Jubilee (1978 film)

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For other uses, see Jubilee (disambiguation).
Jubilee (1977 film) poster.jpg
Directed by Derek Jarman
Produced by Howard Malin
James Whaley
Written by Derek Jarman
Christopher Hobbs
Starring Jenny Runacre
Nell Campbell
Linda Spurrier
Toyah Willcox
Adam Ant
Music by Chelsea
Suzi Pinns
Brian Eno
Siouxsie and the Banshees
Wayne County
Toyah Willcox
Adam Ant
Ludwig Minkus
Cinematography Peter Middleton
Edited by Nick Barnard
Tom Priestley
Release dates
February 1978 (UK)
September 1979 (USA)
Running time
103 min.
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Budget £50,000[1] or £200,000[2]

Jubilee is a 1978 cult film directed by Derek Jarman. It stars Jenny Runacre, Ian Charleson, and a host of punk rockers, including Adam Ant and Toyah. The title refers to the Silver Jubilee of Elizabeth II in 1977.


In Jubilee, Queen Elizabeth I (Jenny Runacre) is transported forward in time by the occultist John Dee (Richard O'Brien) through the spirit guide Ariel (a character from Shakespeare's The Tempest). Elizabeth arrives in the shattered Britain of the 1970s. Queen Elizabeth II is dead, killed in an arbitrary mugging, and Elizabeth I moves through the social and physical decay of the city observing the activities of a group of sporadic nihilists, including Amyl Nitrite (Jordan), Bod (Runacre in a dual role), Chaos (Hermine Demoriane), Crabs (Nell Campbell), and Mad (Toyah Willcox).

Numerous punk icons appear in the film including Jordan (a Malcolm McLaren protégé), Toyah Willcox, Nell Campbell, Adam Ant, Demoriane and Wayne County. It features performances by Wayne County and Adam and the Ants. There are also cameo appearances by The Slits and Siouxsie and the Banshees. The film was scored by Brian Eno. The uncredited piece of music used in the 'Jordan's Dance' scene was written by Ludwig Minkus in 1884 for Act I in the revived ballet 'Giselle'.[3]


The film is heavily influenced by the 1970s punk aesthetic in its style and presentation. Shot in grainy colour, it is largely plotless and episodic. Location filming took advantage of London neighbourhoods that were economically depressed and/or still contained large amounts of rubble from the London Blitz.



The film had many critics in British punk circles. Fashion designer Vivienne Westwood manufactured a T-shirt on which was printed an "open letter" to Jarman denouncing the film and his misrepresentations of punk.[4] Jarman described the project as "a film about punk" during pre-production, but later explained that it had a much broader thematic scope.[citation needed] The film is now considered a cult classic, and was released by the Criterion Collection.


  1. ^ Alexander Walker, National Heroes: British Cinema in the Seventies and Eighties, Harrap, 1985 p 235
  2. ^ Walsh, John. "Cultivating his own plot." Sunday Times [London, England] 16 Dec. 1990: 2[S3]+. The Sunday Times Digital Archive. Web. 8 Apr. 2014.
  3. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSf01mefgDA
  4. ^ Jubilee DVD extras, production diary

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