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I was once lucky enough to have a meal with the late, great Lindsay Anderson. He had agreed to do an introduction for a screening of Les Mistons, a short film by the equally late, great Francois Truffaut and the inspiration for If…, Zero de Conduite by Jean Vigo. Anderson made a very eloquent speech to introduce the film and we watched as the film began and then slipped next door for a bite to eat. It was both a privilege and a pleasure. We talked about films and what our favourites were. Just a very pleasant couple of hours.
If… has always been a favourite film of mine as I went to a boarding school. My school, Lord Wandsworth College was a great place to go, the teachers were all a bit mad but not as nuts as in Lindsay Anderson’s film.
Maybe some of the elements of school life resonated with me, the prefects ruling school life and dishing out punishments to the youngsters. A bizarre tradition in boarding schools. Bullying could be rife and the strictures of being away from home could be challenging but it was a good time.


Malcolm McDowell captured the anger of youth in teenage years better than anything that had been on screen before, a star performance.
So many great British actors in cameos in this film, Arthur Lowe, Mona Washbourne, Graham Crowden, Charles Lloyd Pack (yep, Triggers Dad) Peter Jeffrey and many others.
If this film in any way is of interest watch Never Apologise, Malcolm McDowell’s one man master class during which he relates tales of making If… and his relationship with Lindsay Anderson. Also read David Sherwin’s (screenplay writer) autobiography, Going Mad In Hollywood, it’s a fabulous read.
Up there with the best of British. http://www.filmposterart.co.uk/if-182-p.asp