Great Movies that Got Rotten Reviews

Who says film critics always get it right? We rounded up the best bad reviews of classic movies, trashed by everyone from Roger Ebert to Pauline Kael.

Casablanca (1942)

"The love story that takes us from time to time into the past is horribly wooden, and clichés everywhere lower the tension."—New Statesman

The Wizard of Oz (1939)

"It has dwarfs, music, Technicolor, freak characters and Judy Garland. It can't be expected to have a sense of humor as well, and as for the light touch of fantasy, it weighs like a pound of fruitcake soaking wet."—The New Republic

The Godfather, Part II (1974)

"It's a Frankenstein monster stitched together from leftover parts. It talks. It moves in fits and starts but it has no mind of its own... Looking very expensive but spiritually desperate, Part II has the air of a very long, very elaborate revue sketch."—Vincent Canby, The New York Times

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Titanic (1997)

"What does $200 million buy? The 3-hour-and-14-minute 'Titanic' unhesitatingly answers: not enough."—Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

Star Wars (1977)

"It’s an assemblage of spare parts—it has no emotional grip... an epic without a dream."—Pauline Kael, The New Yorker

Forrest Gump (1994)

"It is... glib, shallow, and monotonous, a movie that spends so much time sanctifying its hero that, despite his 'innocence,' he ends up seeming about as vulnerable as Superman."—Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

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Vertigo (1958)

"The old master has turned out another Hitchcock-and-bull story in which the mystery is not so much who done it as who cares."—Time

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

"The slab is never explained, leaving 2001, for all its lively visual and mechanical spectacle, a kind of space-Spartacus and, more pretentious still, a shaggy God story."—John Simon, The New Leader

Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

"The fault is also in the lengthy but surprisingly lusterless dialogue of Robert Bolt's over-written screenplay. Seldom has so little been said in so many words."—Bosley Crowther, The New York Times

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Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

"Conceptually, the film leaves much to be desired, because killings and the backdrop of the Depression are scarcely material for a bundle of laughs."—Dave Kaufman, Variety

A Star is Born (1976)

"A bore is starred."—Village Voice

The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

"This is a pompous, badly acted film, full of absurd anachronisms and inconsistencies."—Graham Greene, The Spectator

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Gladiator (2000)

"By the end of this long film, I would have traded any given gladiatorial victory for just one shot of blue skies."—Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times


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