'Round Midnight (1986) - Rotten Tomatoes

'Round Midnight1986

'Round Midnight (1986)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

A French music lover befriends a once-great American jazz artist and attempts to save him from self-destruction in this moody drama. Saxophonist Dexter Gordon portrays Dale Turner, a fictional musician inspired by a number of famed jazz figures, including Bud Powell and Lester Young. Largely forgotten in his home country, Turner has moved to Paris in search of a more appreciative audience. He finds it in the form of Francis Borler (Francois Cluzet), a bebop aficionado who befriends the expatriate player. Borler soon becomes familiar with Turner's darker side, including his struggles with alcoholism, drug addiction, and depression. Fearing for the musician's life, the fan becomes his caretaker, an arrangement that leads to a brief improvement in Turner's health and fortunes but places great emotional strain upon them both. Director Bertrand Tavernier pays great attention to the visual and aural details of the jazz world, with outstanding musical supervision provided by Herbie Hancock. 'Round Midnight's greatest asset, however, is Gordon's Academy Award-nominated performance, informed by his own life experiences. His naturally fascinating presence combines with the film's obvious love of the music and its milieu to provide what many have hailed as one of the more authentic and affectionate presentations of the jazz world on the silver screen. ~ Judd Blaise, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for 'Round Midnight

All Critics (23) | Top Critics (9)

A wonderfully detailed performance by a real jazz musician, Dexter Gordon.

October 27, 2021 | Full Review…

Watching Dale and Francis grow close is a subdued experience that evolves in quiet ways.

December 11, 2018 | Full Review…

Round Midnight is a superbly crafted music world drama in which Gallic director Bertrand Tavernier pays a moving dramatic tribute to the great black musicians who lived and performed in Paris in the late 1950s.

April 8, 2008 | Full Review…

The director's perenially heavy mood seems especially well suited to this indigo-shaded story of a black American saxman (Dexter Gordon) living and performing in Paris in the late 50s.

April 8, 2008 | Full Review…

Dale Turner, as played by Dexter Gordon, seems to be an amalgam of Bud Powell and Lester Young, but the private, rueful dignity that he brings to bear is all his own.

June 24, 2006 | Full Review…
Top Critic

No actor could do what the great jazz saxophonist Dexter Gordon does in 'Round Midnight.

May 20, 2003 | Rating: 5/5

Audience Reviews for 'Round Midnight

Dexter Gordon's portrayal of a fish out of water in Paris is marvelous. We soon learn that stepping across an ocean does not allow one to run away from problems.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer


Captures the essence of Jazz.

Anthony Valletta
Anthony Valletta

Super Reviewer

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