O Brother, Where Art Thou?

7.71 h 47 min2000X-RayPG-13
Three escaped convicts embark on an unusual odyssey.
Joel Coen
George ClooneyJohn TurturroTim Blake Nelson
English [CC]Español
Audio languages
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Supporting actors
John GoodmanHolly Hunter
Ethan Coen
Touchstone Pictures
PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
Content advisory
Foul languagesexual contentsmokingviolence
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4.8 out of 5 stars

20210 global ratings

  1. 88% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 7% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 3% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 1% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 1% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

An Avid ObserverReviewed in the United States on November 22, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
O Brother..........Down home, canebrake comedy at its Best
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Hilariously funny movie that's meant to be taken as a parody based on a simpler, more innocent era in our nation's history. I thought that this movie was one of the most amusing takes on this slapstick era in deep south rural 1930's America that's ever been produced. As a Southerner myself I've seen firsthand many of the quaint and quirky idiosyncrasies largely intrinsic to this area and this era which the movie highlighted so delightfully. These characteristics caricatured in this film only enhance fond memories I have of my Southern roots and upbringing and those rebellious, hell-raising, whiskey lovin', largely unschooled and unrepentant male relatives (uncles) and many of their fellow small town and rural neighbors who added color, life and animation to our lives. For me, this movie was not a 'put down' of my part of the country at all but a reminder and a celebration of a people (black and white),a culture, a place and a time that I hold most dear looking back on my life. I think that Hollywood should be congratulated for bringing together this entertaining story-line, the fine acting talents and wonderful ole-time music this great film so graphically showcases.
59 people found this helpful
Daniel BobinskiReviewed in the United States on April 24, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
A good movie by itself ... even better when you can track the parallels of Homer's Odyssey
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I have to really like a movie to watch it more than once. The first time I saw this movie, I did not know it was based on Homer's Odyssey, so I walked away thinking, "What the heck did I just watch?" After learning of the Odyssey parallel, I decided I liked it enough to go back for a 2nd look --- and then some. It's a fun movie with good acting. (I don't care for Clooney's real life persona, but his acting skills are superb.)

When my daughter had to read The Odyssey for school, we decided to follow it up by watching this movie and identifying all the parallels. That made for a fun evening.

If you've not read Homer's Odyssey, I'll suggest digging into it and then watching O Brother ... it's a good movie by itself, and even a better one when you can track the story line with Homer's tome.
44 people found this helpful
joel wingReviewed in the United States on July 4, 2020
4.0 out of 5 stars
The South Greek Mythology Folktunes and the Cohen Brothers make for an engaging mix
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O Brother appeared as a crime comedy featuring three escaped convicts from a Mississippi chain gang, Ulysses (George Clooney), Pete (John Turturro), and Delmar (Tim Blake Nelson). They go through all kinds of hijinks while on the run. Many of those events are actually based upon the Greek story The Odyssey hence Clooney’s name Ulysses is the main character in Homer’s story. Other parts are based upon southern folklore. Those two inspirations tie together. Those stories are all about struggle and the wrath of god(s), which is what O Brother is about.

Life in the South during the Great Depression is a major theme. Ulysses, Pete and Delmar start off on a chain gang one of the iconic images of crime and punishment in the South. Blues guitarist Tommy Johnson (Chris Thomas King) ends up joining them. He sold his soul to the devil to be a successful musician. That’s based upon the famous story of Blues guitarist Robert Johnson making a deal with the devil at the Crossroads. Another time they run into Baby Face Nelson (Michael Badalucco) who was a famous bank robber a crime that became synonymous during the Depression with the likes of Nelson and Bonnie and Clyde. They also find themselves at a Ku Klux Klan rally who want to lynch Tommy. Finally, they expose a budding politician as being a Klansman. Racism ran the south. The KKK terrorized African Americans that crossed the color line and killed hundreds. Politicians were also members of the Klan and even if not were ardent supporters of segregation to keep blacks down.

There are other parts that are about The Odyssey and the Gods. When Ulysses, Pete and Delmar ask Tommy Johnson what the Devil looked like he said he was a white man with a big dog. That man is chasing the three down to hang them for escaping. One day they come across Big Dan (John Goddman) who has only one eye. He is the cyclops from The Odyssey. Three women singing bewitch the men. They represent the Sirens who used their voices to draw sailors to their deaths.

There’s also the famous singing as Ulysses, Pete, Delmar and Tommy pose as the Soggy Bottom Boys and record a record which becomes a hit. They also perform at a political rally.

All together it mixes the south with mythology and the Cohen Brothers quirky story telling in an original and engaging story.
17 people found this helpful
D. BreidenbachReviewed in the United States on May 21, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
Listen carefully - the dialogue is more than half the fun!
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Superlatives fail. Anything -- EVERYTHING -- good that has been written about this movie fails to describe just how wonderful it is. If you're one of the sad few who hasn't seen the movie, you must realize that it has more than a touch of whimsy and slapstick, some outstanding dialogue - which is one of the reasons the movie stands up to repeat viewing, and a lot of excellent music - which is another reason it stands up to repeat viewing. But it is not a comedy and not a drama and not as musical -- it's just a damn fine story, well told.
34 people found this helpful
How hard can it be?Reviewed in the United States on February 20, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
Great movie. Lost count of how many times I have seen this film.
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Great movie. Lost count of how many times I have seen this film. Literary friend pointed out so many details of Homer's Odyssey are in this gem of a story. Coen brothers are amazing.

Ulysses Everett McGill (George Clooney) parallels Ulysses/Odysseus in Homer's Odyssey. So funny, it's hard to believe it's the story we read in high school, re-packaged and so much funnier
21 people found this helpful
HurricaneReviewed in the United States on July 20, 2020
1.0 out of 5 stars
What a waste of time and money!
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A friend told us we "must" see this since it was "the funniest movie she has ever seen." Man oh man, is she out in la la land somewhere! My wife and I sat through most of it hoping that the really good parts would come any minute but they never do. I would think George Clooney would pay millions to have this stinker withdrawn from the market because it is so wretched. Totally and utterly stupid, with no redeeming qualities, don't waste your time.
4 people found this helpful
C. C. BlackReviewed in the United States on July 26, 2019
3.0 out of 5 stars
Disjointed Loopiness
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A big admirer of Cohen Brothers movies, I found "O Brother" (2000) straight down the middle of their quality and par for their course: neither the best nor the worst of their films. To call it as mash-up is no criticism but a statement of fact. You want Comedy? Crime? Action? Adventure? Period Drama? Musical? Preston Sturges? Homer (the Greek bard, not Simpson)? It's all here. The problem is that it doesn't hang together into much of a coherent story, of which the Brothers Cohen are more than capable. It's pretty much one darn thing after another, a problem the producers-writers-directors-editors ingeniously solved with "The Ballad of Buster Scruggs" (2018) by making each stand-alone segment a chapter in an imaginary book of tales of the old west.

The cast is sublime: not only Clooney, but also members of what has nearly become the Cohen Repertory Company: John Turturro, Tim Russell Blake, John Goodman, Holly Hunter, Charles Durning. Are they given enough to let their talents fully shine? I don't think so.

The look of the film: Marvelous, even on a small screen. For that we may thank the Cohens' go-to cinematographer, the brilliant Roger Deakins.

The sound of the film: Terrific. Under T. Bone Burnett's guidance no film since "Bonnie and Clyde" (1967) has done more to revitalize bluegrass country on the international stage.

The DVD extras: Meh. There's a music video, a short behind-the-scenes that functions as a sort of promo, and a very good but too brief (8 minute) look at how Deakins got the sepia-toned Depression era look that the Cohens were reaching for.

Bottom line: an entertaining film, but hardly the Cohens' best. Whether it will improve with age remains to be seen.
4 people found this helpful
Charles van BurenReviewed in the United States on July 5, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
One of our favorite movies
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What a wonderfully entertaining movie. Based loosely on Homer's Odyssey, this clever movie blends real people and places with fictional happenings. It also takes some of the characters out of their historical settings and moves them to Depression era Mississippi. Who would have thought that a movie centered around three escapees from Parchman Prison Farm could be so funny and successful.

We watched this movie for free through Amazon and IMDb. It does have commercials and the cutting is not smooth.
5 people found this helpful
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