The Kids Are Alright


1h 41m 1979
The Kids Are Alright

Brief Synopsis

Documentary footage traces The Who's rise to rock stardom.

Film Details

Also Known As
Kids Are Alright
MPAA Rating
Genre
Documentary
Music
Release Date
1979

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 41m

Synopsis

Documentary footage traces The Who's rise to rock stardom.

Crew

Mose Allison

Song

Stan Andrews

Camera Assistant

Geoff Baines

Camera Assistant

Michael Becker

Sound

Max Bell

Consultant

Debbie Blum

Production Manager

Melvin Bragg

Other

James Brown

Song

Peter Butler

Assistant Director

Paul Cavagnero

Assistant Editor

Lindsey Clennell

Consultant

Tony Coggans

Camera Operator

Brian Cook

Assistant Director

Colin Corby

Camera Operator

Bill Curbishley

Producer

Roger Daltrey

Other

Roger Daltrey

Song

Rick Danko

Other

Mike Davis

Camera Operator

Mike Delaney

Camera Operator

Don Digirolamo

Consultant

Richard Dobson

Assistant Director

Lamont Dozier

Song

Jerry Dunkley

Camera Operator

Stuart Edwards

Sound

John Entwhistle

Song

John Entwhistle

Music

John Entwhistle

Other

Barry Fantoni

Other

Fred Fassert

Song

John Garfath

Camera Operator

Robert Gavin

Assistant Editor

John Golding

Camera Assistant

Leo Guerra

Assistant Editor

Norman Gunsten

Other

Harvey Harrison

Camera Operator

Tom Harrison

Camera Operator

Russell Harty

Other

Carol Hilson

Production Assistant

Brian Holland

Song

Eddie Holland

Song

Claudia Horvath

Research Assistant

Stephen Katz

Consultant

Tony Klinger

Producer

Nic Knowland

Camera Operator

Cy Langston

Sound Editor

Lou Lavelly

Camera Operator

Michael Leckebusch

Other

Pauline Lee

Assistant Editor

Michelle Logan

Production Assistant

Malcolm Macintosh

Camera Assistant

Steve Martin

Other

Steve Maslow

Sound

Ellis Mcdaniel

Song

Dennis Mctaggart

Assistant Editor

Jackie Mellist

Production Assistant

John Metcalfe

Camera Operator

Donald O Mitchell

Sound

Keith Moon

Song

Keith Moon

Other

Chris Morphet

Camera Operator

Peter Nevard

Other

Peter Nevard

Director Of Photography

Pat Newman

Key Grip

Jimmy O'neil

Other

Jeremy Paxman

Other

Peter Edward Price

Production Manager

Bob Pridden

Sound

Bob Pridden

Other

Keith Richard

Other

Tony Richmond

Camera

Michael Roberts

Camera Operator

Monica Rogers

Production Assistant

Sydney Rose

Executive Producer

Tim Ross

Camera Assistant

Ed Rothkowitz

Associate Producer

Ed Rothkowitz

Editor

Peter Salem

Camera Assistant

Michael Saxton

Assistant Editor

Thelma Schoonmaker

Consultant

Bob Smith

Camera Operator

Clive Smith

Music

Tom Smothers

Other

Ringo Starr

Other

Jeff Stein

Screenplay

Jeff Stein

Researcher

Jeff Stein

Associate Producer

Kevin Stein

Consultant

Michael Taylor

Assistant Editor

Jeremy Thomas

Consultant

Peter Townshend

Music

Peter Townshend

Other

Peter Townshend

Song

Ray Traynor

Props

Eric Van Haren Noman

Camera Operator

Tim Van Rellim

Production Manager

Bill Varney

Sound

Malcolm Vinson

Camera Operator

Peter Wandless

Sound Editor

Norman Warwick

Camera

Gary Weir

Sound

John Wolff

Consultant

Mary Ann Zabresky

Other

Film Details

Also Known As
Kids Are Alright
MPAA Rating
Genre
Documentary
Music
Release Date
1979

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 41m

Articles

The Gist (The Kids are Alright) - THE GIST


"Most rock films are pretentious...This is totally the opposite. Within the first half hour we're made to look complete idiots."
- Roger Daltrey, singer for The Who

Watching The Who was just as exciting as listening to them. For any other band, songs this good performed by members this talented would have been enough but The Who added leaps, spinning microphones, heroic poses, and a mad thrashing, and sometimes crashing, of instruments for an audio-visual overload that left concert-goers exhilarated.

Capturing it on film would have seemed a natural idea, but it took fifteen years and many, many attempts to finally bring about The Kids Are Alright (1979).

Shortly after The Who assembled in 1964, the first try got underway. Two low-level workers in the British film industry, Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp, had been looking for a band to make the subject of a documentary; a sort of Making the Band movie. Lambert was the first to spot the group and he and Stamp quickly snapped them up, edging out their former manager. However, just getting The Who onto the charts and keeping them afloat took all their time and the movie was left forgotten.

Next was famed Italian art-film director Michelangelo Antonioni, suitably impressed after watching The Who at the Goldhawk Social Club in London at the end of 1965. He was unable to secure their services, instead hiring The Yardbirds to re-create The Who's act for his movie Blow-Up (1966).

By 1975, The Who had managed to play a major part in one movie, Ken Russell's bizarre interpretation of their rock opera Tommy (1975) and it was while lead guitarist Pete Townshend was in New York for that film's premiere that he was approached by 21-year old Who fan Jeff Stein.

Stein's scheme was to make a movie about The Who using found material from old television clips. The band would merely have to give its permission and the whole thing would practically be done! Townshend agreed and the rest of The Who were convinced after watching a 17-minute test reel.

Stein's simple plan turned out to be a bit harder to realize than he thought. Almost two years were spent getting the money from backers, securing a distribution deal, and then searching around the world for the clips.

With that done, Stein got a film crew to capture new material to flesh out his movie. Drummer Keith Moon turned out to be a documentarian's dream. A madman party animal around the clock, Moon led Stein and his crew a merry chase through Malibu Beach, dressing up as a pirate, being interviewed in full bondage gear while being whipped, and getting in a food fight with a naked woman who leapt out of his birthday cake.

For his finale, Stein needed film of The Who's show-stopping anthem "Won't Get Fooled Again." A concert before an invited audience at the end of 1977 turned into a bust as the band, rusty after more than a year off the road, was erratic and lackluster. Stein cajoled The Who into another try, this one at Shepperton Studios in May 1978. The band's anger that they were forced to play the song again was channeled into their performance, giving Stein the white-hot rendition of The Who's set closer he needed for his climax.

That performance and the movie itself gained new meaning on September 7, 1978 when Keith Moon was found dead from an overdose of prescription medication. His performance at Shepperton was his last with The Who and The Kids Are Alright automatically turned from a fan's tribute into The Who's eulogy.

The Who continued, of course, with new drummer Kenney Jones taking Moon's seat in time for the movie's premiere at Cannes in May 1979. The band was good but it was not the same. The original Who, considered by many the greatest live act of all time, managed to survive just long enough to be captured for The Kids Are Alright.

Producer: Bill Curbishley, Tony Klinger, Sydney Rose, Ed Rothkowitz
Director: Jeff Stein
Screenplay: Jeff Stein
Cinematography: Peter Nevard, Anthony B. Richmond, Norman Warwick, Norman Wexler
Film Editing: Ed Rothkowitz
Music: John Entwistle, Keith Moon
Cast: Roger Daltrey, John Entwistle, Keith Moon, Pete Townshend, Tom Smothers, Jimmy O'Neill.
BW&C-101m. Letterboxed.

by Brian Cady
The Gist (The Kids Are Alright) - The Gist

The Gist (The Kids are Alright) - THE GIST

"Most rock films are pretentious...This is totally the opposite. Within the first half hour we're made to look complete idiots." - Roger Daltrey, singer for The Who Watching The Who was just as exciting as listening to them. For any other band, songs this good performed by members this talented would have been enough but The Who added leaps, spinning microphones, heroic poses, and a mad thrashing, and sometimes crashing, of instruments for an audio-visual overload that left concert-goers exhilarated. Capturing it on film would have seemed a natural idea, but it took fifteen years and many, many attempts to finally bring about The Kids Are Alright (1979). Shortly after The Who assembled in 1964, the first try got underway. Two low-level workers in the British film industry, Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp, had been looking for a band to make the subject of a documentary; a sort of Making the Band movie. Lambert was the first to spot the group and he and Stamp quickly snapped them up, edging out their former manager. However, just getting The Who onto the charts and keeping them afloat took all their time and the movie was left forgotten. Next was famed Italian art-film director Michelangelo Antonioni, suitably impressed after watching The Who at the Goldhawk Social Club in London at the end of 1965. He was unable to secure their services, instead hiring The Yardbirds to re-create The Who's act for his movie Blow-Up (1966). By 1975, The Who had managed to play a major part in one movie, Ken Russell's bizarre interpretation of their rock opera Tommy (1975) and it was while lead guitarist Pete Townshend was in New York for that film's premiere that he was approached by 21-year old Who fan Jeff Stein. Stein's scheme was to make a movie about The Who using found material from old television clips. The band would merely have to give its permission and the whole thing would practically be done! Townshend agreed and the rest of The Who were convinced after watching a 17-minute test reel. Stein's simple plan turned out to be a bit harder to realize than he thought. Almost two years were spent getting the money from backers, securing a distribution deal, and then searching around the world for the clips. With that done, Stein got a film crew to capture new material to flesh out his movie. Drummer Keith Moon turned out to be a documentarian's dream. A madman party animal around the clock, Moon led Stein and his crew a merry chase through Malibu Beach, dressing up as a pirate, being interviewed in full bondage gear while being whipped, and getting in a food fight with a naked woman who leapt out of his birthday cake. For his finale, Stein needed film of The Who's show-stopping anthem "Won't Get Fooled Again." A concert before an invited audience at the end of 1977 turned into a bust as the band, rusty after more than a year off the road, was erratic and lackluster. Stein cajoled The Who into another try, this one at Shepperton Studios in May 1978. The band's anger that they were forced to play the song again was channeled into their performance, giving Stein the white-hot rendition of The Who's set closer he needed for his climax. That performance and the movie itself gained new meaning on September 7, 1978 when Keith Moon was found dead from an overdose of prescription medication. His performance at Shepperton was his last with The Who and The Kids Are Alright automatically turned from a fan's tribute into The Who's eulogy. The Who continued, of course, with new drummer Kenney Jones taking Moon's seat in time for the movie's premiere at Cannes in May 1979. The band was good but it was not the same. The original Who, considered by many the greatest live act of all time, managed to survive just long enough to be captured for The Kids Are Alright. Producer: Bill Curbishley, Tony Klinger, Sydney Rose, Ed Rothkowitz Director: Jeff Stein Screenplay: Jeff Stein Cinematography: Peter Nevard, Anthony B. Richmond, Norman Warwick, Norman Wexler Film Editing: Ed Rothkowitz Music: John Entwistle, Keith Moon Cast: Roger Daltrey, John Entwistle, Keith Moon, Pete Townshend, Tom Smothers, Jimmy O'Neill. BW&C-101m. Letterboxed. by Brian Cady

Insider Info (The Kids are Alright) - BEHIND THE SCENES


Jeff Stein had no right to make The Who's official documentary, The Kids Are Alright (1979)...except one. "I was a fan – the Who were my favorite band – they always were and still are,' he told Ira Robbins in Trouser Press magazine. "I guess I started following them in 1965, and started physically following their tours in '69 and '70. Then I had a collection of photographs that I got published [1973's The Who with Chris Johnston] and I got to know the band better...the next time [Pete Townshend] was in New York [March 1975], I discussed the possibility of doing a film with him. I said that there was a whole new generation of Who fans – there's a hierarchy of Who fans: the people that first followed them, then the people who followed them as of Tommy, and then the younger people who first saw them in '74 or '75. I said, 'I think we should preserve all this. Why don't I put all the old film clips together so that they'll always be there for the younger fans and for the older fans who still want to see the old songs you don't want to play anymore. Even for your kids.' He said he thought it was a good idea. If I could put up with all the hassles with lawyers and management and stuff, he said he would back me all the way."

The next step was convincing the band, which turned out to be easier than expected. "The final thing that convinced them to do it was a 17-minute film that I put together with Ed Rothkowitz, who was, and is, my editor. We strung together whatever Who film I could beg, borrow or steal, and showed it to them. I've never seen such a reaction – Pete was on the floor, banging his head. He and Keith were hysterical. Roger's wife was laughing so hard she knocked over the coffee table in the screening room. Their reaction was unbelievable – they loved it. That's when they were really convinced that the movie was worth doing. It amused them, so they figured there must be an audience for it. They're always their harshest critics."

Stein's first steps took him away from hanging out with rock stars to digging through dusty vaults: "...a lot was from Germany, some from Sweden, France and Australia. I also got footage from Norway and some from Finland that had been shot elsewhere. I had to track people down that had shot film for them at the Fillmore, at the Village Theatre, at Commack, Long Island – stuff like that."

After that was shooting the movie's new footage: "I was just supposed to go in and do cinema verité stuff, just get whatever happens, but when I showed up, it was 'Okay Jeff, what do you want us to play?' I didn't know what to tell them, so I racked my brains for a minute and said, 'How about playing 'Barbara Ann'?' So we have a rendition of them doing 'Barbara Ann' with Keith handling lead vocals. They hadn't played it since 1966, but they went right into it, and it's a great version. The next day, Keith decided he would arrive on a fire truck that was on fire, so we have some of that."

For the movie's conclusion, Stein planned on shooting The Who performing their set closer "Won't Get Fooled Again," but this turned out not to be so simple. "... the Greater London Council wouldn't let us use the lasers inside London, and we couldn't find any suitable venue, so we finally booked a huge movie sound stage at Shepperton, and built their entire stage inside. To make up for it not really being a gig, we turned it into a huge party...We had twelve hundred people drunk out of their skulls, and it was very difficult to film. I didn't have people roped off, and we didn't tell anybody to sit down or anything, and it was crazy. When they hit the stage, there were people all over the place. The Who played great. When we went back the next day to clean up, there were people still there, unconscious."

by Brian Cady

SOURCES:
Jeff Stein interview from Trouser Press magazine (Apr. 1979) conducted by Ira Robbins.

Insider Info (The Kids are Alright) - BEHIND THE SCENES

Jeff Stein had no right to make The Who's official documentary, The Kids Are Alright (1979)...except one. "I was a fan – the Who were my favorite band – they always were and still are,' he told Ira Robbins in Trouser Press magazine. "I guess I started following them in 1965, and started physically following their tours in '69 and '70. Then I had a collection of photographs that I got published [1973's The Who with Chris Johnston] and I got to know the band better...the next time [Pete Townshend] was in New York [March 1975], I discussed the possibility of doing a film with him. I said that there was a whole new generation of Who fans – there's a hierarchy of Who fans: the people that first followed them, then the people who followed them as of Tommy, and then the younger people who first saw them in '74 or '75. I said, 'I think we should preserve all this. Why don't I put all the old film clips together so that they'll always be there for the younger fans and for the older fans who still want to see the old songs you don't want to play anymore. Even for your kids.' He said he thought it was a good idea. If I could put up with all the hassles with lawyers and management and stuff, he said he would back me all the way." The next step was convincing the band, which turned out to be easier than expected. "The final thing that convinced them to do it was a 17-minute film that I put together with Ed Rothkowitz, who was, and is, my editor. We strung together whatever Who film I could beg, borrow or steal, and showed it to them. I've never seen such a reaction – Pete was on the floor, banging his head. He and Keith were hysterical. Roger's wife was laughing so hard she knocked over the coffee table in the screening room. Their reaction was unbelievable – they loved it. That's when they were really convinced that the movie was worth doing. It amused them, so they figured there must be an audience for it. They're always their harshest critics." Stein's first steps took him away from hanging out with rock stars to digging through dusty vaults: "...a lot was from Germany, some from Sweden, France and Australia. I also got footage from Norway and some from Finland that had been shot elsewhere. I had to track people down that had shot film for them at the Fillmore, at the Village Theatre, at Commack, Long Island – stuff like that." After that was shooting the movie's new footage: "I was just supposed to go in and do cinema verité stuff, just get whatever happens, but when I showed up, it was 'Okay Jeff, what do you want us to play?' I didn't know what to tell them, so I racked my brains for a minute and said, 'How about playing 'Barbara Ann'?' So we have a rendition of them doing 'Barbara Ann' with Keith handling lead vocals. They hadn't played it since 1966, but they went right into it, and it's a great version. The next day, Keith decided he would arrive on a fire truck that was on fire, so we have some of that." For the movie's conclusion, Stein planned on shooting The Who performing their set closer "Won't Get Fooled Again," but this turned out not to be so simple. "... the Greater London Council wouldn't let us use the lasers inside London, and we couldn't find any suitable venue, so we finally booked a huge movie sound stage at Shepperton, and built their entire stage inside. To make up for it not really being a gig, we turned it into a huge party...We had twelve hundred people drunk out of their skulls, and it was very difficult to film. I didn't have people roped off, and we didn't tell anybody to sit down or anything, and it was crazy. When they hit the stage, there were people all over the place. The Who played great. When we went back the next day to clean up, there were people still there, unconscious." by Brian Cady SOURCES: Jeff Stein interview from Trouser Press magazine (Apr. 1979) conducted by Ira Robbins.

In the Know (The Kids are Alright) - TRIVIA


Keith Moon was alleged to have bribed a stagehand on the set of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour to allow him to pack ten times the amount of allowed gunpowder into his drum kit. Pete Townshend, whose head took the full force of the blast, says his later hearing problems stemmed from the explosion.

Also appearing on that episode of the Smothers Brothers were Mickey Rooney and Bette Davis. Rumor long had it that Bette passed out into Mickey's arms when Keith's drums exploded, but Tommy Smothers has since denied it.

Tommy Smothers wanted The Who to perform "My Generation" on his show after seeing them perform the song at the Monterey Pop Festival, which is shown near the end of the movie.

The footage of The Who performing "Young Man Blues" was found by director Jeff Stein in a garbage bin outside their ex-managers' office.

Ringo Starr, close friend (and, at the time, drinking buddy) of Keith Moon, volunteered to narrate the movie's trailer and interview Keith for the film. His son Zak Starkey would, twenty years later, take over Keith's seat as The Who's drummer.

Woodstock (1970) editor Thelma Schoonmaker aided Jeff Stein in searching through out-takes from that film for footage of The Who. She would later become best known as editor for movies directed by her fellow Woodstock editor, Martin Scorsese.

Stein's biggest disappointment was his inability to find footage of The Who's fabled fights. No film was ever discovered of Pete Townshend hitting Yippie leader Abbie Hoffman with his guitar after Hoffman interrupted The Who's set at Woodstock or Roger Daltrey knocking Pete out during the filming of a 1973 Quadrophenia rehearsal.

The gold records John Entwistle shoots with a machine gun are actual ones awarded for Roger Daltrey's solo albums.

The many guitars and posters seen on the stairs in John Entwistle's home were auctioned at Sotheby's after his death in 2002 for over £1 million.

Keith Moon saw the assembled movie one week before his death in 1978. Jeff Stein said that the only edit made afterwards was to a line at the end of a Russell Harty interview clip. After Pete greeted a question about a decade of The Who with the line "Who decayed?" he turned to Keith and said, "apparently not all of them survived."

The footage of The Who performing "A Quick One While He's Away" was shot as part of a 1968 Rolling Stones television special. The special was shelved for almost thirty years, allegedly because The Rolling Stones felt their performance had been upstaged by The Who's.

Shepperton Studios, where "Baba O'Riley" and "Won't Get Fooled Again" were shot, was, at the time, partly owned by The Who. During the time they were invested there, the studio's biggest hit was Ridley Scott's Alien (1979). The Who's lasers, seen at the end of "Won't Get Fooled Again," were borrowed for Alien to lay a light grid over the alien's egg nest.

Billy Idol, Chrissie Hynde and her band The Pretenders and some members of The Sex Pistols were in the audience for the filming of the "Won't Get Fooled Again" finale.

by Brian Cady

Sources:
The Who: Maximum R&B by Richard Barnes
Anyway Anyhow Anywhere: The Complete Chronicle of The Who 1958-1978 by Matt Kent and Andrew Neill
Telephone interview with Jeff Stein

In the Know (The Kids are Alright) - TRIVIA

Keith Moon was alleged to have bribed a stagehand on the set of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour to allow him to pack ten times the amount of allowed gunpowder into his drum kit. Pete Townshend, whose head took the full force of the blast, says his later hearing problems stemmed from the explosion. Also appearing on that episode of the Smothers Brothers were Mickey Rooney and Bette Davis. Rumor long had it that Bette passed out into Mickey's arms when Keith's drums exploded, but Tommy Smothers has since denied it. Tommy Smothers wanted The Who to perform "My Generation" on his show after seeing them perform the song at the Monterey Pop Festival, which is shown near the end of the movie. The footage of The Who performing "Young Man Blues" was found by director Jeff Stein in a garbage bin outside their ex-managers' office. Ringo Starr, close friend (and, at the time, drinking buddy) of Keith Moon, volunteered to narrate the movie's trailer and interview Keith for the film. His son Zak Starkey would, twenty years later, take over Keith's seat as The Who's drummer. Woodstock (1970) editor Thelma Schoonmaker aided Jeff Stein in searching through out-takes from that film for footage of The Who. She would later become best known as editor for movies directed by her fellow Woodstock editor, Martin Scorsese. Stein's biggest disappointment was his inability to find footage of The Who's fabled fights. No film was ever discovered of Pete Townshend hitting Yippie leader Abbie Hoffman with his guitar after Hoffman interrupted The Who's set at Woodstock or Roger Daltrey knocking Pete out during the filming of a 1973 Quadrophenia rehearsal. The gold records John Entwistle shoots with a machine gun are actual ones awarded for Roger Daltrey's solo albums. The many guitars and posters seen on the stairs in John Entwistle's home were auctioned at Sotheby's after his death in 2002 for over £1 million. Keith Moon saw the assembled movie one week before his death in 1978. Jeff Stein said that the only edit made afterwards was to a line at the end of a Russell Harty interview clip. After Pete greeted a question about a decade of The Who with the line "Who decayed?" he turned to Keith and said, "apparently not all of them survived." The footage of The Who performing "A Quick One While He's Away" was shot as part of a 1968 Rolling Stones television special. The special was shelved for almost thirty years, allegedly because The Rolling Stones felt their performance had been upstaged by The Who's. Shepperton Studios, where "Baba O'Riley" and "Won't Get Fooled Again" were shot, was, at the time, partly owned by The Who. During the time they were invested there, the studio's biggest hit was Ridley Scott's Alien (1979). The Who's lasers, seen at the end of "Won't Get Fooled Again," were borrowed for Alien to lay a light grid over the alien's egg nest. Billy Idol, Chrissie Hynde and her band The Pretenders and some members of The Sex Pistols were in the audience for the filming of the "Won't Get Fooled Again" finale. by Brian Cady Sources: The Who: Maximum R&B by Richard Barnes Anyway Anyhow Anywhere: The Complete Chronicle of The Who 1958-1978 by Matt Kent and Andrew Neill Telephone interview with Jeff Stein

Yea or Nay (The Kids are Alright) - CRITIC REVIEWS OF "THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT"


"Mind-boggling live footage and TV clips offer smashups, trenchant insights and hilarious pratfalls along with some of the most staggeringly powerful rock music you will ever see, hear and feel."
- Michael Azerrad, Rolling Stone

"Mr. Stein has managed to tackle his very interesting subject with diligence, myopic intensity and no discernable point of view."
- Janet Maslin, The New York Times

"It's watchable because The Who is as good a combo to see as to hear; because guitarist-composer Pete Townshend has always possessed a gift - unusual among rock artists - for articulating his own shifting frustrations and aspirations, and those of a generation; and because drummer Keith Moon, who died last year, was, in Townshend's words, "different from anyone else I'd ever met."
- Daily Variety

"The reportage format, like a newsreel through the years, befits their status as one of the longest intact major rock groups."
- Tom Allen, Village Voice

"That rare animal, a rock documentary which entertains and informs in equal quantities, The Kids Are Alright is a movie that comes over as a celebration of rock 'n' roll itself as much as of one of its more masterful exponents."
- Frances Lass, Time Out

"Overlong and disjointed, yet frequently exhilarating documentary on The Who that manages to capture the anarchic spirit of the group - and of rock 'n' roll."
- Leonard Maltin

"The Kids Are Alright is a fanzine movie without a fanzine's attention to chronological detail. And yet for those appreciators of the Who's musical contributions to whom this material isn't familiar, the memory jolt can quicken the heart."
- Mitch Cohen, Creem

"At its very core, however, the film is about the music and the music is awesome. Whether the group is horsing around as the musical interlude on a comedy variety show or whether they are in a serious performance trying to top what they did the night before, the songs are always energized, intelligent and heart-stoppingly fresh."
- Doug Pratt, Hollywood Reporter

Between Townshend's arrogant funny pronouncements and Moon's lunacy the interviews are as enjoyable as the music. All in all, a perfect tribute to a band that was as funny as it was dangerous and loud.
- Brad Laidman, Film Threat

"There's plenty of good music and excitement here, but there's also an underlying sense of melancholy; Keith Moon's decline is vividly on display here, and it's sad to see him devolve from an intensely alive force of nature (and drummer extraordinaire) to a ravaged, bloated burn-out case. It'll give you the blues. Keith, what happened?"
- Marshall Crenshaw, Hollywood Rock: A Guide to Rock 'n' Roll Movies

"...one of the most entertaining rock docs ever made, a defining film in the then tiny, pre-MTV genre...Pretty boy Roger Daltrey and poker-faced John Entwistle were outshone by Pete Townshend's guitar, songs, and ideas (and early instrument destruction), which dictated the group's direction. But it's Keith Moon's sociopathic behavior that dominates the film, defining a rock attitude for arrested adolescents everywhere. Spinal Tap were surely taking notes."
- Jason Gross, The Village Voice

"The structure of the 1979 Who documentary The Kids Are Alright is so perfect that it's amazing more rock filmmakers haven't adopted it...[it] works as a time-capsule compendium of great live performances, and even now, Stein's clearinghouse approach is too rare...The Kids Are Alright derives its meaning from pictures of the musicians in full flight: Roger Daltrey swinging his microphone, Townshend windmilling, and John Entwistle standing stock-still. Stein understood that watching Keith Moon pound his way through "I Can't Explain" is explanation enough." - Noel Murray, The A.V. Club

Compiled by Brian Cady

Yea or Nay (The Kids are Alright) - CRITIC REVIEWS OF "THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT"

"Mind-boggling live footage and TV clips offer smashups, trenchant insights and hilarious pratfalls along with some of the most staggeringly powerful rock music you will ever see, hear and feel." - Michael Azerrad, Rolling Stone "Mr. Stein has managed to tackle his very interesting subject with diligence, myopic intensity and no discernable point of view." - Janet Maslin, The New York Times "It's watchable because The Who is as good a combo to see as to hear; because guitarist-composer Pete Townshend has always possessed a gift - unusual among rock artists - for articulating his own shifting frustrations and aspirations, and those of a generation; and because drummer Keith Moon, who died last year, was, in Townshend's words, "different from anyone else I'd ever met." - Daily Variety "The reportage format, like a newsreel through the years, befits their status as one of the longest intact major rock groups." - Tom Allen, Village Voice "That rare animal, a rock documentary which entertains and informs in equal quantities, The Kids Are Alright is a movie that comes over as a celebration of rock 'n' roll itself as much as of one of its more masterful exponents." - Frances Lass, Time Out "Overlong and disjointed, yet frequently exhilarating documentary on The Who that manages to capture the anarchic spirit of the group - and of rock 'n' roll." - Leonard Maltin "The Kids Are Alright is a fanzine movie without a fanzine's attention to chronological detail. And yet for those appreciators of the Who's musical contributions to whom this material isn't familiar, the memory jolt can quicken the heart." - Mitch Cohen, Creem "At its very core, however, the film is about the music and the music is awesome. Whether the group is horsing around as the musical interlude on a comedy variety show or whether they are in a serious performance trying to top what they did the night before, the songs are always energized, intelligent and heart-stoppingly fresh." - Doug Pratt, Hollywood Reporter Between Townshend's arrogant funny pronouncements and Moon's lunacy the interviews are as enjoyable as the music. All in all, a perfect tribute to a band that was as funny as it was dangerous and loud. - Brad Laidman, Film Threat "There's plenty of good music and excitement here, but there's also an underlying sense of melancholy; Keith Moon's decline is vividly on display here, and it's sad to see him devolve from an intensely alive force of nature (and drummer extraordinaire) to a ravaged, bloated burn-out case. It'll give you the blues. Keith, what happened?" - Marshall Crenshaw, Hollywood Rock: A Guide to Rock 'n' Roll Movies "...one of the most entertaining rock docs ever made, a defining film in the then tiny, pre-MTV genre...Pretty boy Roger Daltrey and poker-faced John Entwistle were outshone by Pete Townshend's guitar, songs, and ideas (and early instrument destruction), which dictated the group's direction. But it's Keith Moon's sociopathic behavior that dominates the film, defining a rock attitude for arrested adolescents everywhere. Spinal Tap were surely taking notes." - Jason Gross, The Village Voice "The structure of the 1979 Who documentary The Kids Are Alright is so perfect that it's amazing more rock filmmakers haven't adopted it...[it] works as a time-capsule compendium of great live performances, and even now, Stein's clearinghouse approach is too rare...The Kids Are Alright derives its meaning from pictures of the musicians in full flight: Roger Daltrey swinging his microphone, Townshend windmilling, and John Entwistle standing stock-still. Stein understood that watching Keith Moon pound his way through "I Can't Explain" is explanation enough." - Noel Murray, The A.V. Club Compiled by Brian Cady

Quote It! (The Kids are Alright) - QUOTES FROM "THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT"


Tommy (1975) director Ken Russell: I think that Townshend, The Who, Roger Daltrey, Entwistle, Moon, could rise this country out of its decadent, ambient state more than Wilson and those crappy people could ever hope to achieve!

Pete Townshend: We started off as... Keith Moon:...a small family butcher's firm.

Pete: I used to rush into Marshall's music shop and steal guitars off the wall. I'd say, 'Just taking a guitar! Pay you Tuesday!' and rush out.

Pete: Our group hasn't got any quality. It's just musical sensationalism. It's just basic Shepherd's Bush enjoyment.

Audience member: You've said your group hasn't got any quality. Why don't you try to give it some? Pete: If you steer clear of quality, you're all right.

Roger Daltrey: My main ambition is to get back on the road with the 'Orrible 'Oo, the worst rock 'n' roll band in the world!

Pete: I said, 'You can't write a ten-minute song!' Rock songs are two-minutes fifty by tradition. It's one of the traditions. They only allowed you one modulation, four chords or five...five and you might be up before the committee.

Pete: When I'm on stage, I'm not in control of myself. I'm not this rational person who can sit here and talk to you.

Pete: There's a guitar up here if any big-mouthed little git wants to come and f***ing take it off me.

Roger: You couldn't pick four more horrible geezers that make the worst noise you've ever heard in your life!

Interviewer Russell Harty to The Who: You're all married aren't you? Moon: No, no I wouldn't marry this lot!

Film crew member: Could you tell us the truth? Moon: The truth? As you want to hear it? I can't do that. You couldn't afford me.

Townshend: Now I'm an old fart. Not boring 'though!

Compiled by Brian Cady

Quote It! (The Kids are Alright) - QUOTES FROM "THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT"

Tommy (1975) director Ken Russell: I think that Townshend, The Who, Roger Daltrey, Entwistle, Moon, could rise this country out of its decadent, ambient state more than Wilson and those crappy people could ever hope to achieve! Pete Townshend: We started off as... Keith Moon:...a small family butcher's firm. Pete: I used to rush into Marshall's music shop and steal guitars off the wall. I'd say, 'Just taking a guitar! Pay you Tuesday!' and rush out. Pete: Our group hasn't got any quality. It's just musical sensationalism. It's just basic Shepherd's Bush enjoyment. Audience member: You've said your group hasn't got any quality. Why don't you try to give it some? Pete: If you steer clear of quality, you're all right. Roger Daltrey: My main ambition is to get back on the road with the 'Orrible 'Oo, the worst rock 'n' roll band in the world! Pete: I said, 'You can't write a ten-minute song!' Rock songs are two-minutes fifty by tradition. It's one of the traditions. They only allowed you one modulation, four chords or five...five and you might be up before the committee. Pete: When I'm on stage, I'm not in control of myself. I'm not this rational person who can sit here and talk to you. Pete: There's a guitar up here if any big-mouthed little git wants to come and f***ing take it off me. Roger: You couldn't pick four more horrible geezers that make the worst noise you've ever heard in your life! Interviewer Russell Harty to The Who: You're all married aren't you? Moon: No, no I wouldn't marry this lot! Film crew member: Could you tell us the truth? Moon: The truth? As you want to hear it? I can't do that. You couldn't afford me. Townshend: Now I'm an old fart. Not boring 'though! Compiled by Brian Cady

Quotes

Trivia

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States October 2003

Released in United States on Video July 13, 1993

Released in United States Summer June 1979

Shown at New York Film Festival (Sidebar) October 3-19, 2003.

Released in United States Summer June 1979

Released in United States on Video July 13, 1993

Released in United States October 2003 (Shown at New York Film Festival (Sidebar) October 3-19, 2003.)