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Brewster McCloud (1970)

tomatometer

80

Average Rating: 6.4/10
Critic Reviews: 5
Fresh: 4 | Rotten: 1

No consensus yet.

audience

84

liked it
Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 1,623

My Rating

Movie Info

A boy yearns to fly in Robert Altman's whimsical youthquake parable. With the aid of seraphic Louise (Sally Kellerman), owlish Brewster (Bud Cort) constructs a pair of human-size wings in his Houston Astrodome nest to realize his dream. Meanwhile, conservative creeps, including a witchy "Star-Spangled Banner"-belting crone (Margaret Hamilton) and Brewster's skinflint boss (Stacy Keach), keep turning up dead covered with bird droppings; the Houston Establishment calls in blue-eyed,

R,

Science Fiction & Fantasy, Comedy

MGM

Cast

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All Critics (19) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (15) | Rotten (3) | DVD (3)

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

June 9, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

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

It's imitation hip.

May 9, 2005 Full Review Source: New York Times | Comment (1)
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

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

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

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

A wacko funny pic.

March 20, 2013 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

I can't say that I regret watching Brewster McCloud, but I also can't say that I'd sit through it again.

July 30, 2012 Full Review Source: 7M Pictures
7M Pictures

There is something delightful in the absurdity and chaos of the movie that kept my interest even as I struggled to pinpoint exactly what it was that I was watching.

August 24, 2010 Full Review Source: Movie Views

The film is so odd and freewheeling that it probably should have become a cult classic, if not for the fact that it has been so hard to find on video.

July 23, 2010 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Anyone who cherishes Robert Altman's work definitely needs to see this defiantly kooky comedy.

July 14, 2010 Full Review Source: Aisle Seat
Aisle Seat

Altman's best movie. No s---.

December 12, 2003
Greenwich Village Gazette

30 years on, the swipes at materialism seem mild, and the narrative -- if it can be called that -- introduces ideas and actions which go unexplained.

May 24, 2003 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

Weird, weirdly poetic early Altman

November 5, 2002
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Altman's running joke through this movie is that it is a birdwatching film

August 15, 2001 Full Review
rec.arts.movies.reviews

Audience Reviews for Brewster McCloud

Altman's most experimental work.
October 27, 2011
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.
September 23, 2010
rubystevens
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.
March 10, 2008
harrycaul

Super Reviewer

1970's Altman drama about a boy building a pair of wings in a fallout shelter.
A grown-up fairy tale with a surreal murder story and a wild cast including the lead from HAROLD AND MAUDE and a very odd bird lecturer. Mermerizing and utterly fantastic in every sense of the word..



Footnote : The film was released after MASH, which might account for its poor box-office as its a very different animal, promoted by a zany action trailer that was definitely made by a blind man with a very large pair of scissors.
April 7, 2011
lesleyanorton
Lesley N

Super Reviewer

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