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Wuthering Heights

Wuthering Heights (1939)


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Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 1
Fresh: 1 | Rotten: 0



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Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 8,541

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Movie Info

William Wyler's Wuthering Heights is one of the earliest screen adaptations of the classic Emily Brontė novel. A traveler named Lockwood (Miles Mander) is caught in the snow and stays at the estate of Wuthering Heights, where the housekeeper, Ellen Dean (Flora Robson), sits down to tell him the story in flashback. In the early 19th century, the original owner of Wuthering Heights, Mr. Earnshaw (Leo G. Carroll), brings home an orphan from Liverpool named Heathcliff (Rex Downing). Though son


Drama, Romance, Classics

Oct 28, 1997

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All Critics (23) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (19) | Rotten (0) | DVD (4)

Emily Bronte's novel tells a haunting tale of love and tragedy. Samuel Goldwyn's film version retains all of the grim drama of the book. It's heavy fare throughout.

February 13, 2001 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The cast is faultless.

January 18, 2013 Full Review Source: The Nation
The Nation

This is a first-class Hollywood production.

May 27, 2012 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Best version of the Gothic-romance revenge tale.

December 15, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Ace cinematographer Gregg Toland deservedly won the Oscar for his moody b/w imagery in William Wyler's supremely mounted production of Bronte's tragic novel; the only mediocre element is Merle Oberon's performance.

March 16, 2008 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

The definitive version.

October 16, 2004
Kansas City Kansan

It's okay, but it's the kind of classic that puts people off classics.

March 1, 2004
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Wyler's shot composition, production values, and art direction were the most impeccable in the industry.

September 10, 2002 Full Review Source:

Wuthering Heights (1939) is director William Wyler's tale of doomed love, conflicting passions, and revenge, one of Hollywood's all-time most romantic/drama classics.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Tim Dirks' The Greatest Films
Tim Dirks' The Greatest Films

Audience Reviews for Wuthering Heights

Wuthering Heights is the 1939 adaptation of the Emily Bronte novel by the same name. A lost stranger comes to the broken down estate of Wuthering Heights, lost in the moors. He's put up by the hostile Heathcliff, and during the night sees a ghost. He's then told the tale of the ghost, and how it came to be. Olivier's Heathcliff is filled with nothing but impotent rage as he lashes out at the upper class which he oh-so-briefly had a taste of. His beloved Cathy isn't interested in becoming a stable boy's wife, even if she does love Heathcliff. It's a story that starts off with the promise of romance but ends on a bitterly cynical note. I get the feeling the film doesn't do justice to the novel (even having never read the novel), with it's somewhat shallow performances and a lack of exposition or character development. I was surprised to learn the role of Heathcliff was performed by the venerable Sir Laurence Olivier, it was a performance that seemingly could've been done by any reasonably handsome actor of his day. The "film" aspect of the film however, is outstanding: lighting, sets, costumes, and direction are all top notch (and I really hate to mislead, the performances are great for their day), but it's the original material that makes this film so worthwhile, rather than any contributions the filmmakers make.
February 22, 2010
Mr Awesome
Devon Bott

Super Reviewer

my only excuse for having missed on this classic for sooo very many years is that i thought it only a "chick flick". whatta maroon, shame on me. with great writing, direction, and acting par excellence (olivier is to die for - and kathy does, merle oberon's death scene is stroke for stroke gloria swanson's last scene in "sunset boulevard", and flora robson finally gets some r-e-s-p-e-c-t in a movie!) by the entire cast, this old story hinged upon class warfare ("we're better than you!" "no you're not!" yah-hoo! ah luv it!) is as fresh as the day they thunk it.
January 31, 2009

Super Reviewer

Wuthering Heights tells the story of two people destined to be together, however they do nothing but hurt each other. It's a fantastic romance and a wonderful adaptation, despite only covering half of the actual book. Olivier is cold, strong and sophisticated in a very impressive role. Despite his constant facial expression his eyes and words display a vast array of feelings. Oberon is also a class act. She is spoilt, selfish and downright mean, though often sweet and confused. Everybody gets a moment to shine, especially against the wonderfully created sets. At its core Wuthering Heights is a tale of revenge, but in the most subtle of ways. Sly conversational digs, the odd shifty look. Could have been better if they had played the Kate Bush classic at some point.
January 6, 2009

Super Reviewer

As a stand alone film, it is enjoyable and rather well executed. As an adaptation of the novel, frankly, it's not up to scratch. It is primarily this film which is the culprit for modern popular culture assuming Wuthering Heights to be a great and tragic love story. If you read the book, it's not. Especially as Heathcliff is a bit too much of an asshole to be considered a 'classic' romantic hero (a bit Byronic maybe, but that's debatable). The fact that this film cuts out just over half of the novel's plot to make out that it's a romance should give you some idea of how bad it is by adaptation standards.
But as I said, if you watch it with no knowledge of the novel, it's a good film. There's nothing wrong with enjoying it that way, but sadly I just can't.
November 20, 2008

Super Reviewer

    1. Catherine Earnshaw: I am Heathcliff.
    – Submitted by Suzanne D (10 months ago)
    1. Heathcliff: I didn't break your heart, Cathy, you did. And mine.
    – Submitted by Ron G (2 years ago)
    1. Catherine Earnshaw: No matter what I ever do or say, Heathcliff, this is me -- now -- standing on this hill with you. This is me, forever.
    – Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
View all quotes (3)

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