Drama | English | 112 minutes
The Bannon family owns a Texas cattle ranch. Living on the ranch are Hud, the son, a selfish, snarling drunkard who doesn’t give a hoot about anyone else; Homer, Hud’s reliable and honest father; Lonnie, Hud’s impressionable teenaged nephew who looks up to both men; and Alma, the housekeeper, who is attracted to Hud but keeps her distance knowing the kind of man he is. When the cattle on the ranch contract foot-and-mouth disease, the state veterinarian orders the cattle killed. Hud blames his father for buying diseased cows from Mexico and refusing to keep the ranch out of bankruptcy by selling oil leases. The family falls apart as Alma and Lonnie decide to leave. After Homer’s death, Hud is left alone to contemplate his life and his future.
Why Stream This Film?
The fierce father-son relationship delves into hurts of the past and is the heart of the film. With Paul Newman (as the son) and Melvyn Douglas (as the father), the film achieves an emotional impact of the highest order. Film critic Bosley Crowther wrote “HUD is as wide and profound a contemplation of the human condition as one of the New England plays of Eugene O’Neill.”
- Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 83%
- Metacritic Score: 62
- Academy Awards, Winners: Best Actress in a Leading Role (Patricia Neal); Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Melvyn Douglas); Best Cinematography, Black and White (James Wong Howe)
- Golden Globe Awards, Nominations: Best Motion Picture, Drama; Best Director (Martin Ritt); Best Actor- Drama (Paul Newman); Best Supporting Actress (Patricia Neal); Best Supporting Actor (Melvyn Douglas)
- BAFTA Awards: Winner, Best Actress (Patricia Neal)
- National Board of Review, Winners: Best Actress (Patricia Neal); Best Supporting Actor (Melvyn Douglas)
- The film was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
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A blistering adult western which broke ground in its depiction of an unglamorous West and in the decidedly anti-heroic nature of its lead. Newman’s performance, though, is unquestionably the best thing about this brutal portrait of humanity.
HUD shapes up to be this year’s most powerful film. In addition to the superb cast, there is also much else that is excellent: the camerawork of James Wong Howe, the poignant musical score of Elmer Bernstein, the insinuating use of natural sounds. They emerge in an achievement that should be honored as a whole. In spite of the title, HUD has it. That’s all you have to know.
The four principal actors– Newman, Neal, Douglas, and de Wilde–are so good they might well form the nucleus of a cinematic repertory company.
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