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Tommy (Roger Daltrey) is a "deaf, dumb and blind kid" who retreats into himself after the death of his father. His mother, Nora (Ann-Margret), and stepfather Frank (Oliver Reed) take him to see a specialist (Jack Nicholson) but Tommy is apparently a hopeless case. That is, until Tommy discovers that "he sure plays a mean pinball." Tommy gains fame when he defeats the Pinball Wizard (Elton John) for the world championship. As a result, Tommy becomes such a celebrity that he even founds his own religious cult. But his fans begin to commercialize his fame, while Tommy wants to stick to the straight and narrow. When Tommy wants to end the commercialization of his message, his supporters accuse him of being hypocritical and turn on him. Ann-Margret, with a slinky red dress slit way up the side, was nominated for a Best Actress Oscar, losing out to Louise Fletcher in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.