In one of the few conversations I ever had with my much older half-brother he told me he had been a big fan of the Who as a kid and that the Quadrophenia album (1973) was a particular favorite. He never saw the film, though he knew that one was planned, he had already moved on by that time, I suppose.
I consider the film not only a worthy extension of the album but a great one, which refers to the album without being so tied to it that it can't create its own genuinely cinematic space. The albums universal appeal (the album reached #2 in England and America) and the film's belated cult status around the world has as much to do with the themes of alienation and loneliness as it's early/late 70's depiction of a mid 60's mod subculture a divisive point for purists and trainspotters-neither of which do I have the time or patience for- the only anachronism that bugs me is the 1973 twofer album My Generation/Who Sell Out shown in the party scene, just cause it seems like such a clumsy mistake, given that the film was made by The Who's company.
The film works beautifully as a piece unto itself and is a favorite of mine along with those other 1979 (a great year for rock n' roll films) mainstays Rude Boy, Rock n' Roll High School, The Great Rock n' Roll Swindle and The Kids Are Alright. Four clips from or related to the film below-not sure why the only 5:15 clip (probably the best scene in the film) is slowed down and in b&w but its all that was available-followed by two short clips roughly from the time in which the film is set.
Pete Meaden's "clean living under difficult circumstances" still works for me as a suitably open ended working definition of mod. In any case as Kevin says "No matter where you go there's always some cunt with stars and stripes on who wants to push you about".