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Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)

Not Rated | | Drama | 22 June 1966 (USA)
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2:12 | Trailer
A bitter, aging couple, with the help of alcohol, use their young houseguests to fuel anguish and emotional pain towards each other over the course of a distressing night.

Director:

Mike Nichols

Writer:

Ernest Lehman (screenplay)
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Popularity
2,512 ( 2,399)
Won 5 Oscars. Another 17 wins & 26 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Elizabeth Taylor ... Martha
Richard Burton ... George
George Segal ... Nick
Sandy Dennis ... Honey
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Storyline

George (Richard Burton) and Martha (Dame Elizabeth Taylor) are a middle-aged married couple, whose charged relationship is defined by vitriolic verbal battles, which underlies what seems like an emotional dependence upon each other. This verbal abuse is fuelled by an excessive consumption of alcohol. George being an associate History professor in a New Carthage university where Martha's father is the President adds an extra dimension to their relationship. Late one Saturday evening after a faculty mixer, Martha invites Nick (George Segal) and Honey (Sandy Dennis), an ambitious young Biology professor new to the university and his mousy wife, over for a nightcap. As the evening progresses, Nick and Honey, plied with more alcohol, get caught up in George and Martha's games of needing to hurt each other and everyone around them. The ultimate abuse comes in the form of talk of George and Martha's unseen sixteen-year-old son, whose birthday is the following day. Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

You are cordially invited to George and Martha's for an evening of fun and games. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Dame Elizabeth Taylor's Best Actress Oscar winning performance was the only nominee in the category in a Best Picture nominee that year. This is in contrast to the Best Actor category that same year, where each nominee was in a Best Picture nominee. See more »

Goofs

When George and Nick are outside talking under the large tree, George pours a small amount of bourbon into Nick's glass. A second later, we see the glass has much more bourbon in it than was originally poured. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Martha: [with disgust] What a dump.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Gilmore Girls: Presenting Lorelai Gilmore (2001) See more »

Soundtracks

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (to the tune of Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush)
Traditional English melody
Original lyrics ("Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?") by Frank Churchill & Ann Ronell; modified by Edward Albee
Performed by Elizabeth Taylor
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User Reviews

 
Perfect Movie-making
28 February 2005 | by RathkoSee all my reviews

An undisputed classic that chronicles every appalling moment of a drunken night in hell as middle-aged George and Martha tear each other, and their guest, to pieces.

Elizabeth Taylor proves categorically that she was a truly great actress. Her Oscar-winning performance as the psychologically tormented Martha is one of the greatest performances in the history of cinema. Taylor's imperceptible shifting from sadism to tenderness, from bullying condescension to exhausted vulnerability, is a masterclass in character building. Martha is a truly monstrous character, and yet Taylor is able to imbue her with sympathy, allowing you brief glimpses of the warm and lovable woman she could have been.

Richard Burton is equally magnificent as George; an ageing, failing college professor whose initial meekness gives way to a raging torment all of his own. His verbal sparring with Taylor, like two pit-bulls in the ring of an endless and bloody dogfight, has become legendary. Every word drips with malice and contempt, every sentence is designed to cut the deepest wound. At times, it becomes painful to watch, but like true train-wreck television, you cannot drag yourself away from the inevitably terrible conclusion.

Quite possibly, this is as close to perfect as movies can get; beautifully written dialogue, deeply complex characters, an evolving and suspenseful storyline, beautiful photography, and a wonderfully understated score by Alex North. Nominated for 13 Academy Awards in 1967, but lost out to A Man for All Seasons and Born Free to win only 5.

"Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" "I am."


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Latin | Spanish

Release Date:

22 June 1966 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? See more »

Filming Locations:

Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$7,500,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$28,000,000

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$28,005,068
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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