Huckleberry Finn - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Huckleberry Finn Reviews

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½ January 28, 2018
Huckleberry Finn is a disappointing film. It is about Huckleberry Finn who escapes his humdrum world by sailing a raft down the Mississippi River. Jeff East and Paul Winfield give terrible performances. The screenplay is badly written. J. Lee Thompson did a horrible job directing this movie. I was not impressed with this motion picture.
April 18, 2016
Fairly disappointing, but not without merit. The Sherman Brothers wrote a few memorable songs for this musical version of Huck Finn, but it's far from their best work on the whole. They should have had somebody else write the screenplay as well. It doesn't flow well. I'll tell you what I do like though, Jeff East as Huck! (First and only viewing - 9/9/2010)
January 26, 2014
Mildly watchable and mildly entertaining, but I didn't stop watching. On its own light fare. Considering that this is considered the greatest literary work from Americas greatest writer, then the id a bit shoddy.
½ January 25, 2014
gr8 music and theme sung by roberta flack
January 22, 2013
a very adventurous movie
½ May 10, 2012
Musical version of Mark Twain's classic novel omits much of the story and what Twain wanted to say.
½ September 2, 2011
I really enjoyed this movie. It is a good retelling of Twain‚(TM)s novel. It hits the main points Mark Twain was trying to relay. The lessons you can learn from this movie are really important. I would have to say not everyone has to watch this movie, but I would say that if you enjoy Twain‚(TM)s writings you will enjoy this fun story. Also you get a very good look at how this part of the US was like before the Civil War.
xtremeandy
Super Reviewer
½ July 8, 2011
Well this adaptation does no justice to the book. Although none of the versions have been very good. Approaching this as a musical is all wrong. You could sort of get away with it with 'Tom Sawyer' because that is really just a children's book and much lighter. 'Huck Finn' is a serious novel aimed at older readers and, as I recall, was some 500 pages long which was why I didn't finish it. Being a darker more serious story than 'Sawyer', it weathers being a musical far less.

It doesn't help that a couple of the songs really stink either. the movie gets off to a decent start, and the title song 'Freedom' is actually quite good. so are the songs 'Honey Darling' and the excellent 'Rose in a Bible', but pretty much all the rest are sub par. the Harvey Corman number, 'Royalty', is just plain awful. And so is Corman. it's hard to imagine Harvey Corman as giving such a horrible performance, since he is always so talented and funny, and you think he would be just right for this role, but he's not. he over acts so terribly and the song is so bad, it pretty much sinks the movie at that point, and it never recovers.

As a musical, this film does not work. The numbers are awkwardly placed and spaced, and some of the actors are unsure of their singing altogether. The songs in the companion film Tom Sawyer work better because they are usually sung as a voiceover, serving as an internal dialogue.

While not entirely faithful to the book, captures its essential themes and spirit rather well. There are some technical problems (the lighting always seem to be half in shadow, whether it's night or day!) and its kiddies-friendly tone seems at odds during the Grangerfords/Shepherdsons sequence, wherein we see men being shot and killed right on camera--and it's handled rather lightly.

Another basic problem with this adaptation is that some of the most interesting events in the story take place off-screen. You only hear them described afterwards, which is a very weak storytelling device. The cinematography is good; the acting by Jeff East and others is good, especially the actress playing the Widow Douglas. And Paul Winfield is an excellent choice for the character of "nigger" Jim.

Talented filmmaker J. Lee Thompson stages this musical version of Mark Twain's "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" with artificial verve, and nothing in it looks quite right or plays at the appropriate tempo. Stolen from his guardians by his own delinquent father, Huckleberry Finn stages his own death and hits the Mississippi River with his friend, Jim the Slave (why the two don't return to the sisters whom Jim works for is never made clear--both he and Huckleberry would certainly benefit from their generosity). Songwriters Richard and Robert Sherman, who also adapted the screenplay, seemed to lose their way musically once their mentor, Walt Disney, died; here, their songs are like leaden chapter stops in the narrative, not that the actors have much musical range. Teen star Jeff East doesn't even have music in his speaking voice, and he crawls through the picture lethargically, talking through his nose as if he had a cold. Paul Winfield fares better as Jim, though this pictorial, phony journey must have seemed quite a comedown after his "Sounder". Cinematographer Laszlo KovŠcs gets some beautiful shots of the raft on the water, but the limp direction and editing makes nearly all of KovŠcs' compositions look poorly framed. The color schemes are gloppy, with day scenes appearing as dusk and vice-versa. Director Thompson, who makes the white folks look like doddering scoundrels and the black folks look like grinning simpletons, can't work up a cohesive pace for the picture, and it jostles about from one poor vignette to the next.

Lovers of Huckleberry Finn might cringe at the liberties taken in this film, particularly at the end. The end that Twain wrote for the book wasn't very strong, with Tom Sawyer returning and making a muck of things. This is not the only version of Huck Finn that tries an alternate ending.


Huckleberry Finn, a rambuctious boy adventurer chafing under the bonds of civilization, escapes his humdrum world and his selfish, plotting father by sailing a raft down the Mississippi River. Accompanying him is Jim, a slave running away from being sold. Together the two strike a bond of friendship that takes them through harrowing events and thrilling adventures.

One of Mark Twain's best-loved stories becomes a screen musical in this family-friendly adaptation. Mischievous Huckleberry Finn (Jeff East) is a 15-year-old boy who has long had a difficult relationship with his often violent father. When Dad tried to kidnap him, Huck decides to run away from home, and heads out of town on a raft. Huck is soon joined by Jim (Paul Winfield), a runaway slave who is no more eager to see his master than Huck is to see his father. As the two friends make their way down the Mississippi, they're faced with a variety of challenges and adventures, including a run-in with a pair of shabby but dignified actors, The King (Harvey Korman) and The Duke (David Wayne). Produced in association with Reader's Digest magazine, which in 1973, scored a box-office hit with a musical version of Twain's Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn featured original songs by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman, who also wrote the songs for a handful of Disney hits, including Mary Poppins.
April 30, 2011
What moron decided that Huckleberry Finn was great fodder for a musical? The story is one of my favorites of all time, but the cheesifying and the horrible songs is borderline offensive. Some classics just should not be messed with, and this is one of them. I've seen several versions of Huck Finn, and this is the only one I couldn't sit through.
January 11, 2011
I reccomened this movie. I really enjoy it!! This would be a fun family movie or something for you to jus relax and watch. It has a little humor in it but I love it!! Lala
January 14, 2009
might be ok. I like the story, and I've read the book.
December 7, 2008
no thanks not my kinda thing
½ March 21, 2008
This movie is ok. Nothing that spectacular though.
February 20, 2008
movie poster for huckleberry finn actors&cast for huckleberry finn jeff east paul winfield harvey korman david wayne arthur o'connell gary memill
½ December 29, 2007
Very slow, not accurate, and horrible ending.
December 11, 2007
ala-asteikäsenä yksiä lempielokuviani :)
November 26, 2007
Another childhood favourite
August 6, 2007
a very adventurous movie
July 26, 2007
I know, a little old. But I sreriously loved it!
July 14, 2007
I thought the ending was too abrupt- I think I need to reread the book. The singing was pretty good, the acting was alright for its time. Particularly love the scenery in the musical film.
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