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Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)

tomatometer

80

Average Rating: 6.6/10
Critic Reviews: 5
Fresh: 4 | Rotten: 1

No consensus yet.

audience

91

liked it
Average Rating: 4.1/5
User Ratings: 20,843

My Rating

Movie Info

"You are cordially invited to George and Martha's for an evening of fun and games." Thus read the ad copy for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, which in 1966 went farther than any previous big-studio film in its use of profanity and sexual implication. George (Richard Burton) is an alcoholic college professor; Martha (Oscar-winner Elizabeth Taylor) is his virago of a wife. George and Martha know just how to push each other's buttons, with George having a special advantage: he need only mention the

R,

Drama, Classics

Ernest Lehman

May 18, 1999

Warner Home Video

Watch It Now

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All Critics (32) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (31) | Rotten (1) | DVD (10)

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

June 28, 2007 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader | Comments (14)
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

February 11, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

And in its forthright dealing with the play, this becomes one of the most scathingly honest American films ever made.

May 21, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
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Keen adaptation and handsome production by Ernest Lehman, outstanding direction by Mike Nichols in his feature debut, and four topflight performances score an artistic bullseye.

February 13, 2001 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

'You have ugly talents,' George says, almost admiringly, to Martha. So does this movie.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Salon.com
Salon.com
Top Critic IconTop Critic

"I am the earth mother, and you are all flops," Martha proclaims toward the end, and Taylor never had a line of dialogue that better suited her fighting maternal spirit.

May 22, 2011 Full Review Source: House Next Door
House Next Door

A time capsule now of all that was considered controversial and gutsy in 1966.

February 26, 2010 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

A painful and compelling masterpiece.

February 26, 2010 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

If one examines Albee's The Zoo Story, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and Tiny Alice as three views of the struggle for faith and the Christ myth and its nuances, the plays, on a particular level, gain a substantial meaning.

March 3, 2009 Full Review Source: tonymacklin.net
tonymacklin.net

Scathing scream of a black comedy that's based on a play by Edward Albee.

November 2, 2008 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Director Nichols, in his auspicious Hollywood debut, and scripter Ernest Lehman smartly keep Albee's corrosively witty black comedy intact, allowing their ensmeble, including Liz Taylor, to dig deep and turn intensely entertaining performances.

June 29, 2007 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com
EmanuelLevy.Com

Strong stuff, intensely watchable, but definitely not for children.

June 28, 2007 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

A merciless dissection of the intellectual's disease of ennui and gamesmanship.

February 11, 2007 Full Review Source: Film Freak Central
Film Freak Central

Perfect.

October 10, 2005 | Comment (1)
ColeSmithey.com

One of the great directorial debuts in film history...

July 28, 2005 Full Review Source: Filmcritic.com
Filmcritic.com

Great cast plus great script equals great movie! Liz and Dick at their best.

November 11, 2004
Nolan's Pop Culture Review

They [Taylor and Burton] spark, shock, hurt, and shout down everyone they love, but mostly each other in this groundbreaking look at lovers and other strangers.

October 1, 2003 Full Review Source: Austin Chronicle
Austin Chronicle

Stunning film version of the Albee play.

February 2, 2003
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

It earns the hell that it puts us through by never compromising its vision of it.

June 24, 2002 Full Review Source: MovieMartyr.com
MovieMartyr.com

Part nightmare, part psychotherapy, part docudrama, part cultural meta-narrative, part transcendent myth.

December 3, 2001 Full Review Source: culturevulture.net
culturevulture.net

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966), a famous and shocking black comedy, was based on Edward Albee's scandalous play (Ernest Lehman's screenplay

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Tim Dirks' The Greatest Films
Tim Dirks' The Greatest Films

Audience Reviews for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

mthebee

haven't seen 4 ever
July 7, 2007
brooklynspo

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.
June 25, 2014
FrizzDrop

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.
January 3, 2014
Matthew Samuel Mirliani

Super Reviewer

The vitriolic honesty of the impeccable source material when paired with a quartet of the finest performances in film history make for a work of legends..... Just doesn't make too much sense as to why the couple opposite Martha and George don't just.... Leave.
July 8, 2013
Kevin Cookman

Super Reviewer

    1. Martha: I disgust me! You know, there's only been one man in my whole life that has ever made me happy. You know that?
    2. Martha: George, my husband. George, who is out somewhere in the dark, who is good to me, whom i revile, who keeps learning the games we play as quickly as I can change them, who can make me happy and I do not wish to be happy. George and Martha...sad, sad, sad. Whom I will not forgive for having seen me and having said - Yes, this will do. Who has made the hideously hurting, the insulting mistake of loving ME and must be punished for it. Some day, some night, some stupid liquor-ridden night, I will go too far and I'll either break the man's neck or I'll push him for good, which is what I deserve.
    – Submitted by David L (12 months ago)
    1. Martha: I am the Earth Mother and you are all flops.
    – Submitted by Adam G (13 months ago)
    1. George: Martha, will you show her where we keep the, er, euphemism? [meaning, the bathroom]
    – Submitted by rick b (2 years ago)
    1. Martha: George and Martha; sad, sad, sad....
    – Submitted by Kelly B (2 years ago)
    1. George: Yes dear, but you mustn't bray.
    2. Martha: I don't bray!
    – Submitted by Melissa M (3 years ago)
    1. George: And that's how you play "Get the Guests."
    – Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
View all quotes (7)

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