97% Ghostbusters Aug 29
30% As Above/So Below Aug 29
36% The November Man Aug 27
98% Starred Up Aug 27
76% The Congress Aug 29

Top Box Office

92% Guardians of the Galaxy $17.2M
20% Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles $16.7M
37% If I Stay $15.7M
21% Let's Be Cops $10.8M
18% When The Game Stands Tall $8.4M
34% The Expendables 3 $6.5M
32% The Giver $6.4M
45% Sin City: A Dame to Kill For $6.3M
66% The Hundred-Foot Journey $5.3M
19% Into The Storm $3.8M

Coming Soon

—— Innocence Sep 05
—— The Longest Week Sep 05
—— The Identical Sep 05
67% Thunder and the House of Magic Sep 05
74% God Help the Girl Sep 05

New Episodes Tonight

91% Doctor Who: Season 8
—— Hell on Wheels: Season 4
39% Intruders: Season 1
89% Outlander: Season 1
46% Reckless: Season 1
—— Unforgettable: Season 3

Discuss Last Night's Shows

—— Jonah From Tonga: Season 1

Certified Fresh TV

86% The Bridge (FX): Season 2
91% Doctor Who: Season 8
83% Extant: Season 1
89% The Honorable Woman: Season 1
87% The Knick: Season 1
89% Manhattan: Season 1
97% Masters of Sex: Season 2
73% Murder in the First: Season 1
89% Outlander: Season 1
82% Satisfaction: Season 1
87% The Strain: Season 1
82% Welcome to Sweden: Season 1
77% You're the Worst: Season 1

David Holzman's Diary

David Holzman's Diary (1967)



Average Rating: 8.1/10
Critic Reviews: 5
Fresh: 5 | Rotten: 0

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.7/5
User Ratings: 648

My Rating

Movie Info

This is a tale about a young student who decides to record his daily life on film.

Jan 30, 1996

Fox Lorber

Watch It Now



Friend Ratings

No Friends? Inconceivable! Log in to see what your friends have to say.

All Critics (9) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (9) | Rotten (0) | DVD (2)


June 15, 2011 Full Review Source: Time Out New York
Time Out New York
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Holzman's a classic character, a sympathetic-if-pathetic study in generational solipsism, delivering imported French lyricism in clunky flatlands American -- miscast by himself in his own life.

July 8, 2009 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An enduring delight from the Underground era.

October 16, 2007 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Time has served it very well.

October 16, 2007 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Where most independent productions are founded on self-righteous claims of truth and honesty, McBride's film wittily observes that Hollywood has no corner on illusionism.

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

Jim McBride's impressive debut, a poignantly funny, improvisational "documentray," became a landmark cult film over the years.

May 12, 2012 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

What makes it so effective as a puzzle film is the way it provokes us to piece together, mentally, the life that David must have had before we met him.

June 13, 2011 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine
Slant Magazine

Amusing cinéma vérité faux documentary.

May 9, 2011 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

A unique, often brilliant satire.

October 16, 2007 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Audience Reviews for David Holzman's Diary

Obviously ahead of its time, "David Holzman's Diary" is more "important" than entertaining. Directed by the young Jim McBride ("The Big Easy," "Great Balls of Fire!") with camera work by Michael Wadleigh ("Woodstock"), this experimental film has the appearance of a self-made, autobiographical documentary. In fact, I did not realize until the closing credits that McBride was not the star.

The movie is allegedly shot over eight days by its titular protagonist, who sets out to make sense of his life through capturing it on film. He has recently lost his job, and has no daily routine. Nor does he have any notable activities, beyond nuzzling his girlfriend Jenny. Unfortunately, his insistence on carrying around a camera violates her sense of privacy, particularly in a wonderfully erotic scene where he films her sleeping naked. Say goodbye to that relationship.

The remainder of this 74-minute film partly shows his efforts to win her back, but much of the action seems random -- and often voyeuristic. He follows (and irritates) an attractive girl he sees on the subway. He films amorous lovers in a window across the street. He talks with a transsexual neighbor, who presses him with leering overtures. He indulgently rambles into the camera, including a defense of masturbation. A male friend fills in some theory, reminding us how a camera's insertion unavoidably skews the natural environment which it aims to observe. Such disjointed footage doesn't form a cohesive whole but, of course, that's the point. Cinema verite.

However, there are at least two brilliant sequences which equal Jenny's bedroom scene. One shot silently pans around a large circle of park benches, skimming past the seated people while the soundtrack metaphorically inserts the roll call of a United Nations vote. And another scene simply shows what Holzman watched on television one night. The process is carefully explained: He watched TV with his camera focused on the set, and clicked one frame every time the shot changed. The result is a two-and-a-half-minute blitz of images -- a fascinating summary of the contemporary culture.

In simulating a raw documentary, the filmmaking boldly ignores commercial polish. Scenes abruptly cut to black in a "realistic" way, and there is no sense of rhythm. Holzman's monologues drone on for an eternity -- especially a climactic tirade of frustration which erodes into little beyond him sputtering "What do you want?" and "You made me do things!" to the camera. The actor is hardly a master improviser, and just seems to run out of ideas.

"David Holzman's Diary" is not easy to watch, but it is unique. Explicitly influenced by Jean-Luc Godard, it once might have seemed like a dated period piece. But in the lurid age of reality television, it gains a whole new resonance.
February 21, 2012
Eric Broome

Super Reviewer

This is so incredibly engrossing, especially since I thought this film was real. It really played with the notion of documentary, and although just about one dude, it's endlesslyintriguing. I actually feel kinda lucky to have seen it.
February 12, 2008

Super Reviewer

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

Discussion Forum

Discuss David Holzman's Diary on our Movie forum!

What's Hot On RT

Critics Consensus
Critics Consensus

November Man is Slick, Convoluted

Total Recall
Total Recall

Pierce Brosnan's 10 Best Movies

Mindy Project
Mindy Project

Get caught up on the comedy

Red Carpet Roundup
Red Carpet Roundup

See pictures from this week's premieres

Foreign Titles

  • Le Journal de David Holzman (FR)
Find us on:                     
Help | About | Jobs | Critics Submission | Press | API | Licensing | Mobile