Babylon is a 1980 British film co-written by Martin Stellman (writer of Quadrophenia) and Franco Rosso, who also directed it. Produced by Gavrik Losey and the National Film Finance Corporation, the film is regarded as a classic.
It depicts the struggles of a Black British working-class musician and stars Brinsley Forde of the reggae band Aswad. Babylon also starred Karl Howman and Trevor Laird. Music was scored by Dennis Bovell. Included are songs by Aswad, Johnny Clarke, and Jeff Wayne (who wrote the musical version of The War of the Worlds), among others.
Babylon was filmed on the streets of Deptford and Brixton, London. The story centres on sound system culture and themes of police racism, violence against blacks, poverty and disillusion with lack of opportunities.
Brinsley Forde's character is a Deptford garage-hand by day and a disco-dispenser by night. The film follows him as he loses his job as a car mechanic (Mel Smith has a cameo role as his racist boss), gets beaten up by police, is falsely charged, and forced to go on the run, falling out with his girlfriend and finally stabbing a racist neighbour in anger and frustration. The film finishes with a posse of policemen smashing down the doors of a music hall.
- Brinsley Forde as David, "Blue"
- Trevor Laird as Beefy
- Brian Bovell as Spark
- Karl Howman as Ronnie
- Victor Romero Evans as Lover
- David N. Haynes as Errol
- Archie Pool as Dreadhead
- T-Bone Wilson as Wesley
- Mel Smith as Alan
- Beverly Michaels as Elaine
- Maggie Steed as Woman at Lockup Garage
- Bill Moody as Man on Balcony
- Stefan Kalipha as Fat Larry
- Beverley Dublin as Sandra
- Granville Garner as Sandra's Father
- Mark Monero as Carlton
- David Cunningham as Sir Watts
- Cosmo Laidlaw as Rastaman
- Terence Dackombe as Thug
- Mikey Campbell as Promoter
- Angus Zeb as Doorman
- Wendell McKellar as Doorman
- Frank Sylvester as Weightlifter
- David Gant as Police Commissioner
- Michael Gunn as Detective at Door
- Harry Miller as Detective at Door
- Yvonne Agard as Mrs. Watts
- Alan Igbon as Rupert
- Donovan Platt as William
- Charles Cork as CID Detective
- Gary Whelan as CID Detective
- Derek Broome as Bus Conductor
- Anthony Trent as Fence
- Patrick Worrall as Spooky
- Malcolm Frederick as Wolf
- Vilma Hollingbery as Woman in Street
- Cynthia Powell as Mum
- King Sounds as Compere
- Ann Duncan as Beefy's Girl
- Jah Shaka as Himself
- Miguel Cullen, "30 years on: Franco Rosso on why Babylon's burning", The Independent, 11 November 2010.
- Ann Ogidi, "Babylon (1980)", BFI Screenonline.
- Kieron Tyler, "Dawn of the dread", The Guardian, 4 October 2008.
- Chris Salewicz, "Franco Rosso and Brinsley Ford speak to the NME", Babylon.
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