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Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)

TV-MA | | Drama | 22 June 1966 (USA)
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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Won 5 Oscars. Another 17 wins & 23 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

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TV-MA | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

22 June 1966 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

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

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Box Office

Budget:

$7,500,000 (estimated)
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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Mike Nichols and cinematographer Haskell Wexler ran into weather problems right away while shooting the opening sequence in which George and Martha walk home from the late-night party. It was rainy and foggy on campus, and the fog kept revealing all of the hidden light sources in the scene. It took hours of tinkering before Wexler was able to light the scene effectively. 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

[first lines]
Martha: [with disgust] What a dump.
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Connections

Referenced in Animal Practice: Who's Afraid of Virginia Coleman? (2012) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Distilled Human Viciousness
4 June 2007 | by (Switzerland) – See all my reviews

Ailing couple George (Burton) and Martha (Taylor) invite a young couple over for a late-night drink - much to quiet and repressed George's annoyance - and what starts off as a twisted game by sultry Martha to annoy her husband and get her way with young stud Nick (George Segal) ends up in a horrific duel of wits.

Adapted from the play and boasting very few locations, "Virginia Woolf" is notable for many unsuspected reasons. Designed for the stage, the film makes the story uniquely cinematic and tense, amped up by stunning photography (in Black and White, a daring choice in 1966). The younger leads are superb, but Burton and Taylor still manage to walk away with film, giving stunning renditions of the world's most demented couple. They make the surreal dialogue hurt and touch in ways never thought possible.

Though there are countless reasons to recommend this jewel of a film, there are also reasons why one would wish to avoid it. This is the kind of film that makes you feel like having a showing (or a very concentrated drink) to wash away the grit and human evil and pain absorbed. You'll feel dirty, but in a way you'll also feel enlightened: that a small character film can carry more punch than any explosion-packed blockbuster out there is a thing of beauty indeed!


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