Critics Consensus

Trumbo serves as an honorable and well-acted tribute to a brilliant writer's principled stand, even if it doesn't quite achieve the greatness of its subject's own classic screenplays.



Reviews Counted: 192

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User Ratings: 22,714


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Reviews Count: 0
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Average Rating: 3.8/5

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Movie Info

In 1947, Dalton Trumbo (Bryan Cranston) was Hollywood's top screenwriter until he and other artists were jailed and blacklisted for their political beliefs. TRUMBO (directed by Jay Roach) recounts how Dalton used words and wit to win two Academy Awards and expose the absurdity and injustice of the blacklist, which entangled everyone from gossip columnist Hedda Hopper (Helen Mirren) to John Wayne, Kirk Douglas and Otto Preminger.

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Bryan Cranston
as Dalton Trumbo
Alan Tudyk
as Ian McLellan Hunter
Diane Lane
as Cleo Trumbo
Elle Fanning
as Nikola Trumbo
Helen Mirren
as Hedda Hopper
John Goodman
as Frank King
Louis C.K.
as Arlen Hird
Michael Stuhlbarg
as Edward G. Robinson
Richard Portnow
as Louis B. Mayer
John Getz
as Sam Wood
Mark Harelik
as Ed Muhl
Christian Berkel
as Otto Preminger
Madison Wolfe
as Young Nikola Trumbo
Dan Bakkedahl
as Roy Brewer
Roger Bart
as Buddy Ross
Stephen Root
as Hymie King
Dean O'Gorman
as Kirk Douglas
Laura Flannery
as Party Goer
Tobias McDowell Nichols
as Chris Trumbo Age (6-10)
James DuMont
as J. Parnell Thomas
Joseph S. Martino
as Rally Participant
Johnny Sneed
as Robert Stripling
Jason Bayle
as Young Father
Rio Hackford
as Reporter
Dane Rhodes
as Reporter
Peter Mackenzie
as Robert Kenny
John Neisler
as Robert Stripling
Sean Bridgers
as Jeff Krandall
Meghan Wolfe
as Mitzi Trumbo
Mitchell Zakocs
as Chris Trumbo
John E. Moore
as Prison Guard
Wayne Pére
as Next Door Neighbor
A.J. Allegra
as Messenger
Mattie Liptak
as Chris Trumbo (Age 13-17)
Becca Nicole Preston
as Mitzi Trumbo (Age 9-12)
Garrett Hines
as Andrew Hird
Christian LeBlanc
as Niki's Friend
Ron Fassler
as Journalist
Jim Gleason
as TV Interviewer
Rick Kelly
as President John F. Kennedy
Billy Slaughter
as DC Reporter
Griff Furst
as Master of Ceremonies
John Mark Skinner
as Chris Trumbo (Age 29)
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News & Interviews for Trumbo

Critic Reviews for Trumbo

All Critics (192) | Top Critics (35)

The film is a labour of love for Bryan Cranston, as Trumbo. As Hollywood's greatest screenwriter, embattled but not beaten, he embodies the old Hemingway definition of courage: "grace under pressure".

Feb 18, 2016 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…

Trumbo is no masterpiece, but the story of a writer imprisoned in America for his political beliefs needed to be told.

Feb 4, 2016 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

We are left with the painful irony that a film about a screenwriter so good that Kirk Douglas and Otto Preminger couldn't live without him suffers from a dull and slow-moving script.

Nov 27, 2015 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Trumbo is ... a blast, even if the screenplay perversely lacks the energy of its title character, who is played with great wit and brio by Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston.

Nov 26, 2015 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

It's a period piece full of colorful characters, natty costumes, jaunty music.

Nov 25, 2015 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

The movie's main idea seems to be that, in the end, people prefer movies to ideas. Or at least ideologies.

Nov 20, 2015 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Trumbo


Very entertaining look at the Hollywood era of blacklisted communist artists and how one of the biggest writers of the time dealt with it. There are some slow parts, but especially the (perfectly cast) stars of the time showing up make for some really fun scenes. Cranston's charisma easily makes for a relate-able protagonist, who is easily forgiven for his quirks, while his struggle against oppression makes for a very engaging story. The ending is particularly satisfying.

Jens S.
Jens S.

Super Reviewer


It doesn't matter how cinematic or worthy of being told a real story is (which is the case) when it is made into an ordinary, uninspired biopic full of clichés and one-dimensional characters - and it is even worse that it looks like a cheap TV movie made by an obviously mediocre director.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


"Trumbo" benefits from exceptionally good acting from Cranston, and good performances by Fanning and Lane, as well as a compelling story, sets and costumes. Otherwise, there is not much more to the film than your standard, well-worn film. It is timely, to be sure -- but it offers little beyond its message and moments of well-chewed wisdom.

Christian C
Christian C

Super Reviewer

Bryan Cranston is just such a very good actor. He utilizes his entire being - voice, eyes, mouth, shoulders, gut, hands, feet - to create a multifaceted performance. "Trumbo" is the maddening story about the unconstitutional witch hunt of suspected communists and communist sympathizers during the Red Scare. Hollywood ghostwriter of "Roman Holiday" Dalton Trumbo and friends face persecution, job loss, imprisonment, prejudice, and harassment for committing the crime of taking the 1st Amendment literally. The script hits all the intellectual and emotional highs and lows (though sometimes a bit too abstrusely), and the historical context surrounding the blacklist (post-WWII and pre-civil rights movement) are nicely evinced. The splicing together of modern actors into grainy black and white footage is also very cool. The performances are all strong, especially Cranston and Michael Stuhlbarg (whom I could not place for the life of me, but now realize, played the titular serious man in one of the first Coen Brothers' movies I ever liked) as the stocky, noir antihero in life and art, Edward G. Robinson. A recurring continuity error that really grinded my gears though was the awkward aging, namely the random and sudden swapping in of giantess Elle Fanning as middle daughter Nikola (great name, though) while the babyfaced eldest brother looks exactly the same. Then later when the eldest brother is portrayed by an older actor while Elle Fanning looks exactly the same. Then Alan Tudyk and Diane Lane looking exactly the same thirty years later, though let's be honest, Lane will never age. And of course, Elle Fanning in a brassy red, Jackie O-style blowout reminiscent of the horrible age make-up job for Bonnie Wright as thirty-five-year-old Ginny Weasley. Why, future? Why?

Alice Shen
Alice Shen

Super Reviewer

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