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824 Ratings


Directed by Franco Rosso
United Kingdom, Italy, 1980
  • English
  • English


A young dancehall DJ in South London pursues his musical ambitions, battling fiercely against the racism and xenophobia of employers, neighbors, police, and the National Front.

Our take

When Babylon premiered in Cannes 40 years ago, its subversive spirit was met with bewilderment—hinting at why this British cult classic remains tragically underseen. Branded “a time capsule of late 70s Brixton,” we wish its raw depiction of racial tension wasn’t as fiercely relevant as it is today.

Babylon Directed by Franco Rosso
The plotline’s swift descent into chaos from which neither side can return could so easily serve as a present-day metaphor for Britain’s Brexit mayhem or aspects of Donald Trump’s White House. Babylon has stood the test of time precisely because those problems never went away, just changed their clothes and started dancing to a different beat.
April 02, 2019
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Despite Rosso’s perceptive direction and the cinematography of Chris Menges (The Mission, The Killing Fields, Comfort and Joy…), it is the original soundtrack by Dennis Bovell, more than any other element, that creates the storyline’s intention and tone.
March 14, 2019
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[It’s] a British movie about disaffected British people (disaffected British men), and, as such, seems just as seminal an entry in the English “angry young man” sweepstakes as the plays, novels and movies about alienation made in the 1960s.
March 07, 2019
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