Who Goes To The Movies: 15 Films About + Starring Members Of The Who

The movie Tommy debuted on March 19, 1975, setting the world ablaze as madman filmmaker Ken Russell transformed the Who’s 1969 rock opera into one of cinema’s all-time most audacious and incendiary trips of sight, sound, and fury.

In honor of Tommy’s 40th anniversary, then, let’s take a look back at the Who’s other contributions to film history, be it in the form of documentaries, concert movies, or performances by each individual band member—well, all except bassist John Entwistle who, aside from voicing himself on The Simpsons, never seemed to get bitten by the acting bug (perhaps Boris the Spider ate it in Ox’s case).

The Who in Finland (1967)
Technically titled The Who Suomessa, the sixteen-minute concert short The Who in Finland delivers what the title promises. Pete Townshend, Roger Daltrey, John Entwistle deboard an airplane in Helsinki, press a bit of flesh with the locals, answer some questions, and then tear through “Substitute” and “My Generation.” Who you see is Who you get.


Monterey Pop (1968)

“My Generation”
Monterey Pop is master documentarian D.A. Pennebaker’s chronicle of the legendary 1967 California music festival of the same name that ignited the flower power music movement that would flourish at Woodstock and then get torn out by the roots at Altamont.

Containing once-in-a-lifetime performances by Janis Joplin, Jefferson Airplane, the Mamas and the Papas, Otis Redding, Simon and Garfunkel, and more, the movie is most famous for its unforgettable footage of Jimi Hendrix blowing minds and setting his guitar ablaze, as well as a particularly over-the-top rendition of “My Generation” by the Who.

Sandwiched between Eric Burdon & the Animals and Country Joe & the Fish, the Who bombard the stage with maximum impact and abandon, culminating with smoke bombs, Keith Moon kicking his drum kit to pieces, and Pete Townshend’s smashing his guitar to psychedelic smithereens. Later, the Who would be famous for its displays of instrument demolition; as a cultural watershed moment, it starts right here.


Woodstock (1970)

“See Me, Feel Me”

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