Black Orpheus (Orfeu Negro)
Black Orpheus (Orfeu Negro) (1959)

Black Orpheus (Orfeu Negro) is literally what its title suggests: a retelling of the "Orpheus and Eurydice" legend enacted by black performers. This time the setting is the annual Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. Orpheus (Breno Mello)… More

Directed By:
Rated: PG
Running Time:
Release Date: December 21, 1959
DVD Release Date: June 8, 1999
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Critic Score: 88% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews

Consensus: Colorful, atmospheric, and infections, Black Orpheus takes an ancient tale and makes it fresh anew, thanks in part to its bewitching bossa nova soundtrack.

Michael Atkinson
Village Voice

An almost irrationally infectious retelling of the Orpheus-Eurydice chestnut set during carnival and feverish with hip-swiveling hustle, exploding local color, and sleeve-worn heart.

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Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal

[The film has] swirling color, the excitement of samba and the accessible joy of a fabled city, not to mention a charming Orpheus in the young Brazilian Breno Mello, and a dazzling Eurydice in the American-born dancer and actress Marpessa Dawn.

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Peter Bradshaw

An inspired reinvention of the underworld.

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TIME Magazine

It is an amazing creation.

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Variety Staff

Pic is somewhat cerebral, being mainly helped by the fresh playing of the cast.

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Anthony Quinn
Independent (UK)

It's the music, ecstatic, delirious, overwhelming, that is the star of the show: the bossa nova has never had a setting like this.

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Dave Kehr
Chicago Reader

This sort of thing was considered high art not so long ago; now it seems forced and ponderously symbolic.

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Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune

One of the great musicals.

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Christel Loar

There's no question that the tale is timeless no matter where or when the story is set, and you cannot deny that the spectacular cinematography makes Black Orpheus a thrill to see, but it's the score that really makes the movie resonate.

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More reviews for Black Orpheus (Orfeu Negro)

Flixster Audience Score: 87% Flixster User Reviews
Pierluigi Puccini
lyricism, magic, love, death, the real flavour of latin american joy for living. A tragedy in vivid colours and heavenly notes.
Devon Bott
1959's "Black Orpheus" is like some long-forgotten children's book of what the rest of the world, with it's exotic people and colorful… More
Jan Marc Macababayao
Mythological love and chaos in the world's grandest carnival, Black Orpheus is a modern adaptation of the timeless tale of Orpheus and Eurydice that feasts… More
Ken Stachnik
Gorgeous, touching, funny, beautiful and an absolute delight to watch. Marcel Camus' imaginative retelling of this Greek myth will leave you smiling,… More
Jason Robinson
I was skeptical -- I don't watch old movies. There's usually some anachronistic reference or humor that I don't get and then feel bad that I… More
Lenny Muggsy
Set in Carnaval season of Brazil so everything is overwhelming and flamboyant. The party atmosphere is set alongside alongside a modern interpretation of the… More