The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018)



Critic Consensus: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs avoids anthology pitfalls with a consistent collection tied together by the Coen brothers' signature blend of dark drama and black humor.

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The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is a six-part Western anthology film, a series of tales about the American frontier told through the unique and incomparable voice of Joel and Ethan Coen. Each chapter tells a distinct story about the American West.

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Critic Reviews for The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

All Critics (181) | Top Critics (33)

Those wacky Coens are at it again. And those serious Coens. And those loquacious Coens.

November 25, 2018 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is the perfect Coen Brothers' movie, albeit sliced and diced.

November 18, 2018 | Full Review…

After a darkly hilarious musical number, the Buster story loses steam in its goofy closing moments - but that's OK, it's time to move on to the next chapter!

November 16, 2018 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Taken as a whole, it's smart, snappy filmmaking from the duo who, 30-plus years into their careers, are still revealing new tricks hidden up their sleeves.

November 15, 2018 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

You'd think with viewers' short attention spans and love of binge-watching, it would be the perfect format for today. But "Buster Scruggs" is mostly unengaging.

November 15, 2018 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Ethan and Joel Coen have a reputation for making films that shatter expectations, and "Ballad" is no exception.

November 15, 2018 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Ballad of Buster Scruggs


The Coens excel at many things most notably storytelling and with this six episodic glimpse into the Old West they do so winningly. Death is the common denominator as in life itself. Their dialogue is poetic. The Coens never disappoint. (11-22-18 NF)

John C
John C

Super Reviewer

There isn't enough talk about the Coen Brothers having a new film on Netflix. It's a Western anthology with six very different chapters, that pretty much cover the Brothers' entire range from funny, even silly to tragic and depressing, with "death" always playing a role one way or another. The film also looks absolutely amazing. For example, there hasn't been such a gorgeous wagon trek for decades. I'd even say it's among the Coen's better films, considering their hit and miss career. Even though it ends with the weakest episode, I never wanted this to end. It's for Westerns what Black Mirror is for Sci-Fi, or should be. Oh and Harry Potter fans will shit bricks when they realize who the other main actor in the episode with Liam Neeson actually is.

Jens S.
Jens S.

Super Reviewer

You're a actor of note and at a Hollywood function, or a red carpet meet and greet, and you run into one or both of the Coen Brothers ... what do you say? Well eventually, by my estimation of some of the most memorable work in the popular line of late (or by rep alone), you say: "got any parts for me in your next thing?" And here then is the answer, a work that manages to squeeze a lot of celebs into one piece, that's really six pieces. As with any collection of short stories, some are better than others, yes, but all strike different chords of the human condition and all memorably. For my part I was most impressed with Tom Waits and Lucky as gold miners, and the story of young love unfolding on a wagon train journey to Oregon, but you find which story resonates with you best. The underlying theme throughout is the American West seen in new ways.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

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