The Filth and the Fury: A Sex Pistols Film

(2000)

Julien Temple’s second doc on British punk icons the Sex Pistols (following on from 1980s The Great Rock and Roll Swindle released 20 years earlier), The Filth and the Fury is an interesting watch to say the least.

The doc takes its name from an outraged Daily Mirror article on the band from 1976, but it’s fair to say the band upset more than just a UK newspaper or two in their short existence; being banned from TV, scrapping with their own fans and even being fired by one record company a mere 24 hours after they’d signed.

The big difference between The Filth and the Fury and Temple’s previous doc is that in the latter the director tells the story more from the angle of the band members rather than their flamboyant manager Malcolm McLaren.

Weirdly, John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten in his Pistols’ days), guitarist Steve Jones, drummer Paul Cook, Glen Matlock are backlit when reminiscing so the viewer cannot see their faces, while the eccentric McLaren wears a rubber bondage mask to wax lyrical on the seminal band.

There’s even a chance for Sid Vicious himself to have his say, via an interview filmed a year before his death from a drug overdose that was thought to be a suicide.

The doc shows just how much the Sex Pistols pushed the boundaries of taste, and at times, incited violence. The rise and fall of the band is chronicled expertly while Temple provides some relevant historical context with Britain’s social order in the 1970s through archival footage that shows just what the Pistols were railing against.