Wuthering Heights (1939) - Rotten Tomatoes

Wuthering Heights1939

Wuthering Heights (1939)




Critic Consensus: Sumptuous design and perfect casting makes Wuthering Heights an exemplar of old Hollywood studio filmmaking, even if to a fault.

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Movie Info

Growing up together in 19th-century Yorkshire, Heathcliff and Cathy form a deep bond. In young adulthood, Cathy wounds the penniless Heathcliff by marrying into wealth, and his obsession with revenge leads to tragedy. Laurence Olivier is brilliant as the brooding Heathcliff in this poetic adaptation of Emily Bronte's novel.

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Merle Oberon
as Cathy Linton
Laurence Olivier
as Heathcliff
David Niven
as Edgar Linton
Geraldine Fitzgerald
as Isabella Linton
Donald Crisp
as Dr. Kenneth
Flora Robson
as Ellen Dean
Hugh Williams
as Hindley Earnshaw
Cecil Humphreys
as Judge Linton
Miles Mander
as Lockwood
Sarita Wooten
as Cathy as a Child
Rex Downing
as Heathcliff as a Child
Douglas Scott
as Hindley as a Child
Cecil Kellaway
as Mr. Earnshaw
Helena Grant
as Miss Hudkins
Mme. Alice Ehlers
as Harpsichordist
Tommy Martin
as Little Boy
Mme. Alice Ahlers
as Frau Johann
Frank Benson
as Heathcliffe Servant
Eric Wilton
as Linton Servant
Sam Harris
as Wedding Guest
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Critic Reviews for Wuthering Heights

All Critics (22) | Top Critics (1)

Emily Bronte's novel tells a haunting tale of love and tragedy. Samuel Goldwyn's film version retains all of the grim drama of the book. It's heavy fare throughout.

February 13, 2001 | Full Review…

This tells this story about as well as you can with great chemistry and beautiful music

February 25, 2020 | Full Review…

A lot of reverence has gone into a picture which should have been as coarse as a sewer.

May 8, 2018 | Full Review…

Had there also been an Oscar for best smouldering, Olivier would have walked it.

February 12, 2018 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

The cast is faultless.

January 18, 2013 | Full Review…

This is a first-class Hollywood production.

May 27, 2012 | Rating: A | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Wuthering Heights

With a gorgeous cinematography that uses strong black-and-white contrasts, this is an absorbing classic that eschews most of the crushing darkness and evil found in Bronté's novel (to be more accessible to the public) and yet manages to move us with its own dramatic power.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


Wuthering Heights is the 1939 adaptation of the Emily Bronte novel by the same name. A lost stranger comes to the broken down estate of Wuthering Heights, lost in the moors. He's put up by the hostile Heathcliff, and during the night sees a ghost. He's then told the tale of the ghost, and how it came to be. Olivier's Heathcliff is filled with nothing but impotent rage as he lashes out at the upper class which he oh-so-briefly had a taste of. His beloved Cathy isn't interested in becoming a stable boy's wife, even if she does love Heathcliff. It's a story that starts off with the promise of romance but ends on a bitterly cynical note. I get the feeling the film doesn't do justice to the novel (even having never read the novel), with it's somewhat shallow performances and a lack of exposition or character development. I was surprised to learn the role of Heathcliff was performed by the venerable Sir Laurence Olivier, it was a performance that seemingly could've been done by any reasonably handsome actor of his day. The "film" aspect of the film however, is outstanding: lighting, sets, costumes, and direction are all top notch (and I really hate to mislead, the performances are great for their day), but it's the original material that makes this film so worthwhile, rather than any contributions the filmmakers make.

Devon Bott
Devon Bott

Super Reviewer


my only excuse for having missed on this classic for sooo very many years is that i thought it only a "chick flick". whatta maroon, shame on me. with great writing, direction, and acting par excellence (olivier is to die for - and kathy does, merle oberon's death scene is stroke for stroke gloria swanson's last scene in "sunset boulevard", and flora robson finally gets some r-e-s-p-e-c-t in a movie!) by the entire cast, this old story hinged upon class warfare ("we're better than you!" "no you're not!" yah-hoo! ah luv it!) is as fresh as the day they thunk it.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

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