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Walter Huston, Ruth Chatterton, Paul Lukas, Mary Astor, Kathryn Marlowe ... see more see more... , David Niven , Gregory Gaye , Maria Ouspenskaya , Odette Myrtil , John Payne , Spring Byington , Harlan Briggs , Charles Halton , Beatrice Maude , John Barclay , Wilson Benge , Gino Corrado , Fred Malatesta , Inez Palange , Dale Van Sickel , Jack George

In this highly acclaimed adaptation of Sinclair Lewis's novel, Walter Huston plays Sam Dodsworth, a good-hearted, middle-aged man who runs an auto manufacturing firm. His wife Fran (Ruth Chatterton) i... read more read more...s obsessed with the notion that she's growing old, and she eventually persuades Sam to sell his interest in the company and take her to Europe. He agrees for the sake of their marriage, but before long Fran has begun to think of herself as a cosmopolitan sophisticate and thinks of Sam as dull and unadventurous. Craving excitement, Fran begins spending her time with other men and eventually informs Sam that she's leaving him for a minor member of royalty. While in Italy, Sam runs into Edith Cortright (Mary Astor), an attractive widow whom he first met while sailing to Europe. Edith seems to understand Sam in a way his wife does not, and they fall in love. However, Sam impulsively breaks off their relationship, only to discover in her absence just how deeply he cares for her. Dodsworth was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor (Walter Huston), and Best Supporting Actress (Maria Ouspenskaya), though only art director Richard Day walked away with an Oscar. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi

Flixster Users

85% liked it

1,376 ratings

Critics

87% liked it

15 critics

Unrated, 1 hr. 41 min.

Directed by: William Wyler

Release Date: September 23, 1936

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DVD Release Date: December 11, 2001

Stats: 113 reviews

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Flixster Reviews (113)


  • July 7, 2007
    Brilliant. Wyler rules.
  • September 15, 2010
    Drama fans may enjoy this, but I wasn't into it. It was boring, I didn't care about the characters, and the story didn't interest me either. Other than that, the movie itself isn't bad.
  • fb721890245
    August 1, 2013
    fb721890245
    Walter Huston is great in his interpretation of Dodsworth and how a good man eventually becomes undone.
  • December 21, 2009
    What a great film. A forgotten film that I think everyone should see if they have not. Walter Huston is one of the great forgotten actors, and this performance was way ahead of its time. In 1936 for an actor to give such a real performance with such true emotion is amazing to wat... read morech on the screen.
  • October 21, 2009
    Great Movie! A timeless film with a great script and flawless acting. Walter Huston is the King! The acting style and shots in the film are way ahead of their time. It may get a higher rating with more viewings. Great flix! See It! UPDATE: I was right.It only got better with a se... read morecond viewing. Great direction by Wyler, moving characters, and some of the most amazing quiet moments in film.
  • November 23, 2008
    this film is based on a sidney howard adaptation of the sinclair lewis novel. while it's mostly about a retired magnate and his restless wife, for me it's a great story about the perils of romantic folly. it also is a great testament to finding true love at an age where society... read more thinks you're not worthy.
  • November 1, 2007
    Maybe I'm missing something, and I must be judging by the raves by the other reviewers, but I just couldn't get into this movie. Mostly it was the relationship between Mr. and Mrs. Dodsworth. None of it gelled. I knew as soon as she accused David Niven of assaulting her, and Dods... read moreworth's only reaction was "Well, you probably asked for it", that it was going to take a lot for me to suspend my disbelief regarding their relationship. And it didn't improve. Dodsworth should have dropped her like a hot potato within 30 minutes of the movie, but I suppose that wouldn't have been much of a film. As it is, I found no pleasure in watching the story of a boring cuckold and his annoying, philandering wife. Not to mention Mary Astor's lack of self-respect when Dodsworth makes his initial decision at the end. By an standard, whether it be 1936 or 2006, these characters just weren't believable.

Critic Reviews


Dave Kehr
October 16, 2007
Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader

By far the most sensitive, restrained, and effective piece of direction Wyler ever turned in, the film achieves a measure of greatness through the dignity and depth of Huston's superb interpretation o... Full Review

Elliott Stein
October 16, 2007
Elliott Stein, Village Voice

Huston is superb as the plainspoken Midwestern businessman whose blissful world falls apart. The film remains the most emotionally compelling of Wyler's career. Full Review

Frank S. Nugent
May 20, 2003
Frank S. Nugent, New York Times

The film version has done more than justice to Mr. Howard's play, converting a necessarily episodic tale, interrupted by fourteen curtains, into a smooth-flowing narrative of sustained interest, well-... Full Review

Dennis Schwartz
March 21, 2008
Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews

The smoothly flowing film packs an emotional wallop thanks largely to the endearingly sympathetic performance of the straightforward Walter Huston. Full Review

Emanuel Levy
February 22, 2008
Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com

In William Wyler's subtle, beautifully directed marital drama, Walter Huston gives a distinguished performance as an ultra-decent and honest all-American mogul; it's his phony wife, well-played by Rut... Full Review

Michael E. Grost
August 13, 2005
Michael E. Grost, Classic Film and Television

Depressing drama

May 24, 2003
Film4

You may wish that caution had been thrown to the wind and it had been turned into a no-holds-barred comedy. Full Review

Ken Hanke
August 26, 2002
Ken Hanke, Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

Fine film version of the novel

Catherine Cantieri
August 3, 2002
Catherine Cantieri, Apollo Guide

Huston's flawless performance as Sam Dodsworth is the film's greatest joy. Full Review

January 1, 2000
TV Guide's Movie Guide

A film of maturity, intelligence, and understanding. Full Review

Critic ratings and reviews powered by RottenTomatoes.com

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Dodsworth Trivia


  • Who directed Dodsworth, Dead End, Wuthering Heights, and Mrs. Miniver?   Answer »
  • Many people laughed at my last name, but as character woman Maria Ouspenskaya I was twice nominated for the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress. One of the films for which I was nominated was  Answer »

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