New Documentary Video: “Sid and Nancy”

Cygnus Studios proudly presents a highly entertaining full-length film first released in 1986, covering the doomed love affair between Sid Vicious and groupie Nancy Spungen.

Vicious and Spungen in 1976


Starring Gary Oldman and Chloe Webb, it focuses on events leading up to and after the death of Nancy who was found dead in the couple’s room at the Hotel Chelsea, New York in 1978. She died from a single stab wound.

After his arrest Sid gave conflicting stories as to what happened on the night Nancy died. Initially he said that the two fought and that while he stabbed her, he never meant to kill her. He later said that Nancy fell on the knife, and finally stated that he didn’t remember what happened.

Vicious was charged with second degree murder, but pleaded not guilty. He was released on bail and died four months later of a heroin overdose before the trial.

Naturally, some Hollywood drama has been added to make the film more interesting, so it’s not 100% factual. Still, it remains an absorbing movie about one of the most notorious and self-destructive Rock Stars to ever roam the earth.


Of course, there’s also no lack of Sex Pistols content…

Although their career lasted just two and a half years, they’ve gone down as one of the most groundbreaking acts in the history of popular music. They were responsible for initiating the Punk movement in the United Kingdom and inspiring many Punk and Alternative Rock musicians who later followed in their footsteps.

Performing on Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert during their 1978 U.S. tour.

“God Save the Queen”

Originally titled “No Future”, without a doubt their most infamous song was almost immediately banned on UK radio following its release as a single. Despite the backlash, it was selling up to 150,000 copies a day, reached #2 on the country’s OCC chart, and #1 on NME.

Various British newspapers went so far as to censor the title. Not sure about you, but this looks pretty fucking ridiculous to me:

Today, it’s among the most valuable recorded rarities in existence. A copy of the 7″ version on the band’s original label (A&M Records) sold for over $20,000 at a UK auction in 2019.

The “Jubilee” Incident

Although incomplete, a favorite scene is their ear-spitting performance while cruising in a boat down the River Thames with a major party happening on-board, past various tourist attractions in London such as Buckingham Palace and Parliament.

As icing on the cake, to add insult to injury they chose to do this during Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee in 1977. Needless to say, the police were not amused.

Johnny Rotten: “I didn’t know pigs could swim!”

They forced the boat to dock, then arrested manager Malcolm McLaren along with most of the band’s entourage. Amazingly, all of the Pistols managed to escape during the ensuing chaos.

Rock Hall of Fame

Just how much I despise this “organization” is no secret to those who know me. Much to my delight, instead of the band being snubbed as many deserving groups are, the Pistols actually had the balls to snub them:

Johnny Rotten’s letter to the Rock Hall in 2006

Film production and Aftermath

This film happens to be one of Gary Oldman’s earliest works. However, he later dismissed his performance: “I don’t think I played Sid Vicious very well.”

I respectfully disagree…

Gary Oldman and Chloe Webb

In my opinion, that casting couldn’t have possibly been any better. He absolutely shines in the role, which helped launch his rise to superstardom.

Lastly, the film currently receives an overall approval rating of 88% on Rotten Tomatoes, 76% on Metacritic, and 7/10 stars on IMDb. Although it grossed only $2.8M on a $4M budget at the box office, it far surpassed that figure with the inclusion of later home media sales.

It’s now considered a cult classic.

Further Details and Media:

Technical Notes:

  • Remastered version captured by MakeMKV.
  • Conversion to MP4 format by Handbreak.
  • Trim editing by Pinnacle Studio.
  • File size reduced from 6GB to 3GB for better streaming performance, but of course is still totally dependent on your Internet connection speed. Allow time for buffering.
  • Picture quality is in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio and acceptable (especially on smaller displays), with an excellent stereo soundtrack.

2 thoughts on “New Documentary Video: “Sid and Nancy”

    1. Hi Döc, so glad you enjoyed it!

      Spent quite a bit of time writing the article itself, which I humbly think contains good background information and content. However, the thing that concerned me was video quality. Since it runs nearly two hours, even after trimming the raw capture was still over 6GB. Using it would have introduced stuttering on all but high-speed connections (400 Gbps+).

      I chose to go with the lesser of two evils, that being smaller dimensions and a slower bit rate for smoother streaming, but at the cost of some possible pixelation. It mainly comes into play on large displays, especially in full-screen mode. On devices like cellphones and tablets, it should look fine either way.

      At least the audio turned out great and remains in stereo, something I certainly didn’t want to sacrifice! 😉

      P. S. As with all files on Google Drive, it’s downloadable and naturally a local copy appears pretty close to the original resolution for anyone who decides to go that route.


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