6.8/10
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163 user 71 critic

Cradle Will Rock (1999)

R | | Drama | 21 January 2000 (USA)
A true story of politics and art in the 1930s U.S., focusing on a leftist musical drama and attempts to stop its production.

Director:

Tim Robbins

Writer:

Tim Robbins
5 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Hank Azaria ... Marc Blitzstein
Rubén Blades ... Diego Rivera
Joan Cusack ... Hazel Huffman
John Cusack ... Nelson Rockefeller
Cary Elwes ... John Houseman
Philip Baker Hall ... Gray Mathers
Cherry Jones ... Hallie Flanagan
Angus Macfadyen ... Orson Welles
Bill Murray ... Tommy Crickshaw
Vanessa Redgrave ... Countess Constance La Grange
Susan Sarandon ... Margherita Sarfatti
Jamey Sheridan ... John Adair
John Turturro ... Aldo Silvano
Emily Watson ... Olive Stanton
Bob Balaban ... Harry Hopkins
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Storyline

In 1930s New York Orson Welles tries to stage a musical on a steel strike under the Federal Theater Program despite pressure from an establishment fearful of industrial unrest and red activity. Meanwhile Nelson Rockefeller gets the foyer of his company headquarters decorated and an Italian countess sells paintings for Mussolini. Written by Jeremy Perkins

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Art is never dangerous -- unless it tells the truth. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some language and sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Italian

Release Date:

21 January 2000 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Abajo el telón See more »

Filming Locations:

USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$36,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$93,998, 12 December 1999

Gross USA:

$2,903,404

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$2,986,932
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film is based on actual events, though it takes liberties with the details. Marc Blitzstein's 1937 anti-capitalist operetta 'The Cradle Will Rock', about the effort to unionize steelworkers, was originally produced as part of the Federal Theatre Project. The Federal Theatre Project (1935-1939), in turn, was part of the Works Progress Administration (WPA), which was created in 1935 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to employ people during the Great Depression. Directed by Orson Welles and produced by John Houseman, Cradle was shut down right before it was due to open because of "budget cuts" at the FTP. Everyone involved believed the government deliberately cut funding because the play's message offended its more conservative contingent; Actor's Equity prohibited its members from taking part, apparently oblivious to the fact that Cradle was a pro-union piece and Actor's Equity was - and is - a union. Welles, Housman and Blitzstein spontaneously rented another theater and planned to put on Cradle with Blitzstein himself singing/reading the piece; the show sold out and various actors defied Equity and performed their parts from the seats they'd bought. The secondary plot which involved Mexican painter Diego Rivera butting heads with Nelson Rockefeller when the mural the latter commissioned for a Rockefeller Center lobby on the high-minded subject of "human intelligence in control of the forces of nature" included a portrait of Lenin, is also based on fact, though it happened in 1933. The incident is also dramatized in the 2002 film Frida (2002). Tim Robbins included it because it tied into the theme of artistic integrity vs. economic practicality. See more »

Goofs

At the beginning of Hallie Flanagan's Senate testimony, the court stenograper's machines are not operating although they are pressing the keys. Later in the scene, the machines are working properly. See more »

Quotes

Orson Welles: No one should be afraid of an idea!
See more »

Crazy Credits

This film was edited on old fashioned machines. See more »

Connections

Featured in Broadway: The American Musical (2004) See more »

Soundtracks

Gotta Go To Work
Performed by The California Ramblers
Written by Milton Pascal, Edgar Fairchild
See more »

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User Reviews

A Brilliant Depiction of the Universal Struggle of Artists
6 March 2000 | by angdevSee all my reviews

Tim Robbins creates a brilliant social commentary in the same in-your-face style as "Bob Roberts". I adore the statements Robbins makes about social politics, as well as the problems with the idea of "art for art's sake". He lyrically tells the story of the struggle of performing and visual artists around the Depression era, choosing between their art and their livelihood--a struggle that is universal for artists through the expanse of time. The concept of this film is a breakthrough for the big screen, since Hollywood seems to be the capital of "selling out". The comments on artistic integrity are strong and literally moving in the acting of an amazing cast, as well as the way in which the story is edited to David Robbins' beautiful score. The entire film is simply poetic. This film is truly a masterpiece to any artist, or to anyone who knows what it like to compromise your values to survive.


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