Alice's Restaurant
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Intrigued by the counterculture tale of Arlo Guthrie's epic 1968 talking-blues record The Alice's Restaurant Massacree, director Arthur Penn, co-scripting with playwright Venable Herndon, adapted the song into the 1969 feature Alice's Restaurant. Hippie outsider Arlo (Guthrie, playing himself) encounters suspicion from the straight world; visits his dying father, renowned leftist activist/singer Woody Guthrie (Joseph Boley), in the hospital along with friend Pete Seeger; and hangs out in the title converted church/commune created by his friends Alice (Pat Quinn) and her husband Ray… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 67%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"[Penn] has transformed a charming shaggy-dog story into a melancholy epitaph for an entire era."
‑ , TIME Magazine
"Brilliantly visualised."
‑ Geoff Andrew, Time Out
"To his credit, Penn refused to romanticize his subjects, and the film stands as a fairly accurate chronicle of the times."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"This is one of those time capsule films - for that it is important"
‑ Emily Blunt, Blunt Review
"In the end, the slap-dash narrative loses focus and credulity, particularly when the tale turns to the disintegrating relationship of Alice and Ray, and to an ill-developed subplot involving the ex-con drug addict Shelly."
‑ Dan Jardine, Apollo Guide
"Penn's genius overtakes the dropout romance, like a final post-bacchanal hangover that suggests liberation as an El Dorado dream."
‑ Nick Pinkerton, Village Voice
"Good work in a minor key."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"Penn's strong sympathy with the outsider and anti-Establishment stance comes across in a film that appealed to those who could identify with this communal hippie haven, but now seems too naive and distant."
‑ , Film4
"Not nearly as good as everyone keeps telling you that it is."
‑ Alex Sandell, Juicy Cerebellum
"...the film itself remains a pleasant, oddball, and highly diverting glimpse into one of the country's most confusing times."
‑ John J. Puccio, Movie Metropolis
"There are occasional flashes of wry humor and some rib-tickling sequences. But they are all too few."
‑ , Variety
"It's worth checking out for the marvelous look back at how the counterculture dropouts related to each other and to the straight older generation in the late 1960s."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"Inspired by Guthrie's ballad, Arthur Penn's film is a summation of the anti-establishment, anti-Vietnam War generation, clinging to the ideal of a collectivist life in a Stockbridge commune."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"The movie hasn't improved any over the years, but fortunately this version has Arlo Guthrie supplying commentary, making the DVD worth some historical value for '60s junkies."
‑ John A. Nesbit, Old School Reviews
More reviews for Alice's Restaurant on Rotten Tomatoes