Music Box (1989) - Rotten Tomatoes

Music Box1989

Music Box (1989)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Music Box Photos

Movie Info

Jessica Lange plays an attorney whose affable Hungarian-immigrant father Armin Mueller-Stahl is arrested. He is threatened with deportation for lying about his activities during World War II; part of the charge is that Mueller-Stahl was a Nazi collaborationist, guilty of wartime atrocities. Absolutely convinced that her father is being railroaded by a revenge-seeking Hungarian communist government, Lange handles Mueller-Stahl's defense, expertly blowing huge holes in prosecuting attorney Frederic Forrest's case. But in doing her own research, Lange discovers that her father has spent a lifetime paying off a blackmailer. Why? In contrast to the fervency of his earlier Z, Costa-Gavras refuses to make things easy by proselytizing in The Music Box (nor does screenwriter Joe Esterhas indulge in his usual right-between-the-eyes fervency). Everything in the film is offered on the same calm, collected level, making the ultimate horror of the story all the more effective.


Jessica Lange
as Ann Talbot
Armin Mueller-Stahl
as Michael Laszlo
Frederic Forrest
as Jack Burke
Donald Moffat
as Harry Talbot
Lukas Haas
as Michael `Mikey' Talbot
Michael Rooker
as Karchy Laszlo
Cheryl Lynn Bruce
as Georgine Wheeler
Mari Töröcsik
as Magda Zoldan
J.S. Block
as Judge Erwin Silver
Sol Frieder
as Istvan Boday
Elzbieta Czyzewska
as Melinda Kkalman
Felix Shuman
as James Nathanson
Tom Skilling
as Weatherman
Michael Shillo
as Geza Vamos
Mark Steggerda
as Courtroom Guard
George Pusep
as Vladimir Kostav
Mitchell Litrofsky
as Sandy Lehman
Albert Hall
as Mack Jones
Ned Schmidtke
as Dean Talbot
Joe Guzaldo
as Joe Dinofrio
Tibor Kenderesi
as Pal Horvath
Gyorgy Emod
as Andras Nagy
Ralph Foody
as Pawn Broker
Owen Rice
as Courtroom Reporter
Margo Winkler
as Irma Kiss
Larry Brandenburg
as John Szalay
Pauline Kaner
as Reporter
Zoltan Gera
as Man in Budapest
Tracy Grant
as Servant
Toni Fleming
as Housekeeper
Tom Stienke
as Sports Announcer
Donnez Harris
as Security Guard
Magda Sass
as Translator
Gábor Koncz
as Limo Driver
Nicholas Christianson
as Boy with Mikey
Richard D'Angelo
as Violent Protester
Leonard E. Boswell
as Courtroom Guard
Douglas Marcinek
as Courtroom Guard
Agnes Gallwitz
as Translator
Jane MacIver
as Secretary
Megan Warner
as Secretary
Andy Avalos
as Weatherman
Mimi Bensinger
as Loop Group
Dan Resin
as Loop Group
Elizabeth Owens
as Loop Group
Ellis Williams
as Loop Group
View All

Critic Reviews for Music Box

All Critics (20) | Top Critics (4)

Lange without angst is like Tyson without punch. She's the era's Sarah Bernhardt, a tragedienne with soignee soul. In Music Box... Lange is at her furrowed-brow best.

August 17, 2021 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Amazingly, director Costa-Gavras and screenwriter Joe Eszterhas navigate these perilous waters smoothly.

June 12, 2013 | Rating: 5/5

What I particularly disliked about Music Box is that it takes the easy way out. It is not about guilt or innocence; it is a courtroom thriller, with all of the usual automatic devices like last-minute evidence and surprise witnesses.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

...a better-than-average courtroom thriller...

December 16, 2021 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Crafted with precision and compassion, Music Box is an emotional time bomb planted in the human heart.

October 11, 2019 | Full Review…

It breathes a bit when Mueller-Stahl is on screen, but the rest of the time it is buried beneath mountains of standard courtoom-melodrama cliches.

January 4, 2018 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Music Box


Armin Mueller Stahl is fantastic as the man who may or may not have had a despicable past. The reveal is the highlight of the film. Lange was Oscar nominated but she has done better.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer


Not sure how I came across this movie to put on my list but I am glad I did/ Armin Muller-Stahl plays as usual an excellent part of a father who is accused of WWII war crimes. Living in the United Sates he is faced with being sent back to Hungary. Jessica Lange plays the daughter who is a lawyer and has decided to defend her father. Why Jessica Lange is not listed in the cast on this page is beyond me, another Flixster goof? A twist at the end, that I will not give away, but that all can see coming after about the 1st hr. Even though Jessica was awarded a Oscar for her performance, I can't give more then 3 1/2 stars, that doesn't mean this film is not worth watching at least once. If your a WWII Buff you might rate it higher

Bruce Bruce
Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer


Yet another boring 80s courtroom drama with wooden acting, which fails to make me care about the characters or bring any suspense to the case.

Ross Collins
Ross Collins

Super Reviewer

Music Box Quotes

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