Pink Floyd’s THE WALL: 25 years ago this week
PINK FLOYD: THE WALL opened on August 6, 1982. It was directed by Alan Parker (who had previously scored a big hit with FAME two years earlier), written by Roger Waters (the album’s original creator) and designed by Gerald Scarfe (the album’s original animator).
In New York City, the film opened at the famous Ziegfeld Theatre. Film critic Roger Ebert called it one of the best new films he’d seen in years. For years after, it dominated many of the “midnight movie madness” screens with nearly the same popularity as THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW.
I first saw the film out of pure curiousity. I rented the video in 1984 at the age of sixteen, not knowing anything about the movie, The Wall album, or even Pink Floyd, for that matter. I had merely heard that this movie was supposed to be good. It was immediately apparent that this was no ordinary movie with the traditional three-act structure. This was an R-rated, 90-minute rock video (virtually no dialogue) and an all-out attack on the senses.
At the heart of the story was a burned-out, drug-addicted rock star named Pink (played by Bob Geldof), who is slowly alienating himself from all of those around him as he builds “the wall” around himself, brick by brick, and slowly goes insane, until the final moment when the wall is torn down in a furious rage. When it was over, I was absolutely blown away! I rewound the tape and watched it two more times before having to return it to the local neighborhood video store (Blockbuster chains had not opened yet). I must have worn out my video card re-renting that movie over and over again.
Thus, a longtime Pink Floyd fan was born. That movie led to my obsession with The Wall album and that inevitably lead to their other classic albums like DARK SIDE OF THE MOON, WISH YOU WERE HERE, ANIMALS, THE FINAL CUT, etc. Pink Floyd has been my favorite band ever since.
I would not see PINK FLOYD THE WALL on screen, though, until around 1987, at the Amherst 3 in Buffalo, New York, where I was at college. Basically, there are two ways you can watch this movie; sober and straight or…not. The latter is a lot more fun.
If you’ve never seen this movie and are a fan of Pink Floyd’s music and the The Wall itself, then see it…see it…see it!
And to Roger Waters, David Gilmour, Richard Wright and Nick Mason…thank you for 25 years of great movie madness!