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Lindsay Anderson's If.... is a daringly anarchic vision of British society, set in a boarding school in late-sixties England. Before Kubrick made his mischief iconic in A Clockwork Orange, Malcolm McDowell made a hell of an impression as the insouciant Mick Travis, who, along with his school chums, trumps authority at every turn, finally emerging as a violent savior in the vicious games of one-upmanship played by both students and masters. Mixing color and black and white as audaciously as it mixes fantasy and reality, If.... remains one of cinema's most unforgettable rebel yells.(c)… More
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 97%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Punchy, poetic pic that delves into the epic theme of youthful revolt."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"A modern classic in which Anderson minutely captures both the particular ethos of a public school and the general flavour of any structured community."
‑ Stephen Garrett, Time Out
"[VIDEO ESSAY]...a bold commentary on the adverse effects of abusive regimented indoctrination techniques used by British boarding schools and military outfits alike."
‑ Cole Smithey, ColeSmithey.com
"Its poetics of insurrection still resonate with any armchair anarchists who've even fleetingly wished death to their oppressors."
‑ Bill Weber, Stylus Magazine
"Anyone who was a disaffected teenager can relate to this still-controversial (it looks fairly eerie post-Columbine), never less than fascinating satire."
‑ Rob Gonsalves, eFilmCritic.com
"The film finally succumbs to its own abstraction with an ending that satisfies neither symbolism nor wish fulfillment."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"If . . . is so good and strong that even those things in the movie that strike me as being first-class mistakes are of more interest than entire movies made by smoothly consistent, lesser directors."
‑ Vincent Canby, New York Times
"If.... is more than a little dated, and some patches get pretty long, but it feels alive ... and that's important."
‑ Eric Melin, Scene-Stealers.com
"Lindsay Anderson's boldly allegorical drama If... features a sly script that very slowly reveals just how strongly it is protesting against authority."
‑ Jeremy Heilman, MovieMartyr.com
"However we choose to read it, there is an undeniable nod to the imagination, and that is where true horror is created."
‑ Felix Gonzalez Jr., DVD Review
"A film of tremendous resonance, coming when it did in 1968 with the force of a grenade."
‑ Elliott Stein, Village Voice
"Shot a few months before the student riots in Paris of May 1968, if.... captures the rebelliousness and anti-authoritarianism of the time, while raising troubling questions about where it might all be leading, and what risked being lost."
‑ Anton Bitel, FilmLand Empire
"Amongst the greatest British films of the post-war years."
‑ , Film4
"McDowell is part of the reason the film works so well. In his first movie role, he has a James Dean-type physicality, fearless and entrancing."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
"One of the undisputed classics of modern British cinema."
‑ Ken Hanke, Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
More reviews for If.... on Rotten Tomatoes