Ash Wednesday (1973)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

A woman undergoes a surgeon's scalpel in a last-ditch attempt to win back her husband in this drama. Barbara Sawyer (Elizabeth Taylor) has been married to her husband, Mark (Henry Fonda), for 30 years, and she's afraid the spark has gone out of their relationship. Barbara is convinced the problem is her appearance -- the years have taken a heavy toll on her, and her haggard, saggy appearance is a far cry from the beauty she possessed in her youth. Determined to save her marriage, Barbara checks into a clinic in Switzerland for extensive plastic surgery, and arranges to meet Mark at a nearby ski lodge once she's recovered. After having her face, breasts, and bottom lifted, Barbara leaves the hospital looking as beautiful as Elizabeth Taylor, and as she waits for Mark to arrive in Switzerland, she allows herself to be seduced by Erich (Helmut Berger), a handsome young playboy, to prove to herself she has regained her allure. However, her new face and figure isn't enough to save her marriage when Mark informs her he's decided to leave her for another woman. Ash Wednesday features detailed footage of actual plastic surgical procedures, some of which were far too bloody for the comfort of most audiences.
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LionsGate Entertainment


Elizabeth Taylor
as Barbara Sawyer
Henry Fonda
as Mark Sawyer
Maurice Teynac
as Dr. Lambert
Maggie Blye
as Kate Sawyer
Andre Eszterhazy
as Comte D'Arnoud
Monique van Vooren
as German Woman
Carlo Purl
as Paolo
Henning Schlüter
as Bridge Player
Dino Mele
as Mario
Ilina Wassilchikoff
as Silvana Del Campo
Dina Sassoli
as Nurse Ilsa
Rodolfo Lodi
as Prince Von Essen
Carlo Puri
as Paolo
Andrea Esterhazy
as Comte D'Arnoud
Jill Pratt
as Simone
Raymond Vignale
as Gregory De Rive
Jose De Vega
as Tony Gutierrez
Samantha Starr
as Samantha
Edward Burns
as Francis Sullivan
Elijah Wood
as Sean Sullivan
Rosario Dawson
as Grace Quinonez
James Handy
as Father Mahoney
Peter Gerety
as Uncle Handy
Julie Hale
as Maggie Shea
Marina Durell
as Mrs. Quinonez
Michael Mulheren
as Det. Pulaski
Jimmy Burke
as Red Kelly
Brian Burns
as Moran's Cousin Mark
Vincent Rubino
as Vinny Boombatz
John DiResta
as Pete at the Bar
Christopher McGovern
as Whitey's Driver
Stephen Murphy
as Whitey's Man
Brian Delate
as Crazy George Cullen
Teresa Yenque
as Mrs. Diaz
Kathleen Doyle
as Mrs. Flanagan
Dara Coleman
as John Coleman
Penny Balfour
as Callie
Kevin Kash
as Paulie Numbers
Gregg Bello
as Larossa
Joe Lisi
as Wiseguy
Matty Delia
as Brooklyn Barkeep
Jack DeFuria
as Little Sean
Margaret Blye
as Kate Sawyer
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Critic Reviews for Ash Wednesday

All Critics (8) | Top Critics (4)

Taylor, fashionably gowned and bejewelled carries the film almost single-handedly. Fonda is excellent in his climatic appearance, an usually superb casting idea.

Full Review… | March 25, 2009
Top Critic

In what is little more than a homage to Taylor's face, the film spends a good deal of time looking at her reflection in the mirror and endorsing her Martini ad lifestyle up to the hilt.

Full Review… | June 23, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

This is not a male chauvinist's conception of a woman, but her hairdresser's, full of envy, awe and superficial compassion.

Full Review… | May 8, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

The whole movie, indeed, feels longer than it is. It's 15 minutes short of two hours, and still it takes forever to be over.

Full Review… | October 23, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Ash Wednesday is a woman's film of a particularly bogus kind.

Full Review… | July 21, 2015
The Spectator

Another in the long string of mediocre films by Taylor.

Full Review… | March 24, 2011
TV Guide

Audience Reviews for Ash Wednesday

WRONG MOVIE POSTER! This is an Edward Burns movie. Pretty good too.

Sean Gillespie
Sean Gillespie

Super Reviewer

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