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A radical American journalist becomes involved with the Communist revolution in Russia and hopes to bring its spirit and idealism to the United States.

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Won 3 Oscars. Another 19 wins & 34 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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...
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Jerzy Kosinski ...
Grigory Zinoviev
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Louis Fraina
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Paul Trullinger
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Speaker - Liberal Club
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Mr. Partlow
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Mrs. Partlow
MacIntyre Dixon ...
Carl Walters
Pat Starr ...
Helen Walters
Eleanor D. Wilson ...
Mrs. Reed
...
Floyd Dell
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Storyline

This movie tells the true story of John Reed, a radical American journalist around the time of World War I. He soon meets Louise Bryant, a respectable married woman, who dumps her husband for Reed and becomes an important feminist and radical in her own right. After involvement with labor and political disputes in the US, they go to Russia in time for the October Revolution in 1917, when the Communists siezed power. Inspired, they return to the US, hoping to lead a similar revolution. A particularly fascinating aspect of the movie is the inclusion of interviews with "witnesses", the real-life surviving participants in the events of the movie. Written by Reid Gagle

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Not since Gone With The Wind has there been a great romantic epic like it!


Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

25 December 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Comrades  »

Box Office

Budget:

$35,000,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film features five spoken languages: English, Finnish, French, German and Russian, and was filmed in five countries: USA, England, Spain, Sweden and Finland, the latter doubling for Russia. See more »

Goofs

In the scene of the Booster's dinner in Portland is in 1915 and the announcer says that he's ready to make the world safe for democracy. In 1915 the United States was still neutral and the phrase "make the world safe for democracy," was actually part of Woodrow Wilson's war message to Congress which he gave on April 2, 1917, two years after the Portland event. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Witness 1: [voiceover] Was that in 1913 or 17? I can't remember now. Uh, I'm, uh, beginning to forget all the people that I used to know, see?
Witness 2: [voiceover] Do I remember Louise Bryant? Why, of course, I couldn't forget her if I tried.
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Crazy Credits

As the credits roll, additional interviews with the 'witnesses' play. See more »

Connections

Featured in Witness to 'Reds' (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Cartoon Rag
by Michael Karp
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Great movie
16 June 2004 | by (Brooklyn, USA) – See all my reviews

This movie was great, and I hope it comes out on DVD real soon. Beatty became Reed in more than one sense--not only did he act the part, but he directed the movie in a way reminiscent of the kind of "new journalistic" style that Reed and his fellow MASSES writers pioneered, mixing the drama with interviews of people who knew JR, Louise, etc.

The film also sort of puts forward the question, "What if, instead of running back to Russia (to die of kidney failure and mistreatment by the CP), Jack Reed had stayed in this country to build the CP? Would it have turned out to become Stalinist?" According to Howe and Coser, who wrote a good book on THE AMERICAN COMMUNIST PARTY, much like Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht in Germany, Reed was the ONLY leader who was independent, who had some real backbone.

The best part of the movie is when Emma Goldmann, played by Maureen Stapleton, tells Jack that "it doesn't work" (i.e. statist, bureaucratic socialism that the Bolsheviks were instituting as a grossly mistaken response to the economic crisis and Allied invasion of Russia after the Revolution). And then his rebellion against the lying propaganda of Zinoviev. Kind of hits me right now that Jerzy Kosinski should play Zinoviev--didn't he commit suicide when he was exposed as a plagiarist? Where is the line between art and reality, politics and life?

Of course I loved the romantic reality between Beatty, Bryant, and Nicholson (Reed, Bryant, and Eugene O'Neill). And the cynicism that Reed expresses about the Democrats and Wilson is certainly apropos today.


38 of 50 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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