Critic Reviews



Based on 15 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
Reds is an extraordinary film, a big romantic adventure movie, the best since David Lean's ''Lawrence of Arabia,'' as well as a commercial movie with a rare sense of history.
Not since Lawrence of Arabia has there been a serious historical movie of this sweep, complexity and intelligence.
Warren Beatty's shapely 1981 epic, based on the life of radical journalist John Reed, is a stunningly successful application of a novelistic aesthetic—a film that makes full and thoughtful use of its three-and-a-half-hour length to develop characters, ideas, and motifs with a depth seldom seen in movies.
Warren Beatty's Reds is an extraordinary picture. Three hours and 19 minutes long, it is occasionally rambling and repetitious, but nearly always intelligent and engrossing.
It’s a stylistic throwback as well: an old-fashioned, star-studded, big-budget historical epic with an intermission, filmed in a classical style that hearkens back in some ways to David Lean’s Lawrence Of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago.
An engrossing, beautifully filmed and remarkably balanced portrait of a fascinating moment in history, cleverly enhanced by the intercutting of real-life documentary interviews. Reds is everything a historian could want in a movie.
As for Beatty, Reds is his bravura turn. He got the idea, nurtured it for a decade, found the financing, wrote most of the script, produced, and directed and starred and still found enough artistic detachment to make his Reed into a flawed, fascinating enigma instead of a boring archetypal hero. I liked this movie. I felt a real fondness for it.
Reds is finally just an appealingly conventional epic movie-star romance with radical trimmings, but it contains several sharper elements that suggest the colorful period it seeks to recreate.
The film's chief attribute, however, is also one of its major flaws. In presenting an up-close, personal look at the lives of its famous figures--particularly Reed and Bryant in their love affair and marriage--the film sometimes gives short shrift to the world-shaking events that are its unique subject. Nonetheless, the brilliantly designed and photographed REDS is a beautiful, passionate film, both in its stunningly recreated action scenes and its quietest moments.
The New Yorker
The subject - the romantic life of an American Communist - may be daring, but the moviemaking is extremely traditional, with Beatty playing a man who dies for an ideal. It's rather a sad movie, because it isn't really very good.

More Critic Reviews

See all external reviews for Reds (1981) »

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Reviews | User Ratings | External Reviews