Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: Led by a volcanic performance from Elizabeth Taylor, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? is a scathing adaptation of the Edward Albee play that serves as a brilliant calling card for debuting director Mike Nichols.


Movie Info

In this film, married couple George and Martha know just how to push each other's buttons. Tiring of attacking each other, George and Martha invite newcomers to join in the invective. After an evening of sadistic "fun and games," the truth about the couple's son comes to light.

Rating: R
Genre: Drama , Classics
Directed By:
Written By: Ernest Lehman
In Theaters:
On DVD: May 18, 1999
Runtime:
Warner Home Video


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Critic Reviews for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

All Critics (35) | Top Critics (8)

[Taylor] is nothing less than brilliant as the shrewish, slovenly. blasphemous, frustrated, slightly wacky, alcoholic wife of a meek, unambitious assistant professor of history at a university, over which her father reigns as president.

Full Review… | March 10, 2015
New York Daily News
Top Critic

Nichols has actually committed all the classic errors of the sophisticated stage director let loose on the unsophisticated movies. For starters, he has underestimated the power of the spoken word in his search for visual pyrotechnics.

Full Review… | March 10, 2015
Village Voice
Top Critic

The greatest credit for the implacable engagement that the film creates for its audience must go to the director, Mike Nichols. Nichols makes a stunning film bow with Virginia Woolf.

Full Review… | November 20, 2014
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

When Nichols finally settles down, it's almost too late.

Full Review… | June 28, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Edward Albee's vitriolic stage portrayal of domestic blisslessness translated grainily and effectively to the screen.

Full Review… | February 11, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

One of the most scathingly honest American films ever made.

Full Review… | May 21, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

mthebee

haven't seen 4 ever

brooklynspo
Bob Stinson

Super Reviewer

Edward Albee's words are magnificent for the silver screen, but it is the performances from Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton that truly bring the vitriol and bitterness to the surface. Many believe they modeled their performances on their real life relationship, and that this is the ultimate portrait of a crumpled marriage. Martha and George have a life built on the misconception that they can be happy based on political and social standards, but now, in their middle age, both feel the weight of their inactions and prejudices. They invite over a married couple (Sandy Dennis and George Segal) and spend the entire night fighting and degrading themselves and their guests. The play is about faith in love, and the decay of a relationship that needed to end years ago. Mike Nichols seems impervious to failure, and with this, his first venture, he has secured legions of fans who want to see the drama of interpersonal relationships displayed onscreen again and again.

FrizzDrop
Spencer S.

Super Reviewer

This film is a must-see simply because it is a classic, it is expertly written, and Elizabeth Taylor is absolutely mesmerizing. However, while the beginning of the film is full of energy, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? unfortunately delves into a static melodrama. I am reluctant to criticize the film because of its iconic status, but it simply did not engage me in the way that I hoped it would. It's only particularly impressive in the amount of emotion displayed on the screen.

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