Smile (1975) - Rotten Tomatoes

Smile (1975)

Smile (1975)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Smile Photos

Movie Info

The backstage maneuverings at a California beauty pageant are the subject of this often cynical satire, which has developed a strong cult following. While much humor is found in the brutal competitiveness of the young contestants, the film's sharpest barbs are saved for the pageant's shallow yet driven organizers.
Classics , Comedy , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
United Artists

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Bruce Dern
as "Big Bob" Freelander
Barbara Feldon
as Brenda DiCarlo
Michael Kidd
as Tommy French
Geoffrey Lewis
as Wilson Shears
Nicholas Pryor
as Andy DiCarlo
Colleen Camp
as Connie Thompson/'Miss Imperial County'
Joan Prather
as Robin Gibson/'Miss Antelope Valley'
Denise Nickerson
as Shirley Tolstoy/'Miss San Diego'
Annette O'Toole
as Doria Houston/'Miss Anaheim'
Maria O'Brien
as Maria Gonzales/'Miss Salinas'
Melanie Griffith
as Karen Love/'Miss Simi Valley'
Kate Sarchet
as Judy Wagner/'Miss Modesto'
Titos Vandis
as Emil Eidleman
William Traylor
as Ray Brandy
Eric Shea
as "Little Bob" Freelander
Adam Reed
as Freddy
Paul Benedict
as Orren Brooks
Dick McGarvin
as Ted Farley
Helene Nelson
as Jo Ann Marshall
George Skaff
as Dr. Malvert
Shawn Christianson
as "Miss Fountain Valley"
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for Smile

All Critics (14) | Top Critics (1)

Goes easy on everyone it skewers.

Full Review… | January 6, 2016
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

A poignant satire dissecting American beauty pageants

Full Review… | July 23, 2011

Ritchie holds it together with rapid technique and a glancing eye

Full Review… | March 10, 2010

Great spoof of beauty pageants

March 16, 2007
Atlantic City Weekly

like a season of I Love the '70s condensed into two hours, and in its intimation that this is a uniquely disposable culture it's decades ahead of VH-1

July 26, 2004

One of those inimitable small films that squares with human experience in genuine, funny and memorable ways

Full Review… | January 18, 2004
Spirituality and Practice

Audience Reviews for Smile

Brilliant satire of the inherent flaws of beauty pageants, this subtle, yet laugh-out-loud 70s gem works amazingly on two levels - both as a slice-of-life view of the inner workings of the small town show, while also clearly commenting on the earnestness and motives of the supporters and contestants. It plays like a more subtle version of the film Little Miss Sunshine. Insightful, innocent, heartbreaking, dark, and yet awkwardly hopeful and hilarious all the way through. The uncanny portrayals and insights of the filmmakers make this an even more enjoyable treat. From the naive, cliched speeches, the bubbly off-key singing, and the off-kilter performances, to the back stage fussing and marital struggles being set aside for the sake of the show, this is a rather complete picture of small town pageant life with a tongue-in-cheek flair making it all the more entertaining. The fact that it's characters are so naively innocent, earnest, and sarcasm-free makes it even more touching, authentic and completely hilarious. Skewering the kkk and other lesser parts of Americana keep this on the darker side, so be aware. A few things here are disconcerting for some. With that in mind, wow - what a crazy look at the times around my childhood, and what it looks like now. A young Melanie Griffith and Annette O Toole are part of the fun too. The movie went pretty much unnoticed when it first came out, but has since become a cult classic. Enjoy! 5 hat-and-cane numbers out of 5

Thomas Porter
Thomas Porter

Released the same year as Robert Altman's "Nashville," "Smile" takes a similar satirical look at lowbrow American culture. What's most wonderful is that this Michael Ritchie film not only paints a ruthless picture of a vapid "Young American Miss" pageant, steadily refusing to grant the audience any note of reassuring sentimentality, but that its gags are often laugh-out-loud funny (particularly during the talent competition). Not all satires manage to operate on that more visceral level. The cast is full of faces who became much more familiar later -- Melanie Griffith, Annette O'Toole, Dennis Dugan, George Wyner, Colleen Camp -- but Bruce Dern stands out as the dim but well-meaning head judge (a car salesman during the rest of the year) who always tries to put an upbeat spin on life.

Eric Broome
Eric Broome

Super Reviewer


This is a nostalgic gem--a snapshot of a lifestyle from bygone days. Bruce Dern with that winning car salesman smile captures the joy & naiviete of a generation. Co-stars Barbara Feldman (Get Smart's Agent 99) & a very young Eric Shea (Castaway Cowboy, Po\seidon) are a wonderful supportive cast for this "picture perfect" look at life in white suburbia pre-60's. I don't even think Rock n Roll has hit this little Santa Rosa, Californian town. In its innocence this is a look at if NOT a small town geographically at least in mentality "small town" life filled with sameness, homogeneousness. Excellent actors make this movie a "worth see" in my book! My "book" WILL include at least a chapter or so somehow sharing the amazing "playground" that the Southwest used to be to us Midwestern "transplants."

Teresa S
Teresa S

Super Reviewer

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