• R, 2 hr. 13 min.
  • Drama
  • Directed By:
    Tim Robbins
    In Theaters:
    Dec 8, 1999 Wide
    On DVD:
    May 16, 2000
  • Buena Vista Pictures


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Cradle Will Rock Reviews

Page 1 of 12
Anthony L

Super Reviewer

September 28, 2009
War, censorship, politics and corporate art. This is an extremely entertaining and informative look at how the art world both survived and changed during unrest in New York in the 1930?s. It may not sound like a barrel of laughs, and it can be a bit theatrical at times, but this is a great film, Highly recommended!

Super Reviewer

December 10, 2008
Huge cast made it fun to watch, along with the 30's atmosphere. Yet another example of how John and Joan Cusack cannot be apart in movies (much to my dismay). I had no idea the 30's had so much anti communist attacks. A neat piece of history. I especially liked Diego's painting.

Super Reviewer

August 19, 2007
painful, self indulgent exercise in tedium
John B

Super Reviewer

January 23, 2008
Oh Tim, Tim Tim. Your storm of political correctness has resulted in this film that no one went to see...for good reason. It is probably one of the most boring additions to film lore. You can do better buddy.
Alec B

Super Reviewer

May 18, 2012
I would have appreciated a measure of subtlety at some point, as there are moments of "symbolism" that reach laughable proportions with their obviousness. However, since this film still pretty successfully deals with the political and social power of theatre (which is a notion that is very dear to me) I still enjoy the film for the simple fact that it so strongly appeals to my own sensibilities and biases.
June 28, 2012
Decent enough film. I don't know why it is so overlooked or over-reacted to (negatively, often.) It's got a stellar cast and a bit of everything. That said, It's clearly Tim Robbins' weakest film as a director and nobody really stands out--apart from maybe Bill Murray.
March 13, 2012
No. This is NOT The Hand That Rocks the Cradle. Tim Robbins' film is based on the actual events surrounding the WPA Federal Theater Project's production of The Cradle Will Rock by Marc Blitzstein, which was directed by Orson Welles and produced by John Houseman. The play was a pro-labor musical in the style Kurt Weil and Bertolt Brecht. During the heart of the Great Depression the production took place amid a growing Red Scare (communism), fascism, unions, and the increasing power of Hitler and Mussolini. The film also recounts the battle over a mural in Rockefeller Center between painter Diego Rivera and Nelson Rockefeller. While the film does takes liberties with many events, it still manages to present an accurate picture of the political and artistic forces at work during this period. Robbins manages to make an excellent commentary on the relationship between art, power and finance both then and now.

Best Quotes:
(Orson Welles to John Houseman) "Oh fine, Jack! You win, you've got the biggest creative dick, okay? "

Congressman: "You are quoting from this Marlowe. Is he a Communist?"
Hallie Flanagan: "I am very sorry. I was quoting from Christopher Marlowe."
Congressman: "Tell us who Marlowe is, so we can get the proper reference, because that is all we want to do."
Hallie Flanagan: "Put in the record that he was the greatest dramatist in the period immediately preceding Shakespeare."

Bertolt Brecht: "But where are the artists? Artists are the worst whores of all!"

Diego Rivera: "You're a piece of work. A Jewish fascist!"
Margherita Sarfatti: "And you're a rich communist!"
October 24, 2008
this film is tim robbins' directorial debut. it tells the story of the musical that would not be denied its first performance because of the downfall of the wpa. robbins' style owes a lot to altman in its weaving of many strands of narrative in to a whole. he runs the risk at times of losing control of his big tapestry of a movie.
February 14, 2009
It's certainly fun to watch familiar actors jump from around every corner. If this had been a play, I think I would have loved it. But although the story is interesting, and spotlights a forgotten era in American history, I don't think it works as a movie. The narrative just doesn't pull together tight enough.
Valerie G

Super Reviewer

April 29, 2007
EVERYONE is in this movie! It's long, but it's worth it. I used to think that theatre in the US should be more like some of the European countries and receive state support, but now that I've seen that the American government failed in the past I pray it never happens again. The irony of the US government on a witch hunt for communism in their own federal supported theaters is mind blowing. The hypocrisy. The double standards on both teams.

The variety of characters in this script was absolutely delectable. Some of these actors even surprised me and they were just golden.
October 28, 2007
It might not have earned that extra half-star, but the more other people hate this movie, the more it makes me like it, flawed as it is.
October 29, 2007
This is a fabulous film for theatre and history enthusiasts. It also has a stellar cast & wonderful, quirky writing.
July 30, 2007
A little too ambitious, heavy-handed and unfocused, but still a collection of great performances. It's also interesting from the standpoint that it's not a well-known chapter of American history (or at least it wasn't to me).
July 2, 2007
Eh. A movie everyone interested in theater should see, all-star cast ... but I didn't care all the time. I did care every time Cherry Jones was on screen, though.
April 6, 2007
This is a good movie that captures the spirit of change through theatre that only theatre can produce.
March 14, 2007
If you like art, intrested in the 30's and the debate of fedral funding of the preforming arts you will get this movie.
March 30, 2006
This movie really is "based on a (mostly) true story" It was an excellent movie in my book. It greatly depicts a historical event in musical theatre, and it also adds some fictional characters to the storyline, which I have no problem with. What else can I say?
June 25, 2013
Alas, Art is so Good, and Business is so Bad. But there is fun in thar if you ignore the point.
August 12, 2012
An evidently uneven but worthwhile film. The star-studded cast (Vanessa Redgrave is a goddess!) and the interesting plot keep you going despite the tribulations courtesy of a flawed script and unfocused direction. Also, I 100% agree with the film's simple but articulate and always valid message: we are all prostitutes.
July 18, 2011
to slow and drawn out. well acted but tough going
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