Performance is a 1970 British crime drama film directed by Donald Cammell and Nicolas Roeg, written by Cammell and photographed by Roeg. The film stars James Fox as a violent and ambitious London gangster who, after killing an old friend, goes into hiding at the home of a reclusive rock star.
The film was produced in 1968 but not released until 1970, as Warner Bros. was reluctant to distribute the film, owing to its sexual content and graphic violence. It initially received a mixed critical response, but since then its reputation has grown in stature; it is now regarded as one of the most influential and innovative films of the 1970s, as well as one of the greatest films in the history of British cinema. In 1999, Performance was voted the 48th greatest British film of all time by the British Film Institute; in 2008 Empire magazine ranked the film 182nd on its list of the 500 Greatest Movies of All Time.
Chas (James Fox) is a member of an East London gang, led by Harry Flowers (Johnny Shannon); his specialty is intimidation through violence, as he collects pay-offs for Flowers. Chas is very good at his job, and has a reputation for liking it. His sexual liaisons are casual and rough. When Flowers decides to take over a betting shop owned by Joey Maddocks (Anthony Valentine), he forbids Chas to get involved because he feels Chas’ complicated personal history with Maddocks may lead to trouble. Chas is angry about this and later humiliates Maddocks, who retaliates by wrecking Chas’ apartment and attacking Chas, who in turn shoots him, packs a suitcase and runs from the scene.