The Front Page

1974, Comedy/Drama, 1h 45m

25 Reviews 2,500+ Ratings

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The Front Page Photos

Movie Info

Successful Chicago newspaper reporter Hildy Johnson (Jack Lemmon) is hanging up his journalist's hat to marry Peggy Grant (Susan Sarandon). When his editor, the arrogant, self-important Walter Burns (Walter Matthau), learns of Hildy's plans, he goes to great lengths to keep his star writer. They learn that the notorious (but possibly wrongfully accused) criminal, Earl Williams (Austin Pendleton), has escaped on the eve of his execution, and Hildy can't resist this one last sensational story.

Cast & Crew

Critic Reviews for The Front Page

All Critics (25) | Top Critics (2) | Fresh (16) | Rotten (9)

  • It relies too much on foul language, inappropriate slapstick, and superficial cynicism.

    January 26, 2006 | Full Review…
  • Even though the mechanics and demands of movie-making slow what should be the furious tempo, this Front Page displays a giddy bitterness that is rare in any films except those of Mr. Wilder. It is also, much of the time, extremely funny.

    January 1, 2000 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…
  • It must have seemed like a good idea at the time.

    April 20, 2021 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…
  • Little to recommend it going in, and even less coming out; not only is it a far lesser comedy than His Girl Friday, it doesn't have an ounce of that film's moral and emotional clarity.

    December 8, 2020 | Full Review…
  • Carol Burnett is terrible, but everyone else delivers the goods, from Austin Pendleton as the sweet and slightly befuddled convict to Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau playing to their usual strengths.

    September 8, 2019 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • This third version of the 1928 smash play is only mildly entertaining; Billy Wilder has no new take on the text and his stars may be too old.

    February 22, 2012 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…
  • It relies too much on foul language, inappropriate slapstick, and superficial cynicism.

    January 26, 2006 | Full Review…
  • Even though the mechanics and demands of movie-making slow what should be the furious tempo, this Front Page displays a giddy bitterness that is rare in any films except those of Mr. Wilder. It is also, much of the time, extremely funny.

    January 1, 2000 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…
  • It must have seemed like a good idea at the time.

    April 20, 2021 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…
  • Little to recommend it going in, and even less coming out; not only is it a far lesser comedy than His Girl Friday, it doesn't have an ounce of that film's moral and emotional clarity.

    December 8, 2020 | Full Review…
  • Carol Burnett is terrible, but everyone else delivers the goods, from Austin Pendleton as the sweet and slightly befuddled convict to Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau playing to their usual strengths.

    September 8, 2019 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • This third version of the 1928 smash play is only mildly entertaining; Billy Wilder has no new take on the text and his stars may be too old.

    February 22, 2012 | Rating: C+ | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Front Page

  • Feb 24, 2018
    Wilder and Co. have taken pains to update, refresh and reboot the tale, the prior efforts no doubt informing them but, in spite of all the tricks pulled this is a piece that feels more like nostalgia - of all concerned - a wishing for the old days. And (as in when talking to an old person) there are moments when the story seems to simply stop for no discernible reason. On the whole a decent effort, only not up to the momentum of the previous releases.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Oct 10, 2012
    A reporter and his editor cover the politically motivated, impending execution of a Communist sympathizer. A slap-dash, map-cap film filled with sharp dialogue, The Front Page is reminiscent of older films that accentuated good writing and fast-paced dialogue -- none of this subtext shit. Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau are at their comic best, spitting their lines out like the clacking of typewriter keys. From the "they don't make 'em like they used to" file, this film is a quick-witted ride that seems like the only thing it's missing is a Groucho Marx pun and a wave of a cigar. However, at the end of all the shenanigans, I can't say that there's a lot of substance to the film. Each character is flat, and a young Susan Sarandon plays Peggy the way she's written -- as an annoying house frau wannabe whose sole ambition is joy-sucking her soon-to-be husband. There aren't many surprises in the plot. Overall, I suppose that many of my criticisms judge the film on terms it doesn't subscribe to because in the end The Front Page wants to be fun and it is.
    Jim H Super Reviewer
  • Mar 01, 2012
    So, His Girl Friday is my favorite movie, like, ever. And this adaptation is certainly missing that *thing* that makes His Girl Friday king. His Girl Friday has a kind of lyrical, musical quality about it that makes it fun, fast-paced and AMAZING. This, is a movie. And painfully so. I watched this because of Jack Lemmon. And he was quite good. But not quite Rosalind Russell. I think he could have pulled off the fast-paced dialog that Hawks introduced too. Overall, glad I watched it, but Grant and Russell do it MUCH better.
    Jennifer D Super Reviewer
  • Sep 05, 2010
    This is actually a remake of an older movie, which was a remake of an older movie too, so it's nothing new. It's pretty funny in some scenes, but that's about all I liked about it. It's pretty good, but it could be better.
    Aj V Super Reviewer

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