Under the Volcano (1984) - Rotten Tomatoes

Under the Volcano (1984)

Under the Volcano (1984)

Under the Volcano



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Under the Volcano Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

A strange, hallucinatory adaptation of the Malcolm Lowry novel of the same name, John Huston's bleak drama is set during the Mexican "Day of the Dead" ceremony in 1939. Albert Finney stars as Geoffrey Firmin, the booze-besotted former British consul to Cuernevarca, who has cut himself off from his loved ones, the better to drink himself to death while surrounded by all manner of skull-and-skeleton decorations. At the urging of his wife Yvonne (Jacqueline Bisset), his half-brother Hugh (Anthony Andrews) goes on a "heart of darkness" search for his missing sibling. Novelist Lowry was himself a suicidal alcoholic, who poured every drop of his embittered philosophy into the Firmin character. If any director could bring Lowry's difficult novel to life, it was Huston, whose own record for drunken self-destruction is the source of legend. (Huston was actually the seventh director to tackle the novel, which had originally been optioned in 1957 by actor Zachary Scott.) Artists contributing to the fascinating Under the Volcano include the brilliant Mexican cinematographer Gabriel Figueroa, screenwriter Guy Gallo, composer Alex North, and director Emilio Fernandez, cast in a significant cameo as a bartender.more
Rating: R
Genre: Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Guy Gallo
In Theaters:
On DVD: Oct 23, 2007
Criterion Collection


Albert Finney
as Geoffrey Firmin
Jacqueline Bisset
as Yvonne Firmin
Anthony Andrews
as Hugh Firmin
Katy Jurado
as Senora Gregoria
Dawson Bray
as Quincey
Carlos Riquelme
as Bustamante
Eleazar Garcia Jr.
as Chief of Gardens
Salvador Sanchez
as Chief of Stockyards
Sergio Calderón
as Chief of Municipalit...
Arturo Sarabia
as Cervantes
Roberto Sosa
as Few Fleas
Hugo Stiglitz
as Sinarquista
Ugo Moctezuma
as Latin Consul
Isabel Vasquez
as Chicken Lady
Gustavo Fernández
as Transvestite
Eduardo Borbolla
as Don Juan Tenorio
Martín Palomares
as Dead Indian
Mario Arevalo
as Horseman
Günter Meisner
as Herr Krausberg - the...
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News & Interviews for Under the Volcano

Critic Reviews for Under the Volcano

All Critics (16) | Top Critics (5)

Although this voyage into self-destruction won't be to the taste of many, there will be few unmoved by Finney's towering performance as the tragic Britisher.

Full Review… | October 23, 2007
Top Critic

Not for the purists, maybe, but the last half-hour, as Firmin plunges ever deeper into his self-created hell, leaves one shell-shocked.

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

The movie belongs to Finney, but mention must be made of Jacqueline Bisset as his wife and Anthony Andrews as his half-brother.

Full Review… | October 23, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Daring as it is to have brought Under the Volcano to the screen in this faithful but incomplete form, Mr. Huston has done so without making compromises in the process.

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

As the tortured consul, Albert Finney has moments of technical brilliance, but Huston's direction gives him no inner life.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Succeeds in capturing the novel's sense of doom and gets a tour de force performance from Albert Finney.

Full Review… | November 8, 2007
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for Under the Volcano

while this is often compared to 'night of the iguana' i found it a much more fulfilling experience. huston was 78 when he made this and proves he still had it in him for a project he cared about. one of the few films that gets mexico right. a decent adaptation of a so-called unfilmable novel, a showcase for albert finney as a last stage alcoholic, and one of jacqueline bissett's best performances too. bravo!

Stella Dallas

Super Reviewer

"That's the way to contend with the grim reaper, offering him a drink and a dance..."
Finney, what a performance.

Pierluigi Puccini

Super Reviewer

A bitter portrayal by Albert Finney of a man on the road to destruction. It is off the wall and bends reality sufficiently to off put many a viewer.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

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