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Though solidly acted and pleasant to look at, Cavalcade lacks cohesion, and sacrifices true emotion for mawkishness. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

Upper-crust Londoners Robert and Jane Marryot (Clive Brook, Diana Wynyard) and their working-class counterparts, Alfred and Ellen Bridges, experience life's many triumphs and tragedies from the Boer War at the dawn of the 20th century up to 1930s. Queen Victoria's death and the sinking of the Titanic etch deep scars on both families, but the outbreak of World War I and its dramatic aftermath proves to be the greatest test of their courage and friendship.

Cast & Crew

Diana Wynyard
Jane Marryot
Clive Brook
Robert Marryot
Una O'Connor
Ellen Bridges
Herbert Mundin
Alfred Bridges
Irene Browne
Margaret Harris
Tempe Pigott
Mrs. Snapper
Frank Lawton
Joe Marryot
Ursula Jeans
Fanny Bridges
Sonya Levien
Screenwriter
Peter Brunelli
Original Music
Arthur Lange
Original Music
J.S. Zamecnik
Original Music
Louis De Francesco
Original Music
Ernest Palmer
Cinematographer
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Critic Reviews for Cavalcade

All Critics (33) | Top Critics (10) | Fresh (21) | Rotten (12)

Audience Reviews for Cavalcade

  • Mar 16, 2021
    "Do you remember the good old days?" Another filmic Hallmark card, filled with old songs (Auld Lang Syne is played quite a lot) and dedicated, in this case, to the start of the 20th century and specifically England. While the ugly of war is the central focus of the work, the changing of class distinctions is nodded at as well - "in the old days the so-and-so's knew their place!" The whole is topped with a kind of "Make England Great Again!" bon mot, unaware that WW2 was right around the corner, as well as a new generation that would long for the "easy, better days that came before the war"...all over again.
    Kevin M. W Super Reviewer
  • Aug 10, 2011
    Almost no one remembers the film today. Still, it's noteworthy to be reminded that sometimes, yesterday's news is worth looking at again. Cavalcade tells the "Upstairs/Downstairs"-style story of two British families across the years from December 31, 1899 to December 31, 1932. The "Upstairs" clan members are the Marryots: father Sir Robert (Clive Brook), mother Lady Jane (Diana Wynyard), and sons Edward (John Warburton) and Joe (Frank Lawton). The "Downstairs" family consists of manservant Alfred Bridges (Herbert Mundin), his wife, maid Ellen (Una O'Connor), and their daughter, Fanny (Ursula Jeans). It is a tale of joy and woe, chiefly concerned with the experiences of Robert Marryot and his wife, Jane, and embracing what happens to their children and their servants. As the movie opens, both Robert and Alfred are preparing to fight in the Second Boer war. Both distinguish themselves in combat. Upon their return, Robert is knighted and Alfred is able to leave service and set himself up as the owner and operator of a London pub. Albeit there are simply too many characters to keep track, yet just give a film a chance by watching it more than once is the way to go. And while there's a certain reactionary quality to some of the film's material, the movie's overriding thrust is very effectively anti-war. The story is more concerned with the potential of death than it is with actual tragedy - how those left behind live in a constant state of anxiety, never knowing if their loved one is going to appear on a casualty list. (One of the most moving scenes occurs when Jane and Ellen go to a central location to read the names of the latest dead and wounded soldiers.) The movie also touches upon the common theme of how wasteful and irrational war is - it is referred to as a way for men to earn their stripes and for nations to flex their muscles. Inasmuch as modern audiences have often found the film stilted and overacted, one critic reckons that when seen today, Cavalcade is best viewed from a historical perspective.
    Cinema F Super Reviewer
  • Feb 09, 2011
    Panarama of a family over many years is not a bad film but certainly not deserving of a Best Picture Oscar.
    jay n Super Reviewer
  • Sep 03, 2010
    Boring! If they wanted to tell the audience what life was like at the beginning of the 20th century without an entertaining story, they should have made a documentary.
    Aj V Super Reviewer

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