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The Bad and the Beautiful (1953)


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Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 2
Fresh: 2 | Rotten: 0



liked it
Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 3,988

My Rating

Movie Info

Kirk Douglas plays the corrupt and amoral head of a major film studio in this Hollywood drama, often regarded as one of the film's industry's most interesting glimpses at itself. Actress Gloria Lorrison (Lana Turner), director Fred Amiel (Barry Sullivan), and screenwriter James Lee Bartlow (Dick Powell) are invited to a meeting at a Hollywood sound stage at the request of producer Harry Pebbel (Walter Pidgeon). Pebbel is working with studio chief Jonathan Shields (Kirk Douglas), whose studio is


Drama, Romance, Classics

George Bradshaw, Charles Schnee

Feb 5, 2002

MGM Home Entertainment

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All Critics (27) | Top Critics (4) | Fresh (21) | Rotten (1) | DVD (10)

Douglas gives a terrific study of male ego, all relaxed charm and going places.

April 17, 2012 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Under Minnelli's direction it becomes a fascinating study of a man destroyed by the 50s success ethic, left broke, alone, and slightly insane in the end.

February 5, 2010 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Charles Schnee's whip-smart script, packed with sharp one-liners and passionate dialogue is a pitch-perfect accompaniment to the noir-ish look of Robert Surtees's cinematography.

May 24, 2012 Full Review Source: Electric Sheep
Electric Sheep

The Bad and the Beautiful took home a quintet of Oscars from 1953's ceremony and in its title alone we have possibly the greatest ever description of Hollywood.

April 23, 2012 Full Review Source: The List
The List

A warts-and-all portrait of Hollywood at its zenith, a tale of how the bad created something beautiful.

April 22, 2012 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

Not quite Sunset Boulevard but almost.

April 20, 2012 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

Hollywood here looks diabolically seductive.

April 19, 2012 Full Review Source: Guardian [UK]
Guardian [UK]

A gaudy soap opera that also manages to satirise gaudy soap operas. Hows about that?

April 19, 2012 Full Review Source: Little White Lies
Little White Lies

Even without a knowledge of the background, this is sharp, cynical fun.

April 10, 2012 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

Three disjointed stories awkwardly connected by a frayed thread.

August 15, 2011 Full Review Source: Cinema Sight
Cinema Sight

If it's not quite Sunset Blvd., Vincente Minnelli's The Bad and the Beautiful stands on its own as a scathing portrait of Hollywood's cutthroat ways and means.

February 27, 2010 Full Review Source: Film and Felt
Film and Felt

Dramatically strange - but visually splendid - inside look at Hollywood film making.

August 8, 2008 Full Review Source: Classic Film and Television
Classic Film and Television

In Minnnelli's hands, the noirish melodram is less critical of Hollywood and more ambiguous in depicting the tawdry absurdities and operatic splendors of a bizzare industry, in which the players are more of frustrated dreamers than cold manipulators.

July 22, 2006 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

Classic take on classic Hollywood.

June 26, 2003
Movie Mom at Yahoo! Movies

The Bad and the Beautiful (1952) is director Vincente Minnelli's (and producer John Houseman's) quintessential movie about Hollywood and moviemaking.

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

Audience Reviews for The Bad and the Beautiful

A Kirk Douglas film, has to be based or meant to base a director that played a part in his career, just to factual to be a made up story. Its about a director that is pretty much ruthless, shows the story of three people who basically were made famous thru his ruthless actions. A good ole Black & White. 4 stars.
December 8, 2011
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

"Will you help him get started again? Will you work with him just this once?"

Three people: a Pulitzer Prize winning writer (Dick Powell), a beloved actress (Lana Turner), and an Oscar winning director (Bernard Sullivan) ; all connected by one man (Kirk Douglas). A charismatic, volatile, unknowable movie producer (with some serious daddy issues) who in the past brought all three of them great success in their careers, before selfishly taking actions that caused them all to vow to never work with him again. But now, it's years later and he needs all their help to make a movie (and a comeback). Will they help him, or are the scars of the past to painful to forgive?

The Bad and the Beautiful grew on me as it went along, and I found myself really enjoying it. The three self-obtained stories that make up the movie were very interesting, and Kirk Douglas and the rest displayed some fantastic acting (especially in the second story, which was my favorite). This was my first exposure to Douglas and Turner, and they were both absolutely great. As were the rest of the cast.

The Bad and the Beautiful is a must-see for those who like films about the movie industry. It's dramatic, captivating, and just very satisfying in that ageless, old school kind of way. Recommended.
November 11, 2010

Super Reviewer

A good movie about the movie industry, and with a good cast. I liked it.
November 7, 2010

Super Reviewer

In Hollywood, where the producer is king, it's kind of hard to make a film about what complete bastards movie producers are. The Bad and the Beautiful attempts to tackle this precarious subject matter, but it still feels kind of tame. Witness other "insider" films of the era: All About Eve, or Sunset Boulevard. They both went after their respective subject matter with no holds barred, and no attempts to pretty up the ugliness. Kirk Douglas plays Jonathan Shields, a scumbag producer who uses more talented people and then throws them aside when they've served their purpose. The film takes the approach that Shields is simply doing what must be done in order to get the films made, that these creative individuals (a director, an actress and a writer, respectively) would never see their projects come to fruition without his guiding forceful presence to get things done. It's a bit of a stretch to suggest there's anything heroic about what Shields does, as he could give some credit to those who helped create his career. In any event, I'm not entirely sure the film wasn't supposed to try (and fail) to generate sympathy for Shields. Our sympathies are meant to be torn, but Shields is so loathsome it negates the conflict of emotion we in the audience are supposed to feel. What goes on in Hollywood, what ugliness goes into the pictures that make us laugh and smile? The Bad and the Beautiful is a nice attempt at exposing hollywood's dirty secrets, but it's too wishy washy to be really effective.
September 19, 2010
Mr Awesome
Devon Bott

Super Reviewer

    1. Jonathan Shields: Georgia, love is for the very young.
    – Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
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