Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice


Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice

Critics Consensus

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Total Count: 14


Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,673
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Movie Info

Taking sharp, right-on satirical jabs at the late-'60s vogue for wife-swapping and the spouting of vague psycho-babble, this notorious (in its time) sex comedy, set in California, tells the story of four friends who decide to cut loose and experiment with sexual freedom. Bob and Carol consider themselves a free-thinking modern couple in step with the times. Both freely see other lovers and even smoke a little dope. Their closest friends are the stuffy Ted and Alice who cannot understand the free-wheeling ways of Bob and Carol who in turn cannot understand why Ted and Alice are always so uptight. The erotic hijinks begin when the four friends attend a special sex workshop and decide to try their hands at a foursome.

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Critic Reviews for Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice

All Critics (14) | Top Critics (1)

  • The genius of Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice is that it understands the peculiar nature of the moral crisis for Americans in this age group, and understands that the way to consider it is in a comedy.

    Oct 23, 2004 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…
  • The movie retains a certain appeal due to the actors' excellent work. [Full Review in Spanish]

    Jul 24, 2019 | Full Review…
  • This is a very self-contained movie. Charles Lang's hot-hollow camera hawks the bodies and faces as closely as the one in Faces, but the put-down acting at every moment is a half-snobbish Elaine May mimicry of middle-class patois...

    Jun 18, 2019 | Full Review…
  • A sardonic satire

    Dec 10, 2018 | Full Review…
  • Mazursky was lucky to get four such excellent performers working on his project, for the movie lives and dies based on their ability to quietly suggest the inner workings of a human mind.

    Jul 25, 2011 | Rating: 8/10 | Full Review…
  • Benignly erected on knowing observation and flossy anecdote, Mazursky's cultural mood-ring merrily mingles mod flash with Old Hollywood

    Jan 18, 2011 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice

  • Aug 14, 2014
    Though the post-Summer of Love goings on remain very much a product of their time, the relevant honesty and comedy of Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice definitely still connects with generations who never got to take their pants off during the Sexual Revolution. Table turning. Manipulation. Cheating. Remorse. Regret. Whether you're a still-love struck Baby Boomer or a lovelorn Generation Y-er, these themes and games doubtlessly transcend through the Me Generation to today. Hell, they probably resonated with cavemen, which is why Paul Masursky's whipsmart hilarious dissection of a 4-person Swingtown still works. Just as precisely attention-grabbing is his assured but freewheeling direction. Alternately, he captures the close intimacy (the 4 stars awkwardly sharing a bed - and a moment of clarity - remains a classic) and distant loneliness (Robert Culp, who should've been given more feature leading man roles), films the curious but innocent interaction between his too-mellow Free Loving wife (the transfixingly engaging Natalie Wood) and reticent oaf best friend (never better Elliot Gould) from a rooftop zoom. In this R-rated comedy, newly "enlightened" couple Bob and Carol (Robert Culp, Natalie Wood) return from a weekend retreat and chastise their closest friends, Ted and Alice, for not coming to grips with their true feelings. Granted, a hippie dippy retreat weekend and one or two period hiccups (Gould and the tsk-tsking but beautifully game Dyan Cannon don't seen to know how birth control pills work) ages things a bit, but no more than Gordon Gekko's gi-normous 'mobile' phone in Wall Street. Marsursky's confident chance taking, however, never fared any better than in this classic. Just look to the closer, which finds Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice & countless souls commiserating in a warm 4th wall-breaking gathering to Jackie DeShannon's "What the World Needs Now is Love" (written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David for this film, mind you). Like the film, this songs stays with you and brings home the whole point--free or at great cost, we all need the L-Word, wherever however. Bottom line: Still H'Wood Swinging
    Jeff B Super Reviewer
  • Oct 18, 2013
    A husband and wife, returning from a New Age retreat, entice another married couple to join the Sexual Revolution, replete with infidelity and orgies. Half satire, half honest social documentary, Paul Mazursky's brilliant and funny portrayal of late sixties era swingers walks so many fine lines between ridiculous and believable and character study and caricature study that his work bespeaks remarkable intelligence. It's hard to classify this film because it "swings" so deftly between genres and characterizations -- a remarkably flexible film. The performances are all incredible. Natalie Wood, playing against type, contrasts the natural innocence of her face and demeanor with the sexual freedom of her character, and I can't help but repeat: if there is a heaven and it doesn't involve being loved by Natalie Wood, I'll be disappointed. Overall, <i>Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice</i> both reveres and lampoons the late sixties and serves as a monument to the talents of its contributors.
    Jim H Super Reviewer
  • Sep 06, 2010
    Satire about free love and psycho-speak. Two couples, best friends, examine their marriages and the idea of free love and sexual liberty. Their experiences turn out to be quite different than they expected resulting in some humourously uncomfortable sex scenes. I love the tagline for the film: "Consider the possibilities." This is my second Paul Mazursky film and would really like to see more of his work.
    Laura C Super Reviewer
  • Sep 05, 2010
    See what happens when two couples try to live the late 60s early 70s lifestyle of free love and wife swapping, only to learn the consequences in the end. It's a great story, and there are great actors in it too. I highly recommend it.
    Aj V Super Reviewer

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