Sid and Nancy [1986]

After the cultish success of Repo Man, maverick director Alex Cox made the film that remains his masterpiece--a loud, brash, abrasive, painful, funny, and utterly brilliant screen biography of British punk rocker Sid Vicious and his American girlfriend Nancy Spungen. As played to perfection by Gary Oldman and Chloe Webb, Sid and Nancy are made for each other, serving their mutual strengths and weaknesses and rising with the punk-rock fame of Sid's group, the Sex Pistols, while falling into the ultimately lethal pit of drug abuse. Cox doesn't pull any punches or compromise the unsavory aspects of this passionate love story, so the film presents a harsh mix of emotional and physical anguish tempered by the very poignant and genuine love shared by its tormented central characters. Through it all, the film emerges as an intimate and yet oddly epic chronicle of punk's glory days of anarchic sex, drugs and rock & roll. It's as dynamic and confidently directed as any screen biography before or since, no less fascinating for its unpleasant aspects as for the touching emotions at its very human core. --Jeff Shannon

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