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The Trial
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The Trial

1962
Drama
Suspense/Thriller
1h 59m
Your probable score
Avg Percentile 71.37% from 1252 total ratings

Ratings & Reviews

(1252)
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Rated 01 Mar 2007
5
91st
The expert expressionistic photography, the ominous score, the nightmarish logic, Perkins' nervous energy and Welles' own domineering presence in front of the camera all combine to make The Trial one of the most haunting and memorable films I've ever seen. There's never any point during The Trial where you're allowed to get comfortable, and you might as well not bother to make any sense of Josef K's prosecution. The entire thing is like a bad dream. (I wish more bad dreams were this enjoyable.)
Rated 14 Aug 2007
97
99th
An amazing film, a fevered nightmare of paranoia, bureaucracy and oppression, an examination of posturing and power plays and influence. Perkins is fantastic, navigating a series of awkward transitions. The locations are perfect, astonishing use of architecture and space to create moods and suggest a person's place in the power struggle. The camerawork is magnificent, finding just the right angles and lighting without ever seeming too showy. The dubbing can be distracting though.
Rated 01 Feb 2008
95
94th
God damn, this film made me feel exactly the way I felt while reading the novel: scared, uncomfortable, small, insignificant, lost. In his writings Kafka captured something about life and society that I don't really want to think about because it makes me feel so hopeless, and Welles transposes that feeling perfectly to the screen. Now I'm all depressed and shit.
Rated 02 Jul 2009
4
74th
Welles, from the start a radical formalist, finally relates his oblique style to the most abstract work of his career. This paranoid tension isn't unsettling so much as it is itself unsettled. A neurotic to-and-fro across liminal voids, where the spaces indicate no logical connections, and every question is answered with another question. It's exhausting, like the most intense episode of The Twilight Zone, and perhaps forecasting Eraserhead.
Rated 18 Oct 2010
75
77th
Arresting images. Welles, of course, knows exactly how to shoot a scene and his film is often on the verge of brilliance. More often the absurdity gets too silly. Hysterical, even. Perkins is good and does what he can - trying to hold together a film that is, sort of deliberately maybe, tonally all over the place. His scenes with Schneider are highly memorable. The ending is baffling, in a rather unsatisfying way.
Rated 20 Dec 2012
94
96th
Kafkaesque.
Rated 05 Oct 2013
82
93rd
Very effectively Kafkaesque. While I understand the rationale for ending the film differently than in the novel, the result is unsuccessful.
Rated 22 Nov 2007
78
88th
The portrait of a man haunted by guilt on many different levels and senses of the word. It's an interesting adaptation of Kafka (to whom Anthony Perkins bears an eerie outer resemblance) as Welles's script takes big liberties with the story. It does capture the existential essence of Kafka's novel and its social-political themes, but Welles draws it into film-noir and mixes in more id-oriented, even sexual symbolism, dimming Kafka's vision somewhat but also adding to it. Very good, in any case.
Rated 22 Jun 2021
96
98th
Brilliantly locates the essence of Kafka by dissecting film noir in its roots of German expressionism. Released within the same two year window as Last Year at Marienbad, Welles approaches a different set of themes and tonal compositions utilizing similar aesthetic principles as Resnais in his work. Here, form matches content so cohesively I'm tempted to call it his best work. It's likely the work of his that will linger in my mind the longest.
Rated 17 Aug 2009
90
97th
Haunting and terrifying, in its own way, depiction of bureaucratic insanity. The film's narrative (aptly summed at the outset as having the logic of a nightmare) and the exquisite music and cinematography create an atmosphere that is simultaneously otherworldly and yet all too familiar. The pacing is sometimes a bit too slow, but generally it's a fascinating (if uncomfortable) labyrinth for the viewer to get lost in.
Rated 23 Dec 2011
96
95th
It's as if Kafka had directed it himself.
Rated 16 Mar 2009
94
96th
I don't think I've seen a movie that captured the feeling of Kafkaesque dread quite as well as The Trial. I never would have thought that anyone could have done justice to one of Kafka's stories, but Orson Welles knocks it out of the park, and Perkins shows that he's more than just Norman Bates.
Rated 20 Dec 2008
8
78th
The whole film feels like a bad dream, which is why I found it less enjoyable than Welles' previous works but it does look absolutely surreal and features his known traits such as great editing, cinematography and formidable performances. I'm sure I'll like it even more the 2nd time around, because the last couple of minutes made me see its greatness. PS: If Morgan Freeman is unavailable, I want Orson Welles to narrate my life.
Rated 28 Nov 2018
85
89th
Kafka said he could live in a hollowed out tree. He also said he only ever accomplished anything because of his anxiety. The relationship between the two statements is the essence of Kafka. He creates imaginary rooms astray from reality to protect himself from what that may hold. Upon entering these rooms, though, he is anxiously overcome by walls by him erected, its origins upon entering forgotten; he walks in and drifts away.
Rated 15 Sep 2015
84
80th
Tiptoeing on being too much, it makes one of David Ayer's day long saga's seem like a week. Weak analogy, sorry. I'm primarily a story guy, but there were shots that made me gasp. One of the most beautiful movies I've ever seen not starring Dan Stevens. I mean Brit Marling! Whatever, I'm getting too old to differentiate.
Rated 03 Mar 2008
9
94th
I was certain that no one could ever do the possibly greatest novel of the 20th century justice. But I obviously hadn't counted Welles.
Rated 08 May 2023
70
42nd
I don't think it's a particularly good adaptation of Kafka. I don't mean that in a superficial way. On the surface, it's perfectly reasonable, but Welles's world view is just fundamentally different from Kafka's and his interpretation of this book is just really antithetical to Kafka. Is that a fair criticism? Not entirely. People should be free to adapt books any way they want, and I don't think Welles ruins the book.
Rated 20 Jan 2019
94
99th
An interesting adaption of Kafka's book as he never wanted this story to come out into the public. But even despite this, Welles adaption is both respectful and engaging. The film takes an interesting surrealist approach to depict corrupt bureaucracy that effectively conveys the feeling of being trapped in a nightmare. While Welles approach to the story is fairly different than Kafka in terms of writing/atmosphere and what he specifically alludes to, it's a fantastic film based on its own merits
Rated 14 Aug 2018
50
41st
Extremely disappointed by Welles on this one. I found it tedious. He seems to never have chosen the theme of the movie: pure dream or indictment of the law/society as a dehumanizing machine? Welles claims the first but his preoccupation with the law is such it's hard to believe he chose Kafka's novel by chance. There was an unresolved tension between the two aspects that harmed the movie. The dreamlike nature is negated by the criticism that is itself vaporized by the dream. Too fast-paced.
Rated 12 May 2011
29
96th
Best set design in cinema history? It's at least top 5.
Rated 06 Sep 2011
69
63rd
Brilliant sets, camera work and claustrophobic feeling.Lots of good acting, though I do not fancy much of Orson Welles way of storytelling. I remember only Touch of Evil to be a fine flick from him.
Rated 15 Nov 2010
60
54th
Romy Schneider and Anthony Perkins - a match made in heaven! Having read the book, i wasn't bewildered the same way, that I would imagine people who hasn't read the book will be. Welles, though a great craftsman, let's his own artistic vain get in the way of the overall theme - which ultimately leads to his own interpretation of the ending - possibly the worst ending in film-history. Still some beautiful shots here and there.
Rated 03 Nov 2010
91
95th
The amazing sets and virtuoso direction by Welles combined with a nicely told story make for a perfect looking nightmare. A truly haunting experience.
Rated 01 Mar 2016
80
87th
The wide shots of buildings make this movie feel retro futuristic and surreal at times with the story, the performances are captivating. Sometimes I felt lost while watching the movie but I think it was intended, probably deserves a second watch.
Rated 12 Oct 2016
91
88th
Apparently Orson Welles does surreal plots really well too, who would've thought? Anthony Perkins (Josef K.) has never been better. I sit here typing this, still not 100% certain about what I just watched. Welles adapts Franz Kafka's novel and remains true to his weirdness. It really, really works though. Jeanne Moreau (Marika) is absolutely fantastic in The Trial as well.
Rated 20 Jul 2010
86
94th
Nightmarish and paranoid pretty much sum this one up. Such beautiful camerawork too.
Rated 01 Apr 2012
11
98th
This is Welles adapting Kafka, not Kafka adapted by Welles
Rated 30 Jul 2012
100
98th
Never before have I so easily accepted aimlessness in a film. The Trial is just so twisted, so beautifully crafted, so absorbing that I would consider it one of the best films I've ever seen even if I still don't really know why I love it as much as I do.
Rated 20 Sep 2012
80
68th
I absolutely loved the beginning to this film. It's simple and beautiful and perfect. This simplicity is carried over into the first several scenes in Mr. K's bedroom. They're all wonderful. That being said, I'm not afraid to admit that by the end of the film I was utterly confused. The film explicitly says that it uses dream logic, but even so I couldn't even begin to guess at what was literally or metaphorically happening in the last few scenes. Even so, Wells is a genius.
Rated 23 Sep 2013
89
89th
Wow, so i guess i like Orson Welles now? For the most part this is great, like a nightmare screwball comedy (which is how it should be), and i don't think there is a single shot in it that doesn't look amazing. Unfortunately Welles does have a penchant for occasional grandstanding sermonizing which detracts from the film somewhat, especially when the greatest moments are just the scenes of droll, deadpan conversation (like the scene with Moreau, or the amazing little bit with K's cousin).
Rated 06 Dec 2013
80
85th
Welles does an admirable job transferring the nightmarish paranoia and the chaotic bureaucratic world of Kafka's novel to the screen. Although perhaps the adaptation is often too faithful, "Le procés" becomes enticing thanks to Perkins' suitably neurotic performance, captivating B&W cinematography and shot composition and an array of powerful themes and symbolisms.
Rated 17 Feb 2014
90
96th
I'm a great admirer of Kafka's book and an even greater admirer of Welles' cinematic genius. The Trial stays true to it's haunting source material and is so far my favorite work from the master director, thanks to the great expressionist style. For many years to come, this will be the ultimate story of man's struggle against the absurd that slowly consumes him. About the system that grinds mankind into meat. The Titorelli-scene is one of the most masterfully constructed scenes I've ever seen.
Rated 22 Sep 2023
80
80th
A real mind-melter this one. Sensational cinematography, sets and editing. It captures the Kafka feel multiple times so I would call it a successful adaptation while being its own thing. The ADR or 60's equivlaent is kind of noticeably off a fair amount which is distracting (or appropriate?) Perkins is nice with it but I could see someone else pulling off this role better. I may need to give it a rewatch since I felt metaphor overload in the last chunk. Too tired from work.
Rated 06 Dec 2019
64
50th
I remember enjoying the book, but I thought the movie was simply okay. Beautiful to look at.
Rated 22 Apr 2020
85
80th
The set design is fantastic and that helps every shot look wonderful. A lot has been said about the different camera angles and whatnot so I don't need to say it. It's interesting because it's a little bit strange and Perkins put in a pretty dazzling performance that fit the oddity of it all.
Rated 14 Aug 2007
96
95th
A hypnotic clash between the bombastic tiers of the law system with those which it renders, the intransigent with those under the heel of a decaying world order, Welles offers his most abstruse piece of cinema with Kafka not far behind, chasing Perkins through narrow archways of gloriously pretentious symbolism and mumbling imagery that deserts the conventional viewer on a desert island while it sneezes the same existential dread that plagued the protagonist as he decked through alleyways and my
Rated 05 Mar 2008
83
72nd
The entire film is one giant visual manifestation of the justice system. It's very odd yet still pretty comprehensible and there is some interesting criticism if you dig a little. Even so, it probably goes on a little long and starts to feel repetitive and lose its way.
Rated 01 May 2008
79
46th
The dynamite ending (no, it wasn't "dynamite!" I mean the ending involving dynamite) was puzzling. I liked a lot of elements of this film, mainly the visual design. Welles emphasizes the dream/nightmare quality of Kafka's story. His choices are interesting, and it's a little all over the place and confusing, which adds to the effect.
Rated 26 Aug 2008
80
85th
Completely bizarre and surreal, which makes it cool. But the ending disappointed me a little bit. It didn't maintain that "nightmare" feel like the rest of the movie, somehow. However, if you liked Brazil you'll love this...
Rated 19 Jun 2020
91
78th
Incredible visual effects that have successfully cinematised the extreme ridiculousness and meaningless obscurity of the judicial bureaucracy. The modified (compared to the novel), acting-out style ending, while it might not count as bad, does feel somehow "out of place" in the whole Kafkaesque absurdity.
Rated 28 May 2014
80
64th
mayıs '14, bilgi sinema &
Rated 14 Jan 2016
78
75th
Masterfully realised especially in terms of framing and set design. Technically near-perfect but ends up feeling too long, literal and weirdly formalistic to really get under my skin. Easy to praise as a piece of filmmaking though.
Rated 11 Mar 2023
96
91st
A masterpiece of set design and adaptation.
Rated 04 May 2023
91
97th
Peter Bogdanovich used to constantly rib Orson about this film by suggesting that it's a misfire; safe to say that Bogdanovich was wrong. It's not an enjoyable film, but rather a film you watch to be uncomfortable. You are thrown from claustrophobia-inducing scene to agoraphobia-inducing scene and back again in a seemingly endless cycle. The only way to avoid complete discombobulation is to cling to the wiry frame of Anthony Perkins, but in the end even that's not enough to save him or you.
Rated 07 Mar 2015
50
24th
The film starts off strong with Perkins performance and I'm not disappointed I watched the film if only for his acting but I can only handle this films premise for so long.
Rated 10 Jul 2014
83
75th
Welles inflects his unique brand of dynamic and expressive filmmaking with a more European sensibility. Minimalist sets, angular camerawork, and the erratic narrative recall masters of the medium like Dreyer, and yet it's also an evolution of the more Hollywood-style on display in Citizen Kane. This combination results in a film more unusual and surreal than maybe anything of the era. As a Hollywood exile in Eurpoe, Welles was just in a unique position to make such a movie.
Rated 23 Apr 2022
60
27th
A strong first 20 mins then absolute boredom for the next hour and a half
Rated 09 Mar 2014
85
91st
Matches the atmosphere of the novel perfectly
Rated 06 Jan 2024
76
60th
Kafkaish. Perkins is a fun casting choice fresh off of Psycho, playing into the idea that some faces simply appear guilty. He even looks kinda Kafkaey, doesn't he?
Rated 08 Jun 2022
66
14th
While it feels like a drug-fueled fever dream, the connections between the inexplicable layers of paranoia and judgment in 'civilized' society shine through, even if this flick needed about 25 minutes edited out.
Rated 14 Jan 2016
79
69th
There's a wonderful anxious atmosphere throughout the film, making it aptly kafkaesque. Interesting cinematography dominates the watching experience. The story itself wasn't quite as effective and somehow the film felt a bit boring storytelling-wise.
Rated 09 May 2012
77
41st
They cut out some parts that they shouldn't have and changed the ending a bit. Other than that, solid adaptation.
Rated 29 Dec 2021
90
59th
The mind game of a person getting accused by the society, and by the fear of the society sometimes - presents an excellent drama.
Rated 06 Sep 2021
88
88th
Wonderfully surreal. The best example of nightmare logic I've seen in a film this old. Welles must have blown so many minds when this dropped in '62
Rated 20 Dec 2016
20
2nd
bitiremedim bile.bi ara bitireyim
Rated 25 Jul 2017
78
60th
I should watch it again.
Rated 09 Nov 2017
85
85th
Claustrophobic, agoraphobic, intense, oppressive, surreal. Perkins plays a man losing control of his emotion in the midst of maddening frustration excellent. Welles and Kafka are a match made in cinematic...heaven...tho its a hellish world we journey through as a result.
Rated 12 Jun 2020
66
25th
A trial to sit through.
Rated 02 Nov 2019
80
80th
Narrator: "Nobody else but you could ever have obtained admittance. No one else could enter this door! This door was intended only for you! And now, I'm going to close it."
Rated 14 Jun 2019
90
95th
welles bambaşka bir diyardan bambaşka bir adam gerçekten. bir kafka eseri için belki nasıl bir atmosfer sorusunun cevabı çok açık görünüyor ama onu detaylı biçimde, tek bir duygulanıma odaklanmadan kurmak ve hikayeyi oturaklı biçimde anlatmak hem ciddi bir zanaatkarlığı hem de sanatkarlığı gerektiriyor.
Rated 11 Jun 2019
40
27th
Kafkaacım olmamış bu. Bunu bir daha yaz bana yolla ;))
Rated 16 May 2010
9
98th
The strangest, and by far my favorite, of Orson Welles' many masterpieces. I wouldn't go so far as to say it improves upon the novel, but it does take it in some creative directions while remaining faithful to the oppressive and surreal tone set by Kafka. Most impressive is the set design and acting, both of which go a long way to casting you into a disconnected, artificial and isolated world unwelcome to either logic or reason. A thematically and technically brilliant piece of work.
Rated 31 Mar 2007
40
23rd
Some nice shots but this is yet another disappointment from Orson
Rated 26 Jun 2007
85
89th
A nice adaptation, if somewhat unnecessary.
Rated 02 Mar 2008
58
32nd
# 832
Rated 26 Apr 2008
75
67th
Welles display a tremendous adeptness, "guiding" his character's elegantly through his carefully constructed maze.
Rated 20 Jun 2008
90
89th
Amazing use of the camera and lighting, as is typical for Welles. Loved the disorienting nature of the film, which is kind of the point. Welles takes a concept and draws strong lines between the form and the "text" of the film. I also really appreciated the opening and closing narration, as Welles explicitly puts his own personal stamp on the movie, marking its distance from the Kafka story.
Rated 18 Jul 2008
7
99th
Orson Welles is a fucking genius, most likely the only person who can make a Kafka story better. [My favorite Welles film]
Rated 25 Aug 2008
90
95th
Wow.
Rated 01 Sep 2008
96
97th
some scenes are well made such as .k being chased by little girls in tunnels or the story of a man trying to enter a door which was intended only for him and specially a little change that Welles has made at the end of the story...but still I'd chose the book over this anytime
Rated 19 Dec 2008
60
20th
810
Rated 10 Mar 2009
96
89th
The Trial is another example of how Orson Welles is so entirely dedicated to film. Ominous, unfamiliar and paranoid, its a fine look and venture into a awkward position of delusional stress and perspection. Anthony Perkins gives out a fine potrait of a man fallen into a stage of depression of which he will never overcome. Uncomfortably fantastic and hypnotic and also one of Welles best. Great adaptation of one great novel (Katka).
Rated 19 Jul 2009
85
43rd
Both my favourite Welles film, and my favourite Kafka adaptation.
Rated 19 Sep 2009
80
73rd
Some parts and the end was different in the novel. Also read: http://www.wellesnet.com/trial%20bbc%20interview.htm
Rated 03 Oct 2009
52
50th
Kafka's novel left such an impression on me that I couldn't fully accept Welles's approach. Still, the film is very successful on many levels.
Rated 15 Jan 2010
63
26th
750
Rated 04 Apr 2010
7
68th
The real highlight of this film is all the locations, the sets, the scenery. Feels like it was filmed on another planet. The black and white greatly compliments the mood and atmosphere of the film. It takes balls to change the ending of the book in such a dramatic way, but Welles did it and it worked out great in my opinion. Don't watch this if you are having a bad day, incredibly depressing film.
Rated 15 Feb 2014
100
97th
I am stunned. An incredible experience. It's a feverish, a nightmare spiral into hell. It works on dreamlike logic and non sequiturs. One that begs multiple viewings.
Rated 24 Jun 2010
80
81st
watched: 2010, 2015, 2023
Rated 27 Dec 2010
70
67th
A movie that is kind of hard to watch at the begining, but once you get past that boring WTF feeling, this movie really picks up and makes you use your imagination. This is the kind of movie for film snobs, though, and at times am one of them. I did enjoy this movie, but it is not for everyone and it takes patience for the final payoff, but you fdo have to pay some attention. I will watch this movie again and with the nuances and everything else put into it, I'm sure I will rescore this bettw
Rated 17 Jan 2011
91
92nd
The plight of the individual caught up in the legal bureucracy is well acted and suitably bizarre
Rated 21 Mar 2011
71
60th
Expressionistic Welles adaptation of classic Kafka novella. Another Welles project that met with constant disaster in production, with many lapses in continuity.
Rated 11 Sep 2011
89
89th
Orson Welles considered THE TRIAL his best film, and my own opinion aside, it's not hard to see why. It's a rich film, with many fascinating sights along Josef K's tragic, ambiguous journey; the casting throughout is ideal, but Anthony Perkins holds it all together with his brilliant Josef. Magnificent photography, showing off the eerie and expansive sets to their best advantage. And the use of "Adagio in G Minor" at the end reinforces the tragedy well. Only the final scene doesn't quite work.
Rated 21 Nov 2011
92
89th
A stunningly directed film. Every shot is just phenomenal. Anthony Perkins is a great choice for Josef K. and he excels in the role.
Rated 01 Dec 2011
67
34th
#663
Rated 22 Jan 2012
86
94th
Although the quality of the film is somewhat poor, the solid story and great acting still hold up. There are many lessons to take away from the film, but mostly I just want to watch it again.
Rated 17 Mar 2012
75
81st
At the beginning of this film, Orson Welles is narrating and describes the film as like a dream or a nightmare. This is very much so. Much in the way that in dreams, things are very frustrating and you can't seem to get whatever it is you want, the film is very similar. Very surreal. It's masterfully directed, as you'd expect from Welles. His and Anthony Perkins' performances are also both brilliant. It's Kafkaesque in the truest sense, as it's based on the Kafka novel of the same name.
Rated 04 Jul 2012
83
74th
83.250
Rated 30 Jul 2012
3
73rd
[Distant]
Rated 25 Dec 2012
7
96th
kafkaesque
Rated 05 Feb 2013
85
80th
Almost gleefully absurd. Welles takes a certain delight in the madness of the thing meaning even when you are lost in it it is still eminently watchable and enjoyable. It is also very unsettling - the whole thing, as far as I can tell, has been meticulously constructed to put you ever so subtly on edge.
Rated 25 Feb 2013
64
69th
Welles' nightmarish interpretation of even more nightmarish novel by Kafka. The plot is slightly different from the novel, and even more confusing. Instead of using storyline to tell the story, Welles uses cinematic tricks to evoke paranoia, anxiety and depression. This film is not as effective as the novel, but a few days of lingering uneasiness after you watch it is guaranteed.
Rated 21 Sep 2013
83
75th
83.000

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