Charly (1968)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

In 1961, Cliff Robertson starred in The Two Worlds of Charley Gordon, a TV adaptation of Daniel Keyes' story Flowers for Algernon. Determined not to lose out on the film version of this play as he'd done with Days of Wine and Roses, Robertson bought up the movie rights to Keyes' story so that he and he alone would star. This determination paid off in the form of the Best Actor Academy Award for Robertson in 1968. The star plays Charly, a 30-year-old mentally retarded bakery worker. Neurosurgeon … More

Rating: PG
Genre: Drama, Classics, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
Written By: Stirling Silliphant, Sterling Silliphant
In Theaters:
On DVD: Mar 8, 2005



as Charly Gordon

as Alice Kinian

as Dr. Anna Straus

as Dr. Richard Nemur

as Mrs. Apple

as Convention speaker
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Charly

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Critic Reviews for Charly

All Critics (20) | Top Critics (5)

I'm told by someone whose opinion I respect that the novel was very moving and very sad. The movie is not. It's science-fiction without gadgets, a horror film without thrills.

Full Review… | May 9, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

As the story of a personality in crisis, it works.

Full Review… | October 23, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | August 6, 2011
Wall Street Journal
Top Critic

May 26, 2008
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

Full Review… | April 29, 2008
Top Critic

The film's main problem is that director Ralph Nelson virtually ignores the philosophical elements of the story and emphasizes its most maudlin aspects, while throwing in a little sci-fi, romance, and spurious social commentary.

Full Review… | June 6, 2007
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Audience Reviews for Charly

A mentally retarded bakery worker is given a treatment that makes him smart.
The most striking problem with this film is the incredibly unnecessary and distracting psychedelic sequences that interrupt the story. With bright colors and freeze-frames, the film briefly becomes a music video before returning to the plot.
Ignoring these sequences, the film still suffers because the central question of the story and the source material is whether being smart makes one a better person or happier. The film doesn't seem to care about the ethical dilemmas associated with the doctors' treatment or the effects on Charley. Rather, we get maudlin nonsense and a ham-handed love story that has none of the passion or chemistry that - for example - the love story in My Left Foot features.
Overall, this film may be a victim of its psychedelic times, but that isn't the only thing holding it back from its potential.

Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer


I enjoyed the book Flowers for Algernon when I read it in grade school, but seeing it on the screen was a disappointing experience. They changed things for the worse, and the actors were bad, and they had some weird psychedelic stuff in there. I wouldn't recommend seeing this movie.

Aj V

Super Reviewer

REALLY corny, but sweet. And a neat look at what it would be like to go from retarded to a genus, and then have to give it all up and become even more retarded.

Curtis Lilly

Super Reviewer

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