Barbarella (1968) Poster

(1968)

User Reviews

Review this title
200 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
The greatest psychedelic science fiction sex comedy ever made!
Infofreak26 March 2003
I first saw 'Barbarella' on TV as a small child in the 1970s and along with 'The Omega Man', 'One Million Years B.C.', and 'Jason and the Argonauts' the movie blew my tiny little mind! I think my interest in cult and bizarre began from seeing this classic slice of 1960s psychedelic trash for the first time. This is one of the silliest movies ever made, but still one of the most entertaining. Jane Fonda, then at the peak of her sex kitten period (history lesson - this was before "radical Jane" and "corporate Jane"), has never looked lovelier than in this movie, and manages to really pull off Barbarella's wide-eyed innocence. Anita Pallenberg (co-star of 'Performance' and then Keith Richards' "old lady") is stunning as The Great Tyrant, even if her voice is dubbed, and her handful of scenes with Fonda are unforgettable. The rest of the eclectic supporting cast includes cult favourites John Phillip Law ('Diabolik') as Pygar, the blind angel, David Hemmings ('Profondo Rosso') as Dildano a revolutionary, and Milo O'Shea ('Theatre Of Blood') as renegade Earth scientist Duran Duran. 'Barbarella' contains some of the most striking and surreal images of the 1960s (the doll attack scene is one of my all time favourites!), and is definitely one of the most bizarre science fiction movies ever made. Like many of the 1960s more excessive movies it is a real love it or hate it proposition. I love it of course, and think it, Russ Meyer's 'Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill!', and Roger Corman's 'The Trip' are the three greatest 1960s trash classics. This is simply absolutely essential viewing for all 1960s buffs, science fiction or otherwise. Long live 'Barbarella'!
97 out of 120 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Sexed-Up and Super-Silly
gftbiloxi17 August 2005
If you're looking for a cult classic, they don't come much stranger than sexed-up and super-silly BARBARELLA, the peculiar tale of an intergalactic secret agent (Jane Fonda) sent to a rebel planet to find a mad scientist named Duran Duran (Milo O'Shea.) Directed by Fonda's then-husband Roger Vadim, the film is less concerned with creating a coherent storyline than it is in finding inventive ways to strip Fonda of her already skimpy outfits.

In this it is remarkably successful, and Fonda actually has both enough sex appeal and round-eyed innocence to carry the thing off, emerging as something like a Barbie doll; John Philip Law strikes a similar note as the sexy but equally innocent "angel" Pygar. The designs are 1960s psychedelic with as many Freudian twists as the film's makers can come up with, and when all is said and done you can't help but roll your eyes in amusement.

True enough, BARBARELLA was probably much more entertaining back in the days LSD, and indeed one might read the entire thing as an acid trip time machine. No one in the cast takes the film very seriously, and neither should you; when all is said and done it has all the depth of a pancake, not so much funny as merely amusing and appealing to a very high-camp sensibility. But as cult movies go, it ranks right up at the top. Give a party and show it on a double bill with FLESH GORDON! Gary F. Taylor, aka GFT, Amazon Reviewer
58 out of 72 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Essential Sci-Fi
jskinner-114 December 2004
This is eye candy from start to finish-- *including* one of the most baroque title sequences ever concocted (long before digital technology made this kind of playful titling standard). It's Franco-Italian design all the way through, a celebration of petroleum products and the best of the lava lamp aesthetic. Hard to tell if it's a parody of sci-fi or a parody of porn, or same difference is probably the point. There are some very stylized, sadomasochistic uses of Jane Fonda's long legs, at the same time that Fonda delivers the wittiest lines, in a very witty screenplay by Terry Southern (of Doctor Strangelove fame): "Decrucify my angel immediately!" (Kids, see if you can spot the Chucky in this 1968 precursor.) Skeptics should stay the course to learn what Duran Duran has to do with Barbarella. And Barbarella with the Black Queen. And the Black Queen with the Rolling Stones. And if you don't know what camp is, then you have to see Barbarella: even if the film is more sublime than camp, a kind of psychedelic Brechtian fantasia. (If that's not a contradiction in terms, then this isn't on my sci-fi shortlist.) One to own, to watch again and again.
113 out of 147 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Campy fun, but a bit tiresome by the end.
grendelkhan14 September 2003
Based on the classic comic by Jean-Claude Forest, Barbarella is a benchmark of camp 60's weirdness. It captures the flavor of the strip, which had a certain tongue-in-cheek sensibility. It is probably the best of Dino De Laurentiis' comic adaptations.

Jane Fonda is at her sexiest, and then-hubby Roger Vadim likes to show her assets off. Those who have only seen Serious Jane, Aerobics Jane, Mrs. Turner Jane, or Hanoi Jane, are really missing out. Fonda had quite a talent for comedy. The rest of the cast vary in quality. John Philip Law is wooden as ever, but David Hemmings is great as the revolutionary Dildano.

For those raised in the post-Star Wars special effects world, you'll probably cringe at the effects, but they are passable, given the era, and it adds to the campy charm.

Dino De Laurentiis has been both a blessing and a curse to comics. He has produced several films based on European and American comics; unfortunately, most of them are pretty bad. Diabolik and Flash Gordon do nothing but injustice to their source material. Conan was good, but Red Sonja definitely wasn't. In fact European comics have fared rather poorly. Aside from the aforementioned Diabolik, Modesty Blaise ruined what was a great action/adventure/spy strip and turned it into a campy mess. Barbarella, on the other hand, holds up, since it was never really a serious strip.

Yes, this is the film that would inspire the future Duran Duran and entice Drew Barrymore to pursue a remake. And yes kiddies, Jane is nekkid in this one, so get that pause button ready. I mean come one, who actually watches this for the acting?
8 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
the most beautiful film ever made
vampiremovies11 August 2003
This film is beautiful. From the gorgeous Jane Fonda, and sexy Pygar to the wonderful costumes, and the very shiney sets, there is nothing ugly in the whole thing.

Unbelievably silly it has some fantastic lines of dialogue like "de-crucify the angel or I melt your face!" Great characters, a killer lava lamp, fur lined space ship and a villain called Duran Duran.

The evil organ of desire scene, and the opening strip tease still manage to be erotic, even though this film is dated. Cult with a capital C, this is never going to appeal to a mainstream audience, and yet remains my favourite movie of all time. A classic. And very pretty pretty.
162 out of 221 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Pop Art
Bucs196025 July 2002
I'm not sure if I liked this film or hated it!! It reminds me of "Danger:Diabolik", that flash trash movie also with John Phillip Law. It is bright and loud and trashy with a little soft porn thrown in for good measure. It does tend to hold your interest throughout, maybe because you can't wait to see what outrageous scene will assault your senses next. And oh, all that phallic symbolism! Roger Vadim certainly exploited Jane Fonda in this one and she would probably like to forget the whole thing....but you've got to admit she doesn't look too bad in that plastic see-through bustier. John Phillip Law, who is a handsome devil(oops, angel), plays the part of the blind angel, Pygar, without emotion or feeling....but he played every character he ever portrayed exactly the same way. He wasn't much of an actor but it works here. This film screams the 60's, so turn on, tune out, plug in your lava lamp and take a look at it. You'll love it or hate it but you are guaranteed to have fun with it. It's the epitome of pop art!
57 out of 76 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Pure Candy
kcfireplug16 October 2006
If you're looking for a quality science fantasy experience, you will probably be disappointed in BARBARELLA, which tells a typical story of an intergallactic astronaught who is sent on a mission to save a brilliant scientist from the clutches of an evil force that threatens to destroy the universe.

On her quest she finds daunting foes, unexpected comrades and twists and turns like any good superhero story should have. The only problem is that her world is made up of Christmas lights, cellophane and balsa wood, and it's all held together with scotch tape.

However what some might consider schlock entertainment, I saw it as pure camp all the way, with some hysterical situations and outrageous costumes draped over not-so-difficult-to-look-at actors (especially our babe-o-naught Ms. Fonda), and to top off the cake we have an icing of infectious music by comedic composer Charles Fox (9 to 5, Foul Play) and singer/songwriter Bob Crewe.

This is pure candy all the way so don't expect any nutrition here, but if you let it happen instead of looking for more, you may find yourself inspired to watch it again and again, when you don't feel like using any brain cells in this dimension.
39 out of 53 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
All the plot of a high-budget porn...
Raptor in Black5 March 2003
Really and truly, this could be the plot of one of the more "high-brow" types of porn. I watched this with a bunch of other girls for a class, and we could not stop laughing the entire time.

See Jane Fonda meet men from around the galaxy, and have sex with them! Dare your friends to count how many times she changes her costume!! Sparks deep philosophical discussion, like what exactly the writers were on when they wrote this. Great fun, not to be missed!
59 out of 87 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
5/10
Meet Jane Fonda: Space-Kitten
xyzkozak2 January 2015
When space-kitten, Barbarella (our astronaut-heroine of the 41st century) lands on the planet Lythion and earnestly sets out to track down the diabolically evil villain, Durand Durand, in the city of Sogo (where a new sin is invented every hour) here's what our beautiful space-angel encounters.....

The "Excessive Machine" (a genuine "sex" organ on which an accomplished artist playing its keyboard can literally drive a victim to certain death by pleasure)....

A lusting, lesbian queen, wearing an eye-patch, who, in her fantastic dream chamber, can will her most deliciously wicked fantasies to take form.

Believe me, Barbarella is one wild, Sci-Fi, sex farce that seems to stand out (in all of its zany audacity) on its very own.

One can't help but be tickled pink by the cheesiest special effects imaginable - As well as the various ways that were found to tear off what few clothes our heroine, Barbarella, already had on.
8 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
'Camp: so outrageously artificial, affected, inappropriate, or out-of-date as to be considered amusing.'
TxMike13 May 2004
'Barbarella: Queen of the Galaxy' is the epitome of 'camp.' The year was 1968, I was in my first year of graduate school, about to get married. I knew of 'Barbarella' but I had never seen it, until today. I think waiting 36 years has actually made the experience better. This is not by any definition a good movie. Jane Fonda, a very bright actress, plays Barbarella suitably as an 'innocent' sent on a mission to a distant galaxy to find the Earthling scientist Durand Durand and bring him back, along with his invention. The story itself is secondary, the charm of the movie resides in all the sexual situations that innocent Barbarella finds herself in. A perfect vehicle for the wild 1960s. The package blurb says 'she acts like a female James Bond.' Hardly. More like a female Austin Powers, and some of the characters would have fit better in a Monty Python movie.

The DVD is fine for an old movie, although blemishes are quite evident. What puzzles me is the 'PG' rating listed on the package and the disk. The opening scene, of Barbarella getting out of her space suit in the weightlessness of her spacecraft, clearly shows her breasts, and her nude butt. Very nice breasts and butt, at that, nonetheless inconsistent with a 'PG' rating. Plus many other scenes in the movie show groups of men and women in alluring positions, again with some obvious female nudity. So anyone who plans to view this movie with those under 18 should be aware of this. For an adult audience, it should not be an issue at all.

May 2013 update: It is now on Netflix streaming movies, with a rating of "R", and comes across very well.
46 out of 69 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
nudie cum drag show masquerading as sci-fi
thomandybish30 May 2001
BARBARELLA must be the bane of Jane Fonda's existence, a blot on an otherwise strident, self-important career. Every actor should have such a skelton in their cinematic closet! Fonda comes the closest to being likable in this film, as the sexy space kitten commissioned to save the galaxy. It's hard to see how even the most casual viewer in 1967 could have taken this as a serious entry in the sci-fi genre; if this was real science fiction, so was NUDES ON THE MOON. Watching our heroine getting into various predicaments(and out of various parts of her already skimpy costumes)reminds one what a stunner Ms. Fonda was in her salad days. Another distraction is the campy sets and interiors--people in the year 40,000 hopefully will have progressed beyond shag-carpeted spacecraft and presidents who wear black feather boas. Was a team of drag queens conscripted to do set and costume design? Or maybe people in the future have embraced kitsch on an even greater level than we have now. At any rate, it's a fun film, with something for every persuasion.
4 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
4/10
Beyond imagination
Gaub9 March 2003
This is a movie you have to see, or you will not believe it. Categories like "good" or "bad" simply do not exist in the aesthetic limbo in which this film was made. I should mention I saw Barbarella in a movie theatre in Montreal, and there is no other city in the world where Barbarella's "parlez-vous français?" (uttered twice!) sounds more hilarious.
37 out of 65 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Fonda is the Best Thing
Michael_Elliott6 September 2012
Barbarella (1968)

** (out of 4)

Campy sci-fi based on the French comics has Jane Fonda playing the title role, a futuristic superhero who is asked by the President of Earth to travel to a distant planet and rescue a doctor. I can understand why this film has gained a cult following over the past few decades but to me this thing is still a pretty big mess and it's somewhat shocking watching the film to day and looking back and wondering what the original producers were thinking. I mean, if you look at the "story" of this thing, it's a complete mess and it's all over the place. I'm not exactly sure what they were trying to do in regards to the story but it's a complete misfire. Not for a single second do you care about Barbarella's adventure nor do you care about anything she's doing in the film. The reason the film remains entertaining is because it's simply so strange and surreal. Visually the film is quite impressive as a bunch of pulp. The set design and costumes are certainly memorable and the now laughable special effects have a mild charm to them. What really keeps the film moving is seeing someone like Fonda doing a role like this. She's very good in the role, there's no doubt about it, as she can handle the campy moments as well as deliver on the sexuality of the character. Her nude striptease that starts the film is certainly the highlight but they needed more of these throughout. John Phillip Law isn't all that "good" in the film but there's no question that his angel character is quite memorable. Director Roger Vadim doesn't bring enough life, energy or fire to any of the scenes to really make them work and that's certainly not good when you're dealing with a film like this one. BARBARELLA certainly deserves its label as a camp classic but it's just not entertaining enough to be fully rewarding.
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
Just What Were They On?
JamesHitchcock6 December 2010
Just what were they on? "Barbarella" is one of those sixties films (the Beatles vehicle "Help!" is another) which, although it makes no explicit references to the decade's drug culture, nevertheless leaves the indelible impression that the director, the scriptwriter, the set designer, the costume designer, the cameramen and most of the cast were under the influence of mind-expanding drugs throughout the entire shooting period.

I first saw the film at university in the early eighties when a student film society organised a screening. Interest in it at that time may have been aroused by the release in 1980 of "Flash Gordon", another ultra-camp science fiction film which was undoubtedly influenced by it, and by the fact that one of the leading British pop groups of the era had called themselves Duran Duran in homage to their origins in a now-defunct Birmingham nightclub called Barbarella's.

The film is based on a French series of comic books, which I must admit I have never read. (Unlike, say, the "Asterix" or "Tintin" series, the Barbarella comics have never had much of a following in Britain). The action takes place in the 40th century. Barbarella, a beautiful young female astronaut, is ordered by the President of Earth to travel to the planet Tau Ceti to find a scientist named Durand Durand, from whom the band took their misspelled name. Durand is the inventor of a weapon known as the Positronic Ray, which the President fears may fall into the wrong hands.

The rest of the film is taken up with Barbarella's increasingly bizarre adventures on Tau Ceti. She goes ice-skiing across the planet's frozen surface, pulled along by an octopus-like creature, is menaced by flesh-eating dolls with razor-sharp teeth, seduces a blind angel (or "ornithanthrope"), meets the predatory lesbian Queen of a decadent city and survives an attempted execution by means of an "orgasmatron", a machine designed to kill by an excess of sexual pleasure. (Barbarella's capacity for sexual pleasure is so great that she blows its circuits). We are not, of course, meant to take any of this seriously; the whole thing is intended as a sort of tongue-in-cheek exercise in high camp surrealism, Salvador Dali meets Edna Everage. The surreal nature of the film is emphasised by the use of psychedelic lighting effects. (The opening song even includes the rhyme "Barbarella Psychedella").

Barbarella is played by Jane Fonda, who at the time was married to the director Roger Vadim, clearly a man with the knack of attracting beautiful women. (He had previously been married to Brigitte Bardot and had been the lover of Catherine Deneuve). I wonder if, when Fonda was taking her wedding vows, she realised that Vadim's interpretation of "for better or for worse" included casting his wife in eccentric films like this one. Her devotion to her wifely duties seems to have been at the expense of her career; she later revealed that her commitment to "Barbarella" meant having to turn down the leading roles in two more serious films, "Bonnie and Clyde" and "Rosemary's Baby". Moreover, many of the heroine's adventures seem to have been designed with the express purpose of showing off Fonda's figure in a series of provocative outfits, leaving her with a lasting "sex kitten" image. This was something she was never comfortable with, especially when she was trying to reinvent herself as a feminist and left-wing activist a few years later.

This is far from being Fonda's best film, yet she is about the only cast member who emerges with any credit from it, playing the heroine as a sort of wide-eyed innocent abroad. John Phillip Law, who plays the ornithanthrope Pygar, is so wooden that I wondered if he was under instructions to play his role with a deliberately deadpan lack of emotion. David Hemmings as the resistance leader Dildano shows us just why his career never really took off in the way it was expected to after his early breakthrough in "Blowup". (Hemmings's costume, looking like a pair of leather Y-fronts, is just as bizarre as anything worn by Fonda). Marcel Marceau shows that his talents as a mime did not extend to acting in spoken roles. Anita Pallenberg, better known for her relationships with several members of the Rolling Stones, was cast as the wicked Queen, but Vadim did not trust her to speak her own lines; the Queen speaks with the unmistakable contralto tones of Joan Greenwood.

"Barbarella" was a failure on its release, both at the box office and with the critics, yet despite the dodgy acting and the nonsensical plot it has since 1968 acquired the status of a cult movie. (Even back in my student days it was regarded as sort of historic artifact). Cults, whether religious or cinematic, can be baffling to everyone except ardent devotees, yet I must confess that I have a soft spot for this surreal relic of the hippie era. It is an ideal film to watch when returning from the pub late at night. Particularly if one is drunk. 6/10
8 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
Response to Stamper
mini-1527 January 2005
Stamper's assessment of Barbarella is accurate, but all the reasons he states is why I love this movie. The plot is cheesy, the dialogue ranges from goofy to corny, the special effects are pre-George Lucas, and the tag line of "an angel IS love" is testimony to the worst remnants of goof ball 1960's culture. However, the set and costume designs are unbelievable, and the opportunity to observe Jane Fonda and Anita Pallenberg gallivanting about attired in fabulously sexy outfits is worth the price of admission. Yes, Jane is a leftist wing-nut, but she was a stone fox in 1968, and I'm happy somebody made the effort to document this for posterity. And all Anita has to do is say "pretty pretty" in that low, sexy voice, and I understand why Brian, Keith, and Mick all lined up for a taste of this ultra hottie.
41 out of 78 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
4/10
so bad it's good....almost
luke-osullivan6 October 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This is so visually kitsch and camp that it should really have been made in the 70s, though it only missed out by a couple of years. The main rationale behind the film seems to be to get Jane Fonda to not wear very much (which may not be an ignoble ambition in itself, but will only carry the movie for the sad and desperate). Spoiler: yes, you get to see her breasts. Otherwise, this is notable mainly because the mad scientist she's hunting, Duran Duran, gave the English 80s pop band (who are still going I believe) their name, and because famous mime Marcel Marceau is in it. Spoiler: he speaks. I think it's aiming at comedy, but I can't believe the script is by the same guy who wrote the peerless Dr. Strangelove, because the humour simply falls flat most of the time. There's the odd scene or line that raises a grin, as when Fonda causes the machine which is supposed to kill her with pleasure to explode because she can take more than it can dish out, but mostly, this is only worth watching to see just how nonsensical it can get.
11 out of 17 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Irredeemable. Lovable.
johnnyx-229 March 2005
Warning: Spoilers
Enjoyable while having absolutely no redeeming value whatsoever. Jane Fonda proves herself a worthy comic actress, and also manages to (as advertised!) strip on any occasion. Pygar is sufficiently vapid, the Black Queen is hot (and amusingly dubbed), what else do you need? The plot - Barbarella is sent to recover the scientist Duran Duran - is slightly meandering, and abandoned for the middle 60 minutes of the movie. The best comparison I've seen or heard was to 'Alice in Wonderland' - an innocent goes carelessly wandering through a psychedelic wonderland, populated entirely by misfits and lunatics. Which, frankly, is Barbarella in a nutshell.

Some decent villains would help. I'm unsure if it's a result of the poor special effects, but Barbarella is consistently menaced by the un-menacing: small birds. nibbling dolls. a giant space amoeba that looks like bath gel.

Decent music, (intentionally?) atrocious special effects round this out perfectly. Definitely worth a viewing.
15 out of 25 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
4/10
Classic erotic adventure is now dated and silly
MovieAddict201621 May 2005
"Barbarella" was famous (or rather infamous) when it came out because Jane Fonda was naked, her husband directed the movie and it was therefore quite controversial. Now it's come out that she/her book/tabloid magazines claim Roger Vadim used to make her have threesomes with other women. Somehow, it seems appropriate given the nature of this movie.

It's intended to be an erotic adventure and the opening credits depict Fonda cruising around floating through her space craft absolutely naked.

That's really all the movie is. Fonda running around (or floating around) wearing little, if anything at all.

If that's your sort of thing, you'll probably dig this. Otherwise, stay far, far away.

2.5/5
14 out of 24 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
2/10
Eurotrash
keith-moyes9 February 2007
This is probably the most baffling and frustrating movie I have ever seen.

It has all the elements to be a camp classic. The production design is bizarre and original. Terry Southern's screenplay is often witty. Jane Fonda and Anita Pallenberg are wonderful. I ought to love it. Instead, I find it almost intolerable.

From the opening credits, which go on too long, and the first bars of that execrable music, you sense something is seriously amiss with this movie. The camera seems to be in the wrong place all the time and the wrong shots are held too long. It often seems as if that they simply shot footage with no idea how it was going to fit together. You suspect that weeks may have passed between shots so that nobody could remember what had come before or what would come after. Faced with this hopeless material, the editor was in despair and just gave up, so nothing cuts together properly. At best, the picture looks like the roughest of rough cuts. At worst, the editing seems to be almost completely random.

As a result, there is no pace or rhythm, either in individual scenes, or in the movie as a whole. People wander about from scene to scene with no purpose or point. Soon, all the energy drains out of the picture and you find yourself stranded in a weird limbo in which nothing seems to be happening, even when it is, nothing connects with anything else and time stretches out endlessly before you. At times the boredom is so intense it makes your teeth ache.

I have seen and commented on some of the most incompetent movies ever made (Fire Maidens, The Flying Saucer, Mesa of Lost Women) but this movie seems to be inept in ways that transcend even those notorious turkeys. Although Roger Vadim had made at least a dozen pictures before this one, it feels like it was assembled by people that had never even seen a movie before, let alone made one. Of one thing I am sure - it could never have been made in America. It is purest Eurotrash.

I have finally posted my response to this unaccountable movie, but I know I will be coming back again and again to edit it, because I realise I haven't even come close to identifying what makes it such a uniquely stultifying experience.
23 out of 44 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Enjoyed this film every second of it.
swedzin9 September 2011
According to my summary... you obviously tought that I have watched it in a porn-like manner. No! Actually, this lovely baby is one cool film! Based up comic book from 1962 and it's really faithful to it, and I am glad because of it. The plot is concentrated on adventures of young sexy heroine Barbarella (Jane Fonda) and her mission to planet Lythion, in the city of Sogo to find a dangerous scientist. I think that Roger Vadim is using a classic luxury from the "space opera" for those grotesque and travesty like situations (for example... cannibal dolls! Cool!) There's constantly this erotic charge in Jane Fonda, which is half-naked or in sexy clothes through entire film. But sometimes there's just too much grotesque on expense of SF components. I think that Vadim did it on purpose and he gave us one rare SF comedy in 60s. But, the entire stuff is too silly. Like you are watching "Rocky Horror Show". Fonda is a great actress, not just sexy, John Philip Law as Pygar, he was great! Anita Pallenberg (Great Tyrant), an exotic sexy rival to Fonda, Milo O'Shea and Marcel Marceau were also great and to mention David Hemmings. A highly recommended must see film. Watch it!
4 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
Niche
Fles24 February 2008
Very much a film of its age, this film is relentless, unmitigable shite from beginning to end, and yet it is a delight to watch.

It will particularly appeal to anyone who thought the special effects in the original Flash Gordon TV series were over the top.

The plot-holes are gargantuan, the continuity errors are abysmal, most of the story is absolute nonsense and yet this film is an absolute pleasure to watch. The fantastic excuses used to divest Jane Fonda of various pieces of her costume will have you choking into your popcorn.

The seventies' view of a future of decadence is a breath of fresh air and the idea of absolute, insane evil is camped up to the max. You'll either love it, loathe it, or do both simultaneously.
4 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Campy, Trippy 60's Love-Cinema...or something
perni29 May 2002
I find it strange that the one thing people discuss on this site about Barbarella is its horrible special effects. Well, let's see...it was made in the 60's wasn't it?! Did you people really expect anything better than blue screen shots and fog machines? Honestly, there is so much more we could be talking about that makes this movie a hoot and a holler to watch. What about the room with about a thousand inflatable pillows that Barbarella has to walk through with a straight face? What about the Pleasure Organ, a device that any United States citizen would buy today if it were advertised on an early morning infomercial? Pygar is probably the character with the best line: An angel doesn't make love, an angel is love. How hilarious is that? I also love the evil Queen lady who says pretty, pretty, pretty every few minutes and is always trying to jump poor Jane Fonda/Barbarella. This is one horny ruler! The Chamber of Dreams, the Mathmos monster, the sex scene that involves taking a pill and touching hands...the list never ends! Seriously, if you want a time capsule flick that will let you see how truly bizarre and freaky the 60's could get, WATCH BARBARELLA. Oh, and if none of the above stuff convinced you, how about the fact that this is rated PG!!! And with Jane Fonda stripping and getting it on with about every male character in the movie (and almost reluctantly with the evil Queen)! I love it!
4 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
Flake takes us to Galaxies of pleasure... (and you thought those chocolate ads were sexy!)
Howlin Wolf2 May 2007
I suppose we have the French to thank for Bridgitte Bardot and kicking into high-gear the early summer of love where promiscuity was positively hip, baby! Drugs helped too, of course, but it was the chic laissez-faire attitude to personal intimacy that really marked out the flower-child era and led everybody to try and hop on board, capitalising with their own cultural touchstones. "Barbarella" - as a cross country adaptation - was a part of that, and approached in an appropriately spaced-out mindset it can still provide lots in the way of groovy fun.

Fonda was born to play a sex kitten, with her soulful eyes and lithe body, and the costume department is allowed to have fun on this film because the joyfully absurd story manipulates her into a series of revealing outfits. Rest assured she isn't alone in the silly attire stakes; there's even an 'angel' on hand for us to giggle at. Logic isn't heavily relied upon either when developing the narrative, so there are also plenty of bizarre set-pieces tenuously linked to the megalomaniacal villain of the piece - including the now famous chair... (I don't wish to spoil it, but you'll know it if you see it).

"Barbarella" was a lot more fun for me than something like the po-faced "Logan's Run", anyway. It works because it doesn't ask you to take seriously what the setting then renders ludicrous. Everything is intentionally camp fun from the outset. Go with it - surrender yourself to bliss!
5 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Barbarella
beastwarsfan9 October 2005
Barbarella is a cult classic, no doubt. The movie is based on Jean-Claude Forest's comics, and if you're familiar with French comics you surely know that they are far more artistic than most of the American ones, full of fantasy and wonder and some pleasing bizarre uniqueness. Produced by Dino De Laurentiis - even just this name is enough to attract my attention, since he's behind quite many of my favourite movies - Flash Gordon, Army of Darkness, Conan The Barbarian, Conan The Destroyer, King Kong... Not to mention the gorgeous Jane Fonda. I just love her in Cat Ballou. And here in Barbarella - oh, she's a real goddess! The perfect combination of innocence and seductiveness! Even after all these years she's still damn hot! We also have aggressive, domineering and voluptuous Black Queen. And for ladies - here goes the blind, nearly naked angel ;) The whole movie itself is full of quite erotic moments. The astronaut suit striptease in the beginning - hell yeah! And Duran Duran's machine... The sets and models are not so impressive from today's point of view, but with a little imagination you can deal with that. And I even find a kind of nostalgic sci-fi beauty in them. There are also scenes with masterfully shot psychedelic pictures of moving colors and fantastic forms - it is worth watching the whole movie even just to see them. The story itself is a little bit naive, but that's a part of the charm of this film - nothing like the good old times. That's why Barbarella really is a Queen of the Galaxy!
5 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
60s Extravaganza: Viva Italia.
nbwritersinbox22 April 2011
The film-makers made two wise decisions when shooting "Barbarella". The first was to spend as much time as possible filming Jane Fonda. I'd forgotten just how beautiful she was during the 1960s. At the time of shooting, Jane's at the height of her considerable powers, and breathtakingly gorgeous in every frame.

The second wise decision amounts to casting Miss Fonda in the first place. The girl can act. Plenty of ability is required in light comic roles, so Jane's far from just "window-dressing", despite the Italian penchant for stylistic excess.

The production itself is lavish, exploring 60s Cinema's desire to demonstrate artistic originality. By today's standards, the special effects seem quaint, but I personally adored the non-CGI inventiveness of the wacky machines and unlikely objects Barbarella finds herself examining and using throughout 98 minutes of fun-packed enchantment.

Box office takings suggest Barbarella was a commercial flop, but this hardly matters. With the right director and production team, such a wonderful film could be remade as a masterpiece of futuristic splendor. I'm sure modern audiences would agree... (But all film companies beware, you'll need an actress of Jane Fonda's quality to fill Barbarella's boots).

Fabulous costumes, quirky settings and thought-inducing ideas are other features of this retro-delight. The rich contrast between Barbarella herself (as "nice-girl-nextdoor") and The Great Tyrant played by equally stunning Anita Pallenberg (as a kind of leatherclad rock queen) make for unforgettable viewing.

Oh, and remember guys: "Angels have no memory".
8 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews


Recently Viewed