on a "superstar" that is neither concerned with deifying nor tearing down its subject, but instead gives us a truly satisfying (and entertaining) portrait. Plus, some of the best "70s Arena Rock" ever recorded! All in all, it adds up to a minor masterpiece.


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