The Balcony (1963) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Balcony (1963)

The Balcony




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

This 1963 film from director Joseph Strick was adapted from the play of the same name by Jean Genet. The scene is a European brothel managed by Shelley Winters. Within the establishment's walls, customers can live out their fantasies: One man who would like to be a Bishop defiles a crucifix, another who wants to be a Judge flogs an under-dressed young "penitent", a third poses as a General, "riding" a prostitute dressed as a horse. Meanwhile, a revolution rages outside, and the country's genuine Bishop, Prelate, and General are killed--as is the Queen. To keep up appearances, Winters and her customers are ordered to impersonate the deceased powers-that-were. The supporting cast includes Ruby Dee, Lee Grant and Leonard Nimoy.more
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Documentary, Drama, Classics, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Comedy
Directed By: ,
Written By: Ben Maddow, Jean Genet, Jean Genet
In Theaters:
On DVD: Aug 1, 2000
National Civil Rights Museum


Shelley Winters
as Madame Irma
Peter Falk
as Police Chief
Lee Grant
as Carmen
Ruby Dee
as Thief
Jeff Corey
as Bishop
Joyce Jameson
as Penitent
Kent Smith
as General
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Balcony

Critic Reviews for The Balcony

All Critics (7) | Top Critics (2)

Full Review… | August 8, 2008
Top Critic

Full Review… | May 10, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

Well acted by Shelley Winter and others, Jospeh Strick's version of Genet's faous play is only semi-effective in conveying the politics and allegory of the original text.

Full Review… | March 15, 2012

November 21, 2004
Cinema Signals

February 4, 2004
Atlantic City Weekly

September 26, 2003
Las Vegas Review-Journal

Audience Reviews for The Balcony


Strange, muddled film, very existential. The question would be, even with talented performers like Winters, Falk and Grant, who was film made for?

jay nixon

Super Reviewer

Loved the play, and Winters and Falk are very good... the actual movie itself, I'm not so sure. It's worth seeing though for being so damn challenging and terrific in its abstractions of desire and fetish and truth. Just dont expect a knockout.


What a piece of pretentious garbage! The only plus thing for the film is a good job by the actors in the film, especially Lee Grant and Shelley Winters. The writing is dreadful, I have no idea why it was nominated for an Oscar in cinematography, there is nothing good about it.

James Higgins

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