Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958) - Rotten Tomatoes

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1958)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Trailers & Photos

Movie Info

This dynamic and commanding adaptation of Tennessee Williams' Pulitzer Prize-winning play focuses on a troubled Southern family and the discord over their dying father's millions. Wealthy plantation owner Big Daddy Pollitt (Burl Ives), celebrating his 65th birthday, is visited by his sons, Brick (Paul Newman) and Gooper (Jack Carson). He has cancer, but a doctor has deliberately and falsely declared it in remission. Seemingly perfect son Gooper and his wife, Mae (Madeleine Sherwood), have several children and are anxiously expecting to inherit Daddy's millions. By contrast, Big Daddy's "favorite," Brick, is a has-been football star who's taken to drinking his days away since the suicide of his "best friend" a year earlier. He resents his wife, Maggie (Elizabeth Taylor), because he believes that she had an affair with his deceased friend. As a result, he refuses to sleep with her, although she remains devoted to him. Since Brick and Maggie have failed to produce any grandchildren, Big Daddy is inclined to leave his estate to Gooper, but Maggie attempts to prevent that by telling him that she is pregnant. Big Daddy knows better, yet he recognizes that Maggie loves Brick so much that she would be willing to do anything for him. Although Brick is self-destructive and resentful, unable to come to terms with his losses, it takes Big Daddy's recognition of his own mortality to make Brick change his perspective. Brick's struggle with his sexual identity, and the nature of his relationship with his "friend," had to be toned down for mass consumption, although this intelligently written and acted film covers such topics as infertility, adultery, and alcoholism that were still considered taboo in the 1950s. Newman brings depth and feeling to the role as Brick, while Taylor succeeds brilliantly in portraying Maggie as a passionate and understanding woman despite her own real-life emotional turmoil over the death of her husband at the time, producer Mike Todd.more
Rating: PG
Genre: Drama, Classics
Directed By: , ,
Written By: Richard Brooks, James Poe
In Theaters:
On DVD: Sep 23, 1997
MGM Home Entertainment


Paul Newman
as Brick Pollitt
Elizabeth Taylor
as Maggie Pollitt
Burl Ives
as Big Daddy Pollitt
Jack Carson
as Gooper Pollitt
Judith Anderson
as Big Mama Pollitt
Madeleine Sherwood
as Mae Pollitt
Larry Gates
as Dr. Baugh
Vaughan Taylor
as Deacon Davis
Patty Ann Gerrity
as Dixie Pollitt
Rusty Stevens
as Sonny Pollitt
Hugh Corcoran
as Buster Pollitt
Deborah Miller
as Trixie Pollitt
Brian Corcoran
as Boy Pollitt
Tony Merrill
as Party Guest
Jeane Wood
as Party Guest
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Critic Reviews for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

All Critics (33) | Top Critics (5)

A formaldehyded tabby that sits static while layer after layer of its skin is peeled off, life after life of its nine lives unsentimentally destroyed.

Full Review… | October 1, 2008
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

An intense, important motion picture.

Full Review… | April 8, 2008
Top Critic

Burl Ives and Judith Anderson are highly entertaining as the nightmare parents, Big Daddy and Big Mama, and Jack Carson has one of his last good roles as Newman's competitive older brother.

Full Review… | April 8, 2008
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

As so often with adaptations of Williams, it frequently errs on the side of overstatement and pretension, but still remains immensely enjoyable as a piece of cod-Freudian codswallop.

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

What a pack of trashy people these accomplished actors perform!

Full Review… | May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic watching a melodrama in a sauna. It's just too much.

Full Review… | June 27, 2011

Audience Reviews for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

I recently read this play for college, so I figured I might as well watch the film since it was nominated for so many Oscars back in the day and had such big stars in it. I was pretty disappointed to find that this adaption is lacking some of the elements that make the play compelling. The acting is inconsistent with really only Elizabeth Taylor impressing me really. Paul Newman and Burl Ives both got acclaim for their portrayals, but I didn't find them to be anything special. The film doesn't have very good pacing either. I was very disappointed to find the homosexuality elements completely eliminated because it made the story really intriguing and gave it an element of surprise that is lacking in this film. It does get the relationship between Big Daddy and Brick right and I genuinely liked their conversations, but not much else impressed me. Elizabeth Taylor had her breakout role and I thought she was really good in this, but it could have been better.

Josh Lewis

Super Reviewer

This heavy classic drama is masterpiece! This is a relationship full of confusion, betrayal, honesty, dishonesty, love, desire, and trust. Paul Newman and Elizabeth Taylor are both brilliant as Brick and Maggie Pollitt, respectively. Not very often is there a screen couple that have the same chemistry together that they do.
This is not to say the supporting cast isn't excellent. Burl Ives is superb in a supporting role as Big Daddy, a man who's greatest concern is having his legacy live on after him. The sequence with Ives and Newman in the basement of the house remains one of the most incredible displays of acting I have ever seen.
I love the story, the acting, the magnificent script and the depth of the characters.

Dean McKenna

Super Reviewer

The only reason I can speak about Cat on a Hot Tin Roof in anything other than stammering ums and drool puddles is because Elizabeth Taylor wasn't in every single scene. I know that hadn't looked even close to this good for over 40 years before her passing, but she has rarely, if ever, looked better. Despite the obvious distractions, the entire cast was great and if it weren't for Ms. Taylor slinking around in that white dress, Burl Ives in all of his cantankerous magnificence and loathing for his grandkids would've stole the show. Despite this incredibly altered version of the story and Tennessee Williams' disdain for it, I like this version of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Because Maggie the cat certainly didn't hurt...

Michael Gildea

Super Reviewer

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Quotes

– Submitted by Stephen L (19 months ago)
– Submitted by David A (2 years ago)
– Submitted by Star M (2 years ago)
– Submitted by Kevin L (3 years ago)

Discussion Forum

Discuss Cat on a Hot Tin Roof on our Movie forum!