User Score
8.1

Universal acclaim- based on 180 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 8 out of 180
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  1. May 13, 2015
    7
    The plot of this movie is fun in the way that it unravels, and the movie's exaggerations in events and characters is charming as well, but the real star of this movie is the soundtrack. The songs are all so gorgeous, beautifully sung and so evocative, conjuring up a completely different ideal of a lost world in the past that never really existed in the storybook way it appears here.The plot of this movie is fun in the way that it unravels, and the movie's exaggerations in events and characters is charming as well, but the real star of this movie is the soundtrack. The songs are all so gorgeous, beautifully sung and so evocative, conjuring up a completely different ideal of a lost world in the past that never really existed in the storybook way it appears here. Don't get me wrong, the movie is good too, but the soundtrack will definitely get more replay value with me than the movie will--it's the most exceptional and beautiful part of the film. Expand
  2. Jul 17, 2013
    6
    The acting is good the directing is good, the film is certainly funny, and the plot is engaging enough to keep up your interest, but it just feels as though there is something missing from this one.
  3. Jun 28, 2013
    9
    What a great movie this is. The Coen brothers and the rest of the production did a great job. The cinematography is spectacular (thanks to Roger Deakins), and the soundtrack is amazing, they are among the best in any film. And of course the casting was good, Clooney's character is amusing along his co-stars.
  4. Jun 16, 2013
    9
    The Coen Brothers deliver another classic and unique comedy that explores friendship, accidental fame and a vast amount of unforgettable characters, with George Clooney, John Turturro and Tim Blake Nelson taking centre stage as three escaped convicts on the search for treasure in Depression-era America.
    As the three convicts, Ulysses Everett McGill (Clooney), Delamar O'Donnell (Nelson)
    The Coen Brothers deliver another classic and unique comedy that explores friendship, accidental fame and a vast amount of unforgettable characters, with George Clooney, John Turturro and Tim Blake Nelson taking centre stage as three escaped convicts on the search for treasure in Depression-era America.
    As the three convicts, Ulysses Everett McGill (Clooney), Delamar O'Donnell (Nelson) and Pete Hogwallop (Turturro) all have their own intentions in regards to freedom, and their adventures lead them down a road of robbery, music recordings and deals with the devil, with each scene oozing with its own flare and brilliant dialogue.
    Everett is desperate for the right sort of hair wax and hairnets,while Pete and Delamar decide to get cleansed at a local baptism, they happen across an array of characters including the wonderful John Goodman who is a fast talking biblical salesman and sets his sights on the convicts. As they travel throughout the land in search for their treasure and also trying to evade the authorities, their musical fame and selection of friends may just catch up on them.
    With an excellent soundtrack and stand out performances, the film will be difficult to forget for its bizarre yet hilarious flow and its band of misfit characters who make their roles their own, Clooney shows the Coen style of his acting as this was the sort of character he played later on in 'Burn After Reading", fast, edgy but hysterical, while Turturro plays a more serious and hardened man, but Nelson is the complete opposite, seemingly a bit of a simpleton, but combined they create quite the trio, stumbling into various avenues of opportunities and luckily evading the law in surprising fashion.
    The exciting style of the Coen brothers has never been more apparent, their larger than life characters, while most are loosely based on 'Homer's Odyssey', the actor portraying them brings a sense of craze and unique quality to the role. The funniest moments of the film come from the the situations the trio get involved in, whether happening upon a bank robbery or a KKK gathering, Clooney leading the show is brilliant, his characters random bursts of knowledgeable facts are excellent.
    Excellent comedy and an unforgettable addition to the Coen Brothers filmography.
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  5. Jun 2, 2013
    10
    This film was the best.. They did so terrific on this movie and will continue to be the best till the end of time. The soundtrack is excellent. Everything in this is perfect and just the way it should be, no more and no less.... I would love to see another movie like this be released in the future and of course put alot of work into it casue this one was great and the next one would alsoThis film was the best.. They did so terrific on this movie and will continue to be the best till the end of time. The soundtrack is excellent. Everything in this is perfect and just the way it should be, no more and no less.... I would love to see another movie like this be released in the future and of course put alot of work into it casue this one was great and the next one would also need to be great.

    I love films thats old or old and western style... Just pure excellent. 10/10
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  6. Apr 9, 2013
    10
    This movie connects from beginning to end. My husband, after viewing many times, shared with me this movie homage to "Homer the Odyssey. The actors all connect as if they were family/friends. The music was awesome. The guitar player Chris T King and his father are accomplished musicians. Pappy (Charles Durning) was nominated for two oscars. So many characters connects all to the end.This movie connects from beginning to end. My husband, after viewing many times, shared with me this movie homage to "Homer the Odyssey. The actors all connect as if they were family/friends. The music was awesome. The guitar player Chris T King and his father are accomplished musicians. Pappy (Charles Durning) was nominated for two oscars. So many characters connects all to the end. "That's not my ring"... Expand
  7. Dec 8, 2012
    10
    With the spirit of adventure these 3 prisoners made this movie one of the best comedies of all time. From collisons with police to bi-polar robbers this one hassel of a story makes this an easy classic for all to enjoy
  8. Jun 28, 2012
    10
    " "O Brother" is less a nostalgic screwball comedy than a highly contrived satire which emphasises the cruelty and absurdity of human existence. "

    ... So what's the problem?

    Even if you are a fan of slow paced, existential cinema - and generally avoid screwball comedies - this is worth a watch.
  9. Jan 29, 2012
    6
    O Brother, Where Art Thou? is a beautifully filmed, hilarious, wild, amazingly original film featuring just fantastic performances from its three consistently funny leads. I give this film 61%.
  10. Oct 16, 2011
    8
    While it may not be among the Coen Brothers' finest work, O Brother Where Art Thou is an intriguing and original viewing experience. It's a road movie like no other, based on the ultimate adventure story, The Odyssey. There's so much to like about the film - the plot is wacky, the soundtrack a wonderful mix of American folk, and the Great Depression-era world is inhabited by weird andWhile it may not be among the Coen Brothers' finest work, O Brother Where Art Thou is an intriguing and original viewing experience. It's a road movie like no other, based on the ultimate adventure story, The Odyssey. There's so much to like about the film - the plot is wacky, the soundtrack a wonderful mix of American folk, and the Great Depression-era world is inhabited by weird and wonderful characters (including George Clooney's verbally dexterous, pomade-haired scoundrel Everett - perhaps his finest on-screen role to date). The Coens give us a rollicking good time right until the end, when a silly finale and some disappointing narrative tie-ups and underwhelming character payoffs threaten to ruin our fun. As a whole though, it's a vastly entertaining film, and only a little shy of the top pantheon of Coen Brothers films. Expand
  11. Sep 30, 2011
    6
    I don't like coming out of a viewing of a film and feeling like I enjoyed it but knowing something is missing. What makes my experience of O Brother worse is that I cannot figure out why I didn't like it as much as I should have.
    The acting as always was stellar with George Clooney giving a performance that rivals some of his finest roles (Michael Clayton, Burn after Reading and Up in the
    I don't like coming out of a viewing of a film and feeling like I enjoyed it but knowing something is missing. What makes my experience of O Brother worse is that I cannot figure out why I didn't like it as much as I should have.
    The acting as always was stellar with George Clooney giving a performance that rivals some of his finest roles (Michael Clayton, Burn after Reading and Up in the Air) as Ulysses Everrett Mcgill a member of a chain gang who orchestrates a prison break so he can get back to his home town so he can regain some treasure in a valley due to be flooded. The Coen Brothers provide a great script that is even more quirky than some of there previous outings (The Hudsucker Proxy). The film pretty much has everything it needs to be a good Coen Brothers film with a great supporting cast including John Goodman and Holly Hunter, a great soundtrack and beautiful landscapes (even more so than True Grit).
    However O Brother doesn't seem like an original thought (and I don't mean because it was loosely based on The Odyssey by Homer). It just seems like the Coen brothers have what they see as a working formula to there films and with this they just followed the recipe with it being very easy to compare the film to there others. Sure I liked the film but this may be the reason I didn't love it. Or perhaps I still haven't figured it out yet.
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  12. May 6, 2011
    10
    How anyone could dislike this comic odyssey is beyond me. I still have real affection for these characters, and the film as a whole is a masterpiece. One of the best Coen bros. films.
  13. Apr 16, 2011
    10
    This may be the only movie that has ever left me seriously tempted to leave the cinema and immediately join the queue for the next show. Structurally, it is a 'road movie', though it borrows the episodic encounters with larger-than-life characters from Homer's Odyssey (including sirens and a cyclops!). But the artful combination of its photography and music with delightful story andThis may be the only movie that has ever left me seriously tempted to leave the cinema and immediately join the queue for the next show. Structurally, it is a 'road movie', though it borrows the episodic encounters with larger-than-life characters from Homer's Odyssey (including sirens and a cyclops!). But the artful combination of its photography and music with delightful story and characters makes this one of most bewitching and beautiful road movies ever made.

    The critics seem to find it shallow, though I struggle to understand why. In addition to being genuinely funny and centred upon rich characters, the story includes a fair weight of political satire and a sprinkling of the Coens' strange metaphysical fascinations, with the Devil making his own cameo in the form of a lawman. If this is too shallow, I wonder what comedies the critics have been watching that are so deep?

    If people are confusing depth for emotionalism, perhaps they should stick to rewatching the English Patient.
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  14. christopher
    May 30, 2009
    1
    "O Brother" is less a nostalgic screwball comedy than a highly contrived satire which emphasises the cruelty and absurdity of human existence. One may find the wanton slaughter of cows, superficially sexualized Sirens, satanic black side kick, mocked/idealized villains, commercial contemporary take on folk music, incidental ties to Greek tragedy, and general aimlessness (tied together "O Brother" is less a nostalgic screwball comedy than a highly contrived satire which emphasises the cruelty and absurdity of human existence. One may find the wanton slaughter of cows, superficially sexualized Sirens, satanic black side kick, mocked/idealized villains, commercial contemporary take on folk music, incidental ties to Greek tragedy, and general aimlessness (tied together with a cute little literal string) to be light-hearted fun, but to see it as repugnant is an equally appropriate reaction. This is a story of selfishness and stupidity signifying nothing. The characters live in a beautiful world and have zero appreciation for it. This is exemplified by the slick, soulless direction and obvious, ugly digitized cinematography. "O Brother" can be called nihilistic and smug with perfect reason because, for all it creativity and polish, it is an intentionally aloft meditation on negativity and cynicism. At least "Days of Heaven" seems to have some sense of appreciation for atmosphere and environment even as it utilizes Depression era elements. Nihilism can be overtly expressed or implied, and "O Brother" wears it less like a badge than like a favorite pair of dirty socks kept in some high drawer, right next to a baby skull paper weight for a pornographic magazine. Sometimes laughter is a sign of sickness. JAFO (just another ****ing opinion) for what it is worth. Cheers. Expand
  15. damons
    May 14, 2009
    9
    This movie was amazing and it was one of my favorite of all time. My favorite scene was the one on the KKK. I liked it because they were trashing the KKK. When they cut the cord for the burning cross that was just hilarious.
  16. QuinnQ
    May 14, 2009
    6
    It was an alright movie. The best part was the old governor guy dancing that made me chuckle, and the criminal crying about his nickname. Oh and the part where that Big Dan guy hit Delmarr and Evertt on the head with a huge branch.
  17. JaredC
    Dec 9, 2007
    10
    The writing, directing, and producing team of Joel Coen and Ethan Coen created this picaresque comedy (inspired in part by Homer's The Odyssey) set in the Deep South during the Depression. Suave and fancy-talking Everett Ulysses McGill (George Clooney), dim-witted Delmar (Tim Blake Nelson), and easily-excitable Pete (John Turturro) are serving time together on a prison chain gang. The writing, directing, and producing team of Joel Coen and Ethan Coen created this picaresque comedy (inspired in part by Homer's The Odyssey) set in the Deep South during the Depression. Suave and fancy-talking Everett Ulysses McGill (George Clooney), dim-witted Delmar (Tim Blake Nelson), and easily-excitable Pete (John Turturro) are serving time together on a prison chain gang. Everett knows where $1.2 million is hidden that's theirs for the taking, and the three manage to escape; however, a stranger soon warns them that they'll find treasure, but not the sort they're looking for. As Everett and his partners hit the road, they happen upon a gluttonous bible salesman, Big Dan Teague (John Goodman); meet up with Baby Face Nelson (Michael Badalucco) as he robs a bank; encounter three Sirens doing their washing; run into Everett's estranged wife Penny (Holly Hunter), who has told everyone her husband was killed in a train wreck; find themselves in the middle of a heated campaign between political boss Pappy O'Daniel (Charles Durning), and reformist candidate Homer Stokes (Wayne Duvall); and even find time to make a hit record as The Soggy Bottom Boys. Noted songwriter T-Bone Burnett helped compile the songs (combining vintage country blues tunes with originals in the same style), while Carter Burwell composed the background score. Incidentally, the title O Brother, Where Art Thou? is a reference to the classic Preston Sturges comedy Sullivan's Travels, in which a director plans to make a serious "message picture" with that name. O Brother, Where Art Thou? is the number one motion picture of the year, and has all the hip and jazz to almost reach the standards of The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly. Expand
  18. BigRed
    Jun 11, 2007
    10
    This is one of my favorite movies of all time. The wacky characters, the plot twists, the dialogue, the music, the look and feel of it all. Each scene is a joy to watch. Every actor and actress manages to create personalities that are just plain fun to watch. Any critic that rates
  19. JaredB.
    Jan 9, 2007
    10
    This is one of the greatest comedy films I have ever seen. The acting is simply brilliant. This is due, in part, to some very clever writing. Kudos go out to George Clooney, Tim Blake Nelson, and John Turturro for their portrayals of the southern version of the Three Stooges. The music was awesome.
  20. MaxM.
    Jun 29, 2006
    10
    This is a great movie! It's not just the comedy thats great, its the astounding broad appeal of the movie that was actually captured in this film. Everyone that I know of, regardless of age, can manage to love this movie. Also, the entire films, in the artistic view of being able to portray the time period (the backdrops, the people of the time, etc. etc..), is unrivaled! Also, the This is a great movie! It's not just the comedy thats great, its the astounding broad appeal of the movie that was actually captured in this film. Everyone that I know of, regardless of age, can manage to love this movie. Also, the entire films, in the artistic view of being able to portray the time period (the backdrops, the people of the time, etc. etc..), is unrivaled! Also, the dialogue of this movie is amazing - from the intellectual and witty Everett with company of the constantly dumbfounded and comedic Delmar to the always-stubborn and hard-headed Pete. Truly amazing. "I don't mean to be tellin' tales out of school, but there's a man in there that'll pay ya 15 bucks to sing into his can." The innocence in this character... Perfect. Expand
  21. AngelA.
    Feb 11, 2006
    10
    Moving and transporting -- beautiful and hilarious... Simply a stunning work of art.
  22. patrickd.
    Sep 22, 2005
    9
    Not the best movie ever, but certainly a good one.
  23. [Anonymous]
    Jul 9, 2005
    8
    Strange adaptation of the Odyssey, although the great depression would hardly be my choice. The part where that criminal fired at the cows was funny.
  24. JackS
    Jul 9, 2005
    9
    Rosenbaum and Gleiberman are idiots. 'Nihilistic'? 'Contemptuous'? Oh, I'm sorry, Rosenbaum's idea of a good comedy is "Down With Love." This is an EXCELLENT picture. It looks and sounds gorgeous (beautifully shot and scored), and anyone who dismisses it as a collection of yuppie relics doesn't have a clue This is goofy, off-the-wall stuff that RELISHES Rosenbaum and Gleiberman are idiots. 'Nihilistic'? 'Contemptuous'? Oh, I'm sorry, Rosenbaum's idea of a good comedy is "Down With Love." This is an EXCELLENT picture. It looks and sounds gorgeous (beautifully shot and scored), and anyone who dismisses it as a collection of yuppie relics doesn't have a clue This is goofy, off-the-wall stuff that RELISHES in the past. This isn't a paper-thin musical pastiche like, say, The Big Chill. The music is a crucial element in this picture where the characters and the songs feed off each other. Supposedly, the Coen Brothers never read the Odyssey and basically used elements already known through pop culture (they did something similar with Fargo - the opening title card says it's 'based on a true story,' but it's complete fiction). This picture owes a greater debt to Preston Sturges, one of their biggest influences and to whom they pay homage in this picture's title. Sturges made some of the craziest screwball comedies of all-time, and that's exactly what we get here. It's funny not because of one-liners but because of the nutjobs and bizarre scenarios that fill this picture. To say it's contemptuous is absurd - EVERYONE in the Coen Brothers' universe is a bit loopy. It's not their best picture, but it's still right up there with Blood Simple, Raising Arizona, Fargo, and the rest. Expand
  25. DianeP.
    Feb 12, 2005
    10
    I loved this movie! Our family watched it together and everyone from our 9 year old son to my parents in their 70s laughed; truly enjoying themselves. How often do you find a movie with such broad appeal? In an interesting side note, both my parents who grew up in Mississippi in the 1930s said the movie did an excellent job of capturing the era.
  26. AlejandroD.
    Oct 8, 2004
    4
    I was kind of expecting a lot more from this movie.. I don't know, I guess I give it a 4, because I think that's how many times I laughed. Seriously, maybe I didn't get the jokes, or I don't know, but this movie was not as good as some people say it is. Boring most of the time, and doesn't keep you paying attention all the time.
  27. Lucy
    Apr 13, 2004
    10
    This is possibly one of the best movies of its time! They don't make many movies like this it has a great plot, humor, and of course actors. George Clooney is excellent in this movie!
  28. JohnM.
    Mar 15, 2004
    10
    One of my favorite films ever. Ignorant people who do not know how to read are the only ones who wouldnt like it since it happens to even preface in the beginning that it is based on the Odyssey, which was written by Homer for all you non-reading fans. Only an illiterate moron would give it a bad score of any kind. Awesome soundtrack as well!
  29. PatC.
    Jan 6, 2004
    7
    Interesting series of vignettes. Clooney actually did what the Director told him in this one. The movie is kinder to the society it occurs in than the characters themselves - takes the road less travelled to reach the Hollywood premise that life boils down to a hit record.
  30. YoonC.
    Sep 24, 2003
    10
    Coen brothers' most satisfying movie. Finally, the Coens found material perfectly suited for their zany and irreverent sensibilty. Truly awesome are several musical numbers that are as hypnotic and sublime as any caught on film. These musical interludes work on us like black magic, seducing us and then digesting our sensory apparatus down to swirling abstraction. The source material Coen brothers' most satisfying movie. Finally, the Coens found material perfectly suited for their zany and irreverent sensibilty. Truly awesome are several musical numbers that are as hypnotic and sublime as any caught on film. These musical interludes work on us like black magic, seducing us and then digesting our sensory apparatus down to swirling abstraction. The source material of the movie is the forgotten debris of Americana but what's fashioned out of this is something entirely bold and original. Expand
  31. Mulroneycakes'DebutWithMetacritic2-Metacritic
    Feb 8, 2003
    7
    It's not the Coens' best work - it's a bit aimless and inconsequential - but it's only actively bad by their staggeringly high standards. It's still a "good" film. Worth watching just for the sirens, singing "Didn't Leave Nobody But The Baby" acapella, very slowly. Nice.
  32. JackD.
    Dec 11, 2002
    5
    Some scenes are wonderful and hilarious, but the movie overall is... well, boring!
  33. Dave
    Jun 26, 2002
    3
    Oh brother, what the f... was that? no plot or story of any kind, the only redeeming quality was the soundtrack.
  34. AlanaH.
    Jun 17, 2002
    9
    A quirky, original movie that keeps viewers laughing throughout. Very realistic and well-played out characters in a different wacky predicament at every turn. Though some may find the humor too crazy and perhaps just plain dumb, I thought it was a winner!
  35. MikeM.
    Mar 28, 2002
    10
    Bona-fide 10; the kind of movie you need to see a dozen times. Clooney was (surprisingly) excellent, and Charles Durning steals the show as Pappy O'Daniel. Any film that has a character being ridden out of town on a rail is aces in my book.
  36. ColeL.
    Nov 22, 2001
    10
    A deranged adventure though many a wierd ways. But, subsequently brillant!
  37. AnnT.
    Oct 31, 2001
    10
    This movie is a romping good time. Pure entertainment. Some critics have no sense of humor.
  38. KellyS.
    Oct 31, 2001
    10
    It's totally funny, and the music is great.
  39. RyanM.
    Oct 17, 2001
    10
    A genuinly wacky adventure that takes you on a ride of its own.
  40. FredH.
    Sep 15, 2001
    10
    I love this movie! I rented it and watched it twice, then bought it. What a wonderful ride, definitely bona fide!!
  41. AlexK.
    Aug 28, 2001
    10
    Brill-ee-yunt. Any critic who panned it probably didn't understand it. 'Nuff said.
  42. ShannonH.
    Aug 26, 2001
    10
    A good, funny, witty sing-a-long! The Coen Bros. will never cease to amaze me.
  43. BrandonS.
    Aug 19, 2001
    9
    I love this ole' timey stuff.
  44. DawnMarieG.
    Aug 18, 2001
    10
    This is a great entire family movie. The music was wonderful but not overwelming. Thank you!
  45. RobertF.
    Aug 8, 2001
    9
    A barnburner (literally)...raises the bar on idiot humor to a level never before achieved -- the Three Stooges on an odyssey of mythic but purely American proportions.
  46. KarenH.
    Aug 6, 2001
    9
    Loved the movie and the music.
  47. RonC.
    Jul 30, 2001
    9
    Non-coenheads just don't get it. Wanna-be-coenheads want to. The scene on the stage near the end is pure coenism. Made the movie. Long live the Soggey Bottom Boys!
  48. TedB.
    Jul 16, 2001
    10
    Superbly written, well acted, great cinematography, super soundtrack. Maybe the best Coen movie to date.
  49. DamianP.
    Jun 17, 2001
    9
    Maybe I was just addicted to "Man Of Constant Sorrow," but I bought this one on DVD!
  50. MichaelC.
    Apr 28, 2001
    5
    Disappointingly low-key Coen brothers outing with good cinematography and OK acting. But it offended me (cows getting run over, everyone looked mentally unstable, dogs drowning) at times, and the timing is slow, and I was quite bored, to be honest.
  51. GregT.
    Mar 29, 2001
    10
    This movie was great. Clooney did an excellent job as a smooth talking rascal.
  52. MaryZ.
    Mar 19, 2001
    10
    Oh, how I love this movie! I find myself going over many of the scenes' dialog and smiling to myself, and I am certainly singing the songs from the outstanding soundtrack on a daily basis. Coen brothers, thank you again.
Metascore
69

Generally favorable reviews - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 30
  2. Negative: 3 out of 30
  1. 64
    For all its originality, O Brother doesn't seem to have a point, or enough spark to distract us from the lack thereof.
  2. 78
    A remarkable film. From its performances on down to director of photography Roger Deakins' sun-baked, dirty-ochre cinematography, the film is all of a piece.
  3. For all its ambitions, though, the Coens' odyssey is a scattershot affair with too many tricks and twists for its own good.