February 24, 2017


If – 1968 | 111mins | Drama | Colour


Plot Synopsis


With If…. Lindsay Anderson reached out to the peak of achievement in the British cinema and made a film which must count as one of the most powerful ever made by an English director. A study of a rebel in an English public school, it showed an individual making a protest against authority, a cry which turns eventually into anarchy and armed insurrection, with parents, masters and prefects subjected to guerrilla gunfire from the rooftops on Founders’ Day, an ending recalling Jean Vigo’s classic Zero de Conduite, which had more than one resemblance to Anderson’s film.

The school, with its archaic, meaningless customs, its pseudo-progressive headmaster mouthing platitudes about the need for accepting the challenge of social change, the authoritarian rule of the prefects, represented a microcosm for the whole of English society. The school was Britain, its staff and prefects symbols of the establishment, the hero and his two young colleagues voices of dissent. Appearing in the year when world-wide student protest movements sparked off considerable re-valuations of the accepted order, If…. achieved weight by its excellent timing. But regardless of journalistic topicality, the film had the power of passion in its statement, a strong. political, committed force not merely unusual, but virtually unknown within the British cinema.

That the film emerged, not without production difficulties owing to financial shortfalls, was to the credit of Paramount, who distributed and secured an excellent run at one of their new Piccadilly Circus theatres, and also persuaded ABC to give it a general release, with success, thus proving that an intelligent film can be marketed to the British public, whatever the traditional beliefs in Wardour Street.

Production Team

Lindsay Anderson: Director
Stephen Frears: Assistant to the Director
John Stoneman: Asst Director
Tim Van Rellim: Asst Director
Miroslav OndrĂ­cek: Cinematography
Shura Cohen: Costume Design
Michael Ellis: Editing Assistant
Betty Blattner: Make-Up
Marc Wilkinson: Original Music
Michael Medwin: Producer
Lindsay Anderson: Producer
David Gladwell: Production Design
Jocelyn Herbert: Production Design
Gavrik Losey: Production Manager
David Sherwin: Script
John Howlett: Script
Christian Wangler: Sound


Malcolm McDowell: Mick Travis
David Wood: Johnny
Richard Warwick: Wallace
Christine Noonan: The Girl
Rupert Webster: Bobby Philips
Robert Swann: Rowntree
Hugh Thomas: Denson
Michael Cadman: Fortinbras
Peter Sproule: Barnes
Peter Jeffrey: Headmaster
Arthur Lowe: Mr Kemp
Mona Washbourne: Matron
Robin Askwith: Keating

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