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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.


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



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


American journalist John Reed journeys to Russia to document the Bolshevik Revolution and returns a revolutionary. His fervor for left-wing politics leads him to Louise Bryant, then married, who will become a feminist icon and activist. Politics at home become more complicated as the rift grows between reality and Reed's ideals. Bryant takes up with a cynical playwright, and Reed returns to Russia, where his health declines. Written by Jwelch5742

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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


PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





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Release Date:

25 December 1981 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Comrades  »

Box Office


$35,000,000 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Gene Hackman: as Pete Van Wherry. See more »


In the kitchen, after Eddie says that he missed the meeting with Levine because he had to take his wife to the clinic, Jack opens a cabinet door to get a pill bottle. Louise hands him the pill bottle. Jack turns to face her and takes a step away from the cabinets. From Louise's POV, we see Jack with the cabinet door wide open behind him. The shot shifts to Jack's POV of Louise, then back to her POV of Jack. The cabinet door is now closed. See more »


[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.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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


Featured in Casting By (2012) See more »


Waiting for the Robert E. Lee
Written by L. Wolfe Gilbert & Lewis F. Muir (as Louis F. Muir)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Stupefyingly Boring And Long-Winded
25 August 2008 | by (Durham Region, Ontario, Canada) – See all my reviews

All those Oscar nominations? And three wins? You have to be kidding! I'll grant that the cast is a good one, headed up by Warren Beatty and Diane Keaton, with a smaller part for Jack Nicholson, supported by lesser known but very talented actors like Maureen Stapleton, Paul Sorvino, Dolph Sweet and Ian Wolfe among others, but even a good cast can't turn a complete snoozer into an Academy Award winner, so I'm just left wondering what happened with this one.

Essentially the movie tells the story of left-wing American journalist Jack Reed (Beatty), whose journey to Russia in 1917 to report on the Revolution there made him a committed Communist. Frankly, the first half of the movie is filled with far too much of two things: i) interviews with the "talking heads" - identified in the credits as "witnesses" who I guess had known Reed and his love interest Louise Bryant (Keaton), and ii) interminable portrayals of the tempestuous relationship between the two. The title of the movie suggests that the focus of the movie is on the leftist movement, but at times this comes close to being little more than a typical Hollywood romance. The second half of the movie, set mostly in Russia, finally downplays those two problems. There's a depiction of the battle for recognition from the Comintern (Communist International) by two competing U.S. Communist Parties, and we see Reed drafted as a propagandist by the Bolshevik authorities in Moscow.

The movie seems to avoid taking a hard position either for or against communism. Its weaknesses and failures are clearly pointed out, although overall I'd say the "feel" of the movie was favourable to the reds. Frankly, though, my real reaction to this film was to be bored almost to tears virtually from the first moment, when began several minutes of the talking heads - well - talking. The movie really lost me then, and it never managed to get me back - not even close. My gut tells me I can't do anything but a 1/10.

21 of 34 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Diane Keaton deserved the Oscar, but... Kachito82
Disagree(d) with the praise for this movie larrydeemer
Saw this movie for the first time the other wmchase65
Is this the greatest film of the last 30 years? Gondorff4
The major Flaw. Nathan-Lock
Other great films about the Russian Revolution mcnuggets360
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