Synopsis by Mark Deming
Although their career lasted a bit less than two years, few rock bands have made a more dramatic impact than the Sex Pistols, who quickly rose to international infamy as the best-known British punk band, then fell apart shortly after their first American tour in a tempest of drugs, ego, and infighting. Manager Malcolm McLaren began making a film about the group while they were at the height of their fame, but by the time McLaren and director Julien Temple completed The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle, the group's best-known member, bassist Sid Vicious, was dead, and the remaining Pistols -- vocalist Johnny Rotten (aka John Lydon), guitarist Steve Jones, drummer Paul Cook, and original bassist Glen Matlock were in litigation against McLaren and refused to participate. In 1998, Temple began working with the group's surviving members (who reunited for a brief tour in 1996) for this definitive documentary of the Pistols' career, which combines new interviews with footage of legendary live performances (such as their infamous Jubilee Day show on a ship sailing past the Houses of Parliament), as well as newsreels of the chaos that followed in their wake, including the TV appearance that changed them overnight from a little-known cult band to national pariahs.
band [music group], controversy, defiance, legend [famous person], notoriety, punk-rock