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Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974)



Average Rating: 7.5/10
Critic Reviews: 5
Fresh: 4 | Rotten: 1

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 9,145

My Rating

Movie Info

Martin Scorsese's first Hollywood studio production also marked his first (and only) foray into a woman-centered story. Alice Hyatt (Ellen Burstyn), a resigned Southwest housewife, takes advantage of her trucker husband's sudden death to hit the road with her bratty son Tommy (Alfred Lutter) and pursue her childhood dream of a singing career. She finds a job as a lounge singer, but after a horrific encounter with an abusive new beau (Harvey Keitel), she flees and winds up taking a waitress job


Drama, Classics

Aug 17, 2004

Warner Home Video

Watch It Now



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All Critics (22) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (21) | Rotten (1) | DVD (7)

As a whole it's a distended bore.

March 26, 2009 Full Review Source: Variety | Comments (4)
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Scorsese's warm and witty blending of the road movie with the conventions of the women's weepie is a delight.

February 9, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The movie's filled with brilliantly done individual scenes.

October 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore is an American comedy of the sort of vitality that dazzles European film critics and we take for granted.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Not always successful, but packed with energy and a lively Oscar-winning performance by Burstyn.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Pulsing with nervous energy, Scorsese's camera is in a state of continuous discovery

January 13, 2014 Full Review Source: CinePassion

Despite the early stylistic flourishes, Alice is a mostly naturalistic venture from Scorsese, and not that indicative of what would follow in his career. But it's a fantastic combination of these two seemingly divisive styles.

July 2, 2012 Full Review Source: Quickflix

Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore is a touching and poignant movie which speaks to both sexes about the power of equality and the struggle for independence.

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

Burstyn won a well-deserved Oscar for her performance, and she is matched in expertise by Ladd and Tayback, but the acting cannot conceal the storyline's shortcomings.

January 25, 2010 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Alternating between gritty realism and red-hued fantasy, this is one of those 70s films that has worn well, managing to be universal in its heart while picking out specifics that now look exactly of their time.

January 25, 2010 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Ellyn Burstyn's strong performance is highlight of this fine Scorsese film.

March 19, 2009

Scorsese shows his range as a filmmaker and proves what makes him so good: he's a director with an eye for fancy camera work but a heart for his characters and the journeys they take.

August 8, 2006 Full Review Source: Movie Views

A point of departure, this is Scorsese's tribute to the classic woman's film, offering Ellen Burstyn a solid role for which she won her only Oscar Award

July 4, 2005 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

Coming just after Mean Streets and before Taxi Driver, it's as good as either of them.

September 27, 2004 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

the question isn't will this be adapted for television? so much as how soon?

August 8, 2004 Full Review Source:

Its intelligence is cinematic, feminist: it doesn't leave you thinking about women (although the subject was welcome) so much as about its own energy and wit.

June 26, 2004

Scorsese's female-centered dramas are rare enough things, but Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore is a bona fide classic.

October 1, 2003 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

This is perhaps Scorsese's most conventional film about the everyday, yet one that is memorable and poignant, due in part to a terrific performance by Ellen Burstyn.

May 24, 2003 Full Review Source: Film4

Audience Reviews for Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore

This was Martin Scorsese's fourth feature film, and his first as a Hollywood studio production. It's also his first, and so far only film to be centered on a female protagonist.

The story focuses on Alice Hyatt, a resigned housewife who, after the sudden death of her uncaring husband, flees New Mexico for California with her precocious and bratty pre-teen son Tommy to pursue her childhood dream of being a singer.

Due to their somewhat bleak financial situation, Alive and Tommy's quest for Monterrey is put on hold as she's forced to take up a job waitressing at a small diner in Tucson until she can accumulate enough money. Along the way, she befriends some of the waitresses who help her find her sense of self worth and help her become self reliant and independent. She also begins a romance with a sensitive local rancher named David who could be a good influence on Tommy who, besides needing a father figure, needs better moral guidance, especially when he starts hanging out with a delinquent tomboy named Audrey.

The opening sequence is a highly stylized homage to things like The WIzard of Oz, Duel in the Sun, and Gone With the Wind, but the rest of the film becomes something typical of the New Hollywood era, featuring the raw, realistic immediacy of location shooting, heavy amounts of improvisation, and a killer soundtrack.

The film is a great look at real people dealing with real problems, but I think it's kinda overrated. I think Scorsese was an inspired choice for a film about a woman's independence, because the proceedings avoid being weepy treacle, and are instead quite gritty, like most of his 'typical' films. However, the film is maybe a bit too real, which results in a sometimes uneven mix of varying emotions. Plus, the kid actor is annoying. It's a strong performance, sure, but I really didn't care for that kid, even if it is a convincing portrayal. Burstyn is great though, and it is a tough role. Keitel's turn is brief, but also memorable. I was surprisingly not blown away by Diane Ladd as the sassy waitress Flo, but I do feel that one of the best things about the film is Kristofferson as David. I think he's great if only for the fact that he's an atypical character for a Scorsese picture. It was cute seeing Foster as Audrey, but her shtick wears out fast, and doesn't really seem to go anywhere anyway.

I do think the film is well shot, edited, and scored, but that shouldn't be surprising. The southwestern locales are terrific, and I love how, even though this is PG, it's a "70s PG", so it is more raw than most PG films are in the 21st Century.

Don't get me wrong. I do like this film. It's really good, deserves respect for its treatment of the subject matter, and is a great example of what I love about 70s cinema, but I just didn't get blown away by it, Maybe I just wasn't quite in the right frame of mind, or maybe I've just seen too many films like this already, but I don't think it's quite as good as everyone else does.

That doesn't mean you shouldn't see it though, because you totally should.
May 18, 2013
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

Robert Getchell's script was nominated for an Oscar and it's ingenious in the way it fashions everyday difficulties into an intimately engaging saga. Coming at the end of 1974, the film touches on themes popularized by Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique published a decade before but still very much a part of the ongoing women's movement at the time. At first Martin Scorsese might seem like an odd choice to direct this ode to female independence. Scorsese wrings real drama from the simplicity of this woman's drive to succeed against increasingly insurmountable odds. But this is not some weepy women's picture. Scorsese brings grittiness to a narrative that could have slipped into treacle. His direction is self assured. What could have been heavy-handed is rendered as a genuine portrait of a person in crisis. There is an utter commonality to the proceedings. It speaks to both men and women. There isn't a false note in the entire 112 minutes. What truly makes the drama powerful is the magnitude of Ellen Burstyn's Academy Award winning performance. Alice Hyatt is a testament to the human spirit. It's clear why Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore remains one of the enduring classics of 70s cinema. It just gets better with age.
May 9, 2012

Super Reviewer

Before I saw ALICE DOESN'T LIVE HERE ANYMORE, I had seen four films directed by Martin Scorsese: SHINE A LIGHT, his 2008 documentary of a Rolling Stones concert; THE DEPARTED, one of his many crime flicks; THE AVIATOR, his biographical picture about multi-millionaire Howard Hughes; and HUGO, his charming family fantasy movie from just last year. Only one of them I had given less than a solid A (HUGO), so I was excited to see ALICE, the film many consider his best. It's not his usual, dark, ultra-violent type of movie (and I'd guess it's his only PG rated film until HUGO), but it's a classic with no hesitation, and the best I've seen of him thus far.

ALICE DOESN'T LIVE HERE ANYMORE is just about as unusual as its own title. It's a fantastic film, and it's (in a way) a family drama, but there's something extra added on to make it more likeable. We've had so many movies about family problems, too many for me to name. They're all either pass or fail, with nothing in the middle. A "fail" would be Jim Carrey's LIAR LIAR. A "pass" would be Robert Redford's ORDINARY PEOPLE. For me, this passes just as much as ORDINARY PEOPLE, if not a tad more.
March 31, 2012

Super Reviewer

A fantastic drama about a single mother and her son trying to make it in the world alone. It's very realistic and heartfelt.
January 1, 2011

Super Reviewer

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Foreign Titles

  • Alice n'est plus ici (FR)
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