The Player

1992 Comedy Drama

Robert Altman takes a scalpel to Hollywood ethics in the 1990s (or the lack thereof) in his acidic satire The Player, adapted from Michael Tolkin's novel. (Tolkin also wrote the screenplay.) The film concerns a sleek and smooth Hollywood studio executive who starts receiving death threats from a disgruntled writer because he has committed the ultimate Hollywood sin -- he promised the writer he would call him back and he never did. This is particularly ironic because the studio executive, Griffin Mill (Tim Robbins), is considered "writer-friendly," spending his days listening to pitches from such noted screenwriters as Buck Henry, who is pushing "The Graduate, Part II" and Alan Rudolph, who is hawking a Bruce Willis action film described as "Ghost meets The Manchurian Candidate." But The Player finds Griffin's comfortable life style in danger of collapse. He is trying to find a way to unload his girlfriend (Cynthia Stevenson) whose independence and intelligence make her a poor candidate for a trophy wife. More importantly, it seems that Larry Levy (Peter Gallagher), a slippery executive from Twentieth Century Fox, is angling for his job. And then there are those nasty postcards and faxes from a screenwriter threatening to kill him. Altman cast over 65 stars in cameo roles as texture for his scabrous tale. more..

Director: Robert Altman

Starring: Tim Robbins, Greta Scacchi, Fred Ward,Whoopi Goldberg, Peter Gallagher


  • The film is sublime entertainment, at once ticklish and suspenseful, cynical and sincere. By its very existence, Altman's comedy about the death of Hollywood lets you know that movies are still alive and kicking.

    Owen Gleiberman - Entertainment Weekly

    27 April 2013

  • Remarkable also for the uniform excellence of its cast, and for the pleasure

    Edward Guthmann - The San Francisco Chronicle

    27 April 2013

  • Joins company with "Sullivan's Travels" and "Sunset Boulevard" as the quintessential Hollywood peek-a-boos...

    Mike Clark - USA Today

    27 April 2013

  • This brilliant satire, styled as a murder mystery, is the best insider's view of Hollywood since "Sunset Boulevard."

    Julie Salamon - The Wall Street Journal

    27 April 2013

  • What makes The Player the best and boldest American comedy in years is Altman's wizardry at leavening anger with cathartic wit. He sticks it to every target, himself and us included, with a wicked zest that hurts only when you laugh -- and The Player keeps you laughing constantly.

    - Rolling Stone

    27 April 2013


  • Best Director

    Academy Awards (1993)

  • Best Edited Feature Film

    American Cinema Editors (1993)

  • Best Direction

    BAFTA Awards (1993)

  • Best Non-European Film (Bedste ikke-europæiske film)

    Bodil Awards (1993)

  • Best Director

    Boston Society of Film Critics Awards (1992)