Nuts (1987) - Rotten Tomatoes

Nuts (1987)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

High-priced hooker Claudia Draper (Barbra Streisand) has been arrested for the murder of one of her clients. The attorney engaged by Claudia's parents hopes to cop an insanity plea so that she can avoid a trial and manslaughter conviction. But she refuses this, citing a proviso in New York law that may result in her spending the rest of her life in an institution. Against all odds, struggling lawyer Aaron Levinsky (Richard Dreyfuss) tries to prove that Claudia is not crazy and is capable of standing trial. He certainly has his work cut out for him; from what we've seen in the film thus far, the violently impulsive Claudia is not only "nuts," but certifiably so. Though she has plenty of opportunity in Nuts to give out with her usual bravura Streisandisms, Streisand (who also produced the film and wrote the songs) is surprisingly restrained through most of the proceedings. And then there's that extended-monologue climax. Nuts was adapted by Tom Topor, Darryl Ponicsan, and Alvin Sargent from Topor's stage play.

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Barbra Streisand
as Claudia Draper
Richard Dreyfuss
as Aaron Levinsky
Karl Malden
as Arthur Kirk
Eli Wallach
as Dr. Herbert A. Morrison
Robert Webber
as Francis MacMillan
James Whitmore
as Judge Stanley Murdoch
Leslie Nielsen
as Allen Green
William Prince
as Clarence Middleton
Paul Benjamin
as Harry Harrison
Dakin Matthews
as 1st Judge
Warren Manzi
as Saul Krieglitz
Elizabeth Hoffman
as Dr. Johnson
Castulo Guerra
as Dr. Arantes
Haley Taylor-Block
as 11 year-old Claudia
Tyra Ferrell
as Cell Woman #2
Nicole Burdette
as Cell Woman #3
Valentina Quinn
as Cell Woman #3
Carlos Cervantes
as Cell Man #1
Ron Cummins
as Arraignment Court Clerk
Conni Marie Brazelton
as Court Officer #2
Bruce Barbour
as Guard #3
Tony Rolon
as Defendant Gonzales
Tina Lifford
as Lawyer #2
Edward Blackoff
as Bar Patron #2
Billy Kane
as Attendant #2
Darryl Ponicsan
as Bar Patron #3
Lavelle Roby
as Correction Officer #1
Shirley Jo Finney
as Correction Officer #2
Sharon Barr
as Dayroom Woman #1
Leontine Guilliard
as Dayroom Woman #6
Suzanne Kent
as Card Playing Patient
Sarina C. Grant
as Cell Woman #1
Sydney Urshan
as Cell Man
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Critic Reviews for Nuts

All Critics (21) | Top Critics (6)

Streisand produced, developed the script, and composed most of the music for this showpiece, and her efforts, as usual, pay off, above all in her angry and lively performance.

Full Review… | January 11, 2008
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Streisand's a star, which means your complicity is on call at all times. In the shade, Dreyfuss is terrific, banking down his natural cockiness.

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

The film is almost entirely adrift.

May 20, 2003
New York Times
Top Critic

It wants to be a movie with a message, but in the end it's just a melodrama.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

Nuts is essentially just a futile exercise in courtroom cliches, surrounding a good performance that doesn't fit.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

It's Hollywood manipulation at its best.

Full Review… | January 1, 2000
Washington Post
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Nuts

It seems to me that the problem with this movie is that it was made about 12 years too late. If what we see had been shot in 1973 to 1977 it might feel sort of "edgy" --- but, it feels almost tragically out-dated for the 1980's. That being said, this is an interesting film. Streisand delivers a solid turn in the tradition of a movie star. This is foul-mouthed melodrama. There are moments of unintended camp - such as every male in an upscale Manhattan bar turning his head to check Babs out. ...This would never happen. But, that scene aside she is believable in the role. If you are at all familiar with top escorts -- they are not all traditional raving beauties. Oddly, had another actor been cast in her role it might have made this movie an easier sell. Dreyfuss is quite effective. And, for all the predictability, this movie does offer up a solid reflection of the implications of sexual child abuse and survival. Also worth nothing that Martin Ritt did not offer up the expected 1980's easy resolution. The question of sanity is never answered. Worth a look.

Matty Stanfield
Matty Stanfield

Streisand produced, developed the script, and composed most of the music for this showpiece, and her efforts, as usual, pay off, above all in her angry and lively performance.

Greg Wood
Greg Wood

It was slightly unbelievable for me since if I'd such a client to defend who is not willing to co-operate the least, I don't think I'd touch that case. Or else give up easily. Then again, I ain't no lawyer!!! They show her crossing the limits so many times that it becomes hard to digest it that she ain't a nut. Leaving aside this minor problem, the movie works fine as a courtroom drama.

familiar stranger
familiar stranger

Super Reviewer

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