Look Back in Anger

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Reviews Counted: 12

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Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,291


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Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 0


Average Rating: 3.7/5

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Movie Info

Archetypal British "angry young man" Jimmy Porter (Richard Burton) is a college-educated bloke who can't seem to get any better job than working in a candy store. Jimmy's relationship with his wife Alison (Mary Ure) alternates between hugs and kisses when he's feeling good and verbal abuse when he's down on himself, which is often. Alison's best friend Helena Charles (Claire Bloom) advises Alison to escape her injurious marriage. Left with no one for a punching bag, Jimmy romances Helena. Having suffered a miscarriage, Alison returns, and Helena walks out of Jimmy's life. In keeping with its depiction of the dead-end existence of most of England's working poor in the late 1950s, nothing is truly resolved in Look Back in Anger. Playwright John Osborne (at that time married to Mary Ure) uses Jimmy Porter as a spokesman for Osborne's own spleen-venting harangues against the British government and class system. Not only did Look Back in Anger spawn a new genre of British social-protest films, but it also inspired two remakes, both filmed for television. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for Look Back in Anger

All Critics (12) | Top Critics (1)

  • There's no doubt that Richard Burton gives some firepower to those famous rant speeches, arias of self-hate and rage that might otherwise be overpoweringly shrill and petulant.

    Mar 30, 2018 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • It still has plenty to say.

    Mar 30, 2018 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…
  • Tony Richardson, directing his first feature, has given it a tough, vital style which represents something new in British cinema.

    Mar 29, 2018 | Full Review…
  • Richard Burton's playing is forcefully intelligent, Claire Bloom's unexpectedly sharp-edged, and Gary Raymond's easily relaxed. All in all, from "the best young play of its generation" has invigoratingly come the best young film of our generation.

    Feb 16, 2016 | Full Review…
  • Though a trend setting film, with snappy play dialogue, well-acted and competently crafted, its depressing tone makes it a tough watch.

    Mar 23, 2008 | Rating: B | Full Review…
  • The kitchen-sink drama that started a great period of British realism

    Aug 17, 2006 | Rating: 4/5

Audience Reviews for Look Back in Anger


In spite of a sensational performance by Richard Burton the screen adaptation of Osborne's stage-play bogs down here and there. Still, Burton's fervor and zeal is reminiscent of what Brando was able to do in Streetcar.

Randy Tippy
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

A british drama, said to be of the ?Kitchen Sink Drama? sub-genre. The film is based on a play and it shows it, it?s largely dialogue driven and could easily take place on one set. The film is mostly a character study about a young man who?s, well? angry. There are a lot of scenes of people yelling at each other, and the whole thing doesn?t really go anywhere. That said, the film has a real energy to it, the acting is fierce and it has a really raw stripped down look to it. I can?t say I?d love it in a vacuum, but it captured some kind working class anger of its time and I can see why it would become an iconic work.


Super Reviewer

Has to be one of my favourites. Burton's performance is just amazing.

Emily B.
Emily B.

Super Reviewer

Nothing special at all really. It was beautifully filmed though--especially that final scene. Richard Burton was as always great (despite the heavy-handed dialogue plopped upon him), Claire Bloom was gorgeous but all you're really in for is Richard Burton acting like a Grade-A asshole for about 2 hours. Story was kind of weak too, the more I think about it...

Michael Gildea
Michael Gildea

Super Reviewer

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