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      The Day of the Locust

      1975, Drama, 2h 24m

      35 Reviews 1,000+ Ratings

      What to know

      Critics Consensus

      Although its source material's themes are sometimes beyond The Day of the Locust's grasp, this is a consistently watchable adaptation that gains its own emotional power. Read critic reviews

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      The Day of the Locust  Photos

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      Movie Info

      In 1930s Los Angeles, Hollywood shines like a beacon to all the helpless people scattered across the city. In one crumbling apartment block, a blond bombshell (Karen Black) aspires to be an actress, an artist (William Atherton) looks for legitimacy, and a child actor performs a gross homage to Mae West. Cockfights and poverty prevail out of the glow of show business. Introverted accountant Homer Simpson (Donald Sutherland) watches as society collapses under greed and ambition.

      • Rating: R

      • Genre: Drama

      • Original Language: English

      • Director: John Schlesinger

      • Producer: Jerome Hellman

      • Writer: Nathanael West, Waldo Salt

      • Release Date (Theaters):  original

      • Release Date (Streaming):

      • Runtime:

      • Distributor: Paramount Pictures

      • Production Co: Paramount Pictures

      • Sound Mix: Mono

      Cast & Crew

      Critic Reviews for The Day of the Locust

      Audience Reviews for The Day of the Locust

      • Apr 23, 2011

        Wow, what an ugly film. Presumably, this cynical tale of Hollywood wannabes was green-lit following the success of "Chinatown." Not one likable character in the cast -- even the lead Tod (William Atherton), with his shallow love for Faye (Karen Black), is hard to embrace. Donald Sutherland gives a remarkable performance as repressed neurotic Homer Simpson (now why does that name sound familiar?), but should have entered the story much earlier. Burgess Meredith? Wonderful, but wasted in a minor part. As if the other depravities weren't enough, there's even a repulsive cockfighting scene needlessly thrown into the mix. Meanwhile, the surreal climax is like an entirely different movie (shades of "The Wall"?) and goes way, way over the top. Interesting to see the often villainous Atherton as an innocent, William Castle in a cameo as a fictional director and the pubescent Jackie Earle Haley as an insufferable child-star brat.

        eric b Super Reviewer
      • Apr 18, 2010

        Profoundly sad view of the lower rungs of Hollywood life in the 30's. Disturbing and unsettling. The climatic sequence is both horrifying and mesmerizing.

        Super Reviewer
      • Nov 12, 2009

        Allegorical film that depicts the moral decay of 1930's Hollywood. Donald Sutherland gave an unusual performance as Homer Simpson. The epic, horrifying climax is the true highlight of the picture, one of the best sequences of cinema ever filmed. Masterpiece.

        Super Reviewer
      • Mar 17, 2008

        An often surreal but always intriguing morality tale. This film has it's sights set mostly on "Hollywood", with a few "pop shots" at organized religion (which if you think about it is not so different from Hollywood). Sure the characters are "over the top" and "steretypical", a virtual cornucopia of Hollywood has beens and hopefuls. But that's kind of the point. It's meant to be a sort of snap-shot of 1930's-40's Hollywood and all that it entailed. The acting is solid with the casting spot on. Especially Donald Sutherlands performance as Homer Simpson and the seemingly under appreciated William Atherton as Todd Hackett. The cinematography is brilliant, ranging from glorious to bleak but always captivating. The last 15-20 minutes are genius!

        Super Reviewer

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