Long Day's Journey Into Night

Critics Consensus

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94%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 16

86%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 3,062
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Movie Info

Playwright Eugene O'Neill sold Random House the text of his intensely autobiographical 1941 play on the proviso that the play not be produced during O'Neill's lifetime. Two years after the playwright's death in 1953, the play was given its first Broadway staging and won a Pulitzer Prize. Set in 1912 New England, the story takes place in the summer home of aging actor James Tyrone (Ralph Richardson) and his family. Tyrone, patterned after Eugene O'Neill's father James O'Neill, has long abandoned any aspirations to be a truly great actor, choosing instead to tour in the same weary stage vehicle year after year. Thanks to an earlier act of stinginess on Tyrone's part, his wife Mary has turned into a rambling morphine addict, with little or no contact with reality. Oldest son Jamie is a troublemaking alcoholic, envious of the writing talent of sickly younger brother Edmund (the Eugene O'Neill counterpart). The long's day journey concludes with a hellish night in which the three Tyrone men sit about drunkenly as Mary Tyrone hallucinates about her younger, happier days. Katharine Hepburn emerged from a three-year retirement to essay the back-breaking role of Mary Tyrone; Ralph Richardson exhumed all the "ham" of his student-actor days to portray the pathetic James Tyrone; Jason Robards Jr., a man seemingly put on this earth to interpret O'Neill, repeats his Broadway role as Jamey; and Dean Stockwell adds one more superb characterization to his gallery of portrayals as the tubercular Edmund. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for Long Day's Journey Into Night

All Critics (16) | Top Critics (1) | Fresh (15) | Rotten (1)

  • For what they have set out to do, Mr. Lumet and the producer, Ely Landau, have given us a fine, fair picture of a tough and maybe tedious O'Neill play.

    May 20, 2003 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…
  • Sidney Lumet has given us a superb cinematic translation of the only American play to which the much-abused adjective "great" can seriously be applied.

    Jul 31, 2019 | Full Review…
  • An adaptation of Eugene O'Neill's legendary play results in a stage-bound production lifted by grand performances, including the delightful Katharine Hepburn.

    Aug 15, 2011 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
  • Faithful to the award winning play.

    May 18, 2011 | Rating: B | Full Review…
  • O'Neill's play transformed beautifully into Hepburn, Robards vehicle.

    Mar 2, 2008 | Rating: 5/5
  • Lumet's film of O'Neill's masterpiece is one of the most faithful and well-executed screen adaptations ever due to Boris Kaufman's landmark cinematography and superlative ensemble of Ralph Richardson, Katharine Hepburn, Jason Robards and Dean Stockwell.

    Apr 6, 2007 | Rating: A | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Long Day's Journey Into Night

  • Dec 11, 2013
    The Stratford company did a version of this for the screen in the nineties. I think it was as effective as this version that shows that little action is required with strong dialogue and compelling characters.If this is truly O'Neill's life, it keeps us attentive to a very interesting story.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Aug 24, 2010
    Since the film is based on one of the the finest plays ever written, it would have at least been decent, but Sidney Lumet created a near masterpiece. It might be Katharine Hepburn's finest hour dramatically and the rest of the cast is just as equally fantastic.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Jul 11, 2009
    Extremely well acted filmed version of the Eugene O'Neill play. The problem is that there is so much going on and so much character drama that it is a little draining. It's like Magnolia if it was still three hours and happened at one house. Jason Robards is fantastic and I loved the stuff between him and Dean Stockwell who is also great. Hepburn has her moments, but some of it seems overacting to say the least. Interesting because it's one of Lumet's first and the camera movement keeps you interested.
    Tim S Super Reviewer
  • Jul 11, 2009
    You watch this one for just the great performances and monologues, but it can get grating with all the nonstop talking. I would've like a it more brevity and emotion rather than just talking it out, but, you have to consider the source as well. This is a play about people how only hint at their emotions and always rationalize.
    matt s Super Reviewer

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