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Rebellious students at an English private school plan a violent revolt against their repressive environment in director Lindsay Anderson's highly acclaimed but extremely controversial drama. Centering on a small group of non-conformists led by Mick Travis (Malcolm McDowell), the film paints a distinctly negative picture of the British school system and, by extension, English society. Seeing the powers-that-be as humorless, bureaucratic, and needlessly restrictive, Mick and his cohorts indulge in small acts of rebellion, including sneaking into town to romance a local waitress. Their… 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
"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
"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
"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)
"A film of tremendous resonance, coming when it did in 1968 with the force of a grenade."
‑ Elliott Stein, Village Voice
"[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
"a story about pain, fear, and severe humiliation"
‑ Christopher Null, Filmcritic.com
More reviews for If.... on Rotten Tomatoes