The Subject Was Roses


The Subject Was Roses (1968)



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Movie Info

Frank D. Gilroy's Pulitzer-winning "kitchen sink" theatrical piece The Subject Was Roses was given a no-frills film transference in 1968. Martin Sheen and Jack Albertson re-create their stage roles as a returning serviceman and his alcoholic father. Patricia Neal takes over from the play's Irene Dailey as Nettie Cleary, Timmy's (Sheen) overly protective mother, long at odds with husband John (Albertson) over his drinking. Mother and Father try to put on a facade of happiness for the benefit of their son, but soon the three of them are squabbling again, just as if the boy had never been away. With the exception of adding a few extraneous characters, the film version of The Subject Was Roses is essentially the same as its 1964 Broadway counterpart. The film helped establish the career of Martin Sheen, launched a whole new dramatic career for Jack Albertson, and represented a triumphant comeback for Patricia Neal, who'd recently recovered from a debilitating stroke.


Patricia Neal
as Nettie Cleary
Martin Sheen
as Timmy Cleary
Jack Albertson
as John Cleary
Elaine Williams
as The Woman in Club
Don Saxon
as Nightclub Master of Ceremonies
Grant Gordon
as Man in Restaurant

Critic Reviews for The Subject Was Roses

All Critics (6) | Top Critics (1)

Ulu Grosabrd's theatrical film, based on Pulitzer Prize winning play, is an intense family melodrama, well acted by Patricia Neal and Jack Albertson as the feuding parents and Martin Sheen as their Viet vet son.

Aug 10, 2010 | Rating: B | Full Review…

The "kitchen sink" drama was largely effective because of the superb acting and dialogue.

Feb 4, 2010 | Rating: B | Full Review…

Fine drama featuring Patricia Neal and Jack Albertson, based on stage play.

Jul 28, 2006 | Rating: 4/5

Audience Reviews for The Subject Was Roses

Martin Sheen's big screen breakthrough was an often performed stage production. Here it is passable with some good acting but nothing more.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

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