Up 3,635 this week

Cradle Will Rock (1999)

R  |   |  Drama  |  21 January 2000 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 6.9/10 from 7,893 users   Metascore: 64/100
Reviews: 160 user | 70 critic | 31 from

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



Watch Trailer
0Check in

Watch Now

From $2.99 on Amazon Video


Top 25 Trivia Items From the Last 25 Years

Here are some amazing facts and figures to deepen your appreciation of the movies you love.

See the full list

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 45 titles
created 22 Sep 2011
a list of 45 titles
created 13 Jan 2013
list image
a list of 43 titles
created 15 Jul 2014
a list of 45 titles
created 2 months ago
a list of 23 images
created 2 weeks ago

Related Items

Search for "Cradle Will Rock" on

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: Cradle Will Rock (1999)

Cradle Will Rock (1999) on IMDb 6.9/10

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

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of Cradle Will Rock.
5 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Bob Roberts (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A right-wing folk singer becomes a corrupt politician and runs a crooked election campaign. Only one independent muck-raking reporter is trying to stop him.

Director: Tim Robbins
Stars: Tim Robbins, Giancarlo Esposito, Alan Rickman
Eight Men Out (1988)
Drama | History | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A dramatization of the Black Sox scandal when the underpaid Chicago White Sox accepted bribes to deliberately lose the 1919 World Series.

Director: John Sayles
Stars: John Cusack, Clifton James, Michael Lerner
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

This film reenacts the Manhattan Project, the secret wartime project in New Mexico where the first atomic bombs were designed and built.

Director: Roland Joffé
Stars: Paul Newman, Dwight Schultz, Bonnie Bedelia
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

When unemployed dockworker Joey Coyle finds $1.2 million that fell off of an armored car, he decides to do the logical thing: take the money and run. After all, he says, finders keepers. He... See full summary »

Director: Ramón Menéndez
Stars: John Cusack, Debi Mazar, Michael Madsen
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Four small-time two-bit character actors, all close friends, are competing for same important part in the next Martin Scorsese mob film.

Director: Philip Frank Messina
Stars: Adam Arkin, David Strathairn, Jon Tenney
True Colors (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Best friends from law school to election night, their friendship is sorely tested when one learns of another's betrayal.

Director: Herbert Ross
Stars: John Cusack, James Spader, Imogen Stubbs
Quick Change (1990)
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Three thieves successfully rob a New York City bank, but making the escape from the city proves to be almost impossible.

Directors: Howard Franklin, Bill Murray
Stars: Bill Murray, Geena Davis, Randy Quaid
Embedded (Video 2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

A play that chronicles the war in Iraq through satire and commedia dell'arte masks., which pokes fun at neo-conservatives such as Karl Rove, Condoleezza Rice, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld.

Director: Tim Robbins
Stars: V.J. Foster, Brent Hinkley, Jay R. Martinez
Pushing Tin (1999)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A feud develops between two air traffic controllers: one cocky and determined while the other is restrained and laidback, which inevitably affects their lives.

Director: Mike Newell
Stars: John Cusack, Billy Bob Thornton, Cate Blanchett
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

After his life is saved by a lonely cop, a mobster who moonlights as a stand-up comedian provides the cop with a beautiful young companion.

Director: John McNaughton
Stars: Robert De Niro, Uma Thurman, Bill Murray
Tapeheads (1988)
Comedy | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

A couple of creative losers accidently become big shots in the video music industry.

Director: Bill Fishman
Stars: John Cusack, Tim Robbins, Mary Crosby
The Grifters (1990)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A small-time conman has torn loyalties between his estranged mother and new girlfriend--both of whom are high-stakes grifters with their own angles to play.

Director: Stephen Frears
Stars: Anjelica Huston, John Cusack, Annette Bening


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 <>

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?


Cary Elwes and Angus Macfadyen would later act in the "Saw" series, as Doctor Gordon in "Saw" and Jeff Reinhart in Saws "3" and "4" respectively. See more »


Diego Rivera's mural in Rockefeller Center was destroyed in February of 1934. The unauthorized performance of "The Cradle Will Rock" took place on 16 June 1937. Hallie Flanagan testified before Congressman Dies' committee on 6 December 1938. For artistic effect, the film makes it seem that the three events occur simultaneously. See more »


Aldo Silvano: When the storm breaks, the cradle will rock!
See more »

Crazy Credits

There is a heart in the credit roll with the following initials inside; SS, EMLA, JHR & MGR (SS is likely 'Susan Sarandon,' EMLA for Sarandon's daughter Eva Amurri, JHR & MGR for Robbins' & Sarandon's sons Jack Henry & Miles Robbins). See more »


References Camera Three: The Cradle Will Rock (1964) 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 »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Artsy, elegant manifesto with fascinating sub-plots and details.
1 August 2003 | by (Dungarvan, Ireland) – See all my reviews

Based on the events that occurred in post Depression era New York in 1936, `The Cradle Will Rock' is a spectacular extravaganza of people, places, and most of all, cultures. Truly an exemplary take on the battle of radicals and corporates, art and politics when they could be united in a common bond. Thus, it is only suiting that such a film be directed by uber-liberalist Tim Robbins. This picture simply wouldn't have worked without him.

From an overhead point of view, this is the cinematic equivalent of a protest- a real bite on shady politics. But in actuality it is something far deeper, focusing on numerous interesting sub-plots and taking in everyone's point of view. The backdrop is the closing down of a theatrical play when it is accused of being communist. Throughout the 135 minutes, we take in all of the different `isms'- fascism, capitalism, communism, Nazism, Catholicism and Judaism. Not only does this require a passing knowledge on these people and events; one must have an interest in the proceedings to get the most out of it.

One reason why there have been some negative reviews is because people are confused as to why Diego Riviera, Margherreta Sarfatti etc. are in the story. I can explain. Rather like `Magnolia (which followed on totally dissimilar outlines), you have to read the sub-text. This is a movie about passion for art and music. Marc Blitzein, Hazel Huffman and Diego Riviera (and all connected) had a deep passion for their work that the authorities would soon destroy because of rules and regulations.

Interesting is the fact that all the characters are based on true life people, and Robbins has assembled a fine cast who give noteworthy performances all across the board. One of the hardest to portray has to be Orson Welles. It's a true fact that 21-year-olds from the 1930's look much older than those from the 90's. No one wanted to see James Van Der Beek/ Casper Van Dien in the role. Thus, Angus MacFadyen was a superb choice, portraying Welles as an egotistical, self-centred man. Equally impressive is Susan Sarandon (with an impeccable exotic accent) as a Jewish Fascist art dealer. She knows exactly what she's doing and highlights some of the best scenes. Other standouts include John Cusack's aristocratic Nelson Rockafeller and Cary Elwes' interpretation of flamboyant producer/ soon-to-be Oscar winner (`The Paper Chase'- 1973) John Houseman.

If there were a flaw, it would have to be the last 15-20 minutes. What, for the most part, is an illustrious, brilliant character study later dissipates into a shiny-smiley low glitz `Singin In the Rain' effort. Such a shame, because the film was doing so tremendously up until that point. Then of course, it is 135 minutes long so much of that final sequence could and should have been excised.

Nevertheless, if you can forgive that, you have a remarkable, audacious film on hand. `The Cradle Will Rock' truly is an overseen landmark in ensembles, biopics and interweaving. By far Robbins best movie yet, the sub-plots are equally impressive from Blitzstein's paranoid delusions to Constance La Grange's over-the-top characteristics. If you are in any way interested in fascism, communism etc. then don't miss this polished, spirited picture. My IMDb rating: 7.6/10.

20 of 27 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Hollywood Liberal Propaganda bobgio99
Underrated Classic. kermit_the_frog
Jack Black lilbuddha
Symbolism vjcowboys
wow balletbabi
Ventriloquism phauge
Discuss Cradle Will Rock (1999) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page