- Awesome Music: Memo, "Come now, gentleman, I know there's some mistake."
- Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: The "Memo from Turner" song deserves mention, but in a film that had already established that anything could happen in it, it's not all that out-of-place. If anything, you're surprised that it took so long to take a total detour like that.
- Cult Classic: In the late 1970s and 1980s, the film gradually acquired a cult following on the late night and repertory cinema circuits. By the 1990s, the film had undergone a critical reappraisal.
- He Really Can Act: Mick Jagger's turn as an actor was highly commended by critics in its time and afterwards. It's often ranked the best performance by a musician in a film. Especially since Mick Jagger's performance is quite against his usual stage persona.
- Hilarious in Hindsight: Chas taunting Turner with "Comical little geezer. You'll look funny when you're 50!", since Mick Jagger is in his 70s now and still has the same basic look he had at the time.
- My Real Daddy: The film is credited to two directors (Cammell and Roeg) and of the two Roeg went on to have the more successful career as a director, commercially and critically (Cammell made three other films, including Demon Seed and White of the Eye which are Cult Classic) . Nonetheless film scholars and researchers, such as Colin MacCabe affirm that Cammell really is the true visionary of the film, from writing/casting/tone and for his first hand knowledge about the Krays, and that he had the major role in determining the look of the film, and also finding the right collaborators, chiefly editor Frank Mazzola.
- Older Than They Think:
- The "Memo from Turner" sequence is often considered a prototype for the music video. It covers all the bases for the form (abstract narrative, musician directly addressing and singing to the camera, visuals and audio telling a narrative), and it certainly does seem to exist apart from the rest of the film. However, others note that even Performance isn't innovative in this regard. Frank Tashlin's The Girl Can't Help It has the famous "Cry Me A River" sequence which is also an abstract BLAM narrative of video and music to tell a story.
- The film's depiction of gangster violence and drug-induced craziness as the dark side of Swinging London is often seen as reflecting the degeneration of parts of the counter-culture as the sixties became the seventies (heroin, Altamont, race riots, the turn from idealistic politics to selfish "personal development"). However, the film's delayed release meant that it was seen as responding to events, when it actually anticipated them.
- "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: The violence, sex and drug use still pack a punch because of their contribution to the overall Mind Screw of the film, but by themselves they don't seem too remarkable by today's standards. But they were genuinely shocking for a mainstream film in 1970, to the extent that theaters allegedly had problems with people vomiting in their seats.
- Vindicated by History: Critics loathed it upon release, calling it an extended exercise in bad taste. Now it's regarded as one of the greatest films of its era.
YMMV / Performance