The Cotton Club 1984

The Cotton Club

Critics Consensus

Energetic and brimming with memorable performers, The Cotton Club entertains with its visual and musical pizazz even as its plot only garners polite applause.

76%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 29

54%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 7,239

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Movie Info

The lives of various characters intersect at Harlem's renowned Cotton Club. Handsome horn player Dix Dwyer (Richard Gere) falls for Vera Cicero (Diane Lane), the stunning girlfriend of famous gangster Dutch Schultz (James Remar). Meanwhile Dix's brother, Vincent (Nicolas Cage), falls in with Schultz's crew, while Owney Madden (Bob Hoskins), the jazz venue's proprietor, has his own mob ties. Although Dix goes on to become a Hollywood actor, his life doesn't get any less complicated or dangerous.

Cast & Crew

Critic Reviews for The Cotton Club

All Critics (29) | Top Critics (8) | Fresh (22) | Rotten (7)

  • The Cotton Club is an expensive fiasco that meanders through the '20s and '30s with flimsy characters and a pointless plot.

    October 22, 2018 | Full Review…
  • It's the most entertaining art film of the year, the kind of movie you can't help smiling along with.

    January 3, 2018 | Full Review…
  • Dramatically, Coppola and coscreenwriter William Kennedy, juggle a lot of balls in the air. The parallel stories of Gere and Hines' professional rise prove more potent, thanks largely to a mixture of romance, music and gangland involvement.

    July 6, 2010 | Full Review…

    Variety Staff

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • Given its garish production history, one rather expected The Cotton Club to sing with hot-jazz desperation. Instead, we get the mediocre craftsmanship of a pit band in Vegas.

    March 13, 2009 | Full Review…
  • It was the most assured film Coppola had made in a decade, full of casual wit and visual invention.

    December 11, 2007 | Full Review…
  • The narrative is a mess despite the simplistic twinning of tales, and -- worse yet -- keeps interrupting the heart-stopping hoofing.

    June 24, 2006 | Full Review…

    Brian Case

    Time Out
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Cotton Club

  • Aug 29, 2011
    I know he wrote it, but one can only wonder how many times they had to tell Francis Ford Coppola that they weren't actually sticking cotton in their mouths. See, a joke like that should tell you that I'm am drained of creative juices and it doesn't help that there's not much that's very outstanding film. It's just kind of bland and not terribly original, making it pretty easy to lose interest in the film. The film also suffers from a lack of development and slow spots. Also, although anthologies feel smoother when we see the stories are split into segments layered on top of each other, whether then whole back-to-back stories, there is still a very real chance that the transition between story segments with kind of throw you off. That's definately the case here, as the messy storytelling makes our jumps between the multiple segments feel rather bumpy. Also, Diane Lane puts on a pretty weak performance and although she's rarely given anything to do, she's not the most enjoyable thing to see, outside of the pretty face, of course. Still, that short leg isn't enough to knock the chair over, because the other performances, keep the film going, among other things. The story is not terribly original nor complex, but still rather compelling and the fabulous production designs really bring everything to life. Coppola really knows how to bring life to this film's period in how he sets the tone and even though you've seen this period explored to death, it's still fascinating to see. What further captures the time are the performances, which - with the exception of Lane, of course - capture the time, but still enough spirit and charisma in them to make the characters strong ones. Wow, this review isn't as bad as I feared. I mean, it's pretty bad, but not as bad as the opening joke promised. I guess I'm just no good at jokes or producing enough sentences to close out a paragraph, leaving me to resort to this stupid monologue to close out this paragraph. Okay, let's just close this thing out. Overall, although the lack of originality and the somewhat messy storytelling keep it from delivering as well as a Coppola gangster film should, "The Cotton Club" holds the fabulous production design and compelling, well-acted ensemble that make a film like this an enjoyable one.
    Cameron J Super Reviewer
  • May 21, 2011
    Good motion picture, but The Cotton Club presents some cliches of gangsters movies. Whatever, Coppola made a remarkable film.
    Lucas M Super Reviewer
  • Aug 18, 2009
    Another underrated work from Francis Ford Coppola. I feel that this movie's triumphs outnumber its shortcomings, and it is a satisfying experience overall. It gets off to a weak start, and within the first twenty minutes I thought I was in for a tedious watch, but it really finds itself in the second act. The screenplay went through numerous re-writes and alterations during the process of making the film, and that's definitely evident. Nevertheless, it pieces together nicely and aside from some poor dialogue, it's actually a well-written movie. As I have come to expect from Coppola, it is a technically astonishing piece with stunning art direction and some awe-striking film editing.
    Mike T Super Reviewer
  • Mar 07, 2009
    One of my all-time favoritres! (review to be continued)
    Teresa S Super Reviewer

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