MOVIEmeter
SEE RANK
Up 538 this week

The Iceman Cometh (1973)

 -  Drama  -  10 November 1973 (USA)
7.5
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.5/10 from 898 users  
Reviews: 21 user | 11 critic

A salesman with a sudden passion for reform has an idea to sell to his barfly buddies: throw away your pipe dreams. The drunkards, living in a flophouse above a saloon, resent the idea.

Director:

0Check in
0Share...

Watch Now

with Prime Instant Video

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 49 titles
created 10 Jan 2012
 
a list of 2149 titles
created 28 Jan 2012
 
a list of 25 titles
created 15 Aug 2012
 
a list of 21 titles
created 18 May 2013
 
a list of 36 titles
created 10 months ago
 

Related Items


Connect with IMDb


Share this Rating

Title: The Iceman Cometh (1973)

The Iceman Cometh (1973) on IMDb 7.5/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of The Iceman Cometh.
4 wins. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Henry Tawes is the sheriff in a small town in Tennessee. A man of strong moral fibre he is always quick to judge others and follows the law zealously. Then he meets Alma, a young beautiful ... See full summary »

Director: John Frankenheimer
Stars: Gregory Peck, Tuesday Weld, Estelle Parsons
Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A young hellraiser quits his moonshine business to try to become the best NASCAR racer the south had ever seen.

Director: Lamont Johnson
Stars: Jeff Bridges, Valerie Perrine, Geraldine Fitzgerald
Action | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Three skydivers and their travelling thrill show barnstorm through a small midwestern town one Fourth of July weekend.

Director: John Frankenheimer
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Deborah Kerr, Gene Hackman
The Horsemen (1971)
Certificate: GP Action | Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

In the poor, desolate northern provinces of the mountainous feudal Sunni kingdom of Afghanistan (before the Soviet-engineered republican revolutions), the status of the proud men and their ... See full summary »

Director: John Frankenheimer
Stars: Omar Sharif, Leigh Taylor-Young, Jack Palance
Action | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A district attorney investigates the racially charged case of three teenagers accused of the murder of a blind Puerto Rican boy. He begins to discover that the facts in the case aren't ... See full summary »

Director: John Frankenheimer
Stars: Burt Lancaster, Dina Merrill, Edward Andrews
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

A husband is humiliated at home and at work. He decides he has had enough of it and hires a prostitute to help him get back at his boss, wife and friends and get a lot richer in the process.

Director: William Richert
Stars: Jeff Bridges, Belinda Bauer, Ned Beatty
The Challenge (1982)
Action | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A down-and-out American boxer becomes involved in a feud between two Japanese brothers.

Director: John Frankenheimer
Stars: Scott Glenn, Toshirô Mifune, Donna Kei Benz
All Fall Down (1962)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

Ralph and Annabell Willart are a feuding couple who are constantly bickering over their worthless, good-for nothing son Berry-Berry. When Berry-Berry begins yet another meaningless love ... See full summary »

Director: John Frankenheimer
Stars: Eva Marie Saint, Warren Beatty, Karl Malden
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

An all-black inner city school has to become an integrated school. Few dozen white kids are transfered there, but the black students are aggressively opposed to this. The school then approaches a tough black teacher for help.

Director: Paul Bogart
Stars: Calvin Lockhart, Janet MacLachlan, Jeff Bridges
Action | Adventure | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

Uncle Frank Kelly calls on Harry Crown to help him in a gang war. The war becomes personal when Harry's new girlfriend is kidnapped by Uncle Frank's enemy, Big Eddie.

Director: John Frankenheimer
Stars: Richard Harris, Edmond O'Brien, Bradford Dillman
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  

Harry is a married writer who has an affair with a woman whose husband knows that she is unfaithful. As a result of his work, Harry has trouble distinguishing between fantasy and reality ... See full summary »

Director: John Frankenheimer
Stars: Alan Bates, Dominique Sanda, Michel Auclair
The Fixer (1968)
Certificate: M Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

In Czarist Russia, around 1911, a Russian-Jewish handyman, Yakov Bog, is wrongly imprisoned for a most unlikely crime.

Director: John Frankenheimer
Stars: Alan Bates, Dirk Bogarde, Georgia Brown
Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
...
...
...
Hildy Brooks ...
...
Pearl (as Nancy Juno Dawson)
Evans Evans ...
Martyn Green ...
...
...
John McLiam ...
Stephen Pearlman ...
Tom Pedi ...
Edit

Storyline

It's 1912 and the patrons of 'The Last Chance Saloon' have gathered for their evening of whiskey to contemplate their lost faith and dreams, when Hickey (Lee Marvin) arrives. Hickey is out to convince everyone that he can help them all find peace of mind by ridding them of the foolish dreams and by bringing them back to reality. Hickey is working especially hard on Larry Slade (Robert Ryan) a former anarchist who has lost his will for life and is awaiting the eventuality of death. Larry is not affected by the cajolings of Hickey but his young companion Parritt (Jeff Bridges) is strangely affected and this leads to revelations about his own mother and feelings of betrayal and loss. As the night wears on the mood changes as everyone has the their faith and dreams slowly destroyed by Hickey. As the anger builds everyone turns on Hickey about his wife and the iceman. This leads to more revelations and with Hickey having the faint questioning of his own new found convictions. Written by Dr pepper <j0468@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

10 November 1973 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Buzcu Geliyor  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Robert Ryan, knowing he was going to die of cancer soon, agreed to play the part of Larry Slade, a character who knows he's going to die soon (Ryan died before the film was released). See more »

Quotes

Willie Oban: Would that Hickey or death would come!
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Step by Step: The Ice Cream Man Cometh (1994) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Heeeeeeeere's Hickey…and he's here to help!
15 July 2008 | by (Brisbane, Australia) – See all my reviews

While I don't cover much of the plot in this long film, I do try to explain the philosophy that underpins why a bunch of drunks are sitting around a bar, in 1912 New York, waiting for their friend, Hickey, to arrive. If you'd rather see the film first, then read no further.

***

When I saw this 1973 film in the seventies, I thought it was an interesting, if long-winded, exposition about the evils of alcohol addiction and sloth, and not much else. Being in my early thirties then, y'see, I was more interested in less depressing topics.

Recently, however, I obtained a DVD and decided to have another look. When I finished I realized, of course, that the play is indeed much, much more than my first, immature assessment. In fact, as I watched, it became very clear to me that the whole play is an allegory that plays – no pun intended - with the biblical John the Baptist, The Last Supper, and the betrayal by Judas Iscariot.

Intrigued by those thoughts, I searched the internet for O'Neill biographies (as I knew next to nothing about him) because I had an idea that O'Neill had been a Catholic who'd rebelled and that he had fully intended his play to (almost) parody those religious icons. Various search results confirmed O'Neill's religious background and his rejection of Catholicism while the following, from another online source, supports the idea of a religious underpinning for the play:

• "The Iceman Cometh, the most complex and perhaps the finest of the O'Neill tragedies, followed in 1939, although it did not appear on Broadway until 1946. Laced with subtle religious symbolism, the play is a study of man's need to cling to his hope for a better life, even if he must delude himself to do so."

So, yes, the play is about a lot of drunken loafers in various stages of despair, but they all represent the status of humanity, according to O'Neill: besotted by its own self-delusion and self-pity.

Consider Hickey (Lee Marvin, in a truly great performance) as a modern rendition of the biblical John: the quintessential salesman, the sharp-talking shark who can tear you to pieces verbally, and the man who has the message that will save you; yes, you twelve, you drunken bums, sitting on your asses twenty-four-seven, drowning yourselves in your collective delusions. Forget your pipe-dreams, says Hickey, stand up for yourselves, on your own feet, and get out there and face the world, the new world that is dawning for each, if only you would act! But first, you must give up the first, and maybe worst, crutch: booze. Because, continues Hickey, I've seen the light and I've given up drinking – ah, well, except for the odd, important and festive occasion, y'know...

So what could be more important than a birthday party for Harry Hope (Frederic March), the bar owner without hope, who hasn't stepped outside since his wife died twenty years earlier? He and the other eleven men in that bar have been waiting and waiting for Hickey to come and lavish his eloquence (and drinking money, of course) upon them all.

So, Hickey delivers, and then some, by convincing them all, except Larry Slade (Robert Ryan in his best-ever performance), in a moving - literally and figuratively - tirade during and after that Last Supper that Hickey will ever attend at this bar. Why last? Because Hickey has an unsavory secret that shocks them all, (except Larry) to the core when he is forced to reveal it and, in doing so, they all (except Larry again) reject Hickey's promise of personal salvation. Hence, when Hickey meets his fate with the law, as did the biblical John, and the bums go back to their booze and their delusions, Larry is the only one to realize that he can no longer remain on "the grandstand of philosophical detachment" and must act now according to his convictions.

Ironically, Larry's decision seals the fate of Don Paritt (a very young Jeff Bridges), a thoroughly unlikable coward and betrayer of lost causes. Lacking true courage to initiate the action to atone for his crime, Don beseeches Larry to decide for him, with the inevitable result. And, as Larry savors his new found "freedom", such as it is, he looks through the window, and specifically away from his one-time drinking partners who are all now busily, once again, deluding themselves with drink.

As the epitome of a modernity that rejects religion, Lee Marvin says it all, with consummate skill and panache; only Robert Ryan's Larry (O'Neill's alter ego), perhaps as a counterpoint to the biblical Peter, sees Hickey's message for what it truly is – a rejection of that "opium of the masses" as Karl Marx opined - and finally decides to act for himself. The other ten 'apostles' at the bar are lost souls because it's sufficient for O'Neill, in my opinion, that Larry finally woke up; the rest of the world can live in Hell.

What's missing – or, rather, who's missing – from this whole play is, of course, a Christ-figure. Again, given O'Neill's view of religion as a delusion, that is entirely fitting.

The setting – all in one long, dark and moody bar – the directing from Frankenheimer, the photography that uses long takes and medium closeups throughout, the production standards, all add up to an experience that is only rarely presented. And, without a doubt, all of the actors performed to the peak, I think, of their prowess.

Highly recommended for all theatre and cinema buffs.

I must now, of course, search for a DVD of the 1960 version and prepare a comparative review.


8 of 10 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
this film is so dark, I wonder if the writer thought FlorenceLawrence
Tom Pedi also reprised!! mickeyv007
Discuss The Iceman Cometh (1973) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page