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Cradle Will Rock (1999)

R  |   |  Drama  |  21 January 2000 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 7,924 users   Metascore: 64/100
Reviews: 160 user | 70 critic | 31 from Metacritic.com

A true story of politics and art in the 1930s U.S., focusing on a leftist musical drama and attempts to stop its production.



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5 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:


In 1930s New York Orson Welles tries to stage a musical on a steel strike under the Federal Theater Program despite pressure from an establishment fearful of industrial unrest and red activity. Meanwhile Nelson Rockefeller gets the foyer of his company headquarters decorated and an Italian countess sells paintings for Mussolini. Written by Jeremy Perkins <jwp@aber.ac.uk>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

1930s | theatre | depression | union | play | See All (48) »


Art is never dangerous -- unless it tells the truth. See more »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some language and sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

21 January 2000 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Abajo el telón  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$32,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$93,998 (USA) (10 December 1999)


$2,899,970 (USA) (21 April 2000)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Director Tim Robbins co-wrote the song "Cobbler in Despair" and co-produced the song "Croon Spoon". "Croon Spoon" was sung by Susan Sarandon and Eddie Vedder from the rock group Pearl Jam. See more »


When Tommy Crickshaw and Hazel Huffman are discussing communism, the camera shot from behind Crickshaw shows his hand in a fist, cut to the next shot facing him, his hand is stretched out. See more »


John Houseman: As the producer, I can fire anybody I want, and I am fucking fired!
See more »

Crazy Credits

This movie was inspired by actual events, but certain characters, organizations and events have been fictionalized. See more »


Featured in Broadway: The American Musical (2004) See more »


The Cradle Will Rock
Written by Marc Blitzstein
Performed by Henry Stram, Timothy Jerome (as Tim Jerome), Victoria Clark (as Vicki Clark),
Erin Hill, Daniel Jenkins (as Dan Jenkins) and Chris McKinney
Courtesy of RCA Records
See more »

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User Reviews

A film that will change your life.
1 February 2000 | by (Pa.) – See all my reviews

Tim Robbins has created a masterpiece. A film that stands up in the face of adversity and squashed freedom.Robbin's telling of the legendary events surrounding the Orson Welles production of Marc Blitztien's Labor Opers, THE CRADLE WILL ROCK, not only puts forth the events but he masterfully presents his film in the style of a Brecht theatre piece. The emotional level in the theatre when I saw this film was high,Applause rang out during the films climax. But this film is not only about artistic freedom, it is about freedom as a whole,about standing up for your freedom of belief and expression,could you imagine that there was actually a time in this "free" nation of ours when armed guards actually locked the doors of a theatre ,trying to prevent a show from being mounted.This film is an important one,and what Robbins accomplishes is to present it as entertainment as well,this is not a history lesson but a well executed work of art. As perfomances go everyone was splendid. Hank Azaria wins best honors as Blitztien,Cary Elwes and Angus McFadden as Houseman and Welles are also brilliant in their stellar portrayals.Vanessa Redgrave,Susan Sarandon and Bill Murray also lend their imense talents. John Turrturo deserves special mention for his touching portrait of actor Howard DaSilva. Some critics have pointed out what they felt was a lack of character development in the film. These critics have greatly missed the point. the film is presented as a Brecht (or Blitztein ) style play. Blitztein's CRADLE included characters named for their role in society,or personality, Jimmy Forman,Mister Mister,Reverend Salvation etc. it is this type of acting Robbins successfully evokes from his actors. This film is more than a movie,it is an emotional experience that will change the way you look at society.It is an inspiration,telling us to fight for what you believe in.

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