Reds (1981) - Rotten Tomatoes

Reds (1981)



Critic Consensus: Brawny in both intellect and scope, Reds is an intimate epic that captures the tumult of revolutionary change and the passion of those navigating through it.

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This epic film focuses on the life of famed American communist John Reed. The film begins in 1915, when Reed makes the acquaintance of married Portland journalist Louise Bryant. So persuasive is Reed's point of view that Louise kicks over the traces and joins Reed and his fellow radicals.

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Warren Beatty
as John Reed
Diane Keaton
as Louise Bryant
Maureen Stapleton
as Emma Goldman
Jack Nicholson
as Eugene O'Neill
Edward Herrmann
as Max Eastman
Jerzy Kosinski
as Grigory Zinoviev
Paul Sorvino
as Louis Fraina
Nicolas Coster
as Paul Trullinger
Ian Wolfe
as Mr. Partlow
M. Emmet Walsh
as Speaker at the Liberal Club
Bessie Love
as Mrs. Partlow
Macintyre Dixon
as Carl Walters
Pat Starr
as Helen Walters
Max Wright
as Floyd Dell
George Plimpton
as Horace Whigham
Harry Ditson
as Maurice Becker
Leigh Curran
as Ida Rauh
Kathryn Grody
as Crystal Eastman
Brenda Currin
as Marjorie Jones
Nancy Duiguid
as Jane Heap
Dolph Sweet
as Big Bill Haywood
Ramon Bieri
as Police Chief
Jack O'Leary
as Pinkerton Guard
Gene Hackman
as Pete Van Wherry
Gerald Hiken
as Dr. Lorber
William Daniels
as Julius Gerber
Dave King
as Allan Benson
Joseph Buloff
as Joe Volski
Stefan Gryff
as Gomberg
Denis Pekarev
as Interpreter
Roger Sloman
as Vladimir Lenin
Stuart Richman
as Leon Trotsky
Oleg Kerensky
as A. Kerensky/Himself/Witness
Nikko Seppala
as Young Bolshevik
John J. Hooker
as Sen. Overman
Shane Rimmer
as MacAlpine
Tony Sibbald
as CLP Member
Josef Sommer
as Official
Pertti Weckstrom
as Finnish Doctor
Nina Macarova
as Russian Nurse
Jose DeFillippo
as Russian Doctor
Henry Miller
as Witness
Dora Russell
as Witness
Art Shields
as Witness
Tess Davis
as Witness
Heaton Vorse
as Witness
Rebecca West
as Witness
Will Durant
as Witness
Arne Swabeck
as Witness
Adele Nathan
as Witness
Hugo Gellert
as Witness
Jacob Bailin
as Witness
John Ballato
as Witness
Arthur Mayer
as Witness
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Critic Reviews for Reds

All Critics (47) | Top Critics (8)

Beatty gives the performance of his lifetime as the erratic, possessed Reed, and his grasp of the direction of an epic film is truly astonishing.

October 22, 2018 | Full Review…

If no one will learn much about politics from this film, Beatty has nonetheless put the fire of two burning lives in it. There is plenty in it about the risks that commitment entails, but it is about commitment.

January 8, 2018 | Full Review…

It is occasionally rambling and repetitious, but nearly always intelligent and engrossing.

May 9, 2017 | Full Review…

A left-leaning pretty boy's distended, black book ramblings.

October 11, 2006

Reds is finally just an appealingly conventional epic movie-star romance with radical trimmings, but it contains several sharper elements that suggest the colorful period it seeks to recreate.

September 12, 2006 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

As for Beatty, Reds is his bravura turn.

October 23, 2004 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Reds

A gripping political epic of ambitious discussions (and with a splendid production design) about an idealistic journalist/activist who became an ardent revolutionary to fight for what he believed in, and it is very well edited and well paced for a film that runs for over three hours.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


This epic historical political romantic drama biopic proved to be a real labor of love for Warren Beatty, who served as co-writer, producer, director, and star. Well, in that first sentence, I gave this a heck of a descriptor, so, what's it all about? Well, it's a look at the life and career of John Reed- an American journalist and communist whose relationship with feminist and writer Louise Bryant played out during the Bolshevik Revolution of the 1910s. Reed chronicled said revolution in his book The 10 Days That Shook the World, and has the distinction of, so far, being the only American buried in the Kremlin. So yeah, what we get here is a lengthy, but fascinating look at Russian Communism, as well as an outsider's role in the midst of one of the most interesting parts of modern history. I'll admit that, while I'm not a real big fan of politics, I am somehow still mildly interested in and fascinated by socialism and communism. The film looks at the movement both in the U.S, and Russia, and gives it a human edge that was previously not done in prior representations of things. This film would be quite a major accomplishment if made today. That it was made during the middle of the Cold War is even more impressive. Besides having a straightforward narrative of Reed's life and career, the film contains talking head segments with various friends, acquaintances, scholars, and others who provide more insight into Reed, Bryant, the movement, and the era itself. Beatty knocks it out of the park in all of his various roles here, and, as a director, this has yet to be topped as his masterpiece. Joining him in the cast are a dynamite Diane Keaton as Bryant, Jack Nicholson as Eugene O'Neill, and the likes of Edward Herrmann, Paul Sorvino, Gene Hackman, Maureen Stapleton, and M.Emmet Walsh among others in various supporting roles of varying lengths. The acting is solid, the subject matter is quite interesting (I thought), the talking head segments were a wonderful addition, and the cinematography was quite strong as well. As for downsides: well, it is a really long film, and, while I was pretty glued to the screen for most of it, things did get a little slow and boring here and there, but not enough to wreck things. It's also not the fastest moving piece of work, either, and there's not really much in the way of action, but then again, this does cover a lot of material, so the pacing works for the most part, and there isn't too much of a need for lots of rousing action and whatnot. All in all, I was quite impressed by this. I can't say I'll be watching this one too often, but I did find myself quite impressed by this, and think it is a really important piece of work that you should consider giving a watch, especially if you get the time.

Chris Weber
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

This was quite a long movie but the story being told got better and better.

Wildaly M
Wildaly M

Super Reviewer

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