If....: Turner Classic Movies British Film Guide by Paul Sutton
Lindsay Anderson's 1968 masterpiece, If..., deals fundamentally - and controversially - with England and quintessential 'Englishness'. Coming six years after Anderson's double Oscar-nominated debut feature, This Sporting Life, If... was the first film ever with a British setting and cast to win the Palme d'Or for Best Film at Cannes. The fruit of Anderson's first-hand studies of the Czech, Polish and Indian New Waves led by Milos Forman, Andrzej Wajda and, most famously, Satyajit Ray, it prophesied - and then mirrored - an international outbreak of youthful rebellion. An authority on Lindsay Anderson and his films, Sutton here draws on massive quantities of original material: Anderson's private archive, which illuminates the film's autobiographical elements; the original script Crusaders; the sequel on which he was working at the time of his death; interviews with key members of cast and crew including lead Malcolm McDowell, all are here explored to unravel the mysteries of a film which continues to delight, enrage and inspire.