A Face in the Crowd

1957

A Face in the Crowd (1957)

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Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

In this drama, Andy Griffith makes a spectacular film debut as Lonesome Rhodes, a philosophical country-western singer discovered in a tanktown jail by television talent coordinator Patricia Neal and her assistant Walter Matthau. They decide that Rhodes is worthy of a TV guest spot and he becomes an overnight sensation.

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Critic Reviews for A Face in the Crowd

All Critics (25) | Top Critics (4)

A Face in the Crowd has never ceased to be relevant.

Feb 27, 2008

What starts out as a seemingly liberal tract rapidly becomes a smug, cynical exercise in misanthropy.

Jan 26, 2006 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top Critic

This sizzling and cynical exposure... also presents Andy Griffith as the key figure in his first screen role.

May 20, 2003 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Andy Griffith, as a hick radio star modeled on Arthur Godfrey, delivers an astonishing, sinister performance in Elia Kazan's 1957 essay on media demagoguery.

Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…

Elia Kazan's A Face in the Crowd [is] a darker take on faux-populism that's somehow still not as dark as what's happening on our side of the screen.

Mar 22, 2018 | Full Review…

Griffith's hungry, lunging performance is a shock and a revelation to anyone who knows him primarily from The Andy Griffith Show or, God knows, Matlock.

Aug 3, 2015 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for A Face in the Crowd

½

A drifter becomes a radio personality, becomes a television personality, becomes a national influence, all by cleverly telling people what they want to hear while playing a simpleton. It so closely hews to the current trump presidency that it counts as precognitive. Andy Griffith is a whirlwind force as the cheesy manipulator but Patricia Neal holds her own as the woman holding onto a lit firecracker (no pun intended). Lee Remick surprises by baton twirling.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

½

This one is disturbing for all the right reasons. Watching Andy Griffith play a money-grubbing, amoral, unlikeable bastard is like watching Mister Rogers play Hannibal Lector. After all, this is the same Andy that kept the streets of Mayberry safe for all those years and the same Andy that taught Opie how to fish and throw a curve ball. It's even more unnerving because Griffith does it so well.

Randy Tippy
Randy Tippy

Super Reviewer

½

Holy central performance Andy Griffith! This movie is full on fantastic. Elia Kazan has brought to life a story that is years ahead of it's time. A must see.

Ken Stachnik
Ken Stachnik

Super Reviewer

½

I never thought I'd ever use the word amazing to describe any performance by Andy Griffith but I've got to hand it to the man -- he was amazing. He played a folksy and infinitely lovable hick and a power-drunk bastard with equal magnificence. Director Elia Kazan's initial shot at a burgeoning form of entertainment serves as an eons ahead of its time lightning rod that's more relevant now than ever. Kazan's direction is fantastic (especially when the spectacular Patricia Neal snaps in the sound booth) and the script is biting. The supporting cast (particularly Walter Matthau) was brilliant and I see yet another movie I want to kick myself in the ass for not seeing sooner. I loved this movie so much I want to freak out.

Michael Gildea
Michael Gildea

Super Reviewer

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