Cul-de-Sac (1966)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Roman Polanski and Gerard Brach wrote this memorable black comedy about an uptight recluse and his nymphomaniacal young wife, whose stormy existence in an isolated British castle is turned upside down when two wounded gangsters break into their home and take over their lives.
Classics , Comedy , Drama , Mystery & Suspense
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Lionel Stander
as Richard
Iain Quarrier
as Christopher
Geoffrey Sumner
as Christopher's Father
Renee Houston
as Christopher's Mother
Trevor Delaney
as Nicholas
Marie Kean
as Mrs. Fairweather
Robert Dorning
as Mr. Fairweather
Jacqueline Bisset
as Jacqueline
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Critic Reviews for Cul-de-Sac

All Critics (20) | Top Critics (5)

As a study in kinky insanity, Cul-de-Sac creates a tingling atmosphere. This sags riskily at times when the director unturns the screws and does not keep control of his frequently introduced comedy.

Full Review… | March 25, 2009
Top Critic

If the subject matter is bleak and bitterly serious, the tone throughout is darkly comic, while the precise imagery effortlessly conveys the tension, the claustrophobia, and the madness of the situation.

Full Review… | February 8, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

After two clean hits -- Knife in the Water and Repulsion -- Roman Polanski is entitled to one wild swing.

Full Review… | May 8, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

This much sounds like a standard horror-film outline, especially since Stander looks amazingly like Frankenstein. But Polanski ignores the horror to concentrate instead on macabre humor.

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

One of the best and purest of all his works.

Full Review… | September 6, 2003
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Pristine deep-focus absurdism jolted by wide-angle twitches, utter despair treated with something akin to jolliness

Full Review… | November 17, 2013

Audience Reviews for Cul-de-Sac

Considered something of a hidden treasure for some time, this isn't exactly the holy grail of Polanski, but it's definitely a well made movie and interesting. The performances are all over the place and bizarre, but that's kind've one of the best things about it. It's a pretty simple home invasion plot, but the execution is where it gets interesting. I really like the offbeat style and the fact that it isn't as serious as it could be. The black and white cinematography is flawless and a reason alone to check this out.

Conner Rainwater
Conner Rainwater

Super Reviewer

Roman Polanski's "Cul-De-Sac" is probably the most 'Polanski-ish' film the director has made. Every sensibility of the famed auteur is on display here. From the genre bending, to the mental games of imposition, to the stylish cinematography, to the loopy performances. "Cul-De-Sac" also delights in being non-comformative and always hiding it's true intentions. After all, this is more of an abstract art film than a piece of narrative cinema (maybe the most peculiar and obscure film he's made). What the film means seems to be a question Polanski is not concerned with. He once said "It's just a film...". If that's the case, why does it feel so decided and precise? Like everything we are meant to see is specially chosen? Polanski seems to suggest that his film is without a specific intent, which is odd. If that is what he really meant, then why did he fight for so long to get it made? Curious, indeed. Whether "Cul-De-Sac" is utterly worthless, or, like I believe, tantalizingly alive inside it's mental threesome unreality, there is no denying it's a one of a kind motion picture.

Steven Carrier
Steven Carrier

Super Reviewer


This is an interesting comedy thriller from Polanski, one of my favourites of his. Really good, i highly recommend it.

Aj V
Aj V

Super Reviewer

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