Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice

1969, Comedy, 1h 45m

33 Reviews 1,000+ Ratings

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critics consensus

Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice isn't as subversive as it thinks it is -- but it is smart & sophisticated & funny & well-acted. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

After returning to Los Angeles from a group therapy session, documentary filmmaker Bob Sanders (Robert Culp) and his wife, Carol (Natalie Wood), find themselves becoming vigilante couples counselors, offering unsolicited advice to their best friends, Ted (Elliott Gould) and Alice Henderson (Dyan Cannon). Not wanting to be rude, the Hendersons play along, but some latent sexual tension among the four soon comes bubbling to the surface, and long-buried desires don't stay buried for long.

Cast & Crew

Critic Reviews for Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice

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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