The Firemen's Ball - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Firemen's Ball Reviews

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March 16, 2012
Short but Hilarious Gem from Milos Forman. A Bunch of firefighters throw a party to celebrate the 86th birthday of a retired captain. The result is everything that can go wrong does. The lottery prizes are stolen 1 by 1 throughout the night, the beauty contest features girls that aren't particularly pretty and or very shy, there is a fire in the middle of the party, etc. The film is very very funny, the last Czech film (because it's forever banned there and Forman faced the threat of prison for making the film) by Forman and the follow up the highly successful Loves of a Blonde is a hidden Gem and the high point of the Czech New Wave. Forman denied any political intentions but it's hard to not see this as a satiric attack on Communist Czechoslovakia. Either way it's a masterpiece. (8.5/10)
½ October 12, 2011
A pretty good satire but most impressively a film that for the majority takes place in one place and keeps u interested
Super Reviewer
August 13, 2011
From the moment the minds of the Czech politicians and the government itself whispered in their heads: "Aren't you sniffing the 'in-your-face' political criticism against the Socialist regime that has plagued this country for years?", controversy arised. Of course, not only Forman had to try to continue his filmography abroad, but also even the Academy at the US had to neglect this movie its well-deserved Academy Award (giving it to Forman later with inferior films, like One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and Amadeus, obviously made in American ground) for quite obvious political reasons.

Sometimes, real comedy can be more cynical and absurd than any satyrical masterpiece, no matter how absurd and clever it may be.

June 10, 2011
extremely biting dismantling of communist society (or government at large), but it grabs you and draws you in with buffoonery and silliness and then lowers the boom!
April 16, 2011
Good satire. Great symbolism. About what, though, depends on the film-historian you ask, making the endeavor time-bound and inaccessible except in its slapstick interpretation.
January 30, 2011
I don't know if I gonna laugh or cry of frustration of Milos Forman's dark comedy The Firemen's Ball. A comedy about a fire department (most of them old) is throwing a big party, with gifts and beauty contests, which all goes not as planned, ofcorse if it isn't did that, it wouldn't be a movie at all. And all this for give their 86-years-old ex-boss a fire axe out of gold, which they where supposed to give him at his 85th birthday. I think the hole picture is pure frustration because I really relate to them, I've also was a part of a comité whom have the task of planing a party for some confused sheep.
Super Reviewer
October 20, 2010
Hilarious. Reminded me of the farcical tone and ineptitude of the Keystone cops and sense of anarchy of the Marx brothers. Superb political satire.
½ September 26, 2010
pretty amusing little film not as great as his future work but def better than Loves of a Blonde
September 24, 2010
On dirait un film italien. Ben non, c'est tchékoslovaque.
Interessant de voir comme a commencé l'un des plus grand cinéaste en activité. Interessant mais pas palpitant.
Super Reviewer
½ August 21, 2010
Though it's not very surprising to such films of this kind, I'm still quite flabbergasted at this film's cynical randomness. "The Firemen's Ball" opened up with a seemingly very decipherable humor-laden symbolism(the ball poster on fire) of the eponymous event's forthcoming doom. Since then, it's all chaos and weird plot devices(the lottery prize table, the axe gift) that although Milos Forman claimed it to have no buried meanings, it's still very hard to imagine that everything that transpired in the picture are without some political innuendos. But above the weird and the absurd, lies one simple message of the film that was indeed very clear to me: A simpler party for the chairman could have made a more heartfelt celebration(furthered by how the chairman perfectly delivered what he's got to say). Without the unpredictable mob, without the prizes, even with just him and his bumbling firemen, I think it would have still been called a night. Milos Forman, From "The Firemen's Ball" to "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"(or "Amadeus"); Now that's what I would call a great directorial jump.
July 15, 2010
Everything that can go wrong does at a party honoring the retiring chairman of a small town fire department. Quick and funny, expertly shot and paced. Works even if you don't get the political allegory (I didn't).
February 18, 2010
It's good to see Forman was cool before Amadeus, Hair etc..
January 13, 2010
A funny gem of the Czech nouvelle vague by maestro Forman.
December 27, 2009
Milos Forman was such a genius to depict a wonderful story like that in only 73 minutes... I don't think any other director can ever do that..
October 28, 2009
This is really more interesting as an historical document (the political allegory, the soviet humor) of pre-Prague Spring Czechoslovakia. It is quite short and is funny in parts, but I didn't feel it to be particularly compelling, which is perhaps a difficulty of comedy outliving its context.
½ October 5, 2009
Mahtavia vanhojen miesten naamoja tässä oli. Hiljainen huumori puree.
September 29, 2009
i can see the brilliance but not that bothered...
½ August 26, 2009
Perfectly funny look at small-town european communist life. A lovely disaster from start to finish. Banned forever in Forman's country for being funny!
½ August 21, 2009
Great moment in time flick that plays out like a classic screwball comedy. Brilliantly directed with many laugh out loud moments.
August 4, 2009
Superb allegoric satire on communist inefficiency and corruption. Turns pitch black in the second half. It's like walking across a floor that is hinged inthe middle.
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