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149 Ratings


Directed by Peter Watkins
United Kingdom, 1967
Comedy, Drama, Sci-Fi


Steven Shorter is the ultimate British music star. His music is listened to by everyone from pre-teens to grandparents.

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Privilege Directed by Peter Watkins

Critics reviews

That predictive gaze… has been the focus of much of Privilege’s reappraisal, all of it justified; on a formal level alone, Watkins’ work is years ahead of the curve. But within Privilege’s unforgiving takedown of state-sanctioned rock as cultural anesthetic lies an equally haunting vision of another of music’s soon-to-be-favourite narratives: the suddenly-awakened star who finds themselves a prisoner of the machine that created them.
March 17, 2017
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Watkins’s vision of pop culture’s future seems tame compared to how it actually turned out. A scene in which Shorter dons a medieval costume and sings in a advertisement for apples is a quaint precursor to the time when Dylan hawked women’s lingerie or Led Zeppelin pushed Cadillacs. This scrappy film is Spinal Tap‘s paranoid and disillusioned older brother.
July 06, 2016
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PRIVILEGE remains a contentious film in its likening of pop culture phenomena to Totalitarian propaganda (That Watkins shot it in Britain just after the height of Beatlemania is just one instance of his daring), but it remains profound in its cartography of power, which connects advertisers to the representatives of Church and State. An unsettling, surprising, and darkly humorous work.
September 25, 2009
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What are people saying?

  • El Biffo's rating of the film Privilege

    A classic, impeccable work of "fictional documentary", pioneered by the incredible Peter Watkins. Patti Smith had one of her biggest hits with a cover of the eponymous opening number of this exceptional and rarely seen film by one of the most important directors of out-of-the-box documentaries.

  • lndah's rating of the film Privilege

    The thing is this film received so many harsh critics, withdrew after brief screenings from media back in 60's [too paranoid, too hysterical, they said] but today it gets pleasant appraise. Watkins is way ahead of his time. Everyone should see this film for atleast they could add a little bit of healthy paranoia of "they want something, don't they?" to those that laid over hysterical and hypeness

  • Øyvind Rype's rating of the film Privilege

    Second viewing and my mind is still blown over how good this is but also how underseen this masterpiece really is. This should've been one of the most important British films of the 60's but instead it was forgotten in all its controversies and lack of home video distribution as with the rest of his filmography (War Games excluded). Luckily, it's now available for everyone to see.

  • Dale Wittig's rating of the film Privilege

    Unlikely as it may sound, given Watkin's Marxist/Anarchist politics, but I first saw this on broadcast TV in 1973, in rural CT. It details, in a deliberate, emotionally distant, manner, the rise and fall of a British Pop star, and the uses to which his stardom is put by the government and the corporations that control it. Though made in 1967 and set ten years in the future, it speaks eloquently of our present time.

  • FISCHER's rating of the film Privilege

    D'une violence éthique et morale inouïe, traversée d'une radicalité inhumaine et vomitive, cette oeuvre majeure de Peter Watkins, profondément visionnaire, dénonce un scandaleux état de fait et de culture, largement entré dans les moeurs et les outrances, aujourd'hui et à tout jamais, assujetti aux sonnantes exigences du business...

  • Stevie's rating of the film Privilege

    Incredibly inventive and filmed in Watkins' inimitable docu-drama style, Privilege works excellently as a vicious, biting satire and a focused attack on commercialism, consumerism and conformism.

  • JCPJD's rating of the film Privilege

    Having seen Punishment Park and Culloden I was interested to see this. It is less successful than the aforementioned. The problem is the characterisation of Steven Shorter. He is so vacant and stupid that it makes being with him a struggle and I didn't care about his fate at all.

  • Paolo Simeone's rating of the film Privilege

    Cinema strano, cinema da riscoprire. Watkins tira fuori un film sui lati oscuri dell'idolatria pop, tanto efficace a tratti e con una bellissima Jean Shrimpton. Ammetto pero` che un po' mi ha annoiato. Forse era un giorno no.

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