Quadrophenia is a 1979 British film, loosely based around the 1973 rock opera of the same name by The Who. The film stars Phil Daniels as a Mod named Jimmy. The film also stars Leslie Ash, Ray Winstone, Phil Davis, Mark Wingett, Toyah Willcox and Sting. It was directed by Franc Roddam in his feature directing debut. Unlike the film adaptation of Tommy, Quadrophenia is not a musical film.
The film, set in 1965, follows the story of Jimmy Cooper (Phil Daniels), a London Mod. Disillusioned by his parents and a job as a post room boy in an advertising firm, Jimmy finds an outlet for his teenage angst with his Mod friends Dave (Mark Wingett), Chalky (Philip Davis) and Spider (Gary Shail). However, his angst and confusion are compounded by the fact that one of his rivals is in fact childhood friend Kevin (Ray Winstone).
A bank holiday weekend provides the excuse for the rivalry between Mods and Rockers to come to a head, as they both descend upon the seaside town of Brighton. A series of running battles ensues. As the police close in on the rioters, Jimmy escapes down an alleyway with Steph (Leslie Ash), a girl on whom he has a crush, to have sex. When the pair emerge, they find themselves in the middle of the melee just as police are succeeding in detaining rioters. Jimmy is arrested and later fined £50.
Back in London, Jimmy becomes increasingly depressed. He is thrown out of his house by his mother, who finds his stash of amphetamine pills. He then quits his job, spends his severance package on more pills, and finds out that Steph has become the girlfriend of his friend Dave. After a brief fight with Dave, Jimmy's Lambretta scooter is accidentally destroyed, and he takes a train back to Brighton. He revisits the scene of his encounter with Steph, and then discovers that his idol, Ace Face (played by Sting), is in reality a lowly bellboy at a Brighton hotel. He steals Ace's scooter and heads out to the cliffs at Beachy Head, where he rides towards the cliff edge. The film ends with the scooter smashing on the rocks below..
At the time of its original release, the film was received mostly negatively by critics. However, Phil Daniels' performance has been praised.
While the film currently holds a 100% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, this is based on only three reviews, one of which gives it a "fresh" rating but still calls the film "disappointing." Eight of the thirteen reviewers cited did not give the movie any definite rating.
In 2004, the magazine Total Film named Quadrophenia the 35th greatest British film of all time. It has been cited as a major influence on the mod revival in music and fashion which provided a launching pad for the careers of bands such as Secret Affair, The Chords and The Lambrettas while boosting the popularity of The Jam, previously perceived as a punk act. Sting's appearance in it also benefited his band The Police.!!!