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Sumptuous design and perfect casting makes Wuthering Heights an exemplar of old Hollywood studio filmmaking, even if to a fault. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

In this adaptation of the classic Emily Bronte novel set in 19th-century England, wealthy young Cathy Earnshaw (Merle Oberon) shares a loving bond with Heathcliff (Laurence Olivier), a poor childhood friend who now works in her stables. Unfortunately, things become complicated when the affluent Edgar Linton (David Niven) decides to pursue Cathy, and Heathcliff leaves out of resentment. Though Heathcliff returns with a self-made fortune, he realizes he may have lost Cathy in his absence.

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Critic Reviews for Wuthering Heights

All Critics (23) | Top Critics (2) | Fresh (22) | Rotten (1)

Audience Reviews for Wuthering Heights

  • Aug 26, 2017
    With a gorgeous cinematography that uses strong black-and-white contrasts, this is an absorbing classic that eschews most of the crushing darkness and evil found in Bronté's novel (to be more accessible to the public) and yet manages to move us with its own dramatic power.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Jun 02, 2014
    Laurence Olivier is good...really good at this non typical non Shakespearean role. One only wishes that he committed to more of these types of projects. The emotion seeps forward and cuts out of the historical film making it more vibrant than the pictures.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • Aug 25, 2011
    Wyler's sublime adaptation of Brönte's Gothic novel is one of the most gorgeous classic feasts classic Hollywood has to offer. The 30s were plagued by memorable American melodramas that make me cry like a baby still nowadays. 99/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer
  • Feb 22, 2010
    Wuthering Heights is the 1939 adaptation of the Emily Bronte novel by the same name. A lost stranger comes to the broken down estate of Wuthering Heights, lost in the moors. He's put up by the hostile Heathcliff, and during the night sees a ghost. He's then told the tale of the ghost, and how it came to be. Olivier's Heathcliff is filled with nothing but impotent rage as he lashes out at the upper class which he oh-so-briefly had a taste of. His beloved Cathy isn't interested in becoming a stable boy's wife, even if she does love Heathcliff. It's a story that starts off with the promise of romance but ends on a bitterly cynical note. I get the feeling the film doesn't do justice to the novel (even having never read the novel), with it's somewhat shallow performances and a lack of exposition or character development. I was surprised to learn the role of Heathcliff was performed by the venerable Sir Laurence Olivier, it was a performance that seemingly could've been done by any reasonably handsome actor of his day. The "film" aspect of the film however, is outstanding: lighting, sets, costumes, and direction are all top notch (and I really hate to mislead, the performances are great for their day), but it's the original material that makes this film so worthwhile, rather than any contributions the filmmakers make.
    Devon B Super Reviewer

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