The Life of Emile Zola
The Life of Emile Zola (1937)

The second of Paul Muni's biographical films for Warner Bros., the Oscar-winning The Life of Emile Zola is by far the best, even allowing for the dramatic license taken with the material. When first we meet French novelist and essayist… More

Rated: G
Running Time:
Release Date: February 1, 2005
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Rotten Tomatoes™
Critic Score
71%
Flixster
User Score
73%

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Critic Score: 71% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews

Consensus: Well-written, well-meaning and solidly acted, the film may ultimately be more earnest than interesting.

TIME Magazine

Last week Warner Brothers released a movie which is probably the outstanding prestige picture of the season. It is also one of the best shows.

Full review…
Geoff Andrew
Time Out

Carefully mounted, well directed and acted, but basically the sort of well-meaning pap out of which Oscars are made.

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Donald J. Levit
ReelTalk Movie Reviews

Stacks up well against many a film biography of the subsequent three-quarters of a century.

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John C. Flinn Sr.
Variety

The film is destined to box office approval of the most substantial character. It is finely made and merits high rating as cinema art and significant recognition as major showmanship.

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Frank S. Nugent
New York Times

A great and valuable and stirring film document.

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Dennis Schwartz
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

A piece of pap.

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Dave Kehr
Chicago Reader

This act of altruism on behalf of the brothers Warner was rewarded with the best picture Oscar for 1937; it isn't so much bad as utterly, magisterially bland.

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James Berardinelli
ReelViews

It's a compelling film that demands no previous knowledge of the title character in order to derive satisfaction from the story.

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David Parkinson
Empire Magazine

A moving evocation of an era and a heroic deed.

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More reviews for The Life of Emile Zola

Flixster Audience Score: 73% Flixster User Reviews
Chris Weber
This film is based on the life/work of French writer and activist Emile Zola. It starts out as a stand biopic, but then becomes a stirring courtroom drama, as… More
Walter M.
In 1862, Emile Zola(Paul Muni) and his friend Paul Cezanne(Vladimir Sokoloff) are a pair of starving and freezing artists trying to survive in Paris. Even a… More
jay nixon
Creaky biopic of an interesting and worthwhile story. Keeping in perspective when it was made the film is not bad, Muni a fine actor when not in costume, say in… More
Byron Brubaker
A story of a great man. A story about justice, injustice, and the power of intellect to overcome corruption. German director Dieterle carefully constructs a… More
Randy Tippy
Paul Muni is so good I'd have to invent a new vocabulary to adequately describe his performance. Fantabulous. Outstandnistic. Wonderical.
John Ballantine
Muni's triumphant portrayal of Emile Zola is good but it feels dated. It is well presented and filmed for its period and Muni done well but there is an… More