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The Barefoot Contessa

  Unrated Closed Captioning

Joseph L. Mankiewicz

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About the Movie

The Barefoot Contessa begins at the funeral of Ava Gardner, a former Spanish peasant, cabaret dancer and movie star, who at the time of her death was a full-fledged contessa. Her life story unfolds in flashback recollections from her mourners. Film director Humphrey Bogart recalls how his career was saved when he discovered Gardner on behalf of Howard R. Hughes-like mogul Warren Stevens. Press agent Edmond O'Brien remembers how Ava was wooed and then abandoned by mercurial millionaire Marius Goring, and Italian count Rosanno Brazzi reflects on how he was able to wed the tempestuous Gardner, only to watch his world crumble after revealing on their wedding night that he was "only half a man." O'Brien received Best Supporting Actor awards at both the Academy Awards and Golden Globes in 1954.

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews


  • Reviews Counted: 8
  • Fresh: 8
  • Rotten: 0
  • Average Rating: 7.7/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Fresh: An imperfect film, but its excesses are as suggestive as its subtleties. – Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader, Jun 24, 2010

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Customer Reviews

Good character development and writing

This is a sophisticated movie for mature film viewers. The writing, character development and interweaving of the character's lives come to the fore here. Ava Gardner turns in a good performance of a rather naive young actress becoming "discovered" and how she copes with sudden fame. Bogart is in classic form as a tired but genuine director. Sometimes a bit slow moving and stagey, it nevertheless creates interesting situations and how people can react to them. The settings are a delight to look at. It brings back an era of days past.

Only boring if one has ADHD

It takes some intelligence to understand this classic film. If the viewer can only stay still long enough to look at the opening credits, well, that person may be better off watching Bugs Bunny. The dialogue of Barefoot Contessa is beyond many of itunes' users; save your $9.99 and find some Disney classics for yourself. Bogie and Ava Gardner had more talent in their belt buckles than all of today's actors put together. If your IQ is in the triple digits, you will enjoy this heartbreaking well-written movie.


The writer-director of this film, Joseph Mankiewicz, made intelligent, unforgettable films..his two best were this one and All About Eve, another must-see. The dialogue crackles in this film! Some of the best ever recorded on celluloid. Bogart like you've never seen him before--neither the tough guy nor the romantic anti-hero...Without a doubt Ava Gardner's best role.And was she drop-dead beautiful or what. I believe she was married to Frank Sinatra when she made this. They had a really rocky marriage and ended up divorced. Folks say he said she was the true love of his life. Gardner's character here--and the movie itself--is enigmatic, mysterious, romantic. One of the best movies ever made that used the Hollywood film industry as a backdrop--though it practically all takes place in Europe and was filmed there. Gorgeously shoot in Technicolor, the film is worthy of repeated viewings. They really don't make 'em like this one anymore, and it's a real shame. Two thumbs up, as they say...

The Barefoot Contessa
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  • $9.99
  • Genre: Drama
  • Released: 1954

Customer Ratings