Brewster McCloud (1971)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Secretly living underneath the Astrodome, a teen-age boy attempts to build a pair of mechanical wings; meanwhile, in the world outside, the police investigate a series of strange, bird-related deaths. This intentionally bizarre film combines an exploration of flight as a metaphor for non-conformity with surreal, off-the-wall comedy.

Rating: R
Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Doran William Cannon
In Theaters:

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as Brewster McCloud

as Det. Lt. Frank Shaft

as Suzanne

as Lecturer

as Abraham Wright

as Policeman Johnson

as Daphne Heap

as Policeman Hines

as Police Capt. Crandal...

as Policeman Breen

as Breen's Wife

as Weeks's Aide

as Green Jr.
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Critic Reviews for Brewster McCloud

All Critics (19) | Top Critics (6)

A sardonic fairy tale for the times, extremely well cast and directed.

Full Review… | June 9, 2008
Top Critic

Altman's unexpected follow-up to MASH is pitched fairly successfully between escapist fantasy and satirical comment on the same.

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

It's imitation hip.

Full Review… | May 9, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

We get the sense of a live intelligence, rushing things ahead on the screen, not worrying whether we'll understand.

Full Review… | October 23, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

One of Robert Altman's most charming exercises in cabaret humor and off-the-cuff modernism.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Full Review… | May 7, 2011
Wall Street Journal
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Brewster McCloud

Altman's most experimental work.

Graham Jones
Graham Jones

Super Reviewer

i don't get how the studio ever released this. no way could that happen today. and how much of this was improv? was there a script beyond the basic idea of a strange boy who wants to fly in the houston astrodome? anyway it's a chaotic mess that i'm not sure even makes sense but somehow works, a sort of altman trademark. the device of the lecturer helps tie it all together. many hilarious bits and sally kellerman and shelley duvall are adorable here. god bless the 70's and copious amounts of weed.

Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

"Brewster McCloud" is usually dismissed as a fairly disastrous follow-up to Altman's breakthrough success, "M*A*S*H", but it's actually a charming little movie, well worth a look. Bud Cort plays a latter-day Icarus, building a sophisticated winged apparatus which will enable him to fly under his own power. As well as being guided by a mysterious guardian angel (Sally Kellerman), whose scarred back evidences the surgical removal of her own set of wings(!), Brewster is also protected by a serial strangler, who promptly dispatches any obstructive meddlers in his path. In other hands, this could have been a nauseating slice of hippie whimsicality, but Altman's approach is refreshingly unsentimental and his comedy is often startlingly cruel. The loudspeaker announcements of "M*A*S*H" have been replaced with radio news bulletins, charting the progress of the police's strangler investigation, and a college professor's lecture on birds is cleverly intercut with the action, to illustrate the bird-like foibles of the human race. The standout performances are G. Wood's cynical police captain, Michael Murphy's narcissistic West-Coast super-cop, Stacy Keach's old shylock and Rene Auberjonois' lecturer. Fans of "The Wizard of Oz" will enjoy a reference featuring Margaret Hamilton, the Wicked Witch of the West.

Stephen M

Super Reviewer

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