Getting Straight (1970) - Rotten Tomatoes

Getting Straight (1970)

Getting Straight




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Harry Bailey (Elliott Gould) is the education student, Viet Nam veteran, and teacher caught up in political unrest on campus along with his girlfriend Jan (Candice Bergen). Forced to teach remedial English, Harry hates his job but manages to endear himself to student leaders. When a strike and demonstrations engulf the campus, Harry is called on to mediate between the students and the establishment they are protesting against. Billie Bird plays the eccentric landlady. Barry Sullivan's daughter Jenny Sullivan appears in the film, and Harrison Ford makes an early screen appearance as a party guest in this comedy-drama about youthful rebellion.more
Rating: R
Genre: Drama, Classics, Comedy
Directed By: ,
Written By: Robert Kaufman
In Theaters:
On DVD: Feb 3, 2009
Sony Pictures Entertainment


Elliott Gould
as Harry Bailey
Jeff Corey
as Dr. Edward Willhunt
Cecil Kellaway
as Dr. Kasper
Jon Lormer
as Vandenburg
Leonard Stone
as Lysander
William Bramley
as Wade Linden
Jeannie Berlin
as Judy Kramer
Billie Bird
as Landlady
Richard Anders
as Dr. Greengrass
Irene Tedrow
as Mrs. Stebbins
Elizabeth Lane
as Alice Linden
Joanna Serpe
as Roommate
Harry Holcombe
as Dean Chesney
Scott Perry
as Airline representati...
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Getting Straight

Critic Reviews for Getting Straight

All Critics (11) | Top Critics (4)

Full Review… | March 26, 2009
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | May 9, 2005
New York Times
Top Critic

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

One of the few Hollywood films to deal with the students revolution, Richard Rush's Getting Straight, starring Elliott Gould, confuses broader political issues with sexual politics and getting laid

Full Review… | February 1, 2011

Sadly, despite its radical themes and caricatures, there is nary an ounce of subversiveness at this film's heart.

Full Review… | June 17, 2009
Apollo Guide

Audience Reviews for Getting Straight


"Getting Straight" means well, but is a bit of an embarrassment. As dated as its title suggests, this look at a troubled West Coast college hits all the required late-'60s issues -- draft-dodging, sexual liberation, drugs, race relations, police brutality -- but is undone by its lack of subtlety. Lunkheaded writing sinks many of the us-versus-them confrontations, and star Elliott Gould flies into ridiculous, hammy tantrums in scene after scene. He plays Harry Bailey, a flawed, passionate, self-centered Vietnam veteran who's back in school to earn a teaching credential. You've rarely seen a character whose narcissism so infects an entire film -- it's as if nothing can happen on this campus without someone asking "What do you think, Harry?" He can't walk down a corridor without five people pawing for his attention.

Harry is torn between joining the younger rebels and playing ball with the dowdy faculty and administrators. The date of his oral Masters exam approaches fast and, meanwhile, he's battling with his well-connected girlfriend (an overly tanned Candice Bergen), who's not cracked up to be a radical and would rather settle down with a solid husband and family. At one point, an exasperated Harry screams "You're not a woman -- you're a guy with a hole in the middle!" There's scarcely a conversation that ends without shouting.

But the whole school is on the verge of an explosive conflict, as protesting students grow more and more incensed. The faculty is melodramatically accused of destroying the kids' futures, but the uproar is actually over demands as humdrum as a black-studies department, co-ed dorms and a later curfew. Not exactly causes worth dying for, but blood drips and flames crackle anyway. The Man just doesn't understand!

Shaggy haircuts, sexism and a twee Simon & Garfunkel-esque soundtrack add to the film's age, but historians will enjoy seeing scattered lines from the young Harrison Ford. Director Richard Rush had a spotty career, but later worked on projects including "Freebie and the Bean" and the brilliant "The Stunt Man."

Eric Broome
Eric Broome

Super Reviewer

I found this one enjoyable for Elliot Gould's snarky delivery as a protester with feet of clay, trying to buy into the establishment and become a teacher, though he is constantly put back into a place to be a revolutionary by those around him. This includes his cute girlfriend, played by a young Candice Bergen as well as numerous figures around the campus that is primed to explode as the police develop an increasingly large force on the grounds.

The light-hearted tone is broken numerous times by bits of violence, which I suppose is the reality of the times, but it makes for a odd watching at times.


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