Brewster McCloud – A Strange and Memorable Movie

I watched this movie repeatedly in theaters when it came out in 1970, always remembered it, but never came across it again.  Four decades later I still have vivid recollections of certain scenes and a general impression it’s one of the best movies I’ve ever seen.



I’ve no idea whether I’d still like it today, no idea whether seeing it again would inspire me to think of all of it as still as somehow haunting and valid to the human experience as I once did.


Watching the trailer brought back some reminders of scenes, but it somehow failed to capture whatever it was that captured me.

In some subtle ways my mind connects Brewster McCloud with Balzac’s Droll Stories.  A multi-layered plotting capable of being enjoyed for the surface stream hilarity, but containing something fundamental, profound and pervasive about the human condition.

If you’ve watched this movie recently enough to recall it better than I do, or if you should see it after reading this, I’d be interested in learning how it sits with you.

Old Jules


10 responses to “Brewster McCloud – A Strange and Memorable Movie

  1. Thanks for remind us of such a small, almost forgotten masterpiece of Altman’s best creative years. It’d be hard and rather a stretch to trace parallels between the 1970s that the movie comments about, and what means to be living in America today. Then again, would it? That searing, final (?) image of Bud Cort trying to break through the ceiling of the gym flapping in exhaustion his home-made wings could serve as a powerful metaphor for these times, as it were for those.
    One just hopes that such a special movie gets the revisiting it deserves, and the exposure it never got to the people born after it was released. And the connection to Balzac is also appropriate, since his was also a quest to rescue what was no longer there. Great call for a Sunday morning reading. Keep up the good work. Wesley

    • Colltales: I appreciate your visit this morning. It’s refreshing to know it was actually a good movie and not something my mind created and wrapped it in those earlier times. Grateful you came by. Jules

  2. There are copies of it on youtube. It stirred several different levels of question in my mind. I liked that.
    Thanks for bringing it up.

  3. I’ve never heard of this! Surprised me, as I love Bud Cort. Harold and Maude is one of the best movies of all time for me.

  4. I can’t speak to this particular film – never saw it. I can however comment on what I found profound at about the same time in my life. Revisiting these movies now, I wonder what I saw in most of them. Guess it’s just where life was and where it is now.
    Thanks for the memories 😉

    • bela: Our younger minds were following different trails and marching to different drummers I recons, oftentimes. I think if you aren’t right in this case it might be the exception proving the rule. Gracias, Jules

  5. I haven’t seen the movie, and it is unlikely it will appear here so I don’t really know what you are talking about. But last year, I was trying to bring a bit of consolation to a friend who had suffered a loss… and I started sharing some of the old movies I really had liked in the past. And to my surprise, I found that a lot of them no longer moved me the way they had, It seems to me that the context in which we see the movie is very important. And we have expectations that are tied to what we saw lately. Some movies, even though they were great in their time, lose their importance in the present day context. And what is more… we have changed so much since those early days. Sometimes, we forget how much we have changed.

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