229 user 75 critic

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)

TV-MA | | Drama | 22 June 1966 (USA)
2:11 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $2.99 (SD) on Amazon Video

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



2,899 ( 1,347)
Won 5 Oscars. Another 17 wins & 23 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Brick, an alcoholic ex-football player, drinks his days away and resists the affections of his wife, Maggie. His reunion with his father, Big Daddy, who is dying of cancer, jogs a host of memories and revelations for both father and son.

Director: Richard Brooks
Stars: Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Newman, Burl Ives
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Disturbed Blanche DuBois moves in with her sister in New Orleans and is tormented by her brutish brother-in-law while her reality crumbles around her.

Director: Elia Kazan
Stars: Vivien Leigh, Marlon Brando, Kim Hunter
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Three World War II veterans return home to small-town America to discover that they and their families have been irreparably changed.

Director: William Wyler
Stars: Fredric March, Dana Andrews, Myrna Loy
All About Eve (1950)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

An ingenue insinuates herself into the company of an established but aging stage actress and her circle of theater friends.

Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz
Stars: Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, George Sanders
Notorious (1946)
Drama | Film-Noir | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A woman is asked to spy on a group of Nazi friends in South America. How far will she have to go to ingratiate herself with them?

Director: Alfred Hitchcock
Stars: Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains
The Graduate (1967)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A disillusioned college graduate finds himself torn between his older lover and her daughter.

Director: Mike Nichols
Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft, Katharine Ross
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

In a murder trial, the defendant says he suffered temporary insanity after the victim raped his wife. What is the truth, and will he win his case?

Director: Otto Preminger
Stars: James Stewart, Lee Remick, Ben Gazzara
Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A poor Midwest family is forced off of their land. They travel to California, suffering the misfortunes of the homeless in the Great Depression.

Director: John Ford
Stars: Henry Fonda, Jane Darwell, John Carradine
Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

A spoiled heiress running away from her family is helped by a man who is actually a reporter in need of a story.

Director: Frank Capra
Stars: Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert, Walter Connolly
Action | Biography | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

A somewhat romanticized account of the career of the notoriously violent bank robbing couple and their gang.

Director: Arthur Penn
Stars: Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, Michael J. Pollard
La Strada (1954)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A care-free girl is sold to a traveling entertainer, consequently enduring physical and emotional pain along the way.

Director: Federico Fellini
Stars: Anthony Quinn, Giulietta Masina, Richard Basehart
Network (1976)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

A television network cynically exploits a deranged former anchor's ravings and revelations about the news media for its own profit.

Director: Sidney Lumet
Stars: Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Peter Finch


Complete credited cast:


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


You are cordially invited to George and Martha's for an evening of fun and games. See more »




TV-MA | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





| |

Release Date:

22 June 1966 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

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

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$7,500,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Mike Nichols purposely avoided shooting too many close-ups in the film. If there was a close-up, he believed, it should accompany an important line or moment in the drama and be meaningful. See more »


When George goes to pour his and Martha's first drink, there is a copy of Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse on the bookshelf above the bottles. It is missing in subsequent scenes. See more »


[first lines]
Martha: [with disgust] What a dump.
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

probably one of the best arguments for why AA should exist; volatile, overwrought drama at its richest
4 January 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf leaves no scabs or stones unturned with the characters. George and Martha are a couple who have a marriage that is truly love-hate. They can never be called too unemotional, though to say whether or not they're being truthful at all in the 'games' they play with married Nick and Honey is a little trickier. Martha invited them- at her father's insistence (he IS the chairman of the university where George and Nick are professors)- at two in the morning for a quick drink. Or rather, make that many drinks, like chain drinking, if one could call it that, where George and Martha prove themselves as pros in that area, with bitter slinging of enraged bouts of bile at one or the other.

This goes on the rest of the night, also leading to a roadhouse on the way to drive a flustered Nick and hammered Honey home, and then it starts all over again, with Nick and Honey picking up the tortured and, as well, fractured personalities of this middle-aged couple. Bitter, enraptured, hateful, and, in a way, also sort of filling a void, George and Martha become two of the most powerful characters in modern drama.

Edward Albee's play is full of the kind of stinging dialog that made it controversial in the 1960s, and today it still retains its potential for hitting its characters on to the audience in a shockingly overwrought and, in connection with this, very funny manner. How can one not cringe and give a laugh of relief/perplexity when George goes to get a shotgun after getting p-o'd by Martha and then opening it up to everyone's shock as... an umbrella!

There's a dementia to these characters, but it's one that makes for the kind of drama that is lacerating and, as off-putting as the guessing game that the son element becomes in the equation (dead or not dead?), it somehow works. This was before most dramas of today, which are made with that big colossal twist that suddenly jolts the characters into perspective. Here, it just makes them more human and fallible and deconstructed. As Mike Nichols directs it, he doesn't shy from getting personal with his angles, close and intrinsic as, in a weird way comparable with, Bergman's Persona, also released that year.

What Nichols and Albee present for audiences is a logical next step following other plays from before them that broke ground from the likes of Miller, Beckett and, especially, Williams- it's more adult, or rather more for mature audiences (the first quasi rated R movie ever released), and it hits to a cynical nerve that was further gestating by this time in America, that everything would not be alright in the American marriage, that something, as Martha says, will "SNAP!"

It should also be mentioned, acting here is classic, fearless. Burton and Taylor have rarely been as good as they are at digging so deep into these characters that, especially with Burton, we can't imagine these people being anyone else. It takes a little to get used to Segal and Sandy Dennis (the latter because her character isn't quite as "deep" as the others), but then again their characters are the uncomfortable outsiders, "us" as one might say (however, as the play peels the layers away from the characters they're all rotten and ultimately very vulnerable instead of just "normal").

It packs a punch, it jiggles its little glass full of bourbon or brandy or gin, and as a first feature from its director it could only get better from here. It's a dangerously fun, dangerously emotionally violent picture. Will look forward to seeing it next time it's on TV

35 of 49 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
I don't get it! edunn91
Not only was there no 397, there was no 7848 or 69636!! fjor
George's story - the boy in the bar ErinWard
love? MikeyBabyBooBop
A little nagging thought yourlastwarning
What's the name of the song? jdvillalobos-182-496829
Discuss Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page