Best Movies by Farr
Petulia Poster
Released Runtime Category
1968 105 Drama, Romance
Director Language
Richard Lester English
Julie Christie, George C. Scott, Richard Chamberlain


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What's it About

Archie Bollen (Scott) is a middle-aged San Francisco physician in the midst of a divorce. After meeting Archie at a gala event, sexy, troubled socialite Petulia (Christie) pursues him avidly, hoping to embark on a torrid affair, even though she is married to David (Chamberlain), a handsome swinger with an abusive streak. But Petulia has another connection to Archie too, a secret bond she never divulges, even as their lives become increasingly tangled.

Why we love it

Set in San Francisco at the height of the Summer of Love, Richard Lester's stylish, offbeat melodrama pays homage to the swinging sixties in more ways than one. Through jarring jump cuts, flashbacks and "flash forwards," and glimpses of the Grateful Dead performing for a crowd of gyrating hipsters, the director evokes the psychedelic ethos of the era as a way in to the turbulent lives of Archie and Petulia, each of whom is suffering a private torment: she is a victim of abuse, while he just wants to "feel something." Scott and Christie are exemplary in their roles, while Chamberlain gets to look pretty, sulk, and act like a cad. Shot by Nicholas Roeg, "Petulia" is a trippy tale of love and confusion that explores the humid underside of flower power.

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BEST MOVIES BY FARR is your personal guide to great movies to rent, stream, or buy; to watch at home or on-the-go. Led by film advocate John Farr, the Best Movies by Farr team works as a "quality filter" for the discerning moviegoer. Every day, we bring you the best of the best, the fantastic familiar films and hidden gems, to answer that age-old question: "What should we watch tonight?"