Cradle Will Rock


Generally favorable reviews - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 31
  2. Negative: 1 out of 31

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Critic Reviews

  1. Stunningly cinematic and audacious on every level, writer/director Tim Robbins's look at the collision of the Depression-era art world and politics may well be a masterpiece.
  2. Mr. Showbiz
    Reviewed by: Kevin Maynard
    Even if the great debate that pits artistic integrity against corporate compromise doesn't thrill you, see Cradle Will Rock anyway. It's marvelous, provocative entertainment; art for art's sake.
  3. Baltimore Sun
    Reviewed by: Ann Hornaday
    The movie's best moments belong to Bill Murray,
  4. USA Today
    Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    Rock actually rocks out as one of the year's most purely entertaining movies (just keep thinking: Bill Murray as a ventriloquist).
  5. TNT RoughCut
    Reviewed by: Don Kaye
    Entertaining and educational.
  6. Commands respect as mainstream filmmaking with more of an agenda than just pimping cinematic junk food to the brain-dead masses.
  7. Some may find the movie too crowded and preachy to serve as a meaningful history lesson, but it will delight anyone who thinks our cynical age could benefit from recalling the vigorous idealism and venturesome artistry of a bygone era.
  8. It's packed with such passion, humor, fine acting in small roles - there are no big ones - and vitality in the storytelling that the lesson comes across entertainingly.
  9. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    Brings the '30s vividly to the screen.
  10. 75
    It needs a study guide, and viewing "Citizen Kane" might be a good place to start.
  11. Robbins the agitprop celebrity may be blowin' in the wind, but Robbins, the son of a folksinger, knows how to get audiences clapping along.
  12. Miami Herald
    Reviewed by: Christine Dolen
    An ensemble cast brimming with great theater actors and movie stars tears into a collection of meaty, moving, funny roles, with largely vibrant results.
  13. Its nervy decision to cut as wide a swath as possible through one of the most exciting and meaningful periods of our history have created something that's impossible not to both applaud and enjoy.
  14. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    Succeeds far more often than not in delivering a credible, kaleidoscopic portrait of creative, and often famous, individuals.
  15. Portland Oregonian
    Reviewed by: Shawn Levy
    A frustrating, pedantic, cacophonous jumble of a picture, peopled with as many straw men and caricatures as living, breathing humans.
  16. Chicago Tribune
    Reviewed by: Michael Wilmington
    Cradle Will Rock is the masterpiece that wasn't, a magnificent opportunity blown to hell.
  17. Wildly ambitious, unwieldy epic.
  18. A missed opportunity to shed light on one of America's most turbulent times.
  19. San Francisco Examiner
    Reviewed by: Edvin Beitiks
    A fun movie, with moments guaranteed to bring you close to tears. But, like most of Robbins' work, it's a cartoon, an emotional cartoon.
  20. Philadelphia Inquirer
    Reviewed by: Carrie Rickey
    An ambitious effort that fails as satire and as history, although it probably succeeds as a cautionary tale.
  21. 60
    Historical forces and famous ghosts jostle past each other in this evocation of mid-1930s New York like harried commuters at Grand Central Station.
  22. 60
    Obviously influenced by the style of Robert Altman's multi-character extravaganzas, Robbins has seized on this incident as the centerpiece in a carnival about the conflicts among art, politics and commerce.
  23. 60
    Robbins has made a drastically different film from the one Welles envisioned -- it's wacky where Welles is absurd, cynical where Welles is canny.
  24. There's something stirring and gutsy about this evocation of collective ferment -- not to mention timely, in the wake of the Seattle uprising against the World Trade Organization.
  25. Although Robbins might have drawn some of these characters with less obviousness and more satirical bite, he ably keeps this lively, complicated film on track.
  26. 60
    Thoroughly artificial and overly schematic, to the point of caricature even, but often lively and witty nonetheless.
  27. It's an interesting and likably ambitious movie with an ensemble of mostly engaging character vignettes, but, sadly, it misses its mark.
  28. 50
    In the end, it's all just too damned much. It's more exhausting than edifying.
  29. Cradle Will Rock is left in mid-rock, as it were, its energy squandered, its sense of history confused, its sound and fury ultimately signifying nothing.
  30. Newsweek
    Reviewed by: David Ansen
    Robbins eschews leftist diatribes for a bold cartoon version of history. It's as crowded and energetic as a big parade...and just about as subtle.
  31. New York Post
    Reviewed by: Jonathan Foreman
    There is hardly a moment during this overlong, stunningly smug exercise in moral self-satisfaction when you actually care about a character, real or invented.

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