Cul-de-Sac (1966)

Roman Polanski and Gerard Brach wrote this memorable black comedy about an uptight recluse and his nymphomaniacal young wife, whose stormy existence in an isolated British castle is turned upside down when two wounded gangsters break into… More

Directed By:
Rated: Unrated
Running Time:
Release Date: January 1, 1966
DVD Release Date: August 16, 2011
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Critic Score: 82% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews
Variety Staff

As a study in kinky insanity, Cul-de-Sac creates a tingling atmosphere. This sags riskily at times when the director unturns the screws and does not keep control of his frequently introduced comedy.

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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times

This much sounds like a standard horror-film outline, especially since Stander looks amazingly like Frankenstein. But Polanski ignores the horror to concentrate instead on macabre humor.

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Christopher Machell

Cul-de-sac's greatest strength is that while its script resembles a bourgeois comedy of errors, its visuals are more in tune with existential horror.

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Geoff Andrew
Time Out

If the subject matter is bleak and bitterly serious, the tone throughout is darkly comic, while the precise imagery effortlessly conveys the tension, the claustrophobia, and the madness of the situation.

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Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader

One of the best and purest of all his works.

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Fernando F. Croce

Pristine deep-focus absurdism jolted by wide-angle twitches, utter despair treated with something akin to jolliness

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Bosley Crowther
New York Times

After two clean hits -- Knife in the Water and Repulsion -- Roman Polanski is entitled to one wild swing.

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MFB Critics
Monthly Film Bulletin

The sheer affectedness of the whole thing... rocks the film off its foundations and leaves one irritated to watch a talented director going through the motions of proving what an enfant terrible he is.

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Matthew Sorrento
Film International

Polanski tributes the [gangster-invasion film] by adding his own conceit: when there's no community worth salvaging, a threat will leave all involved floating, sans shoreline.

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More reviews for Cul-de-Sac

Flixster Audience Score: 79% Flixster User Reviews
Conner Rainwater
Considered something of a hidden treasure for some time, this isn't exactly the holy grail of Polanski, but it's definitely a well made movie and… More
Adam Mahler
The best performance by the great Lionel Stander I've seen. Pleasance is good until Polanski pushes him to the nerd-level of Eddie Deezen. The best kind of… More
Steven Carrier
Roman Polanski's "Cul-De-Sac" is probably the most 'Polanski-ish' film the director has made. Every sensibility of the famed auteur is… More
Pierluigi Puccini
Lionel Stander and Donald Pleasence are marvelous, as well as the screenplay and direction, with Polanski's intense, bizarre and darker than night humour.… More
Aj V
This is an interesting comedy thriller from Polanski, one of my favourites of his. Really good, i highly recommend it.
Chris Browning
While Repulsion is my favorite Polanski film to date, Cul-de-sac is the most artistic and filled to the brim with dark humor and wit. The combination of said… More