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Giant (1956)

tomatometer

100

Average Rating: 7.7/10
Critic Reviews: 7
Fresh: 7 | Rotten: 0

No consensus yet.

audience

87

liked it
Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 23,629

My Rating

Movie Info

George Stevens' sprawling adaptation of Edna Ferber's best-selling novel successfully walks a fine line between potboiler and serious drama for its 210-minute running time, making it one of the few epics of its era that continues to hold up as engrossing entertainment across the decades. Giant opens circa 1922 in Maryland, where Texas rancher Jordan "Bick" Benedict (Rock Hudson) has arrived to buy a stallion called War Winds from its owner, Dr. Horace Lynnton (Paul Fix). But much as Bick loves

G,

Western, Drama, Romance, Classics

Fred Guiol, Ivan Moffat

Jun 10, 2003

Warner Bros. Pictures

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All Critics (37) | Top Critics (7) | Fresh (35) | Rotten (2) | DVD (28)

An excellent film which registers strongly on all levels, whether it's in its breathtaking panoramic shots of the dusty Texas plains; the personal, dramatic impact of the story itself, or the resounding message it has to impart.

November 13, 2007 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Much of it is awful, but it's almost impossible not to be taken in by the narrative sprawl.

November 13, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Stevens' sprawling epic of Texan life, taken from Edna Ferber's novel, strives so hard for Serious Statements that it ends up as a long yawn.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A real movie is big, grand, magnificent and regales you with all the power that movies can wield upon a viewer's imagination and spirit. George Stevens' 1956 production, Giant, is a real movie.

June 14, 2003
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Giant, for all its complexity, is a strong contender for the year's top-film award.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

At 202 minutes, it's just too long, yet it has the pull of nostalgia (if you're of a certain age) and sustains its emotional impact as a portrait of a durable marriage.

February 13, 2001 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The combination of director George Stevens and source novelist Edna Ferber, both given to expressions of overblown high seriousness, yields a long, slow, achingly self-important movie.

April 14, 2014 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

This ambitious adaptation of the Edna Ferber novel is often touched by greatness, yet it's ultimately too scattershot to satisfactorily maintain its bloated 200-minute running time.

November 6, 2013 Full Review Source: Creative Loafing
Creative Loafing

Like the title says.

November 13, 2007 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Its deeper themes and superb performances from Taylor, Hudson and Dean make it a classic Hollywood epic.

November 13, 2007 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

Dean's last performance is poetry in motion.

May 11, 2007
ColeSmithey.com

Some critics consider Giant to too bloated and sprawling, but by its era's standards, it exposed idelogical cracks in the American Dream, the myth of melting pot, women's allotted place in society.

December 13, 2005 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

For a reason I cannot fathom, Giant still has a reputation as a fine film, and it will no doubt go on boring audiences forever and a day.

May 23, 2005 Full Review Source: Slant Magazine | Comments (8)
Slant Magazine

An uneven, but satisfying variation on the traditional western.

August 24, 2004 Full Review Source: Apollo Guide
Apollo Guide

Old-fashioned life-of-a-family pic that's like nothing you'll see today -- and I mean that in the best way possible.

May 27, 2004
New Times

Overrated, overlong, and marred by some of the worst old age make-up ever seen.

February 12, 2004 | Comment (1)
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

A decent sprawling family epic. Surprised somebody hasn't remade it for television.

September 29, 2003
Needcoffee.com

Essential viewing

August 22, 2003
Pasadena Weekly

remains an entertaining film for many of its small moments

June 27, 2003 Full Review Source: Old School Reviews
Old School Reviews

Offers a lively portrait of a marriage that weathers all storms and evolves over time into something more than it was at the outset.

June 7, 2003 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

Giant is a gentle monstrosity.

June 3, 2003 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central
Film Freak Central

Audience Reviews for Giant

A film that lives up to its title, truly grand in scope and (unfortunately) in length. Though it's beautiful to look at and though the acting - particularly by James Dean and Elizabeth Taylor - is quite accomplished, many scenes don't do a lot to advance the plot, and many subplots come off as extraneous. I liked that this was a sort of love letter to Texas, a take-it-or-leave-it account of the frontier spirit and the state's growing pains, and the concern for what happens when that trail-blazing mentality becomes cold competition two or three generations down the line. The film was setting up to be a tragedy, and almost delivered in a way that would've made American Shakespeare of it, but it opted for the anti-racism angle in the end; though I'm sure that broke ground in 1956, assessing it from a story standpoint instead of a social one, the ending - in fact, the last half-hour or more - gets away from what the story was about: ambition. The film is in a way a lot like its central character, falling flat on its face in the end due to its grandiose objectives, but to sustain my attention for over three hours, it had to have done something right. Just compelling enough to not turn off, and something you should make yourself watch, but it's wishy-washy for an epic and it's just not all that it's cracked up to be.
November 25, 2012
danperry17

Super Reviewer

George Stevens is lucky he made this when he did, since I doubt he'd have been able to get away with making a film that favored storytelling over running time in this day and age.

Yeah, that's right, this sucker is 210 gloriously excessive minutes of soapy melodrama on a grand scale, covering the lives of a few generations of rivalry and love between old money Texas cattle barons and new money Texas oil tycoons during the early 20th Century. It touches upon an interesting bit of Texas history, and deals with issues of racism, classism, and female independence as well, although these last three issues don't come as revolutionary like they did in 1956.

This is a sprawling film, and, though it does have some really good moments, I hesitate to call it a classic. It's overlong (in places), really soppy and melodramatic, a bit dated, and doesn't have the weight it could. I sure as hell dug the production aspects though, that's for sure. This sucker as great cinematography, wonderful sets and costumes, decent music, and some excellent shooting locations.

Oh yeah, and the performances are pretty decent, too. You've got young Elizabeth Taylor putting in some solid work, a decent turn from Rock Hudson, and James Dean in his final film (he died a few days after he finished shooting his scenes) knocking it out of the park in a very histrionic performance as the rugged rogue. There's also young Dennis Hopper and scene stealing Mercedes McCambridge.

All in all, a decent film, but nothing truly remarkable beyond the surface. It's definitely deserving of the title epic though, even if it is fluff.
April 30, 2012
cosmo313
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

A brave, and epic film for its time. You cannot help but be amazed by its bold message, it's strong acting, and the amount of issues he tackles in this film.
November 25, 2011
axadntpron
Reid Volk

Super Reviewer

It might not be one of the greatest movies ever made, but it's sure important. While it might appear to be a love story on the outer shell, this is really about class structure and racism. Elizabeth Taylor's crusade as a humanitarian stretches over 25 years, as does her struggle with her marriage and family life. When you look at James Dean's Jett, all he wanted to do was to become as rich and powerful as Bick so he could win the heart of Leslie when that was something she never admired about her husband to begin with. All the side-characters, scenery, thickness and rich storytelling really pays off. You almost feel like a Benedict by the end of the movie. The conclusion in the diner is one of the greatest and most rewarding build ups in movie history.
July 30, 2010
ythelastman89

Super Reviewer

    1. Jett Rink: Im rich... I'mma rich'un.... Imma rich boy. And Imma make more money than you ever thought you could have-you and all the rest of you stinkin son of a Benedicts.
    – Submitted by Claudia S (2 years ago)
View all quotes (1)

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