Of Human Bondage

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.



Total Count: 11


Audience Score

User Ratings: 2,749
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Of Human Bondage Photos

Movie Info

This film stars Leslie Howard as sensitive, clubfooted artist-cum-med student Philip Carey. Despite his yearnings for the finer things in life, Carey cannot extricate himself from a mutually-destructive relationship with waitress Mildred Rogers. After an incredible series of emotional disasters, Carey finally finds happiness in the arms of Sally Altheny.


Leslie Howard
as Philip Carey
Bette Davis
as Mildred Rogers
Frances Dee
as Sally Athelny
Reginald Owen
as Thorpe Athelny
Reginald Denny
as Harry Griffiths
Alan Hale
as Emil Miller
Des Roberts
as Dr.Jacobs
Desmond Roberts
as Dr. Jacobs
Tempe Piggott
as Landlady
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Critic Reviews for Of Human Bondage

All Critics (11)

  • Excellent dramatization of Somerset Maugham's fine novel.

    Aug 14, 2019 | Full Review…
  • I think great credit should go to [Bette Davis] for attempting such a role, in the first place, and then for daring to carry it through with such a fierce consistency, extracting from it every last nuance of unpleasantness.

    May 31, 2019 | Full Review…
  • Strictly so-so on its own terms, but invaluable as Bette Davis' star-launching platform.

    Jun 20, 2008 | Rating: 3/5
  • The first and best of three Hollywood versions of Maugham's novel boasts a grand dramatic performance from Bette Davis, who scandalously was snubbed by the Academy; she was a write-in candidate for the Oscar.

    Jul 23, 2007 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…
  • Dated but compelling drama

    Aug 10, 2004 | Rating: 3/5
  • Davis either grates or invigorates; either way, the rest of the movie hangs dully around her.

    Aug 14, 2003 | Rating: 2/5

Audience Reviews for Of Human Bondage

  • Sep 23, 2018
    Were you or someone you know ever involved in a lopsided relationship? Where one party knew the other loved them more than they felt and so used the person most inconsiderately? Bette Davis, all hungry vampire-eyes-set-to-kill is a low-class strumpet who sees imminent financial possibility in Leslie Howard's middle class nebbish, who merely suspects that he's being played but can't quite believe that anyone would ever do such a thing (much less his beloved) and is thunderstruck that he himself would allow himself to be played so untruthfully. Like an auto accident on the freeway, you won't be able to take your eyes away.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Mar 31, 2016
    It's a little hard to watch this one, just as it was a little hard to read the novel by W. Somerset Maugham. Leslie Howard plays the sensitive, club-footed young man who falls for a lower-class, vulgar woman who manipulates and exploits him time and time again. Bette Davis plays the woman brilliantly, and for her performance I could have notched up my rating half a star. The movie has one scene worth watching in particular - the one where she viciously rips into him after he tells her that she disgusts him. Her response: "Me?! I disgust you? You, you, you're too fine! You'll have none of me, but you'll sit here all night looking at your naked females...You cad! You dirty swine! I never cared for you, not once. I was always makin' a fool of ya. You bored me stiff! I hated ya! It made me sick when I had to let ya kiss me. I only did it because ya begged me. Ya hounded me and drove me crazy! And after you kissed me, I always used to wipe my mouth! WIPE MY MOUTH! I made up for it. For every kiss, I had a laugh. We laughed at ya, Miller and me, and Griffith and me, we laughed at ya! Because you were such a mug, a mug, a mug! You know what you are? You gimpy-legged monster? You're a cripple! A cripple! A cripple!" Despite that, he STILL returns back to her (arrgh), which is disagreeable to watch, even though he has a benign acceptance about being doomed to love her, just as a much friendlier woman is doomed to love him. And so it goes. The movie would firmly establish Bette Davis as an actress, and rightfully so, though she was snubbed by the Academy. I found it interesting to read later that there was such an uproar over it that the Academy president said write-in votes could be cast, and Davis received enough to finish ahead of one of the nominees, but not enough to beat Claudette Colbert who would win for 'It Happened One Night' (the process would be changed the following year). Unfortunately, Davis can't completely overcome the masochism of the story, or Leslie Howard's somewhat wooden performance.
    Antonius B Super Reviewer
  • Sep 03, 2010
    I've heard a lot of good things about this movie, but when I saw it I didn't understand it. Maybe I need to see it again, but I really thought it was dull and uninteresting.
    Aj V Super Reviewer
  • Jan 19, 2009
    The unabridged version of the the novel simply can't be adapted to the screen.
    Steve S Super Reviewer

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