Savages (1972) - Rotten Tomatoes

Savages (1972)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

This hippie parable, co-written and directed by James Ivory and produced by his long-time partner Ismail Merchant, tries to make a heavy-handed parallel between civilization and corruption. A tribe of nameless natives (played by Sam Waterston, Susan Blakely, Salome Jens and Martin Kove, among others) finds a croquet ball and, rolling it along the ground mystified by what it might be, stumbles upon an estate. They enter and occupy the mansion and don the clothes and trappings of civilized luxury. A dividing line begins to develop between strong and weak tribe members, with the weak becoming subordinate to the others. A lavish party is thrown that resembles nothing so much as a summer weekend gathering of sophisticates. After a game of croquet, however, the natives begin to tire of their masquerade and devolve back into their original, more primitive state, and disappear into the forest. Cinematographer Walter Lassally makes the film's point more blunt and obvious by filming the prologue in black and white and then switching to color once the tribe discovers the estate. One of Ivory's co-writers was Michael O'Donoghue, infamous bad boy of the original Saturday Night Live writing staff.more
Rating: R
Genre: Drama, Kids & Family, Classics, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: George W.S. Trow, Michael O'Donoghue, George Swift Trow, James Ivory
In Theaters:
On DVD: Jun 22, 2004
Angelika Films


Lewis J. Stadlen
as Julian Branch
Anne Francine
as Carlotta
Salome Jens
as Emily Penning
Neil Fitzgerald
as Sir Harry
Asha Puthili
as Forest Girl
Asha Puthli
as Forest Girl
Lilly Lessing
as Narrator
Claus Jurgen
as Narrator
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Savages

Critic Reviews for Savages

All Critics (12) | Top Critics (7)

October 18, 2008
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

Full Review… | May 22, 2008
Seattle Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 4, 2008
Top Critic

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

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

Audience Reviews for Savages


In "Savages," the Mud People are about sacrifice a human to their gods when they are interrupted by a mysterious round object rolling into their camp. Following it back to its source, they capture a member of a rival tribe. That path leads to a wondrous dwelling, full of shiny objects and furs...

Well, you have to admit it. "Savages" is different. And not just because it is a Merchant/Ivory movie about a group of primitives who suddenly find themselves in a Merchant/Ivory film, done in a mixture of styles including silent movies, about a decade before those names became synonymous for politely restrained period pieces.(Added to the chronal displacement is an impossibly young Sam Waterston not playing somebody who pontificates at the drop of a hat.) At least, here the social criticism and satire is less obtuse than usual, especially on the subject of colonialism with a little genderbending thrown in for good measure, along with a special emphasis on the thin line between civilization and savagery. Plus, croquet.

Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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