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J. Edgar (2011)

6.6
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 84,750 users   Metascore: 59/100
Reviews: 264 user | 379 critic | 42 from Metacritic.com

J. Edgar Hoover, powerful head of the F.B.I. for nearly 50 years, looks back on his professional and personal life.

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Title: J. Edgar (2011)

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 4 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Cheryl Lawson ...
Palmer's Wife
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Palmer's Daughter
Brady Matthews ...
Inspector
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Head Secretary
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Edgar's Father
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Hoover as a Child
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Labor Dept. Lawyer
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Storyline

Biopic of J. Edgar Hoover told by Hoover as he recalls his career for a biography. Early in his career, Hoover fixated on Communists, anarchists and any other revolutionary taking action against the U.S. government. He slowly builds the agency's reputation, becoming the sole arbiter of who gets hired and fired. One of his hires is Clyde Tolson who is quickly promoted to Assistant Director and would be Hoover's confidant and companion for the rest of Hoover's life. Hoover's memories have him playing a greater role in the many high profile cases the FBI was involved in - the Lindbergh baby kidnapping, the arrest of bank robbers like John Dillinger - and also show him to be quite adept at manipulating the various politicians he's worked with over his career, thanks in large part to his secret files. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

The Most Powerful Man in the World

Genres:

Biography | Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for brief strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

11 November 2011 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hoover  »

Box Office

Budget:

$35,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$11,217,324 (USA) (11 November 2011)

Gross:

$37,304,950 (USA) (17 February 2012)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Judi Dench broke her toe while working on her previous movie. She kept her injury secret to avoid being replaced. Co-producer Robert Lorenz only found out after she had finished filming her scenes. See more »

Goofs

Neither Hoover nor Agent Melvin Purvis killed John Dillinger. Dillinger was actually gunned down by agents Clarence Hurt, Charles Winstead, and Herman Hollis. Most historical accounts give Winstead credit for delivering the fatal shot to the back of Dillinger's head. Ironically, given the film's depiction of Hoover as constantly claiming credit for the deed, Winstead received a personal letter of commendation from Hoover for it. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
J. Edgar Hoover: Let me tell you something. The SCLC has direct Communist ties. Even great men can be corrupted, can't they? Communism is not a political party. It is a disease. It corrupts the soul, turning men, even the gentlest of men, into vicious evil tyrants.
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Connections

Referenced in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #20.107 (2012) See more »

Soundtracks

I Only Have Eyes for You
Written by Harry Warren and Al Dubin
Performed by Kyle Eastwood, Joe Bagg, Kye Palma, and Jason Harnell
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
What is Truth?
25 November 2011 | by (Phoenix) – See all my reviews

The infamous words spoken by Pilate to Jesus of Nazareth come to mind when one ponders the life of John Edgar Hoover. Was he a genius or a tyrant? A patriot or a dictator? A cross dresser or an uptight man with no sex life? Nobody knows for certain, and director Clint Eastwood does not offer a definitive answer to any of these questions, which is exactly as it should be. Life is rarely cut-and-dried, but moviegoers seem to have forgotten that fact in the face of media that state speculation as fact on a regular basis.

I find it not only surprising, but distressing, that a major criticism from those critics who panned the film is the lack of closure on Hoover's private life. Unless they are truly obtuse, they must realize that no film could possibly do such a thing, since his files were destroyed at his own bidding. All is speculation, and a fine speculation it is. Leonardo DiCaprio is superb (as usual) in the title role, never revealing more cards then he chooses to at any given moment. He receives fine support from Armie Hammer as Clyde Tolson, Hoover's Second in Command/Rumored Lover, and Naomi Watts as his endlessly loyal private secretary Helen Gandy. At a time when "red fever" ran high, Hoover's relentlessly tightening control on government investigations is shown in flashbacks that only underscore how supreme power can corrupt even the noblest of intentions.

In the end, the film answers none of the questions that seem so important to the very critics that disliked it, but in my humble opinion, a well made film is one that inspires debate or discussion rather than simply hand down a definitive 'this is the way it was' with an imperious gavel. With "J Edgar", Eastwood and his cast have succeeded well.


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