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Directed by Julien Temple

United Kingdom 1980 103 mins. In English

“To be bad is good. To be good is simply boring.”—Malcolm McLaren. The urge to self-mythologize is written into rock’s DNA. In 1978, the Sex Pistols’ story—who did what for whom and why—was still up for grabs. THE GREAT ROCK ‘N’ ROLL SWINDLE is manager Malcolm McLaren’s attempt to write himself into history as the band’s creator, manipulator, and ideologue and to steal back from the music industry what he felt it had stolen from rock and roll. Julien Temple’s bizarre and hilarious fictional documentary charts the rise and fall of punk’s most notorious band through the eyes of its calculating manager. Mixing animation and live footage of some of the Pistols’ most electrifying performances, the film presents the band’s success as an elaborate scam perpetrated by McLaren to make “a million pounds” at the expense of record companies, outraged moralists, the British royal family, and even the fans and band members themselves.

Genres: Comedy, Music

Appears in: Reel Music Festival 31



The Northwest Film Center recognizes and honors the Indigenous peoples of this region on whose ancestral lands the museum now stands. These include the Willamette Tumwater, Clackamas, Kathlemet, Molalla, Multnomah and Watlala Chinook Peoples and the Tualatin Kalapuya who today are part of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and many other Native communities who made their homes along the Columbia River. We also want to recognize that Portland today is a community of many diverse Native peoples who continue to live and work here. We respectfully acknowledge and honor all Indigenous communities—past, present, future—and are grateful for their ongoing and vibrant presence.