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Ulysses  Celebrate Bloomsday with the full movie here, starring the brilliant Milo O’Shea (R.I.P.), if you don’t fancy a week with the book!

Ulysses, the book by James Joyce (1922) – Article from

Ulysses has been labeled dirty, blasphemous, and unreadable. In a famous 1933 court decision, Judge John M. Woolsey declared it an emetic book–although he found it sufficiently unobscene to allow its importation into the United States–and H. G. Wells was moved to decry James Joyce’s “cloacal obsession.” None of these adjectives, however, do the slightest justice to the novel. To this day it remains themodernist masterpiece, in which the author takes both Celtic lyricism and vulgarity to splendid extremes. It is funny, sorrowful, and even (in a close-focus sort of way) suspenseful. And despite the exegetical industry that has sprung up in the last 75 years, Ulysses is also a compulsively readable book. Even the verbal vaudeville of the final chapters can be navigated with relative ease, as long as you’re willing to be buffeted, tickled, challenged, and (occasionally) vexed by Joyce’s sheer command of the English language.

Among other things, a novel is simply a long story, and the first question about any story is: What happens? In the case of Ulysses, the answer might be Everything. William Blake, one of literature’s sublime myopics, saw the universe in a grain of sand. Joyce saw it in Dublin, Ireland, on June 16, 1904, a day distinguished by its utter normality. Two characters, Stephen Dedalus and Leopold Bloom, go about their separate business, crossing paths with a gallery of indelible Dubliners. We watch them teach, eat, stroll the streets, argue, and (in Bloom’s case) masturbate. And thanks to the books stream-of-consciousness technique–which suggests no mere stream but an impossibly deep, swift-running river–we’re privy to their thoughts, emotions, and memories. The result? Almost every variety of human experience is crammed into the accordian folds of a single day, which makes Ulysses not just an experimental work but the very last word in realism.

Both characters add their glorious intonations to the music of Joyce’s prose. Dedalus’s accent–that of a freelance aesthetician, who dabbles here and there in what we might call Early Yeats Lite–will be familiar to readers of Portrait of an Artist As a Young Man. But Bloom’s wistful sensualism (and naive curiosity) is something else entirely. Seen through his eyes, a rundown corner of a Dublin graveyard is a figure for hope and hopelessness, mortality and dogged survival:

“Mr Bloom walked unheeded along his grove by saddened angels, crosses, broken pillars, family vaults, stone hopes praying with upcast eyes, old Ireland’s hearts and hands. More sensible to spend the money on some charity for the living. Pray for the repose of the soul of. Does anybody really?”

Having aborted six prior reads, I approached my current reading of James Joyce’s “Ulysses” with determination and resolve. That is needed. I am sixty-five years old. Twenty-four days after purchasing a New Library hardback edition, twenty-four days of struggling, I paused to glance at the page number. I had gotten to page twenty-one. Needless to say, the pace has since picked up. It took me until about page ninety to get into Joyce’s writing. Three things kept me interested enough to stay with it. First, Joyce’s command of the English language. Actually, I went along for some time thinking the city we were in was London, instead of Dublin, which it is. This is a day in the life of Leopold Bloom, in about 1904. The young man’s banter was more British than Irish. The British Empire was high, and many Irish were profiting. Second, Joyce’s command of the knowledge base of the time. He was Jesuit educated. His knowledge of antiquity is astonishing. Third, and this must be the most important thing that kept me going, is that virtually on every page there is a total mind blower. It might come in the form of a description, an impression, a story, or a plain old outburst. The game with Joyce, from my experience, is to know those nuggets are in the mine, and to persevere to find them.–Submitted by Anonymous

I have read Ulysses perhaps half a dozen times over the past 35 years. Most recently last spring, (2011) when a new commentary on it was published, Ulysses and Us by Declan Kiberd. I often re-read this book when a new commentary on it comes out, because I invariably learn something new. But that’s the point: to approach Ulyssesfor the first time without a guide of some kind is like setting out to drive from New York to California without either a road map or GPS. You need a guide. When I was young, two of the best were James Joyce’s Ulysses by Stuart Gilbert, who knew Joyce and worked with him on it. William York Tindall’s A Reader’s Guide To James Joyce was also a good one. New ones have come out since. Give yourself a rich treat: take the stroll through Leopold and Stephen’s Dublin on June 16, 1904. But have handy someone like Gilbert, Tindall or Kiberd whom you can take by the hand. Even Dante had a guide when he walked through Purgatory.–Submitted by Kelley Dupuis, Tbilisi, Georgia. September 20, 2011

If you’re a fan of the Coen brothers’ depression movie O Brother, Where Art Thou?you probably loved the humour, the sense of place, the quirky but strong characterisation and the brilliant music. It might seem a totally original movie. Of course, it isn’t original; it is an homage to Joyce’s Ulysses, where all of those characteristics are even more strongly present. But how can a book have a musical score, you may well ask. Ulysses needs to be read as an entire work, and it may seem a labour of love, but this seminal book also provides endless pleasure when re-read in parts. One of my favourite parts is a section known as Sirens. (Rather infuriatingly Joyce did not provide chapter breaks, though the book is written in separate episodes, each episode echoing an episode of The Odyssey). In what is one of all literature’s most daring endeavours, Joyce tries to make this section almost a piece of music, with the various sounds of a bar and the street outside forming a set of instruments. The result is initially cacophony, eventually a deeply satisfying terpsichorean experiment in language. But it is also deeply funny. This section, or chapter if you will, provides a clue as to how the book needs to be appreciated, for it is the rhythmic flow and lilt of language, as much as the visual signification of words, that fascinates him. But Joyce does not merely conduct solepsistic narrative experiments; he swings a camera round an early twentieth century Dublin but it is a camera which is endowed with intelligence, wit and vivacity. Some early readers, though it’s hard to imagine now that they read the whole book, objected to the so-called obscenities of Ulysses. Bloom, the everyman hero, defecates, masturbates, inspects some marble statues of goddesses to see if the sculptor has been anatomically accurate. But he also reflects on the plight of animals; the misogyny and racism of his times; the opiate nature of religion, the nature of light, gravity, language and a hundred other abstractions, in ways which are both highly illuminating and refreshing, but also very amusing. Nobody writing in English but Shakespeare and Dickens has such depth, breadth and entertainment value. You may need a critical guide to help you with your first reading, for you will certainly miss a number of convoluted puns, verbal echoes and literary and historical references. That does not matter much, just as it does not matter if you fail to notice that the farmer that the Porter mentions in Macbeth is a reference to one of the Guy Fawkes conspirators. It simply means that there is plenty more to unearth on your next reading. Ulysses is that comparatively rare work of art, a work which you know you will enjoy next time and every subsequent time, like a piece of music. Or a good movie.–Submitted by Lloyd Rees

I was born in Ireland, 72 years ago, and the Christian Brothers did not teach Joyce and discouraged us from reading even The Dubliners and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. The best description of the book Ulysses, that I can remember is, “It is a book about all people at all times.”–Submitted by Bill Funchion, Naperville, IL

Details of Ulysses (1967), the movie from

Ulysses (1967)

(Banned) 123 min  –  Drama  –  June 1967 (UK)
Your rating:

Ratings: 6.5/10 from 475 users 
Reviews: 11 user 15 critic

Dublin; June 16, 1904. Stephen Dedalus, who fancies himself as a poet, embarks on a day of wandering about the city during which he finds friendship and a father figure in Leopold Bloom, a … See full summary »


Joseph Strick


Fred HainesJames Joyce (novel), 1 more credit »


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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 6 nominations. See more awards »


Ulysses Ulysses Ulysses Ulysses


Dublin; June 16, 1904. Stephen Dedalus, who fancies himself as a poet, embarks on a day of wandering about the city during which he finds friendship and a father figure in Leopold Bloom, a middle-aged Jew. Meanwhile, Bloom’s day, illuminated by a funeral and an evening of drinking and revelry that stirs paternal feelings toward Stephen, ends with a rapprochement with Molly, his earthy wife. Written by <>

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Plot Keywords:

poet | funeral | jew | drinking | book seller | See more »




(Banned) | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Release Date:

June 1967 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Alucinação de Ulisses See more »

Filming Locations:

Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland

Company Credits

Show detailed company contact information on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


132 min

Sound Mix:

Mono | 4-Track Stereo

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1

See full technical specs »


Did You Know?


When the film was submitted to the BBFC in 1967 they requested 29 cuts to remove strong language and crude sexual references from Molly’s final soliloquy. In return director Joseph Strick replaced all the offending footage with a blank screen and a high pitched shrieking sound. This resulted in the BBFC rescinding the cuts and passing the film fully intact.See more »

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User Reviews

Entertaining and memorable

11 April 2012 | by Galina (Virginia, USA) – See all my reviews

I saw this film, the adaptation of James Joyce’s most famous novel which is one of the most important and complex works of the 20th century literature, in the early 90s. The Videotape was on the shelf in the local library where I worked at the time. When I saw the title, I could not believe my eyes, and said to myself: “This just can’t happen because it is impossible.” But I held in my hands the evidence to the fact that the epitome of the unfilmable book had indeed been adapted to the screen. Even before I started watching, I was fascinated with audacity of the film’s creators who were not afraid to aim a blow at the most famous literary “stream of consciousness” of the 20th century. The film left many parts of the books out and could not capture the whole realm of book’s richness, it would be impossible, but the attempt still made me feel respect and appreciation to the film director/co-writer Joseph Strick and everyone involved for making an interesting and entertaining motion picture from the incredibly complex, versatile, polyphonic novel which is filled with the dizzying flight of thought, for which there is no limit in either space or time.

What “Ulysses”- the film did right, it is certainly a cinematic portrait of Dublin, James Joyce’s city that lives, sounds and moves during a single day, known in literature as Bloomsday, June 16, 1904. Joyce once wrote that he wanted to describe Dublin in in such way that even in hundred years if the city disappears from the face of the earth, it could be restored based on the novel “Ulysses”. Now, in addition to the Joyce’s prose, there is a movie portrait of Joyce’s Dublin carefully reproduced with its streets, avenues, harbor, docks, quays, pubs, the “red lights” district, cathedrals, cemetery, etc.

I was very impressed by Milo O ‘Shea in the role of Leopold Bloom. That’s how I always imagined Bloom’s appearance, body language, behavior, the whole persona.

The best and most memorable are last two scenes of the film; a long surreal “Circe” depicting Bloom’s and Stephen Daedalus visit to a brothel, and of course, the culmination of the film and the novel, ‘Penelope’. Molly Bloom, (Barbara Jefford) , caught on a thin line between waking and dreaming just the moments before she falls asleep, thinks about very intimate events in her life, recent and long gone. She reminisces about her and Bloom’s present and past and finally falls asleep with the most beautiful and life affirming thoughts ever captured in English language: “…I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.” Molly’s inner monologue takes almost 30 minutes in the film but it is rich, playful, feminine, wave-like spiral and soothing. It is so beautiful, and Jefford made it her own yet relating to any viewer regardless of gender that I could listen to it again and again.

In my opinion, “Ulysses” (1967) adapted by Joseph Strick is interesting, even if not completely successful film experiment, which was awarded the Oscar nomination for adapted screenplay. Incidentally, I have quite a seditious idea that “Ulysses” has been successfully transferred to the screen and the film has turned out amazingly captivating, entertaining and profound. He has another title and is the adaptation of another work of literature. I mean the posthumous Stanley Kubrick’s film, his swan song “Eyes Wide Shut.” But this is a topic for another review.


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