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The Founder (2016)

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The story of Ray Kroc, a salesman who turned two brothers' innovative fast food eatery, McDonald's, into one of the biggest restaurant businesses in the world with a combination of ambition, persistence, and ruthlessness.

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(as Robert Siegel)
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1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Dick McDonald
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Mac McDonald
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Harry J. Sonneborn
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Fred Turner
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Rollie Smith
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Jim Zien
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Jerry Cullen
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Jack Horford
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Leonard Rosenblatt
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Myra Rosenblatt
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Owner (Ed's Drive-In)
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Storyline

1954. Having worked as a salesman most of his adult life, Ray Kroc has been a hustler in most senses of the word. That hustling has made him the target of derision among certain circles for peddling what have ended up being more novelty or faddish than useful products, but it has also placed more than a comfortable roof in Arlington Heights, Illinois over his and his wife Ethel's heads. Ethel, however, wishes that he placed as much effort into being at home with her than he is in selling, his current job of peddling five-spindle milkshake makers for Prince Castle which has him constantly on the road going from one drive-in restaurant to another. It is because of the beefs he has with the whole drive-in experience (bad food, bad service) in constantly eating at such establishments while on the road that he becomes enthralled with the concept of McDonald's Restaurant in San Bernardino, California, it owned and operated by brothers Richard McDonald and Maurice McDonald - Dick and Mac. ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

He took someone else's idea and America ate it up. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for brief strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Official Sites:

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Country:

Language:

Release Date:

20 January 2017 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Le fondateur  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$7,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$3,404,102 (USA) (20 January 2017)

Gross:

$11,205,243 (USA) (10 February 2017)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Red Carpet movie at the 13th Dubai International Film Festival 2016, premiered on 12th of December. See more »

Goofs

Taking place during the 1954-1955 period, the telephone at the original San Bernardino McDonald's location is a Western Electric Model 554 wall phone, which debuted in 1956. See more »

Quotes

Ray Kroc: You know what - contracts are like hearts, they are made to be broken.
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Connections

References Pennies from Heaven (1936) See more »

Soundtracks

In Spite of Everything
Written and performed by Larry Goldings
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User Reviews

 
The Real Story of a Real Jerk
21 January 2017 | by (New Jersey) – See all my reviews

McDonald's has been one of if not the most influential brands in the world. It has been a staple of not only American fast food but American life, whether you like like it or not. Going into The Founder I did not know a lot Ray Kroc, other than that he was in some way involved with the mega chain. Turns out Kroc is a real piece of work, and while there were things about this story that interested me, overall what we get is the tale of an asshole and how he succeeded in screwing some people out of a lot of money. This is where the movie runs into its main problem, half the time it feels like praying at the alter of Kroc, and the other half feels like a pulled punch to the gut of ultra-capitalists.

The first act tells about Kroc struggling as a milkshake mixer salesman, when he discovers a restaurant unlike any of the others that he has visited. The speed of service, the consistency of the quality of the food and the way it brought the community together draws Kroc to the burger shack known as McDonald's. The rest of the movie plays out with Kroc slowly bleeding the McDonald brothers of their company and really the original intention of the restaurant. Kroc did implement some innovations that pushed McDonald's into a worldwide franchise, but these moments mostly come after the events of the movie. The innovative ideas that we do see are almost exclusively created by the McDonald brothers, who as previously stated basically get screwed the whole movie.

Michael Keaton is probably looking right back at you from both sides of the screen right now, so you have probably figured out he plays an important role here. Keaton plays it with his normal light comedy tone, which would work perfectly if the movie had embraced it more. I have no idea what Ray Kroc is like so I really don't know if he was anything like Keaton's performance, but darn it if he is not enjoyable to watch. When Kroc begins his descent into jerk off Keaton is professional enough to pull off the switch in character just enough to keep the original idea of him intact. For the most part everyone else just pops in and out. Nick Offerman and John Carrol Lynch play the McDonald brothers who come and go quite regularly, again mostly getting screwed. Poor Laura Dern plays Kroc's first wife, who is relegated to the bummer at home. She never gets to be anything but disappointing which in turn, is disappointing.

The McDonald brothers main concern for franchising their restaurant, which had taken them years to perfect just the way they wanted it was that the quality of the food would suffer and thus the name would suffer. Now some 60 odd years later it is funny to think about how that is exactly what happened, and there in lies the main problem with The Founder. There is no critical look at the moves Kroc made. They don't fully back his decisions, but they also don't condemn them. This movie needed a side to take, with it stuck in the middle the story becomes so much less than it could have been. It's like if The Big Short did not make up its mind when it comes to the bankers that caused the financial meltdown.

My final thoughts on the movie are pretty simple, there is an interesting story here, where in some ways the world was changed for the better, and some for the worse. I just don't believe it was told in the right way, and while not an incredibly important tale was one that was not difficult to sit through. at an hour and 55 minute run time, The Founder just sneaks under the magic 2 hour mark, but honestly could have been about 15 minutes shorter. There was something here, but with the tone of the movie stuck on the fence, The Founder is pretty forgettable.


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