April 17, 1923 - August 30, 1994 - requested epitaph "Surrounded by f-cking idiots"

If you are looking for an NTSC VHS or DVD copy anything I have like the This Sporting Life, Artworks Documentary, The White Bus,
if...., O Lucky Man!, Britannia Hospital, The Old Crowd, Wham! or Is That All There Is? email me.
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Time with Malcolm
Malcolm McDowell worked with Lindsay Anderson more than anyone in his career from 1968-87. He acted for him in if..., O Lucky Man!, Entertaining Mr. Sloane, Britannia Hospital, In Celebration, Britannia Hospital, Holiday and they had three projects in the works at the time of his death - if.... 2, When Garden Gnomes Bleed and Monster Butler.



Title Year Contribution
Meet the Pioneers 1948 Director / Editor / 33 minutes
Idlers That Work 1949 Director / 17 minutes
Three Installations 1952 Director / 28 minutes
Wakefield Express 1952 Director / 33 minutes
Thursday's Children 1953 Director / 20 minutes
O Dreamland 1953 Director + Writer / 12 minutes
The Pleasure Garden 1953 Actor, Production Manager
Trunk Conveyor 1954 Director / 38 minutes
A Hundred Thousand Children 1955 Director + Writer / 4 minutes
Henry 1955 Director + Writer / 6 minutes
The Children Upstairs 1955 Director + Writer / 4 minutes
Green and Pleasant Land 1955 Director + Writer / minutes
£20 a Ton 1955 Director / 5 minutes
Energy First 1955 Director / 5 minutes
Foot and Mouth 1955 Director + Writer / 20 minutes
Every Day Except Christmas 1957 Director / 40 minutes
Private Pooley 1962 Narrator
This Sporting Life 1963 Director (1st Feature Film)
Let My People Go 1965 Producer
Martyrs of Love 1966 Actor (Himself)
The White Bus (Red, White and Zero) 1966 Director, Writer
Raz Dwa Trzy - The Singing Lesson 1967 Director
Inadmissible Evidence 1968 Actor (Barrister)
if... 1968 Director / Producer / Co-Writer
O Lucky Man! 1973 Director/Actor (Director at end)/Producer
In Celebration 1975 Director
Look Back in Anger 1980 Director
Chariots of Fire 1981 Actor (Master of Caius)
Britannia Hospital 1982 Director
If You Were There 1986 Director (Wham! in China: Foreign Skies)
British Cinema: A Personal View: Free Cinema 1986 Director, Actor
The Whales of August 1987 Director
Harold Lloyd: The Third Genius 1989 Narrator
Robin Hood: Quest for the Crown 1991 Director
Blame It on the Bellboy 1992 Actor (Voice of Mr. Marshall)
Is That All There Is? 1993 Director/Himself
Lucky Man? 2004 Himself (Archive footage)


Sequence Magazine page

Angles of Approach Winter 1947 Sequence 2
A Possible Solution Spring 1948 Sequence 3
Creative Elements Fall 1948 Sequence 5
Film review of Louisiana Story Win 1948/9 Sequence 6
British Cinema: the Descending Spiral Spring 1949 Sequence 7
Film review of The History of Mr. Polly Spring 1949 Sequence 7
The Films of Alfred Hitchcock Fall 1949 Sequence 9
They Were Expendable and John Ford Sum 1950 Sequence 11
The Director's Cinema? Fall 1950 Sequence 12
Interview with Samuel Goldwyn Spring 1951 Sequence 13
An Analysis of John Ford 2/51 Films in Review
The Quiet Man - Interview with John Ford Spring 1952 Sequence 14
Only Connect: Some Aspects of Humphrey Jennings 4-5/54 Sight and Sound
The Last Sequence of 'On the Waterfront' 1-3/55 Sight and Sound
Stand Up! Stand Up! Fall 1956 Sight and Sound
Notes from Sherwood Win 195/7 Sight and Sound
Ten Feet Tall Sum 1957 Sight and Sound
Article 11-12/57 Encore
Two Inches off the Ground Win 1957-8 Sight and Sound
Get out and Push! 1957 Declaration HC
Pre-Renaissance 1961 Intl Theater Annual #5
Sport, Life and Art (LA Interview) 2/63 UK Films and Filming
if.... Interview 5/69 FR Jeune Cinema #39
if.... Fall 69 UK Film Heritage V5 #1
Article 5/72 UK Cinema Rising 2
Fires Were Started (reprints 4-5/54 article) 1999 UK by Brian Winston/BFI


Making a Film 1952 Author
About John Ford (Biography) 1981 Author (HC/PB)
Taking the Stage: 21Years of the London Theatre 1986 Author with John Haynes
Never Apologize: The Collected Writings 9/04 ed by Paul Ryan
The Diaries of Lindsay Anderson 9/04 ed by Paul Sutton


Cracker Barrel Cheese 1967
Kellogg's Corn Flakes 1967
Lux Toilet Soap 1967
Carpet Sweeper 1967


The Adventures of Robin Hood 1955 Director - Episode 'Secret Mission'
The Adventures of Robin Hood 1956 Director - Episode 'The Imposters'
The Adventures of Robin Hood 1956 Director - Episode 'Ambush'
The Adventures of Robin Hood 1956 Director - Episode 'The Haunted Mill'
The Adventures of Robin Hood 1956 Director - Episode 'Isabella'
The White Bus 1966 Director / Actor (Himself)
Home 1972 Director w/Warren Clarke/Richardson etc.
The Old Crowd 1979 Director
Buster Keaton: A Hard Act to Follow 1987 Narrator
Glory! Glory! 1989 Director
John Ford 1990 Host / Writer (adapted from his biography)
Prisoner of Honor 1991 Actor (War Minister)
D. W. Griffith - Father Of Film 1994 Narrator
About the White Bus-Making of 1995 Actor (Himself)
Artworks Documentary 2004 Himself - 1992 interview

Music Video

Carmel - More, More, More 1/84 Director

Plays - Directed By Lindsay staring in 1957

Title Year Author / Location
Twelfth Night 1940 Actor - Feste / Cheltenham College
Good and Proper 1940 Actor / Cheltenham College
Weatherwise 1940 Actor - Hostess / Cheltenham College
The Waiting of Lester Abbs 6/30/57 Kathleen Sully / Royal Court Theater
The Long + the Short + the Tall 1/7/59 Willis Hall / Royal Court Theater
Progress to the Park 2/8/59 Alun Owen / Royal Court Theater
Serjeant Musgrove's Dance 10/22/59 John Arden / Royal Court Theater
The Lily White Boys 1/27/60 Harry Cookson / Royal Court Theater
Billy Liar 9/13/60 Keith Waterhouse / Cambridge Theater
Trials by Logue 11/23/60 Christopher Logue / Royal Court Theater
The Fire Raisers 12/21/61 Max Frisch / Royal Court Theater
The Diary of a Madman 3/7/63 Gogol / Royal Court Theater
Hamlet 1963 Shakespeare / Royal Court Theater
Andorra 1/28/64 Max Frisch / National Theater
Julius Ceasar 11/26/64 William Shakespeare / Royal Court Theater
The Cherry Orchard 7/19/66 Anton Chekhov / Chichester Festival Theater
Inadmissible Evidence 1966 John Osbourne / Contemporary Theater Warsaw
In Celebration 4/22/69 David Storey / Royal Court Theater
The Contractor 4/6/70 Fortune Theatre London w/Philip Stone
Home 6/17/70 David Storey / Royal Court Theater
The Farm 1970 David Storey / Royal Court Theater
The Changing Room 11/9/71 David Storey / Royal Court w/Warren Clarke
Early Days 1973 David Storey / Royal Court Theater
The Farm 9/25/73 David Storey / May Fair Theater London
Life Class 4/9/74 David Storey / Royal Court Theater
What the Butler Saw 1975 Joe Orton / Royal Court Theater
Entertaining Mr. Sloane 7/75 Royal Court London w/Malcolm
Seagull 10/7/75  The Lyric
The Bed Before Yesterday 12/9/75  Ben Travers / The Lyric
The Bed Before Yesterday 6/76  Ben Travers / NY
The Kingfisher 5/8/77 William Douglas Johnson / The Lyric
The Kingfisher 2/78 William Douglas Johnson / NY
The Bed Before Yesterday 1979  Ben Travers / Australia
Early Days 4/22/80 David Storey / National Theater
Hamlet 5/28/81 Shakespeare / Theater Royal Stratford
The Cherry Orchard 1983 Anton Chekhov / Edinburgh
The Cherry Orchard 9/12/83 Anton Chekhov / Haymaker Theater
Playboy of the Western World 8/9/84  The Riverside Studios
In Celebration 10/28/84 David Storey / Manhattan Theater Club w/MM
Hamlet 2/21/85 Shakespeare / Folger Theater Washington D.C.
Holiday 1987 The Old Vic London w/Malcolm
The March on Russia 4/6/89 David Storey / National Theater
Stages 11/12/92 David Storey / National Theater 


The History of Lindsay Anderson's If You Were There
10/00 LA Times - Mainly About Lindsay Anderson

A Personal Remembrance

For the 10th anniversary of the great man's passing MM did a one man show for him


1954 Oscar for Thursday's Children - Best Director short film
1957 Venice Grand Prix for Every Day Except Christmas
1969 Golden Palm at Cannes for if....
1983 Audience Jury Award at Fantasporto for Britannia Hospital

1969 BAFTA (British Academy Awards) for if....
1973 Golden Palm at Cannes for O Lucky Man!
1983 Golden Palm at Cannes for Britannia Hospital
1983 International Fantasy Film Award at Fantasporto for Britannia Hospital
1987 Critics Award at Deauville Film Festival for The Whales of August


    Lindsay Anderson was born on April 17, 1923 in Bangalore, India to Estelle Bell Gasson and Captain Alexander Vass Anderson. His father was a Major-General in the British army and his mother was born in Queenstown South Africa. They were married in 1918 in England and soon after Captain Anderson was sent to India during World War I and she went with him. Lindsay was their second child having had his brother Murray in 1920. The couple separated in1926 because he cheated on her. She packed her two boys up and went back to England. In 1932 she returned to India to attempt to reconcile with her husband, which only got her pregnant with her third son Alexander Vass. She once again returned to England and remarried to a good friend of the family Major Sleigh in 1936. He was one of Lindsay's father's best friends and was like an uncle to them before.
    Lindsay went to school at Cheltenham, which was the school used in if…., and went to college at Oxford. He found the experience unpleasant for many of the reasons Mick Travis did. It was here Lindsay got to put his love of theater into action. He acted in his first play, Twelfth Night, as well Wetherwise that was as a benefit for Spitfires (A WWII fighter plane). In 1942 when he was 19 years old he began keeping a diary and this would last for almost 50 years. He wrote and attempted to get two films made during this time, but every studio wholeheartedly rejected them.
    During Word War II Lindsay did his part by getting drafted into the Intelligence Corps on the Navy on January 20, 1943. By the time he was inducted on May 24 he was switched to the Army. As expected, the rebellious young film lover despised everything about the army. On November 10, 1944 he was shipped out to India and arrived in Bombay on December 4th. Ironic that of all the places he could end up would be back where he was born. He would remain stationed there until the end of the war and beyond, not returning home to England until February 1946.
    Soon after he returned to Oxford to finish out his studies. He acted in more plays and even began reviewing films for the university magazine, but overall it was not fulfilling. It wasn't until the end of the year when he saw "My Darling Clementine" that he knew he wanted to be a filmmaker. The next year he befriended Peter Ericsson who also loved the film and they decided to get permission and funding from the Oxford Film Society to publish a film magazine called Sequence. The request was granted.
    In the first issue he attacked British cinema and the critics. The issue failed to make any money only selling around 600 copies so Oxford dropped the funding. He would not be dissuaded however and proceeded by financing it himself. He continued to ruthlessly attack the British cinema and soon after the film companies weren't willing to help him out at all, especially when it came to giving him stills for the magazine. In 1948 he left Oxford and was offered the director's job on his first film by Lois Sutcliffe - a documentary called "Meet the Pioneers". She ran the Wakefield film society and astonished Lindsay by asking for and selling more than twenty copies of each copy of Sequence. Her husband owned an engineering factory in the town. "Meet the Pioneers" is a film about the the factory. It only ran 40 minutes and took two weeks to shoot.
     Sequence would last quarterly for four years before it became too much to handle. Even though it began to appear sporadically it was doing well with sales of 5,000 copies per issue, but still not making them any money. It was during this time that he finally got to meet and interview his idol, director John Ford, for a 1950 issue of the magazine.
    He would make many more documentaries before graduating to feature films. A few years later he would write his first book, Making a Film, about everything that went into making the film "Secret People". He continued to write articles and then branched into directing Robin Hood TV episodes and commercials. In 1952 he acted in his first film playing a weird artist called "The Pleasure Garden". In 1953 he directed his first "real" film on 35mm called "Thursday's Children." It was a documentary on deaf-mute children narrated by Richard Burton. The film couldn't get a distributor and was submitted to the Academy Awards unbeknownst to Lindsay. It wound up winning the Oscar for best short film. In 1956 he started the Free Cinema movement to get his film O Dreamland shown, as well as other short films by friends that would otherwise never have been shown.
    In 1957 he directed his first play at the Royal Court his first since his days of directing plays at Oxford. He would direct there for nearly five straight years and would form life long relationships with actors who would later work for him in film like Alan Bates and Ralph Richardson. Also that year he directed the film  "Every Day Except Christmas" about a 200 year old flower and vegetable market open 364 days a year. It was a grim uplifting portrait of British life that won Best Documentary at the Venice Film Festival that year. In 1958 his younger brother Alexander died of polio. A year later his stepfather also died.
    In 1961 he read "This Sporting Life" by David Storey and decided he had to make it into a film and came close to losing it because his friend Tony Richardson who was also directing at the Royal Court, wanted to make it as well. It was also during this time that he joined a "Ban the Bomb" demonstration and was arrested for refusing to leave. Soon after he was flying all the way to Tahiti to meet with Richard Harris to discuss the script  for him to play the lead role of Arthur in Sporting Life. Because Harris was stuck in a movie production gone out of control shooting of the film would have to be pushed back a year.
    The film finally came out in 1963 and was a critical, but not commercial success. The two lead actors were even nominated for Oscars. But two projects with Richard Harris afterwards fell through and with nothing to tide him over he became a judge at the Delhi Film Festival in 1964 and the Karlovvy Vary Festival in 1965. That summer started a bad time for Lindsay. His brother arrived with his wife and two children in tow. With no job or prospects they all lived in Lindsay's second bedroom. After a short time his brother left and he was stuck with her and the kids for almost two years - and footing all the bills. Finally his next movie project came up "The White Bus".
    The film was his most ambitious yet, even in the fact of its simplicity. It is like a 40-minute journey of a woman going through different situations and returning to her hometown. Because of the length, there wasn't much to do with it and even today it remains almost completely unseen.
    Next year Lindsay went to Poland and made a film about a dance school called "The Singing Lesson". The 20-minute film is almost never seen outside that country.
    1966 is the year that starts his collaboration with David Sherwin that will continue until his death. The script David wrote was called Crusaders and the two of them would turn it into if…. By early 1967 it was just the two of them versus the world on getting the script redone for the film. Sherwin would pick him up when they needed to get away because Lindsay never learned to drive. By May the script was done and by August every company had rejected it. Albert Finney had a major success with "Tom Jones" and liked Crusaders. He was now able to set up his own company and gave the script to his partner Michael Medwin to produce. He secured financial backing from Paramount and the film was ready to go. Lindsay wanted to shoot it at his old school of Cheltenham, but he knew if they read the script they would never go for it. So Sherwin had to write a fake script and give is a less dangerous title. Medwin's secretary came up with "if" after Kipling's poem and Lindsay added the four dots to make it special.
    The film didn't have a big budget and right away they realized they would not be able to properly light the whole film. Lindsay didn't care and pronounced he would shoot those scenes in black and white because he loved the look. The film was finished and ready to go, but the studio execs at Paramount were horrified and the film was shelved. It now seemed the film would never see the light of day. Fortunately for all involved Hanoi Jane Fonda's big budget "Barbarella" was playing to empty theaters in December 1968 and Paramount had nothing else to offer the theaters wanting another film except for if…. Almost overnight word of mouth spread and lines formed. Ironically the film was more successful and was entered as the official British film for Cannes. They tried to have it removed, but it was too late and actually won best film for 1969.
    After if…. Lindsay returned to the theater to begin a 20 year long working relationship with the playwright David Storey. These included In Celebration, The Contractor, Changing Room and Home. Two of these he later made into movies with the same cast as the plays.
    With the huge success of his next play, Home in 1971, the offers to direct started to come in again. He decided to accept the offer to bring the play to Broadway and set off for New York. He also rode around with Alan Price and his band in hopes to make a movie about them. This didn't work out, but some of the ideas were saved for O Lucky Man! in which Price and his band appeared as themselves. He returned home and started to work on Malcolm's idea called Coffee Man. This would be later changed to OLM! The first draft of the script was finished on October 10th. The next month Lindsay directed the play The Changing Room. 1972 saw the return to working on OLM! now that Warner Brothers agreed to pay for it. Filming began in March and because of the length and the complexity of shooting such an epic film it took it's toll on all involved.
He finished cutting the film in March 1973 and on the 20th of that month his mother died. The film premiered two months later at Cannes and was not publicized well as WB didn't really know what to make of it. The film given a lukewarm reception in England, but fared much better in the US.
    Afterwards he went back to the playhouse for a number of years directing "The Farm" in September 1973 with Frank Grimes and "Life Class" in 1974. At the request of Malcolm McDowell  he took over directing him in "Entertaining Mr. Slone" in May 1975. He also directed Joan Plowright and Helen Mirren in "The Seagull" in October and again in December with "The Bed before Yesterday".
Taking a break from the theater he embarked on a college lecture tour in the US during April and May 1976. Soon after he directed "The Bed before Yesterday" on Broadway with Carol Channing. After that quickly failed he returned to England with a few ideas for films that never got off the ground.
    It was around this time that the British film industry completely collapsed. There was no more money to be invested in British films by American companies. You either went to the US if you wanted to continue in the business or stayed in England and starved or moved on to something else. Malcolm McDowell saw the writing on the wall and left for the greener pastures of America, but Lindsay stayed behind even though he loathed the cinema there.
    Lindsay went back to the theater and directed "The Kingfisher" in May 1977. He also went on to direct it again in New York the following February. He returned to England in March and after one project fell through another took its place. This was the made for TV Movie "The Old Crowd". When it aired in February 1979 the reviews were not only bad, they were vicious. On the other hand Finnish director Jorn Donner liked it so much that he offered money to make it a feature film. Unfortunately right before shooting was to commence the financing collapsed. Not long after he went to Australia to direct "The Bed before Yesterday" with Rachel Roberts. She was too depressed for the role and the play was not successful.
    He had two more projects lined up, but funding failed to come through for both. Memorial Hospital, which later became "Britannia Hospital" and a remake of "In a Lonely Place". He was offered the part of The Emperor in the awesome Star Wars sequel "The Empire Strikes Back", but had to turn it down when he thought he would be working on his own films. With nothing else on his plate he set out to write a book about his hero John Ford.
    In April 1980 he was back in the theater directing David Storey's "Early Days". After the successful play Fox bought Britannia Hospital, but after a change in management it fell back into Lindsay's lap. Soon after his friend Rachel Roberts came to stay with him feeling suicidal. There wasn't really any way to talk her out of it and she returned to LA and killed herself. In November he came to direct Malcolm McDowell once again in a movie version of Look Back in Anger which was shot in record time - only three days.
    In April 1981 he got the call that EMI would pay for Britannia only if shooting started on August 10th and finished by the end of the year. Of course he agreed, even though he committed himself to directing Hamlet in May. The film was completed on time and shown to Cannes in May 1982 where it severely repulsed the British press, which was exactly the point. Today it seems to be popular everywhere but Britain. The film was a commercial disaster and the reviews were brutal. This owes to the fact that there was enough going on to fill seven movies. Shortly after he was invited to a royal luncheon Buckingham Palace and met the queen. He had no idea why he was invited, someone probably hoping to do him in, but it went off without a hitch because the royals didn't know or care who he was.
    After another play that didn't get off the ground in NY, Lindsay once again returned to the London theater directing "The Cherry Orchard" in September 1983. In August 1984 he directed "The Playboy of the Western World". In October he worked with Malcolm McDowell again on "In Celebration". He did "Hamlet" yet again in February 1985 in Washington DC. From there he did a lecture at Rice University.
    In May 1985 he found himself in China of all places directing a documentary on the pop group Wham! of all things. A bizarre combination to say the least. This was a big deal because Wham! would be the first ever western group to play there and they wanted the documentary to be an event. Lindsay visualized it as a meeting of two different cultures. The band saw it a concert film which meant more Wham!, less China. Since Lindsay didn't get final cut, they cut out most of his look at China and inserted more of the band.
    Upon returning to England he set out to work on "if…. 2" with David Sherwin for a while. He also worked on adapting "The Cherry Orchard" to a feature film, but found no backers. During this time he made a sojourn to the Berlin Film Festival in March 1986.
    In June of 1986 he agreed to direct "The Whales of August" with Mike Kaplan producing. Mike is one of Malcolm's best friends and wanted Lindsay for the job and he reluctantly agreed. Mike had been trying to get the project going for nearly ten years and finally succeeded in getting the backing. Lindsay had to go to America to get the job, his first film shot there. It was made entirely in Maine in October 1986 and featured a cast of Hollywood legends in their final roles. Lindsay initially had trouble with Bette Davis as was to be suspected, but had won her over by the end of the shoot. He enjoyed working with Lillian Gish, but had to struggle with her lines because she was almost completely deaf by this time. He got on very well with Ann Southern and even though overall there was tension on the set, everything came out well in the end. The film opened in February 1988 to warm reviews and earned Southern an Oscar nomination.
    On February 15 the play "Holiday" opened at the Old Vic in London. This would be the last time he would work with Malcolm McDowell and his then wife Mary Steenburgeon. For whatever reason it was a failure all around.
    In 1988 he was offered an HBO TV movie to be filmed in Canada about evangelists called "Glory! Glory!". It was a daunting task because he only had 35 days to shoot the three hour and twenty minute film. Though he came in on schedule and the film did well, he got a reputation as being difficult and wasn't asked to do any more projects with them.
    In 1989 three projects never got off the ground. "if….2", "Garden Gnomes" with David Sherwin and "The Cherry Orchard". The later film might have gotten made if Lindsay had agreed to make it entirely in Russia. He wanted to make it closer to home, but was unable to get the funding.
    In 1990 he was approached by a publisher to reprint Sequence, the magazine he started in the late 40s. He agreed, but when the publisher said that it was too expensive to reprint them all and they wanted him to pick and choose stories he declined. In October another dear friend whom he directed, Jill Bennett, also committed suicide.
    In 1991 he attended a retrospective of his films in Cleveland, lectured on John Ford and screened one of his films at the Telluride festival and in September attended a retrospective in Cincinnati. This was the first time all of his films would be shown together from the shorts to the most recent "Glory! Glory!" Afterwards he tried to getting funding for "Monster Butler" in Los Angeles, but was turned down by everyone. In November his friend Tony Richardson, one of his Free Cinema founders, died of AIDS.
    In January 1992 he had heart trouble and was hospitalized. By March he was back to work on a documentary about John Ford. He went out to interview as many people as possible and came back to England to make the two 50 minute specials that included interviews, clips and reminiscing by Lindsay which aired in January 1993. He was also asked to make a film about himself which he called "Is that all there is?" film in September 1992. It is like a day in the life of Lindsay and shows him getting up, taking a bath, rehearsing the play "Stages", talking to friends that come to his house and shopping in a supermarket. It ends with him and his closest friends on a boat dumping the ashes of Rachel Roberts and Jill Bennett into the Thames. While it played at some festivals, it wasn't shown on TV until after his death.
On April 17, 1993 he rented out a nearby church hall for his 70th birthday party. He realized at his age it is either time for an autobiography or a retrospective.
    In April 1994 he was honored at the Czezh Karlovvy Vary Festival for a retrospective of his films. Two months later the first draft of "if…. 2" is finished, but Paramount still won't commit. Lindsay's old friend Lois Smith, who offered him his first directing job in 1948, invited him to come and stay with her and her friend Alice Woodcock in France. He enjoyed the place and filled the time by taking pictures of them.
    On the morning of August 30th they went to swim to a nearby lake. The women swam and Lindsay took pictures. When they came out he went for a swim and then he came out and changed back into his clothes. While he was doing that he fell and cut his head open and landed in the water. The girls were helpless to get him out and he was turning purple. They called two nearby fishermen over to pull him out, but it was too late. He suffered a massive heart attack and was gone.
    On November 20th a Memorial Celebration was held for him at the Royal Court Theatre with his friends in attendance. They included Malcolm McDowell, David Sherwin, David Storey, Alan Bates, Tom Courtenay, Albert Finney, Jocelyn Herbert, Anthony Page, Alan Bennett, Richard Harris, Alan Price, Karl Reisz and John Gielgud who was unable to attend sent a letter.
    Lindsay never married or had children as he was an asexual person and it seems was incapable of loving in an intimate way. He was never involved in a romantic relationship. It seems that if he went to act on hetero or homosexual thoughts that he was repulsed by them. Since homosexuality in Britain at this time was a criminal offense it may have been another reason he never pursued it. He led a monks life of celibacy as making films filled this void. Maybe he was an undiagnosed manic depressant as he described himself as two people - one who was a depressed defeatist and the other was full of ideas, most likely the one who made the films we love.
    To those who knew and loved him the world is an emptier place. To those of us who know and loved his work, cinema is an emptier place. Most movies today are so obsessed with style over substance that if we didn't have Lindsay's films it would almost be impossible to prove that pure cinema ever existed in the first place. He was unique in that he never compromised his vision and never sold out. I never knew the great man, but when I see how bad most films are and how most popular shows use what looks like the camera is on a string and bouncing all around I can imagine him agreeing with me at how most of the industry has become pure bullshit.

Books About

International Film Annual 2 (Featured) 1958 by William Whitebait
Film Makers on Film Making 1967 ed Harry M Geduld
Lindsay Anderson (Praeger Film Library) 1969 by Elizabeth Sussex 
The Film Director as Superstar (Has LA Interview) 1970 by Joseph Gelmis
Documentary Explorations (Has LA Interview) 1971 by G. Roy Levin
Directors and Directions: Cinema for the Seventies 1975 by John Russell Taylor
Lindsay Anderson 1982 by Allison Graham
Lindsay Anderson: A Guide to References and Resources  19?? by Charles L. P. Silet
Going Mad in Hollywood with Lindsay Anderson 1996 by David Sherwin
Lindsay Anderson: Maverick Film-Maker (HC/PB) 1998 by Erik Hedling
Mainly About Lindsay Anderson 2000 by Gavin Lambert


Lindsay kept a diary for most of his adult life. Here are some exclusive excerpts. If you want to buy the book click here.

March 27th 1972 (Filming OLM!)

The Dreaded Majestic Nightspot. We start at the top, with Arthur and Malcolm entering, and walking straight through into the dark hall...Mirek’s conception probably will be striking and excellent - but one of the results is to make the shot a difficult one, in terms of balance, and this immediately chokes me off the idea of shooting two ways. So immediately the question is raised: TOPLESS or COVERED? And the whole boring area of X or R rating? (I have, of course given assurance that I will deliver a picture that is, or can be, ‘R’ - whatever that means). General opinion - rather supported by Mirek - is that the girls look better: also sexier - covered. And what’s the point of
making it if no one’s going to see it? Nor do I want when the film is finished to spend ages arguing with fools about the cutting of the picture. And in our present climate of commercialized ‘permissiveness’, isn’t this kind of thing going to line us up with The Sun and TV and popular press controversy? Or am I just rationalizing? Maybe I should have shot the first setup two ways. But of course I react with extreme violence when David Sherwin lurches onto the set, and pronounces what he sees ‘APPALLING’. And then another edgy row with Jocelyn at a production meeting after
shooting. We can hardly speak now without disagreeing.

March 28th 1972

The last shot we set up last night was of the Screen (where the blue film is playing), with people framed round. On the way to Colet Court MIREK tells me he’s changed his idea - better shoot the screen without people. I don’t argue, because it’ll be quicker ... Arthur has been called early and now won’t be used. Try to get hold of Michael to placate A: but he’s late in ... Arthur does get testy, and who can blame him. Particularly since he always is made to feel a bit patronized, i.e. no chair. No doubt: it is not an actor’s medium. Malcolm is really angelic. We film the Blue Film in its entirety. It really is good! Strange that I’m always so mean the first time I see anything - well nearly always! Then we run the song - Stephanie excellent, and v. professional. Then the Chocolate Sandwich - which I have seen rehearsed for the first time this morning. One very good stripper: one rather charming amateur, and the black boy, Jules, totally gauche, with absolutely no sense of movement or rhythm or performance! I would have probably replaced him, but in fact his gaucherie is probably an advantage. Malcolm plays his close shots excellently: the crowd, supported by my ‘Changing Room’ friends [and Bill Owen, James Bolam and Christine Noonan], is excellent. Then the end of the sequence proves difficult - especially because the stage can’t be removed (Jocelyn’s design again) in under two hours. But we struggle through.

1984 (undated)

I hardly ever go to the cinema nowadays. I did see This is Spinal Tap (1) and thought it brilliant - and also very funny. About the only American picture, in fact, I’ve really enjoyed since The TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE.

1. Pseudo-documentary about a fake British rock band, directed by Rob Reiner, son of Carl.

May 21st 1984

CROSS CREEK ... Martin Ritt has many uncommon and fetching skills as a director - The truth is, that with all his qualities, he isn’t a poet. I thought Malcolm did his scene excellently, totally persuaded me of Perkin’s sympathetic authority. I’ve seen and talked to Malcolm quite a few times, and he is a living, walking advertisement for his new regime. He’s almost persuaded me that alcohol is the poisoner of legend - I’ve been doing two weeks on the Scarsdale Diet, almost alcohol-free, and certainly feel better for it. He’s promised to get me some brown rice and show me how to cook it. I feel I’m going to need to be in good trim, since I seem to be on the verge of a new production - The PLAYBOY OF THE WESTERN WORLD (1), which I’ll be doing in the weird context of a kind of Summer School organized by a dubious body called the British American Drama Academy.

1. Lindsay first saw the play whilst an undergraduate:
‘a delightful comedy adequately put over by the Playhouse’. (Diary 2.3.46). After two weeks in Oxford, and two weeks on the Fringe at Edinburgh, his own 1984 production played for six weeks at the Riverside Studios in Hammersmith.

May 5th, 1994

Letter to Malcolm McDowell (extract): ‘Interest has been shown in ‘if 2....’ by Ileen Maysel, who was in charge of Paramount over here before. She’s a fast talker and persuader, but I can’t tell how good she’ll turn out to be. She is close with Mary Selway and got Mary to produce the disastrous WUTHERING HEIGHTS on which they made every mistake you can imagine. Including [hiring] the French actress, Juliette Binoche as Cathy. Whether it was as a result of this that Ileen Maysel lost her position with Paramount, I’ve no idea. I went a week ago to see ROPE, which I’m happy to say Richard Warwick (1) had a part in. I saw an advertisement in the Evening Standard, which quoted a number of excellent reviews, all completely nonsensical since I’m afraid Keith Baxter had done a quite bad production, absolutely without the necessary conviction of the play. Afterwards I went with Richard to dinner at the Ivy ... Richard seemed in good form, amiable and humorous as ever - and quite aware of the shortcomings of the evening. It was, as always, good to see him again.’

1. Played ‘Wallace’ in ‘If....’.

© University of Stirling


Which home video formats his work is available on.

Title Year Formats
The Pleasure Garden 1953 VHS-PAL
Adventures Of Robin Hood V3 1956 VHS-NTSC w/Secret Mission
Adventures Of Robin Hood V5 1956 VHS-NTSC w/Isabella
Adventures Of Robin Hood V17 1956 VHS-NTSC w/The Imposters
Every Day Except Christmas 1957 VHS-PAL (Free Cinema)
This Sporting Life 1963 VHS-PAL/DVD R1 & R2
if.... 1968 Beta/VHS-PAL & NTSC/LD
Home 1972 VHS-PAL & NTSC/DVD R1
O Lucky Man! 1973 Beta/VHS-PAL & NTSC/LD
In Celebration 1975 VHS
Look Back in Anger 1980 VHS
Chariots of Fire 1981 VHS-PAL&NTSC/DVD R1&R2
Britannia Hospital 1982 VHS-PAL & NTSC/DVD R1
If You Were There (Wham! in China) 1985 VHS
Buster Keaton: A Hard Act to Follow 1987 VHS-PAL
The Whales of August 1987 VHS/DVD R1 (10/7/03)
Harold Lloyd: The Third Genius 1989 VHS-PAL
Prisoner of Honor 1991 VHS
Robin Hood: Quest for the Crown 1991 DVD R4
Blame it on the Bellboy 1992 VHS/DVD R1
D. W. Griffith - Father Of Film 1994 VHS-PAL


The first committee meeting of the Lindsay Anderson Memorial Foundation was on October 5th, 2002. It was just for everyone to meet up and draft the foundations aims, which can be summarized as the promotion of Lindsay's films, theatre, writings and social criticism. The actual wording is rather better than that and was written by David Robinson, the distinguished film writer who, for at least twenty years, was the main film correspondent in the London Times. There will be a film award named after Lindsay, festivals of his films in London and Edinburgh, the publication of several books including the definitive biography, his documentary films released on DVD, etc. Alas, Malcolm called me on Wednesday to say that he couldn't attend because he had to fly back to "The Company" two days earlier than scheduled, but he will be very active in promoting the foundation. - Paul


Free Cinema Movement

Founders: Lindsay Anderson, Lorenza Mazzetti, Karel Reisz + Tony Richardson.
Later additions: John Fletcher, Walter Lassally, Lionel Rogosin, Robert Vas + Mike Grigsby.

In 1977 Lindsay wrote: 
"Talking with Karel, Tony and Lorenza about the miserable difficulty of getting our work shown I came up with the idea (at least I think it was me) that we should form ourselves into a Movement, should formulate some kind of Manifesto, and thereby grab the attention of the press and try to get a few days showing at the National Film Theatre (in Southbank February 1956 - Alex). Fortunately I had O Dreamland on my shelf, and the three films O Dreamland, Momma Don't Allow and Together, seemed to fit together miraculously well, to make a program which we called "Free Cinema". Interestingly and appropriately, Free Cinema was not invented for the occasion, but derived from an article in "Sequence" some six years before. This had been an article on the American avant-garde, sent from New York by Alan Cook (now one of Britain's leading television directors): I had done my usual re-writing job on the piece, trying to give it a more general flavor and therefore more importance, and I had come up with the term "Free Cinema" to describe the kind of independent work it was dealing with. It seemed to suit our purpose admirably, so we called ourselves "The Committee for Free Cinema", managed to get four days showings from the National Film Theatre and set about making our "Manifesto".

From the 1956 program comes their manifesto: 
"These films were no made together; nor with the idea of showing them together. But when they came together, we felt they had an attitude in common. Implicit in our attitude is a belief in freedom, in the importance of people and the significance of the everyday.
As film-makers we believe that no film can be too personal.
The image speaks. Sound amplifies and comments.
Size is irrelevant. Perfection is not an aim.
An attitude means a style. A style means an attitude."

Free Cinema films:
FC1 - O Dreamland, Momma Don't Allow + Together
FC2 - On the Bowery + "a couple of sympathetic short films"
FC3 - Everyday Except Christmas, Wakefield Express (partial) + Refuge England
FC4 - Le Beau Serge + Les Mistons
FC5 - "Black Documentaries" from Poland + Two Men and a Wardrobe
FC6 - We are the Lambeth Boys + Enginemen

Lindsay also had an additional manifesto: 
"With a 16mm Camera, and minimal resources, you cannot achieve very much - in commercial terms. You cannot make a feature film, and your possibilities of experiment are severely restricted. But you can use your eyes and ears. You can give indications. You can make poetry."

It wasn't necessarily a movement, but a way to get their films shown. Whenever they wanted to get new films shown they put together another Free Cinema event. After the first showing there were five more events until the backing provided by the Ford Company was lost.

Lindsay concludes: "But of course Free Cinema rapidly came, and by intention, to stand for a whole approach to film-making, and not just a label for films that had been shown in the original Free Cinema programs. It is in this sense that some of the films in these two programs can properly be called examples of Free Cinema. Independent, personal and poetic these may shortly be defined as the necessary characteristics of the genre. "Personal" did not imply, and does not imply, onanistic. It would be quite wrong to label the Free Cinema films as "socialist" or even necessarily left wing, but all of them displayed, explicitly or implicitly, awareness of the social situation of the artist. It is in this respect that the defeat of the tradition in the mid-sixties, whether by exile, or by commercialism, or by the enticements of a swinging style, is most deeply to be regretted."


Malcolm McDowell: Lindsay Anderson and me
'He was the most extraordinary person in my life.' Malcolm McDowell explains how one director has shaped his career
By Geoffrey Macnab | Independent 11/15/06

    Welcome to cyberspace. Malcolm McDowell, the 63-year-old star of If... and A Clockwork Orange, is currently to be seen on a computer near you, giving an illustrated, interactive lecture about Free Cinema - "One of Britain's most important and influential film movements, even if you've never heard of it," he can be heard saying.
    When he is not haranguing viewers, McDowell is an excellent lecturer: informative, humorous and impassioned. He shows us a photograph of a huge queue outside London's National Film Theatre in 1956, when the first Free Cinema documentaries were shown in public. These were films that looked at everyday life: honest explorations of such subjects as funfairs, dance halls or youth clubs. In the context of the emotional repression of so much British cinema of the era, they seemed ground-breaking. The initial program included Lindsay Anderson's acerbic 12-minute short O Dreamland, exploring the joys of a day out in Margate.
    Ask him why he agreed to take on the unlikely role of cyber-professor for the British Film Institute and McDowell replies loftily that he wants "to put something back into the business that has been so good to me". The real reason, it soon becomes clear, is his devotion to Anderson.
    Since Anderson's death in 1994, McDowell has proselytized tirelessly on behalf of his old mentor (who directed him in if..., O Lucky Man! and Britannia Hospital). He appeared in a one-man show about Anderson and even volunteered to play him in a planned Michael Winterbottom movie that never got off the ground.
    Anderson and McDowell first met in the late 1960s at the audition for If.... They made an unlikely couple. The former was a sharp-tongued, fogeyish figure with the air of an Oxbridge don. The latter was a freewheeling jack-the-lad trying to make his way as an actor after a brief career as a coffee salesman.
    The Yorkshire-born son of a publican, McDowell was Anderson's kind of actor. That's to say, he wasn't an effete, Home Counties type. He had an anarchic quality and a physicality that immediately appealed to the director. "Lindsay loathed the Establishment-type Englishman and the rather dispassionate, cold and disapproving air that they give off. I always played up my roots from the North and I think Lindsay liked that."
    The novelist, screenwriter and critic Gavin Lambert (who died last summer) was a close friend of both McDowell and Anderson. Nonetheless, some of Anderson's circle were outraged by Lambert's memoir, Mainly About Lindsay Anderson, in which he posited the idea that the film-maker was a repressed homosexual who fetishised the male body on camera.
    Lambert had "come out" very early. Anderson, the son of a major-general, was from a background where - as McDowell puts it - "you don't come out... I think he [Anderson] was what you call now a celibate homosexual. I remember having a great discussion with Gavin and saying that he [Anderson] would never have made If... like it was, with this repressed homosexuality throughout, if he had been out like you. He would not have made these films with this angst, this edge and this poetic side.
    "I know that he was in love with Richard Harris [the star of Anderson's first feature, This Sporting Life]. I am sure that it was the same with me and Albert [Finney] and the rest. It wasn't a physical thing. But I suppose he always fell in love with his leading men. He would always pick someone who was unattainable because he was heterosexual."
    Anderson was a self-reliant and opinionated figure, a Daily Telegraph-reading polemicist who wouldn't back down in an argument and whose motto was never to apologize. To McDowell, he had always been a mentor - someone who gave him a crash course in world cinema (taking him to Kurosawa and Preston Sturges movies and Humphrey Jennings documentaries on the South Bank), and even employed him as a painter when McDowell was between acting jobs.
    Reading Anderson's diaries after the director's death, McDowell belatedly realized that his saturnine friend was a far more vulnerable figure than he had seemed. "I really felt for his loneliness. I had never realized quite how utterly lonely he was. Of course, If I had thought about it for a moment, I would have realized. But he was such an imposing figure. You always thought that he was a tower and a pillar of strength."
    McDowell tells stories of blazing rows that he had with Anderson. "We had tremendous fights and make-ups. It was like any great friendship that lasts for most of your life. It was up and down, but mostly up. He was the most extraordinary person in my life. He changed the course of my life."
    Through Anderson, McDowell met the playwright David Storey as well as all the key film-makers of the British New Wave, directors such as Tony Richardson, Karel Reisz and John Schlesinger. Anderson never attacked McDowell for his career choices. Nor did he question his protégé's decision to pursue a career in the US. "He knew that one is a working actor. You have to take what work is on the table. He knew that - although Lindsay was rather luckier than most of us. He had a small trust fund, so he could afford not to do commercial crap."
    Depending on your point of view, it is either McDowell's great good fortune that he was able to work with film-makers of the caliber of Anderson and Stanley Kubrick (on A Clockwork Orange), or his bad luck that he has since done so many movies with lesser talents. Busy as ever, he doesn't seem to be in the slightest embittered about a recent career that has taken him from playing child killers (Evilenko) to roles in Mr. Magoo and Star Trek: Generations.
    There are a couple of plum parts coming up. He is shortly off to Russia to play Prince Bolkonsky in a mini-series version of War And Peace; he is playing a professor who sets up an escort agency in Pound of Flesh; and he is also due to star in Every Time We Say Goodbye, a new film written and directed by Bo Goldman (who scripted One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest), about an old man dying of Alzheimer's.
    In the meantime, he is only a click away, lecturing on Free Cinema. Ask him about his flashes of temper during the interactive presentation and he says it is all make-believe. "That's Lindsay. It's all Lindsay Anderson. Just click it off if you don't like it." Malcolm McDowell's presentation on Free Cinema is available via www.screenonline.org.uk

8/13/04 Independent UK with Malcolm on the 10th Anniversary Tribute
7/25/04 Sunday Herald with Malcolm on the 10th Anniversary Tribute


BFI Page on if....
The Lindsay Anderson Collection



Letters written to film director Lindsay Anderson by arts industry legends are to go on display.
BBC News

    They include correspondence from theatre critic Kenneth Tynan, writer Albert Camus and several actors, including Laurence Olivier. Anderson, one of the most celebrated directors of the 20th Century, helped found the Free Cinema movement which challenged traditional film. The letters are to go on display as part of an exhibition in Stirling.
    They came to light among papers of the theatre designer Jocelyn Herbert, who died in 2003, and were passed to Stirling University, which holds an archive on Lindsay Anderson. The collection's archivist Karl Magee said: "The discovery of this file is a very exciting development. Many of the letters are fascinating objects in their own right and the correspondence highlights the circles in which Anderson worked and socialized."
    The exhibition is to open at The Changing Room, in Stirling, in February.


www.bfi.org.uk announced online introductions to aspects of the film industry. Malcolm McDowell presents a guide to the Free Cinema documentary movement of the 1950s


Plug pulled on screening of 'rogue' Wham! film
Karin Goodwin The Sunday Times - Scotland 

The LAMF/LFS/SEEC event at Southend-on-Sea 5/21/05. 
Tickets are now available to buy on-line at www.leighfilmsociety.org.uk. Tickets are also available on the door but we recommend that you book them in advance. It will be a fantastic day!
The line-up is as follows:
Doors open - 1.30pm
2pm - Introduction to the afternoon's events by Paul Ryan editor of Never Apologize: The Collected Writings Lindsay Anderson
Screening: O Dreamland (Lindsay Anderson, 1953) (12 minutes)
Paul Ryan and David Wood (Knightly in if….) to introduce if….
David Wood to read Special Message from David Sherwin (script writer of if….)
Screening: if…. (Lindsay Anderson, 1968) (112 minutes)
Panel Discussion with members of the Lindsay Anderson Memorial Foundation chaired by Paul Ryan
Tom Sutcliffe to introduce Is That All There Is?
Screening: Is That All There Is? (Lindsay Anderson 1993) (52 minutes)


The Diaries of Lindsay Anderson

As a director, critic, writer and actor, Lindsay Anderson established a reputation as one of the most innovative, impassioned and fiercely independent British artists of the twentieth century. In directing films such as If, This Sporting Life and O Lucky Man he championed a new wave of social responsiveness in British cinema, while as director at the Royal Court he was responsible for establishing the reputation of a number of groundbreaking plays. Throughout his life Anderson stood in opposition to the establishment of his day. Published for the first time, his diaries provide a uniquely personal document of his artistic integrity and vision, his work, and his personal and public struggles. Peopled by a myriad of artists and stars - Malcolm McDowell, Richard Harris, Albert Finney, Anthony Hopkins, Brian Cox, Karel Reisz, Arthur Miller, George Michael - the Diaries provide a fascinating account of one of the most creative periods of British cultural life. The book is 528 pages and, interwoven within the text, are lots of his beautiful letters, including the ones to Malcolm which formed the back-bone of his one-man show in Edinburgh and London. Malcolm has also written the preface.

Never Apologize: The Collected Writings of Lindsay Anderson

Lindsay Anderson's death in September 1994 robbed Britain of one of its most original artists. His output of films was not large, but each of them - Thursday's Children, The White Bus, This Sporting Life, If..., O Lucky Man!, Britannia Hospital and The Whales of August - has been accorded lasting acclaim. At the same time his career in the theatre and TV was equally notable, including premiere productions of a number of plays now standard in the modern repertoire. His long-standing association with the playwright David Storey began with the film of This Sporting Life and continued into the 1980s with his National Theatre production of Early Days. During these years of creative achievement Lindsay Anderson always found the time to write. His interest in film began as a critic in the late forties and early fifties, when he wrote for (and edited) the iconoclastic review Sequence, and he contributed frequently to papers like The Times, The Observer and The New Statesman. The essays he wrote in the context of the Free Cinema movement in the late fifties established him as a critic of trenchant authority, and he continued to speak his mind on cinema, theatre and other issues throughout his career. These pieces, collected in book form for the first time, represent some of the most honest and outspoken criticism of our time. Anderson on England (he was a Scot), Anderson on Ford, Chaplin and Welles, on Jennings and Carol Reed, Anderson on working with Storey, Gielgud and Richardson, Rachel Roberts, Bette Davis and Lillian Gish and, most illuminatingly of all, Anderson on Anderson. Too original to be a favorite of fashion, too outspoken to be universally liked, Never Apologize provides a fitting memorial to an artist who was never satisfied with less than the truth. His work may not always make comfortable reading, but his influence and relevance are undeniable.


How to Do It - Malcolm and Lindsay on the set of O Lucky Man!
Lindsay and David Sherwin on the set of if....

Lindsay Anderson Diaries Cover

Never Apologize Cover


Lindsay Anderson

"Art is an experience, not the formulation of a problem."

"I believe every few years I can make a film that can change the world. And if it doesn't - it isn't my fault."

When a young film-maker apologized to Lindsay for never having heard of him, claiming that she was probably 'too young', he replied: 'Well, have you heard of Shakespeare?'

Malcolm on Lindsay

"I have only one friend whom I lean on heavily. When I can't see the wood for the trees, I've got to go to him. He's a director: Lindsay Anderson. I'd play the tiniest part for Lindsay" - NY Times 1/30/72

Q: Do you think you will ever find that type of special bond with a director, particularly the bond you shared with Lindsay Anderson, again?

MM: No, I don't think I'll ever find that again. Because I was like a completely bare canvas, if you like. I was a very young actor. I was plucked from the crowd by the great director. He taught me everything that I know, probably. Of course, it was really up to me what you decide to learn and what you decide to forget, but Lindsay Anderson was a great friend of mine. I dearly loved him as a friend. Of course, he was a brilliant director. But as a friend, I loved him. He was one of the most extraordinary people I have ever met. It was such a privilege to have known him. I'm so lucky that I got to do my first film with him. I would have accepted any film -- a Hammer horror film. Anything. I was an actor, trying to break into films. And the luck -- O Lucky Man is so true in my case, because I met one of the greatest directors around at the time. And one of the greatest intellects. That was even more important, because his intellect and his loyalty were staggering. I'm not the only one that got the benefit of that. There were many people that he loved and who loved him. At his memorial, I was quite shocked at how many people came and really totally loved him. It was a great night to be remembered at the Royal Court Theatre. - Reel.com 9/99

"Where is the new Lindsay Anderson? The English don't really like people who rock the boat and he was so brilliantly articulate he got up their noses." - Radio Times 2/96

"I rushed in and apologized for being late. I said, 'I'm doing this awful production of "Twelfth Night" at the Royal Court Theatre.' I'd put my foot in it because Lindsay was a director of the Royal Court. I had no idea." - Malcolm on meeting Lindsay for the first time - LA Times 6/18/01

"Lindsay was everything to me. A mentor, a father figure...Lindsay used to tell me, 'I'm not interested in naturalistic stuff. I'm interested in a performance that elevates.' " - LA Times 6/18/01

"He was a difficult man, but also a genius. There was a lot of social questioning in his films and they were a reflection of the times in which they were made. I was lucky that my parts were strange, rebellious anti-heroes with many levels of intensity." - NY Daily News 5/19/02

David Storey on Lindsay

"He was a man with a set of values seemingly in place since birth. They were values by which he observed, scrutinized and judged everything around him, (and he had) an appetite for a world nobler, more charitable, and above all more gracious than the world in which he found himself. Lindsay was a man of vivid contradictions. He could be cantankerous and vituperative, he could be obdurate and acerbic, yet he was incorrigibly loyal and unfailingly generous. He was authoritarian, yet unmistakably a liberal. He was a stoic, yet undeniably sentimental. He was a self-confessed atheist, and yet he was imbued with what can only be described as a religious spirit." - November 20, 1994


Preface to the O Lucky Man! Script


"I corresponded with Lindsay Anderson in the early 1980's after having seen 'if....' on BBC2 several years previously. Not only did Mr. Anderson respond to my letters but sent me an autographed copy of the 'if....' film script, a gesture which not only illustrates his kindness but also his commitment in engaging to discuss his ideas and his work. We discussed his film work, politics and literature. Although 'If...' is a revolutionary film Lindsay Anderson mistrusted revolutions. We shared a belief in the philosophy of anarchism, but he was pessimistic in that he thought human beings were too ruled by greed and cupidity to make it work. He loathed the 60's idea of the 'commune', finding the idea of a group of people turning their back on society to form their own community 'smug and profoundly irritating', quoting lines from Milton about the necessity of engaging with society to create change. Politically he described himself as a 'social democrat'. Anarchist Jean Vigos work -not only 'Zero de conduite', on which 'if...' is obviously modeled, greatly influenced Anderson and similar ideas reoccur throughout his work ,from the 'White Bus' - with the 'stuffed shirts' (a term for figures of the establishment,) appearing on the top of the provincial touring bus and on parents day in Vigos film, and, of course the dwarf headmaster (from Zero de conduite) appearing in 'Britannia Hospital'. Lindsay Anderson admired the French anarchist film-maker Claude Faraldos work - 'Themroc' and 'Bof' - by Rmmgower in Lindsay Yahoo group April 10, 2001

All quotes copyright their original publications.
Research, Resume and format © 2001-09 Alex D. Thrawn for www.MalcolmMcDowell.net