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critics consensus

The Firemen's Ball is an uproarious comedy of incompetence, mining laughs and sharp satire from an allegory that is amusing and distressing in equal measure. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

In Milos Forman's satire on Communism set in a small Czechoslovakian town in the 1960s, the local firemen decide to organize a ball, however the proceedings are dogged by difficulty at every step. They plan to organize a beauty pageant at the ball, yet struggle tremendously to find enough pretty contestants. A lottery is planned for later in the evening, but the guests begin stealing the prizes. Then, inevitably, there is a fire in the town... It seems that whatever can go wrong, does go wrong.

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Critic Reviews for The Firemen's Ball

All Critics (32) | Top Critics (10) | Fresh (29) | Rotten (3)

  • In 1967, the year before Soviet tanks rampaged through Czechoslovakia, the Czech director Milos Forman subtly, scathingly used the premise of a quaint provincial party to mock the Party.

    September 18, 2017 | Full Review…
  • With Loves of a Blonde, it's the best work Forman's done, rooted in a social reality that has eluded him in his American projects.

    September 19, 2014 | Full Review…
  • A delicious parody-fable of Slavic bureaucracy.

    September 19, 2014 | Full Review…
  • Quietly, irresistibly funny in the early Forman manner (this was his first film in colour); but the belated switch to allegorical satire seems altogether too sour in the context.

    November 17, 2011
  • Forman has cannily used a bevy of non-actors to flesh out a practically plotless vehicle, a lively, brimming comedy on human conduct and smalltown life.

    March 26, 2009 | Full Review…
  • The nonprofessional actors, hammy slapstick and overwrought politics make it a better conversation piece than viewing experience.

    December 10, 2008 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Firemen's Ball

  • May 02, 2018
    There's a kind of brutal honesty at the heart of all the madcap antics. Forman clearly sees humans for what they are and no high minded ideals or political systems will every change that.
    Alec B Super Reviewer
  • Mar 09, 2017
    Very interesting early work from Forman and a sly satire on Communism
    Marcus W Super Reviewer
  • Oct 03, 2013
    Banned from Czechoslovakia for being understood as a satire that openly mocked the heroes of the Communist regime (the people), Milos Forman's first film in color is this hilarious story made by a talented filmmaker who did know his way with an unpretentious dark comedy.
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Apr 04, 2012
    A hilariously quirky little foreign comedy from a brilliant director. There aren't any really well known actors or anything like that, but it's short and simple and enjoyable, so I highly recommend it.
    Aj V Super Reviewer

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