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The Big Shave (1968)

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In the process of shaving, a young man cuts himself. A lot.



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Credited cast:
Peter Bernuth ...
Young Man


This short film is a metaphor for the Vietnam War. A man walks into a meticulously clean and sterile bathroom, concentrating on the polished porcelain and shiny metal motif. He then proceeds to shave. When his face is clean, however, he only continues to shave until he pierces through his skin. Blood covers him and falls around him, the red contrasting the perfect spotlessness of the bathroom. Written by Joseph D. Guernsey

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Short | Drama | Horror

Parents Guide:




Release Date:

October 1968 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Big Shave... or, Viet '67  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?

Crazy Credits

Whiteness - Herman Melville See more »


Referenced in American Dad!: The Best Christmas Story Never (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

Fascinating early short from Martin Scorsese
25 June 2006 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

As a young person keen on working in film, I find Scorsese's early shorts invaluable as a display of technique and competence.

In 'The Big Shave' you can see him experimenting with editing ideas, such as the use of multiple takes of an action being repeated from different angles. In these early shorts you also see him developing the way he moves the camera, as seen in his features like 'Taxi Driver', 'Goodfellas' and 'Casino'.

'The Big Shave' can be interpreted in many ways, the most common with critics, though is as a commentary on the US involvement in the Vietnam War, which was considered to be self-destructive, just as the man shaving in the film is. But this is not the only way the short can be read, it's worth looking at the IMDb board for the film for different opinions and insights.

The way Scorsese seems to simply and easily weave possible multiple meanings into a short, lasting only about 5 and a half minutes, is inspirational to me as someone interested in creating shorts.

Of his early shorts I have also seen 'What's a Nice Girl Like You Doing in a Place Like This?' (1963) and 'It's Not Just You, Murray!' (1964). They're also both highly recommended!

6 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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