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The Apartment (1960)

tomatometer

93

Average Rating: 8.4/10
Reviews Counted: 58
Fresh: 54 | Rotten: 4

Director Billy Wilder's customary cynicism is leavened here by tender humor, romance, and genuine pathos.

90

Average Rating: 7.9/10
Critic Reviews: 10
Fresh: 9 | Rotten: 1

Director Billy Wilder's customary cynicism is leavened here by tender humor, romance, and genuine pathos.

audience

94

liked it
Average Rating: 4.2/5
User Ratings: 36,514

My Rating

Movie Info

Widely regarded as a comedy in 1960, The Apartment seems more melancholy with each passing year. Jack Lemmon plays C.C. Baxter, a go-getting office worker who loans his tiny apartment to his philandering superiors for their romantic trysts. He runs into trouble when he finds himself sharing a girlfriend (Shirley MacLaine) with his callous boss (Fred MacMurray). Director/co-writer Billy Wilder claimed that the idea for The Apartment stemmed from a short scene in the 1945 romantic drama Brief

Unrated,

Drama, Romance, Classics, Comedy

Billy Wilder, I.A.L. Diamond

Jun 19, 2001

United Artists - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (58) | Top Critics (10) | Fresh (54) | Rotten (4) | DVD (25)

Wilder, a bilious and mercurial wit, here becomes a wide-screen master of time ...

July 1, 2013 Full Review Source: New Yorker
New Yorker
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Directed by Wilder with attention to detail and emotional reticence that belie its inherent darkness and melodramatic core, it's lifted considerably by the performances.

June 8, 2012 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A comedy of men's-room humours and water-cooler politics that now and then among the belly laughs says something serious and sad about the struggle for success, about what it often does to a man, and about the horribly small world of big business.

February 18, 2009 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

With tremendous performances by the two leads (Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine), this is yet another "must see" title to be found on Wilder's resume.

June 10, 2008 Full Review Source: ReelViews
ReelViews
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Most of the time, it's up to director Wilder to sustain a two-hour-plus film on treatment alone, a feat he manages to accomplish more often than not, and sometimes the results are amazing.

August 15, 2007 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

I wouldn't call this 1960 picture one of Billy Wilder's best comedies -- it's drab, sappy, and overlong at 125 minutes.

December 13, 2006 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader | Comments (5)
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

...despite all its cynicism, The Apartment still ends on a hopeful note...

August 7, 2014 Full Review Source: Movie Mezzanine
Movie Mezzanine

From such potentially edgy material Wilder and co-writer IAL Diamond sculpt an unforgettable romance.

February 10, 2014 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

Despite some entertaining moments and a terrific performance by its lead, it's not a perfect film and does have some problems.

February 24, 2013 Full Review Source: Three Movie Buffs
Three Movie Buffs

{VIDEO ESSAY} Billy Wilder's classic Manhattan-based romantic comedy comes with a sly critique regarding 50's era corporate culture of rampant misogyny and unbridled ambition.

July 29, 2012 Full Review Source: ColeSmithey.com
ColeSmithey.com

When assessing his own work Billy Wilder described The Apartment as being the film with the fewest mistakes. And he is right: it is as near to perfect as is possible.

June 15, 2012 Full Review Source: Electric Sheep
Electric Sheep

Beautifully written and directed by the great Billy Wilder, bittersweet and heartfelt, this is sheer delight.

June 15, 2012 Full Review Source: Daily Express
Daily Express

Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine shine as two essentially good souls trapped in a tangle of office politics.

June 14, 2012 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

Wilder has made some truly great movies, but this one is not the masterpiece we thought it was.

June 14, 2012 Full Review Source: Little White Lies
Little White Lies

Even over a half-century on, The Apartment remains a biting classic due to its modern romantic sensibilities and Lemmon's commanding, thoroughly charming central performance.

June 13, 2012 Full Review Source: What Culture
What Culture

This really is a film of ever increasing returns.

June 13, 2012 Full Review Source: The List
The List

No one does the pitchblack flipside of funny like Wilder, and 1960's The Apartment is the darkest he ever made.

June 13, 2012 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

This Oscar-winning Best Picture still has the power and appeal that won audiences over back in 1960.

February 12, 2012 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

The cast brings the film together, showing Lemmon and MacLaine as more than just comedic performers, but also as those who can hold their own with heavier script elements.

February 6, 2012 Full Review Source: 7M Pictures
7M Pictures

A perfect mix of comedy, drama, and romance, The Apartment showcases writer/director Billy Wilder at the peak of his creative talent.

July 6, 2010 Full Review Source: Matt's Movie Reviews
Matt's Movie Reviews

A screen gem that attained classic status in about as much time as it takes to comb one's hair.

March 12, 2010 Full Review Source: Creative Loafing
Creative Loafing

[Lemmon's character is] a whingeing, self-pitying figure who, like other Wilder practitioners, cannot recognise the extent of his turpitude, and this is both the strength and weakness of a remarkable movie.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

Not to be missed on any account.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Guardian
Guardian

Audience Reviews for The Apartment

It is curious how this film is labeled by many as a comedy when in fact it is so melancholic and rather heavy in tone. A deeply involving dramatic romance with some great dialogue and three-dimensional characters, even if the plot is a bit predictable.
November 22, 2012
blacksheepboy

Super Reviewer

Along with Ernst Lubitsch's The Shop Around the Corner, Billy Wilder's 1960 Oscar-sweeper The Apartment elevates the workplace romance into a sublime erotics of officious addresses (the omnipresent Mister and Miss) and economic conundrum. In this film, actuary C.C. Baxter (Jack Lemmon) sleeps his way up the Consolidated Life ladder by proxy, as philandering execs use his 67th Street digs for scheduled romps. Meanwhile, Fran Kubelik (Shirley MacLaine), the elevator operator he chivalrously fancies, can't get personnel czar Sheldrake (Fred MacMurray) out of her mind. The triangulation keeps its edges with on-your-toes dialogue and a fine-tuned critique of corporate culture. Lemmon navigates the line between simpering and sympathetic with nervous WASP-ish energy. Most indelibly, MacLaine gives us a gamine with the whole gamut of emotions, a cursed capacity to love, and a limit to her own self-pity.

As in Shop, Christmastime and suicide mingle, and the name "Kubelik" has the old-world ring of Kralik, Matuschek, et al.; Baxter's Jewish neighbors put him on the road from schnook to mensch (perhaps this is Wilder responding to the critique that he wasn't Jewish enough?). And Billy again pulls of his trademark feat of finding pathos in taboo subjects. He had a sign in his office that read, "How Would Lubitsch Do It?" and here that director's elusive touch hovers over the proceedings, lending a lightness to even the most mercenary transactions. A classic in the truest sense of the word.
January 22, 2012
JonathanHutchings
Jonathan Hutchings

Super Reviewer

Lovely movie. Without knowing it from each other, C.C. and Fran are both jerked around by selfish and arrogant men.
What I liked about it is that it doesn't turn into a sugary romantic movie, the characters stay true to themselves.
October 22, 2011
Saxia

Super Reviewer

Looking solely at the premise, I find it really funny that a film about a lonely office drone who pimps out his apartment to his superiors as a way of getting ahead in the corporate world won the Oscar for best picture. In all seriousness though, this is a wonderful satirical dramedy that, like a lot of Billy Wilder's films, pushed forth a mature subject, and made no qualms about doing so.

The film gets more serious as it goes on, but the first half is really pretty funny, and it's just a joy watching Jack Lemmon act all harried and whatnot. He gives a great performance, as do Shirley MacLaine and Fred MacMurray, even though no one is the cast is bad.

I rather like that, perhaps due to the time period, this film leaves much to the imagination- something that probably wouldn't happen if it were made now. Everyone, and not just the actors, are firing on all cylinders here
June 30, 2011
cosmo313
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

    1. C.C. Baxter: We never close at Buddy-boys!
    – Submitted by Joakim A (17 months ago)
    1. C.C. Baxter: It's not the Picasso I'm calling about, it's the key to my apartment. You're supposed to leave it under the mat.
    2. Mr. Joe Dobisch: But I did didn't I? I distinctly remember bending over and putting it there.
    3. C.C. Baxter: Oh, I found the key alright. Only it's the wrong key!
    4. Mr. Joe Dobisch: It is? Well how about that. No wonder I couldn't get into the executive washroom this morning.
    5. C.C. Baxter: And I couldn't get into my apartment!
    – Submitted by Joakim A (17 months ago)
    1. Fran Kubelik: What's the matter?
    2. C.C. Baxter: Eh. The mirror. It's broken.
    3. Fran Kubelik: Yes, I know. I like it that way. Makes me look the way I feel.
    – Submitted by Joakim A (17 months ago)
    1. Fran Kubelik: She doesn't seem to like you very much.
    2. C.C. Baxter: Oh, I don't mind. As a matter of fact I'm flattered. That anybody'd think a girl like you would do a thing like this over a guy like me.
    – Submitted by Joakim A (17 months ago)
    1. Fran Kubelik: Why can't I ever fall in love with somebody nice like you?
    2. C.C. Baxter: Yeah, well, that's the way it crumbles, cookiewise.
    – Submitted by Joakim A (17 months ago)
    1. C.C. Baxter: Ya know, I used to live like Robinson Crusoe; I mean, shipwrecked among 8 million people. And then one day I saw a footprint in the sand, and there you were.
    – Submitted by Leilane C (2 years ago)
View all quotes (10)

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