The incendiary 1980 film Babylon has finally been released in the United States, playing to packed houses and hailed as a true discovery. Raw and smoldering, it follows a dance-hall DJ (Brinsley Forde of British reggae group Aswad) in South London as he pursues his musical ambitions, battling the racism and xenophobia of employers, neighbors, and police. The blistering soundtrack features Aswad, Dennis Bovell, and Johnny Clarke, among others.

• “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.” —GQ

• “Like the street life of the young black Londoners it portrays, it’s threatening, touching, violent, and funny. This one seems to explode in the gut with a powerful mix of pain and pleasure.” —Variety

• “CRITIC’S PICK. Babylon is a 39-year-old nugget [that] still feels new.” —New York Times 

• “Assertive and ebullient, Babylon is as alive as a movie can be to the everyday mesh of liberating art, humorous camaraderie, and hazardous political reality.” —Los Angeles Times

• “A British cult classic [with an] irresistibly danceable dub soundtrack ... a beautiful time capsule that shines a light on the vibrant underground culture that existed in early ’80s south London.” —BFI

• Read an interview with the film's director of photography.

• Review: “One of the Best Reggae Films Ever”

• Review: “So It Goes ... Singing the Blues in Red”

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Franco Rosso
Running Time
95 minutes
Digital, Color