The Pumpkin Eater (1964) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Pumpkin Eater (1964)

The Pumpkin Eater (1964)

The Pumpkin Eater




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Pumpkin Eater Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

Anne Bancroft stars as a restless, twice-married British woman with six children, whose third husband is a fledgling screenwriter (Peter Finch). When success spins Finch's head around, he begins to dally with women other than his wife. Meanwhile, Bancroft is forced to stay home and play "domestic goddess", a role for which she is utterly unsuited. After suffering a nervous breakdown, Bancroft wanders the streets of London in a vain search for a sympathetic ear. She eventually comes to grips with the situation at hand--but as in most of playwright Harold Pinter's works, the characters of The Pumpkin Eater are just as unfulfilled in the last scene as they were in the first. Anne Bancroft won a Cannes Film Festival award for her performance in this film. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovimore
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama, Classics
Directed By:
In Theaters:
On DVD: Oct 17, 1995
Sony Pictures Entertainment


Anne Bancroft
as Jo Armitage
Peter Finch
as Jake Armitage
James Mason
as Bob Conway
Cedric Hardwicke
as Mr. James Jo's Fathe...
Eric Porter
as Psychiatrist
Rosalind Atkinson
as Jo's Mother
Alan Webb
as Mr. Armitage Jake's ...
Janine Gray
as Beth Conway
Yootha Joyce
as Woman at Hairdresser
Frank Singuineau
as King of Israel
Sarah Nicholls
as Elizabeth
Leslie Nunnerley
as Waitress at Zoo
John Junkin
as Undertaker
Gerald Sim
as Man at Party
Maggie Smith
as Philpot
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for The Pumpkin Eater

Critic Reviews for The Pumpkin Eater

All Critics (11) | Top Critics (4)

It might make for valid drama if Mr. Pinter had done a half‐way job of establishing this insecure woman on firm psychological ground.

Full Review… | August 1, 2015
New York Times
Top Critic

In this slow, strong, incisive film version of the book, the ironing out of a well-kept wife's unkempt psyche is portrayed with harrowing perception by Anne Bancroft.

Full Review… | August 1, 2015
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

Anne Bancroft is exceptionally good... The role may sound conventional enough, but not as played by Bancroft; she adds a depth and understanding which puts it on a higher plane.

Full Review… | February 13, 2009
Top Critic

Fine performances notwithstanding, the world of the Hampstead soap opera now seems so far away as to almost rate as science fiction.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

There's beautifully modulated direction from Jack Clayton and scriptwriter Harold Pinter's acidulent signature is all over it -- not to mention the influence of Michelangelo Antonioni.

Full Review… | August 1, 2015
Radio Times

It's like a two-hour thunderstorm, with plenty of lightning but for some curious reason barely a drop of rain: that's to say no drop of mercy, no chance of organic growth, no final enlightenment.

Full Review… | August 1, 2015
Monthly Film Bulletin

Audience Reviews for The Pumpkin Eater

This is a good melodramatic movie, I don't usually like that genre, but I got into this one, it was engaging. I should watch it again sometime.

Aj V

Super Reviewer

Anne Bancroft is brilliant in this heavy drama of the collapse of a bad marriage. The rest of the cast of fine English actors all give good performances but are overshadowed by Anne's towering work. Maggie Smith's part as a flibbigibbet is small and worlds away from what has become her established persona of astrigent strength. A good film but rough going.

jay nixon

Super Reviewer

Jack Clayton ("Room at the Top," "The Innocents") directed this Harold Pinter script, crafting a somber portrait of a sham household. Jo (thirty-something Anne Bancroft, playing a jaded, older woman just as she did in "The Graduate") is stuck in her third loveless marriage, trying to fill the void with an abundance of children (presumably, the film's title is a reference to a pregnant woman's shape). Her current husband (Peter Finch) is a famous screenwriter whose work compels him to spend ample time away from home. She stays behind to weather the chaos of six energetic kids, but is prone to dark moods. Admirably, the story avoids cheap sentimentality and offers no easy solutions. The young Maggie Smith has a brief role as a sexy house guest.

Eric Broome
Eric Broome

Super Reviewer

The Pumpkin Eater Quotes

Jo Armitage: What do you mean nothing?
– Submitted by Facebook U (4 years ago)

Discussion Forum

Discuss The Pumpkin Eater on our Movie forum!