Few filmmakers other than Warren Beatty would have had the courage and vision to fashion an epic film from the life of famed American Communist John Reed (who is the only US citizen buried in the Kremlin). The film is an effort to humanize a political movement that has previously been depicted on screen in a series of unsubtle and prejudicial broad strokes. The film begins in 1915, when Reed (Beatty) makes the acquaintance of married Portland journalist Louise Bryant (Diane Keaton). So persuasive is Reed's point of view--and so charismatic is Reed himself-- that Bryant kicks over the traces and joins Reed and his fellow radicals. Among the famous personages depicted herein are Emma Goldman (Maureen Stapleton), Eugene O'Neill (Jack Nicholson) and Max Eastman (Richard Herrmann). The second half of this nearly-200-minute film skims through the years when Reed, now a Russian resident, becomes disillusioned by the harsh realities of Bolshevism. Despite the celebrity line-up of real-life "witnesses" to the events depicted in the film (ranging from novelist Henry Miller to comedian George Jessel!), historians took Reds to task for its oversimplification of events and its laundering of the notoriously promiscuous Louise Bryant. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Who cares, and why should we, about the only Amercian buried at Kremlin, John Reed? I didn't and I hated the movie when I first saw it 1981. I wasn't bored by it -- I just hated it, particularly the ending. I hated it so much that I saw it again to figure why it provoked such a strong negative reaction. And guess what? I started liking it. Now it is one of my favorites. Diane Keaton portrays the most complex and conflicted character of her career. The excerpts of interviews with real people who witnessed the events and knew the characters portrayed is a masterstroke. This is an epic movie about the conflict of ideas as well as people. They don't make 'em like this anymore, folks. Reds was the last "2-reeler" American film-- the last film with an intermission.
First of all, when I requested this movie, I expected to see the ENTIRE movie once I received it. I DIDN'T KNOW IT WAS A TWO-DISC MOVIE and afterwards I noticed the envelope indicated disc one of one. Why weren't both parts included in the envelope. Even though the movie started off slow, right when I was getting interested in it, it ended for "intermission". LOL If anyone decides to check it out, be sure you receive two discs. TM
John Reed, the central figure in this film, is NOT the only US citizen buried in the Kremlin wall. Bill Big Haywood, of the IWW, born in Salt Lake city, Utah is buried there, as is Charles Ruthenberg, born in Cleveland, Ohio. Ruthenberg was one of the early leaders of the US Communist Party and is buried near John Reed. It would have been very interesting to see them in the film.