Critics Consensus

More than a movie star murder mystery, Hollywoodland takes it slow in order to reveal the intriguing details of the rise and fall of superstar fame.



Total Count: 182


Audience Score

User Ratings: 77,724
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Movie Info

The mysterious and unexpected death of an iconic Hollywood star may be just the tip of an iceberg of scandal in this showbiz drama based on a true story. George Reeves (played by Ben Affleck) was a journeyman actor who had played a small role in Gone With the Wind and appeared onscreen with the likes of James Cagney, Rita Hayworth, and Marlene Dietrich, but his career was not exactly booming when he was cast as comic-book hero Superman in a 1951 B-movie, Superman and the Mole Men. A year later, the producers of the movie launched a syndicated Superman television series with Reeves returning as "The Man of Steel." The show became a major hit, and Reeves was a star at last. However, on June 16, 1959, to the shock of many, Reeves was found dead of a gunshot wound. Police soon declared Reeves' death a suicide and closed the case, but his mother (Lois Smith) refused to believe her son took his own life, and hired Louis Simo (Adrien Brody), a private detective, to find out the truth about her son's passing. Simo found that many Hollywood insiders did not care to cooperate as he researched the Reeves case, but his digging uncovered plenty of evidence suggesting the actor did not take his own life, and he also revealed one of Reeves' deepest secrets -- while he was engaged to marry a pretty young starlet, Leonore Lemmon (Robin Tunney), Reeves was also carrying on an affair with the beautiful Toni Mannix (Diane Lane), the wife of Eddie Mannix (Bob Hoskins), a powerful and ill-tempered executive at MGM. While the producers of Hollywoodland based their story on factual accounts of the investigation into the death of George Reeves, they were denied permission to use the Superman logo and the familiar introduction to the Adventures of Superman television show by the respective copyright holders.


Adrien Brody
as Louis Simo
Diane Lane
as Toni Mannix
Ben Affleck
as George Reeves
Bob Hoskins
as Eddie Mannix
Lois Smith
as Helen Bessolo
Robin Tunney
as Leonore Lemmon
Joe Spano
as Howard Strickling
Ted Atherton
as Det. Doug Johnson
Larry Cedar
as Chester
Jeffrey DeMunn
as Art Weissman
Brad William Henke
as Russ Taylor
Dash Mihok
as Sergeant Jack Paterson
Molly Parker
as Laurie Simo
Caroline Dhavernas
as Kit Holliday
Kathleen Robertson
as Carol Van Ronkel
Zach Mills
as Evam Simo
David J. MacNeil
as Officer Daniel Korby
Kevin Hare
as Robert Condon
Eric Kaldor
as Barbell Man
Seamus Dever
as Phillip
Veronica Watt
as Rita Hayworth
Joan Gregson
as Chopard Saleswoman
David Bolt
as Judge Eisler
Todd Grinnell
as Times Reporter
Ayumi Iizuka
as Miss Yoshida
Eric Fink
as Dominick's Waiter
Jeff Teravainen
as Lester Koenig
Brendan Wall
as Harold Chiles
Jack Newman
as Izzy Berne
Eric Weinthal
as Barney Sarecky, Producer
Joseph Adam
as Jack Larson
Lorry Ayers
as Phyllis Coates
Sven Van De Ven
as John Hamilton
Michael Rhoades
as James Engelman
Robert Kennedy
as Tommy Carr, Director
Steve Adams
as Barney Sarecky
Richard Fancy
as Alford `Rip' Van Ronkel
Jeff Cowan
as Maxwell Arnow
Tim Campbell
as MGM Hunk
Peter James Haworth
as Fred Zinneman
Jason Spevack
as Kenneth Giles
Dendrie Taylor
as Mrs. Sinclair
Kerin McCue
as Superman Announcer
Cotton Mather
as Dark Figure
Donald Burda
as Rick Harris
Tim Dorsch
as Docville Bank Teller
Steve Brandes
as Thug Detective
Charlie Lea
as Evan (5 yrs. old)
Diego Fuentes
as Natividad Vacio
Jody Jaress
as Mannix Maid
Murray Oliver
as Funeral Reporter #1
Walter Rinaldi
as Funeral Reporter #2
Terry C. Barna
as Buddy Adler
Terry Barna
as Buddy Adler
Bill Lake
as Cigar Man
Natalie Krill
as Camera Girl
Erin Gooderham
as Jackie, Leonore's Friend
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News & Interviews for Hollywoodland

Critic Reviews for Hollywoodland

All Critics (182) | Top Critics (44) | Fresh (123) | Rotten (59)

  • It's worth seeing for Affleck alone, deftly communicating the distance between the put-on cardboard debonairness of this hunk-about-town and the gnawing uncertainties beneath his Superman outfit.

    Nov 23, 2006 | Full Review…
  • Take my word for it: Hollywoodland is well worth seeing.

    Sep 20, 2006

    Andrew Sarris

    Top Critic
  • Reeves had an easy but peppy presence that was very likable, and Affleck's moroseness doesn't do him justice.

    Sep 14, 2006 | Full Review…
  • ... even though parts of the picture don't quite hold together, in the end, it sticks with you.

    Sep 10, 2006
  • In this bland, ultimately dull reimagining, the question of who killed Superman turns out to be less of a mystery than a plodding attempt at what has been done so much better before.

    Sep 8, 2006 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…
  • Hollywoodland explores an intriguing bit of Hollywood history, and through the strength of its performances keeps us engaged and entertained.

    Sep 8, 2006 | Rating: 2.5/4

    Claudia Puig

    USA Today
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Hollywoodland

  • Jun 17, 2013
    I love the noir set up that this film has...you can see how it inspired L.A. Noire to some extent. This film tells a compelling story, which is partially marred by its length and by the sheer stupidity and suddenness of its disappointing ending. Aside from that though, it's a pretty good film.
    Stephen S Super Reviewer
  • Feb 14, 2013
    Yuck! George Reeves is remembered in a very boring film. Poor guy. First his own death and now a second cinematic death. At least Ben Affleck isn't really forced to act here. Adrien Brody has no excuse though.
    John B Super Reviewer
  • May 14, 2012
    "Hollywoodland" is not a film that many will have the patience to endure. It takes its time to get to the finish, making sure to flesh out its characters, and because of this, it moves at a very consistent and very deliberate pace. These are the kinds of films that I yearn for. They never seem to be in a rush to get anywhere. You can't be impatient. You have to be willing to cooperate with the director and the route that he takes. And if you do so, there's a good chance you won't be sorry.
    Stephen E Super Reviewer
  • May 11, 2012
    This is a slick period piece with some great production values that concerns the final days and mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of actor George Reeves, the original Superman before Christopher took over the role for the films. It looks at Reeves, but mostly follows the efforts of a private eye determined to figure out the truth behind what really happened and why. The concept and set up are great, but the results are unfulfilling. This one is really trying to swing for the fences and place itself amonsgt the ranks of Chinatown (possibly) or L.A. Confidential. It's a noble try, but it doesn't quite make it. The performances are actually pretty decent, especially from Affleck and Brody, but the story is meandering, plodding, and not as gripping as it needed to be. It's a bit of a bore, and doesn't really provide the insight I was hoping it might. I dug the technical side of things, and there are some good sequences, but ultimately this is just an unfocused bore.
    Chris W Super Reviewer

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