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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 the biggest restaurant business in the world, with a combination of ambition, persistence, and ruthlessness.


John Lee Hancock


Robert Siegel
845 ( 368)
1 win & 3 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Michael Keaton ... Ray Kroc
Nick Offerman ... Dick McDonald
John Carroll Lynch ... Mac McDonald
Linda Cardellini ... Joan Smith
B.J. Novak ... Harry J. Sonneborn
Laura Dern ... Ethel Kroc
Justin Randell Brooke ... Fred Turner
Kate Kneeland ... June Martino
Patrick Wilson ... Rollie Smith
Griff Furst ... Jim Zien
Wilbur Fitzgerald ... Jerry Cullen
David de Vries ... Jack Horford
Andrew Benator ... Leonard Rosenblatt
Cara Mantella ... Myra Rosenblatt
Randall Taylor ... Owner (Ed's Drive-In)


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


In the world of business, it's founders keepers. See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »


Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site | See more »




English | Yiddish

Release Date:

20 January 2017 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Hambre de poder See more »

Filming Locations:

Atlanta, Georgia, USA See more »


Box Office


$25,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$3,404,102, 22 January 2017, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$12,785,093, 21 April 2017

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital


Color | Black and White (archive footage)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The real life "McDonald's #1" in Des Planes, Illinois (a Chicago suburb) still stands. It is now preserved as a museum that is surrounded by a low fence where visitors can walk up to the store and take pictures. Across the street, there is a newer, functioning McDonald's. See more »


When Ray Kroc is looking at the map to plot his route to San Bernardino to visit the first McDonalds, the city of Irvine, CA is shown on the map. This is an error due to the fact that Irvine was not incorporated as a city until 1971, and the Irvine Company did not start developing in that area until the 1960s. See more »


[first lines]
Ray Kroc: I know what you're thinkin'... What the heck do I need a 5-spindle for... when I barely sell enough milkshakes to justify my single-spindle. Right? Wrong. Are you familiar with the notion of the chicken or the egg Mr. Griffith, I mentioned... that there'd be costs. Well, I think it applies here. Do you not need the multimixer because, well heck, you're not selling enough milkshakes. Or are you not selling enough milkshakes because you don't have a multimixer? I firmly believe it's ...
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the opening/closing credits, the real Ray A Kroc is heard giving an interview about how he came to buy out McDonald's. See more »


Springtime Serenade
Written by Fritz Urban and Chris Streigler
Courtesy of Extreme Music
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User Reviews

The Founder is the McDonalds version of There Will Be Blood...and I'm lovin it
13 February 2017 | by RforFilmSee all my reviews

When somebody like myself can describe their childhood as always remembering the golden arches from the McDonalds, I don't know whether to describe this memory as sad, like an imprinted advertisement, or simply American. Regardless of the opinion of their food, McDonalds is the standing example of the American dream, both for the consumer and the businesspeople. For a typical family, they have the option of forgoing the hard work of cooking in favor of having hamburgers in a short time (I never said it's a good thing, just an option). For the entrepreneur, McDonalds is more then just a restaurant; it's a success story of an American company that has gone global.

McDonalds today represents American capitalism; always expanding, always trying to please the customer, and always ruthless. For a company that has prided itself off of its food, they've been criticized for the health factor and their aggressive marketing tactics. A lot of a companies behavior goes back to the ones the started it. It may be the case for a lot of companies like Apple, Starbucks, Wal Mart, and Playboy, but McDonalds actually had two beginnings. Their stories are shown in The Founder.

Milkshake maker salesman Ray Kroc (played by Michael Keaton) seems to be doing well at his job, but is striving for something bigger. His usual sales to restaurants and drive-ins give him a glimpse at the flaws of these places including wrong food orders, long waits, and loud atmosphere full of teens. When an order for eight mixers is placed by a restaurant in San Bernardino, Kroc drives out there to see this "McDonalds". What he encounters is a revolutionary speed system that allows food to ready fast along with disposable paper and a family friendly environment. Kroc meets the McDonalds brothers, Dick (played by Nick Offerman) and Mac (played by John Carroll Lynch) who convinces them to let him help franchise the restaurant.

Kroc at first has a hard time convincing investors to join in on this new restaurant idea, and the few wealthy ones that do try to do things their own way (including fried chicken on the menu!). Once he gets the idea that middle class investors are more likely to follow the McDonalds standards, restaurants start to explode across the Midwest and the business takes off like crazy. As Kroc gains power, he starts to become more defiant against the McDonalds brothers, despite being restricted by their original contract.

My original fear was that The Founder was simply going to be a commercial for McDonalds. What I got instead was a very fascinating character study into the mind of Ray Kroc. A bad screenplay could have easily made Ray Kroc a pioneer or a monster, but this somehow balances out everything in a fair viewpoint. You don't agree with a lot of the tactics Kroc does to make the burger business boom, but the movie shows where he's coming from. They also portray him as vulnerable, as they show later that one of the companies biggest tactics comes from a third party.

Michael Keaton is perfect as Ray Kroc. He balances the scripts tough job of making him tough and backstabbing, yet likable enough that you still want to follow him.

I have to give a lot of credit to both Nick Offerman and John Carroll Lynch as the McDonalds brothers who have the caliber to pull off the perfectionist, yet naïve attitude that the original siblings had.

The Founder is neither a pro or anti McDonalds movie. This is more like Patton or Nightcrawler; it's a study on a person in which your supposed to make your own judgment on.

I'll give this nine McDonalds logos out of ten. Had I seen this last year, it probably would've ended up on the best of 2016. The good news is that even without the accolades it missed out on, The Founder is still a good movie from start to finish. Check it out and see if your lovin it like I am.

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