Watch Scum

"In Borstal, survival rules!"
  • R
  • 1979
  • 1 hr 38 min
  • 7.6  (12,939)
  • 78

Scum is a 1979 British drama film directed by Alan Clarke and stars Ray Winstone, Mick Ford, and Julian Firth. The film was originally produced as a television play in 1977, but was remade as a feature film two years later after the BBC withdrew the original broadcast due to its violent and controversial content. The film is set in a tough Borstal (youth detention center) in the United Kingdom and follows the story of a young, troubled teenager named Carlin (Winstone) as he enters the facility and attempts to navigate the brutal and corrupt system within. From the moment he arrives, Carlin finds himself at odds with both his fellow inmates and the staff who are meant to be rehabilitating him. He quickly learns that violence is the only way to survive in the harsh world of the Borstal and begins to rise up through the ranks of his fellow inmates, eventually leading a rebellion against the abusive guards and corrupt officials who run the institution.

The film is a painstakingly accurate depiction of the brutal realities of life inside a Borstal in the late 1970s. Clarke masterfully captures the intense violence, hopelessness, and anger that the young inmates experience while imprisoned. The film doesn't shy away from showing the gritty, horrific aspects of the Borstal system, including beatings, rape, and psychological manipulation by staff and fellow inmates.

Despite its grim subject matter, Scum is a well-crafted film that is both compelling and thought-provoking. The performances by the talented cast, particularly Winstone in the lead role, are outstanding. The film is raw, visceral, and uncompromising in its approach, which makes it a difficult but important watch. At its core, Scum is a powerful critique of the British prison system and the inhumane treatment of young offenders.

Throughout the film, Carlin becomes increasingly disillusioned with the system and sets out to change it from the inside. He begins to organize his fellow inmates, building alliances and planning a rebellion against the corrupt officials who run the institution. The scenes leading up to the rebellion are some of the most intense of the entire film, as tensions run high and the violence escalates. In the end, the rebellion is brutally quashed by the authorities, leaving Carlin and his fellow inmates broken and defeated.

Scum is a bleak and uncompromising film that offers a searing critique of the British penal system. While it may be difficult to watch at times, it remains an important and powerful work of cinema that continues to resonate with audiences today. The film's uncompromising portrayal of violence and brutality depicts the system's inherent flaws and the tragic consequences of its failures.

In conclusion, Scum is a harrowing and powerful film that examines the inhumane treatment of young offenders in the British prison system. It showcases the brutality and corruption that exists within such institutions and is a searing indictment of the way in which society deals with troubled youth. The film's performances, direction, and uncompromising approach make it a cinematic masterpiece that remains relevant to this day.

Scum is a 1979 crime movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 38 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.6 and a MetaScore of 78.

Where to Watch Scum
Scum is available to watch free on Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download on demand at . Some platforms allow you to rent Scum for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 38 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.6  (12,939)
  • Metascore