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Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)

 -  Drama  -  22 June 1966 (USA)
8.1
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 44,655 users  
Reviews: 218 user | 64 critic

A bitter aging couple with the help of alcohol, use a young couple to fuel anguish and emotional pain towards each other.

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Top 250 #226 | Won 5 Oscars. Another 23 wins & 18 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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Storyline

George and Martha are a middle aged married couple, whose charged relationship is defined by vitriolic verbal battles, which underlies what seems like an emotional dependence upon each other. This verbal abuse is fueled by an excessive consumption of alcohol. George being an associate History professor in a New Carthage university where Martha's father is the President adds an extra dimension to their relationship. Late one Saturday evening after a faculty mixer, Martha invites Nick and Honey, an ambitious young Biology professor new to the university and his mousy wife, over for a nightcap. As the evening progresses, Nick and Honey, plied with more alcohol, get caught up in George and Martha's games of needing to hurt each other and everyone around them. The ultimate abuse comes in the form of talk of George and Martha's unseen sixteen year old son, whose birthday is the following day. Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Drop in for Drinks and Brace yourself. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

TV-MA | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

22 June 1966 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$7,500,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jack Lemmon was the only actor to be offered the role of George in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) before Richard Burton was cast. He accepted the role but quickly changed his mind the next day without offering any explanation. Other sources claim that Lemmon's asking price was too high for Warner. See more »

Goofs

As George and Nick are coming back into the house from their scene in the garden, Nick's shadow on the porch is seen to suddenly disappear just before George enters the shot. See more »

Quotes

George: Now that's it! You can take over a few classes from the older men, but until you start plowing pertinent wives, you really aren't working. The broad, inviting avenue to man's job is through his wife, and don't you forget it.
Nick: And I'll be your wife has the broadest, most inviting avenue of the whole damn campus.
[long pause]
Nick: Her father president and all.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The Census Taker (1984) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
Perfect Movie-making
28 February 2005 | by (Los Angeles) – See all my reviews

An undisputed classic that chronicles every appalling moment of a drunken night in hell as middle-aged George and Martha tear each other, and their guest, to pieces.

Elizabeth Taylor proves categorically that she was a truly great actress. Her Oscar-winning performance as the psychologically tormented Martha is one of the greatest performances in the history of cinema. Taylor's imperceptible shifting from sadism to tenderness, from bullying condescension to exhausted vulnerability, is a masterclass in character building. Martha is a truly monstrous character, and yet Taylor is able to imbue her with sympathy, allowing you brief glimpses of the warm and lovable woman she could have been.

Richard Burton is equally magnificent as George; an ageing, failing college professor whose initial meekness gives way to a raging torment all of his own. His verbal sparring with Taylor, like two pit-bulls in the ring of an endless and bloody dogfight, has become legendary. Every word drips with malice and contempt, every sentence is designed to cut the deepest wound. At times, it becomes painful to watch, but like true train-wreck television, you cannot drag yourself away from the inevitably terrible conclusion.

Quite possibly, this is as close to perfect as movies can get; beautifully written dialogue, deeply complex characters, an evolving and suspenseful storyline, beautiful photography, and a wonderfully understated score by Alex North. Nominated for 13 Academy Awards in 1967, but lost out to A Man for All Seasons and Born Free to win only 5.

"Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" "I am."


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