While the films that premiere at the annual Cannes Film Festival may seem like they only appeal to niche audiences, many go on to receive critical acclaim. Surprisingly, that doesn't only apply to movies that receive cheers from audience members there. Several movies that are now widely known and respected were once vehemently booed by Cannes audiences.
It is, however, important to note that booing is relatively common at Cannes, and as such, doesn't always, or even often, denote a movie's quality. Here are six movies that went on to do extremely well despite receiving excessive vocal distaste from Cannes Festival-goers.
1. Pulp Fiction
While Pulp Fiction — the comedy-action film that Peter Travers of Rolling Stone called "indisputably great" — didn't get booed at the initial screening, it certainly did when it received the Palme d'Or, the Festival's most coveted award. However, it's likely that was due to audience members who believed another film they saw during the festival was more deserving. Or perhaps it was just a smattering of bitter filmmakers. Regardless of the reason, it went on to win an Academy Award for best screenplay.
2. Taxi Driver
Taxi Driver may have been nominated for four Academy Awards including best picture, but it failed to win many hearts at Cannes — well, at least many audience members' hearts. It received the Palme d'Or to the sound of boos and jeers. Apparently many found the movie's violence excessive and Robert De Niro's antihero character too off-putting.
3. Crash (1996)
Despite winning the Cannes Special Jury Prize and being nominated for the Palme, the hypersexual story of the 1996 movie Crash was not at all appealing to Cannes Festival-goers. That, however, didn't stop Roger Ebert from raving about it.
It's surprising to think an epic movie like The Tree of Life, which received three Oscar nominations — including best picture and best director — would garner any negative reactions. But sure enough that's what happened after its 2011 Cannes premiere. It did, however, also receive a good amount of positive response as well, so the likelihood is it was simply audience members trying to rock the boat.
The off-beat movie which again starred Brad Pitt was only lightly booed at Cannes, but later, director Quentin Tarantino received much criticism for his "revisionist" version of World War II. Based on how Cannes audiences also reacted to Marie Antoinette, it seems they're not fans of directors taking poetic license with history.
Inglorious Basterds went on to score eight Oscar nominations and one win — Christoph Waltz for best supporting actor.
Even though the Da Vinci Code received boos and laughter from audience members at its Cannes premiere, and was subsequently panned by critics, it still wound up a box office smash. The movie garnered $758.2 million worldwide, which made it the fourth highest grossing film of 2006. Considering the novel on which it was based is one of the top best-sellers of all time, it makes sense the film would have a healthy worldwide reception.
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