Like the reggae music that pulses through it, 'Babylon' is rich, rough and real.



Never-before released in North America, Franco Rosso's incendiary Babylon had its world premiere at Cannes in 1980 but was banned from the New York Film Festival that same year for "being too controversial, and likely to incite racial tension" (Vivien Goldman, Time Out). Raw and smoldering, it follows a young dancehall DJ (Brinsley Forde, frontman of landmark British reggae group Aswad) in South London as he pursues his musical ambitions, battling fiercely against the racism and xenophobia of employers, neighbors, police, and the National Front. Written by Martin Stellman (Quadrophenia) and shot by two-time Oscar® winner Chris Menges (The Killing Fields) with beautifully smoky cinematography that has been compared to Taxi Driver, Babylon is fearless and unsentimental, yet tempered by the hazy bliss of the dance hall set to a blistering reggae and lovers rock soundtrack featuring Aswad, Johnny Clarke, Dennis Bovell, and more.

You've seen
The Harder They Come, maybe you've seen Rockers, but you've never seen anything like Babylon.

Directed by Franco Rosso
Written by Franco Rosso and Martin Stellman

“A STORY WITH LITERALLY EPIC STAKES. It's no surprise why the film may resonate now—its themes of finding community through art and trying to exist in a society that doesn't want you are unfortunately both timeless and extremely current.” —Jaya Saxena, GQ

“REMARKABLE. Never lets go for a moment.” —Derek Malcolm, The Guardian

“FEARLESS. Loud and musical and cheerful and funny, and also tragic.” —David Robinson, The Times

“The movie the New York Film Festival found TOO HOT TO HANDLE.“ —Time Out

“EXPLODES IN THE GUT with a powerful mix of pain and pleasure. Like the reggae music that pulses through it, Babylon is RICH, ROUGH and REAL. And like the street life of the young black Londoners it portrays, it's THREATENING, TOUCHING, VIOLENT and FUNNY.” —Simon Perry, Variety

“FIVE STARS. One of the greatest British films.” —MOJO

“REVOLUTIONARY.” —Miguel Cullen, The Independent

“MUST be seen.” —NME

“RELEVANT and RADICAL.” —Tom Huddleston, Time Out

“An INSTANT CLASSIC.” —British Film Institute
Not Rated
Drama, Music
Franco Rosso
Brinsley Forde, Karl Howman
John DeForeHollywood Reporter

Invaluable even if all it offered was a window into the reggae sound system culture of South London circa 1980, Franco Rosso's 'Babylon' is substantially more than that — an English cousin to the earlier Jamaica-set films 'The Harder They Come' and 'Rockers' that is vastly superior in cinematic ...

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