Slaughterhouse-Five (1972)

Slaughterhouse-Five (1972)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

"Billy Pilgrim has come unstuck in time." These opening words of Kurt Vonnegut's famous novel make an effective and short summary of a haunting, funny film. For the screen, director George Roy Hill faithfully renders Vonnegut's black anti-war comedy about Pilgrim (well played in a low key by Michael Sacks), who survives the horrendous 1945 fire bombing of Dresden then lives simultaneously in his past as a naïve American POW and in the future as a well-cared-for zoo resident on the planet … More

Rating: R
Genre: Drama, Classics, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Comedy
Directed By:
Written By: Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Stephen Geller
In Theaters:
On DVD: Oct 10, 2000
Universal Pictures


as Billy Pilgrim

as Valencia

as Robert

as Barbara

as Wild Bob Cody

as Lionel Merble

as Rumford

as Young German Guard

as Eliot Rosewater

as German Leader

as Billy's Mother

as German Guard

as Englishman
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Slaughterhouse-Five

All Critics (18) | Top Critics (3)

Full Review… | July 31, 2008
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | May 9, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic


Full Review… | June 6, 2013
Old School Reviews

The film captures the essence of the book even while diverging from it. Vonnegut himself always claimed to be extremely pleased with it.

Full Review… | October 11, 2010
Sarasota Herald-Tribune

Embora consiga se manter fiel à trama e à estrutura narrativa do fabuloso livro de Vonnegut, falha por não ter força dramática e por captar apenas parcialmente a intensa mensagem anti-belicista da obra original.

February 20, 2007
Cinema em Cena

Audience Reviews for Slaughterhouse-Five

An interesting sci-fi, but which fails by only hinting at some philosophical ideas and not going deeper into them. The narrative is always fluid, with elegant scene transitions and visual rhymes, but also vague about whether it wants to be a satirical piece or not.

Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

World War II vet Billy Pilgrim time-jumps throughout his life on Earth and on Tralfamadore.
In the list of unfilmable books I thought that Kurt Vonnegut's most famous novel would rank high on the list next to Naked Lunch, but George Roy Hill's adaptation of Slaughterhouse-Five diverges from the book just enough to make it a viable film and stays true enough to the novel that it still retains the plot and spirit of the original. The overall philosophy - that "life is just a collection of moments, and the trick is to remember the good and ignore the bad" - emerges both as a line of dialogue and a lesson demonstrated by the narrative structure of the film without seeming didactic. Michael Sacks's performance is exemplary, playing Billy with a naivete and innocence that is both charming and endearing. Sacks captures the origin of Billy's milquetoast nature as it emerges from a wisdom borne of timelessness.
One of my friends argued that Slaughterhouse-Five is a patriarchal, misogynist book, and I disagreed because the female characters have an inner life that Vonnegut doesn't downplay. Unfortunately the film didn't keep this aspect of Vonnegut's narration, and Valencia and Montana emerge respectively as a crazy, superficial nut-job and an over-willing sexual partner.
Overall, Hill's film is a fine testament to one of the great American novels.

Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer


Like Kurt Vonnegut's novel, Slaughterhouse-Five blurs the line between fantasy and reality, intermingling the two until they're inseparable and indiscernible.

Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

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