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The Front Page (1974)


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Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 2
Fresh: 1 | Rotten: 1



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Average Rating: 3.6/5
User Ratings: 3,222

My Rating

Movie Info

This third film version of the 1928 Ben Hecht/Charlie MacArthur Broadway hit The Front Page was the first one permitted to utilize all the salty profanities in the original play. Director Billy Wilder cast his two favorite leading men, Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau, as ace reporter Hildy Johnson and ruthless newspaper editor Walter Burns, respectively. The plot of the Hecht/MacArthur play remains intact: Burns pulls every underhanded game in the book to prevent Johnson from leaving his Chicago


Drama, Mystery & Suspense, Classics, Comedy

I. A. L. Diamond, Billy Wilder

Jun 15, 1998

Universal Pictures

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All Critics (23) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (16) | Rotten (6) | DVD (4)

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

January 26, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

Full of wonderful comedic business, throw-away lines and some effortless ensemble set pieces, The Front Page bristles with its collection of talents on both sides of the camera.... It's that Billy Wilder touch of hurtful grains of truth inside every com

October 6, 2007 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

This slick remake of the ebullient original falls short of being the film it could have been, despite the presence of master filmmaker Wilder and his engaging costars.

August 14, 2007 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Too much of it seemed stretched thin and unfunny.

March 16, 2007 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Funny retelling with Lemmon and Matthau guided by Billy Wilder.

March 17, 2006

not up to the original

July 9, 2005

Matthau and Lemmon put in their usual faultless turns, but cannot lift a pervading air of pointlessness.

May 24, 2003 Full Review Source: Film4

It bombed then. It looks better now, but it's still a distant third in films of the play

July 30, 2002
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Not the finest adaptation of the oft-visited source material, but hey, it's Wilder, Lemmon, and Matthau!

July 25, 2002

It drags in the middle, but a good first act and a stellar finale make the movie completely worthwhile.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source:

Audience Reviews for The Front Page

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.
October 10, 2012
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

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.
March 1, 2012
Jennifer D

Super Reviewer

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.
December 31, 2010

Super Reviewer

"the front page" is the third time re-adaption of the stage play by ben hencht(who wrote the original scarface) and chas. macarthur. the first appearance on screen was in 1931, and the second time would be the most reputable one "his girl friday" in 1940 by howard hawks who had co-operated with hecht previously in "scarface" this time, billy wilder gets his feet wet with this sassy script of rotten journalism, spicing it up with even more political cynicism which is wilder's trademark, a sneer to various aspects of conventional americanism, such as patriotism gets mocked in "stalag 17", bureaucracy of enterprise in "the apartment", homophobia in "some like it hot", hollywood decay in "sunset blvd.", capitalist's narcissism in "love in the afternoon"...etc.

the script is also penned partly by wilder whose version is more faithful to the hencht's play except some few parts he added to make fun of emasculated dandyism, maccarthyism parody...and the stimulus appears so often that it loses its brightfulness and ceases to be funny when it comes to the satire of journalism, wilder does a superb job in his own script "ace in the hole" with kirk douglas in the 50s...
October 7, 2009
Veronique Kwak

Super Reviewer

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