Cabaret (1972) - Rotten Tomatoes

Cabaret (1972)



Critic Consensus: Great performances and evocative musical numbers help Cabaret secure its status as a stylish, socially conscious classic.

Movie Info

Originally a 1966 Broadway musical, this groundbreaking Bob Fosse musical was in turn based on Christopher Isherwood's Goodbye to Berlin, previously dramatized for stage and screen as I Am a Camera with Julie Harris as Sally Bowles. Fosse uses the decadent and vulgar cabaret as a mirror image of German society sliding toward the Nazis, and this intertwining of entertainment with social history marked a new step forward for the movie musical. Michael York plays a British writer who comes to Berlin in the early 1930s in hopes of becoming a teacher. He makes the acquaintance of flamboyant American entertainer Sally Bowles, played by Liza Minnelli. Sally works at the Kit Kat Klub, a George Grosz-like Berlin cabaret where each night the smirking, androgynous Master of Ceremonies (Joel Grey) introduces a jazz-driven "girlie show" to his debauched audience. Virtually all the film's musical numbers are staged within the confines of the Kit Kat Klub, and each song comments on the plot and on Germany's "progression" from hedonism to Hitlerism. Most of the Broadway score by John Kander and Fred Ebb was retained, with the welcome addition of "The Money Song." Although it lost Best Picture to The Godfather, Cabaret won eight Oscars, including awards to Minnelli, Grey, and Fosse. A heavily expurgated 88-minute version of Cabaret has been prepared for commercial TV presentations, regarded by many as dramatically inferior to the full cut.more
Rating: PG
Genre: Drama, Musical & Performing Arts, Classics
Directed By: ,
Written By: Joe Masteroff, John Van Druten, Jay Presson Allen, Hugh Wheeler
In Theaters:
On DVD: Apr 28, 1998
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment


Liza Minnelli
as Sally Bowles
Joel Grey
as Master of Ceremonies
Michael York
as Brian Roberts
Marisa Berenson
as Natalia Landauer
Helmut Griem
as Maximilian von Heune
Fritz Wepper
as Fritz Wendel
Elisabeth Neumann-Vi...
as Fraulein Schneider
Sigrid Von Richtofen
as Fraulein Maur
Helen Vita
as Fraulein Kost
Ralf Wolter
as Herr Ludwig
Kathryn Doby
as Kit-Kat Dancer
Inge Jaeger
as Kit-Kat Dancer
Angelika Koch
as Kit-Kat Dancer
Helen Velkovorska
as Kit-Kat Dancer
Gitta Schmidt
as Kit-Kat Dancer
Louise Quick
as Kit-Kat Dancer
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Cabaret

Critic Reviews for Cabaret

All Critics (34) | Top Critics (6)

Bob Fosse's direction is as chaotic as it was in his previous Sweet Charity, a desperate scramble after a style.

Full Review… | August 12, 2008
TIME Magazine
Top Critic

The screenplay, which never seems to talk down to an audience while at the same time making its candid points with tasteful emphasis, returns the story to a variety of settings.

Full Review… | June 27, 2007
Top Critic

Whatever this 1972 feature is, it's entertaining and stylish, though maybe not quite as serious as it wants to be.

Full Review… | June 27, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Superbly choreographed by Fosse, the cabaret numbers evoke the Berlin of 1931 - city of gaiety and perversion, of champagne and Nazi propaganda - so vividly that only an idiot could fail to perceive that something is rotten in the state of Weimar.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

...the context of Germany on the eve of the Nazi ascent to power makes the entire musical into an unforgettable cry of despair.

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

Everybody in Cabaret is very fine, and meticulously chosen for type, down to the last weary transvestite and to the least of the bland, blond open-faced Nazis in the background.

Full Review… | May 21, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Cabaret


Liza Minelli plays an annoying cabaret singer who turns a gay guy straight, gets pregnant (possibly by him, possibly by one of the other guys she was sleeping with) and then has an abortion. All while under the backdrop of a burgeoning nazi germany. Liza performs the title song well, but the bulk of the film is largely uninteresting.

Mr Awesome
Devon Bott

Super Reviewer


Incredibly immersive. The most upbeat, quirky tragedy around.

Kevin Cookman
Kevin Cookman

Super Reviewer


Life is a cabaret, mien herr! This musical about a cabaret performer and her lovers was perfect for the 70s. I especially love York's performance in the movie. This is a great film.

Aj V

Super Reviewer

Cabaret Quotes

– Submitted by Jesse K (2 years ago)
– Submitted by Jesse K (2 years ago)
– Submitted by Jesse K (2 years ago)
– Submitted by Khaled E (3 years ago)

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