Rebellion And Conformity In The Film Pink Floyd – The Wall


The film was directed by Alan Parker in 1982 based on a 1979 album by the Pink Floyd group titled, “Another Brick in the Wall”. Pink Floyd was a rock band that was formed in 1965 in London. The film is centred around a resentful rock star, Pink Floyd, who creates a mental wall in order to detach himself from the rest of the world. Pink’s character is a combination of two people, that is Roger Walters and Syd Barret who were both members of Pink Floyd. Roger was the main writer of the film’s storyline and depicted his own childhood in Pink, during which he lost his father in World War II. Pink’s adult life was loosely drawn from Syd’s mental instability due to drug abuse. The aim of this essay is to describe how the film comments on rebellion as well as conformity.


1982 was a time during which there was a shift in the music scene in Britain from progressive music to the practical rebellion of punk and new wave by the rock gurus. Pink Floyd goes through a series of events in his life, from the death of his father in the war, to his overprotective mother while growing up, his cruel teachers in school, threats of a nuclear war and depression. These events cause him to rebel from the worlds by becoming a violent man and hiding behind a mental wall.

In the film, Pink imagines children rising in rebellion and destroying the school, which was oppressive to children. They sing, 'We don't need no education' in opposition to the school system that was oppressive in nature. This is because in the 1950s and 1960s, most schools in Britain placed an emphasis on discipline, rules and punishment upon the failure to observe rules.

As Pink becomes more and more absent from his home, his relationship with his wife grows more and more apart. This is to the point that she starts cheating on him with another man. This is not astonishing and can be interpreted as a subtle rebellion against a marriage institution that seemed to be vanishing. This rebellion later resulted in her leaving Pink for the new man, with whom she had fallen in love with.


In one instance in the film, children are being minced in a meat grinder showing the conformity of the education system. This is symbolic of how the children were being oppressed by schools rather than being educated through them. Those who did not conform to the education system and its rules ended up punished. This ends up destroying the children and an example is seen in Pink when he starts building a wall around himself.

The children sing, 'We don't need no education' because they want the teachers to teach them as opposed to forcing them to conform to an education system that discourages them from being unique but instead forces them through a similar path. In one scenario in the school, a teacher reads aloud and shames Pink for the poem he wrote. This further goes to show that the emphasis of British schooling at the time was not talent but purely classroom education and conformity. Hence, Pink was as a result of his non-conformity that was expressed through his poem on “Money” taunted and slapped on the wrist.

In addition, even in the rebellion, the children acted as a group and there was no sense of individuality. This goes to show that from a young age, children have been taught to conform and follow instructions. It therefore comes as no surprise that even when rebelling, there is no sense of individuality, instead they all act as a group.

During the trial in his mind, Pink is depicted as a rag doll. A rag doll has no power to do anything but allows things to happen to it. In the same way, Pink never defended himself during trial but agrees to take down the wall without any objections. He conforms to this judgement because he believes without a doubt that he is to blame for all that had happened to him.


The Wall is a film that not only tells a story that not only tells about Pink, but also the society, education system, government and the World War II. The film tells a story of how difficult events in one’s life end up shaping one’s character. In the case of Pink, it made him build a wall that would enable him to keep everyone out. The notion of rebellion and conformity arise in various instances in the film, particularly in education and the society. Through Pink’s experiences, one is able to get a glimpse of the oppressive education system that existed at the time, and discouraged uniqueness or individuality. Pink’s childhood life helps to show effects of the war, which included denying children of their fathers. Such children would as a result harbour anger and resentment at the world and government and be rebellious in nature as seen in the life of Pink who ends up blaming the government and doing drugs later in life. However, there is hope in the end as Pink tears down the wall with the same instrument he used to build it.

16 December 2021
Your Email

By clicking “Send”, you agree to our Terms of service and  Privacy statement. We will occasionally send you account related emails.

close thanks-icon

Your essay sample has been sent.

Order now
Still can’t find what you need?

Order custom paper and save your time
for priority classes!

Order paper now