The Founder

Critics Consensus

The Founder puts Michael Keaton's magnetic performance at the center of a smart, satisfying biopic that traces the rise of one of America's most influential businessmen -- and the birth of one of its most far-reaching industries.



Total Count: 235


Audience Score

User Ratings: 32,160
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Movie Info

Directed by John Lee Hancock (SAVING MR. BANKS), THE FOUNDER features the true story of how Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton), a struggling salesman from Illinois, met Mac and Dick McDonald, who were running a burger operation in 1950s Southern California. Kroc was impressed by the brothers' speedy system of making the food and saw franchise potential. Writer Robert Siegel (THE WRESTLER) details how Kroc maneuvered himself into a position to be able to pull the company from the brothers and create a billion-dollar empire. The film also stars Laura Dern as Ray Kroc's first wife Ethel; John Carroll Lynch as Mac McDonald and Nick Offerman as Dick McDonald.


Nick Offerman
as Dick McDonald
John Carroll Lynch
as Mac McDonald
Linda Cardellini
as Joan Smith
Patrick Wilson
as Rollie Smith
B.J. Novak
as Harry Sonneborn
Laura Dern
as Ethel Kroc
Katie Kneeland
as June Martino
Kate Kneeland
as June Martino
Griff Furst
as Jim Zien
Wilbur Fitzgerald
as Jerry Cullen
David Devries
as Jack Horford
Cara Mantella
as Myra Rosenblatt
Randall Taylor
as Owner (Ed's Drive-In)
Lacey King
as CarHop Girl (Ed's Drive-In)
Rebecka Ray
as CarHop Girl (Joe's Drive-In)
Adam Rosenberg
as Employee (San Bernardino)
Jacinte Blackenship
as Woman (San Bernardino)
Jacinte Blankenship
as Woman (San Bernardino)
Charles Green
as Loan Officer #1
David Silverman (XI)
as Loan Officer #2
Mike Pniewski
as Harvey Peltz
Catherine Dyer
as Mrs. Horford
Susan Williams
as Mrs. Cullen
Franco Castan
as Art Wolodarsky
Kenny Alfonso
as Kroc Corporate Lawyer
Kabby Borders
as Cheerleader #1
Valeri Rogers
as Cheerleader #2
Nicolette Goetz
as Cheerleader #3
Lauren Denham
as Cheerleader #4
Abbey Ferrell
as Cheerleader #4
Victor McCay
as Kroc Divorce Lawyer
Steve Coulter
as Doctor Reeves
Ric Reitz
as Will Davis (LA Times Reporter)
Joy Glover Walters
as Mother (San Bernardino)
Makabe Ganey
as Little Boy
Jody Thompson
as Customer (Schaumburg)
Chris Greene
as Grand Opening Customer
Conrad Whitaker
as Limo Driver
Afemo Omilami
as Mr. Merriman
Kim Banta
as Bingo Caller
Devon Ogden
as Gorgeous Blonde
Gerald L. Duckworth
as Owner (Joe's Drive-In)
Jen Cohen
as Female Passenger
Jen Cohn
as Female Passenger
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News & Interviews for The Founder

Critic Reviews for The Founder

All Critics (235) | Top Critics (45) | Fresh (191) | Rotten (44)

  • The man, played with dark relish by Michael Keaton, has the fabulous name of Ray Kroc (there is a suitably reptilian air to his grin as he says things such as: "Contracts are like hearts. They're made to be broken").

    Feb 16, 2017 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

    Ed Potton

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • A special, worthwhile film that promises more confrontational Hollywood films in the future.

    Feb 16, 2017 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • The Founder ends up feeling extremely wishy-washy, unable to scrub the nastiness of Kroc's success but also incapable of confronting it.

    Feb 9, 2017 | Full Review…
  • One of the must-see entertainments of the year.

    Jan 25, 2017 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

    Rex Reed

    Top Critic
  • Its omissions and elisions are the result not of natural narrative contours but of open choices, gaping holes, psychological wounds that a filmmaker displays all the more via the elaborate efforts at concealment ...

    Jan 23, 2017 | Full Review…
  • Keaton is fascinating as Kroc, a bad guy who embodies the American Dream - a man who isn't necessarily the best or most talented but who's willing to step on anyone to get ahead.

    Jan 20, 2017 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for The Founder

  • Mar 23, 2019
    Pretty entertaining and well paced biopic about the making of McDonald's. While the beginning is pretty amusing and you feel sympathy for the ambiguous con man character played perfectly by Keaton, things get a little more serious in the end and you pretty much change your view of the man. That's an interesting untold story full of 1960s nostalgia but rather modern camera work and editing for our viewing convenience.
    Jens S Super Reviewer
  • Sep 08, 2018
    A fascinating biopic, The Founder tells the story of Ray Kroc, a travelling salesman who took the McDonald brothers cutting edge restaurant and turned it into the largest franchise in the world. After visiting the McDonald brothers burger restaurant Ray Kroc makes a deal to franchise it across the country, but his ambitious plans soon leads to a conflict with the brothers and a battle for control that takes a personal toll on Ray and change him. Starring Michael Keaton, Nick Offerman, and Laura Dern, the film has solid cast that delivers some strong performances. And the writing does a good job at showing the corrupting influence of ambition and power. Also, the costumes and sets are especially well-done, giving a real feel for the time period. A remarkably compelling film, The Founder provides an extraordinary look at what it took to turn McDonalds into the international conglomerate it became.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Oct 10, 2017
    Reads like an unpolished draft. Tried to cram too much in instead of focusing on only great scenes with emotional impact. More like a book report than a biopic. Made me crave a McD's cheeseburger though so I guess in that sense, it was a success.
    _kelly . Super Reviewer
  • Aug 07, 2017
    A fairly accurate re-telling of how Ray Kroc, with his super-sized ambition, took the concept and operating system of the McDonald brothers to create the world's largest restaurant chain. Michael Keaton would not have been my choice to play Kroc who had a serrated voice and searing temper. But, he properly evokes Kroc's spirit and drive. The film has a melancholy tone that is appropriate for the casualties Kroc left in his wake. Yet, filmmaker John Lee Hancock fails to cook up a properly dramatic tone in the disagreements between Kroc and the McDonald brothers.
    Aldo G Super Reviewer

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