The Balcony (1963) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Balcony (1963)

The Balcony




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

The denizens of a sordid brothel become embroiled in a bloody coup in this arty political satire adapted from the Jean Genet play. Shelley Winters stars as the cathouse's madam, a stern woman who supervises the fantasy role-playing of her beautiful employees and their well-heeled customers, including the local police chief (Peter Falk). As various whores and their johns dress up like judges, penitents, bishops, and generals, a revolution rages outside in the streets. The leaders of society -- including the queen -- are done away with by an angry mob. Soon, the madam and her compatriots find themselves ordered to impersonate the slain bigwigs in order to restore law and order. Shot in black-and-white by cinematographer George Folsey and producer/director Joseph Strick, The Balcony features a number of future stars in its cast, from Ruby Dee and Lee Grant to Leonard Nimoy. Nimoy would go on to produce and star in Deathwatch, another Genet adaptation. Unlike the later film, Genet was actually involved in the film version of The Balcony, collaborating with Strick on the original treatment but leaving the final screenplay to poet and novelist Ben Maddow. Strick acquired the rights to The Balcony from Genet only after failing to mount another literary adaptation, of James Joyce's Ulysses.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

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