Reds (1981)

PG   |    |  Biography, Drama, History


Reds (1981) Poster

A radical American journalist becomes involved with the Communist revolution in Russia, and hopes to bring its spirit and idealism to the United States.


7.3/10
19,477

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  • Henry Miller in Reds (1981)
  • Jack Nicholson and Warren Beatty in Reds (1981)
  • Jack Nicholson in Reds (1981)
  • Warren Beatty and Vittorio Storaro in Reds (1981)
  • Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton in Reds (1981)
  • Diane Keaton and Warren Beatty in Reds (1981)

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16 June 2004 | green4tom
Great movie
This movie was great, and I hope it comes out on DVD real soon. Beatty became Reed in more than one sense--not only did he act the part, but he directed the movie in a way reminiscent of the kind of "new journalistic" style that Reed and his fellow MASSES writers pioneered, mixing the drama with interviews of people who knew JR, Louise, etc.

The film also sort of puts forward the question, "What if, instead of running back to Russia (to die of kidney failure and mistreatment by the CP), Jack Reed had stayed in this country to build the CP? Would it have turned out to become Stalinist?" According to Howe and Coser, who wrote a good book on THE AMERICAN COMMUNIST PARTY, much like Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht in Germany, Reed was the ONLY leader who was independent, who had some real backbone.

The best part of the movie is when Emma Goldmann, played by Maureen Stapleton, tells Jack that "it doesn't work" (i.e. statist, bureaucratic socialism that the Bolsheviks were instituting as a grossly mistaken response to the economic crisis and Allied invasion of Russia after the Revolution). And then his rebellion against the lying propaganda of Zinoviev. Kind of hits me right now that Jerzy Kosinski should play Zinoviev--didn't he commit suicide when he was exposed as a plagiarist? Where is the line between art and reality, politics and life?

Of course I loved the romantic reality between Beatty, Bryant, and Nicholson (Reed, Bryant, and Eugene O'Neill). And the cynicism that Reed expresses about the Democrats and Wilson is certainly apropos today.

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