From unloved curiosity to beloved classic: The surprising 40-year legacy of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining

By Nathan Weinbender

Forty years ago this week, Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining was released into a handful of theaters and was met with a blizzard of chilly reviews. Most critics in 1980 agreed: Like the director’s previous film, 1975’s period epic Barry Lyndon, it was all flash and no substance. 

Pauline Kael wrote in the New Yorker that Kubrick’s devotion to technique distanced the audience from the domestic horrors of his story. The Washington Post called it “elaborately ineffective.” Gene Siskel said it was “boring” and occasionally “downright embarrassing.” Toronto’s Globe & Mail: an “overreaching, multi-levelled botch.” In its first year of existence, the bad movie-centric Razzie Awards nominated The Shining for worst director and worst actress.

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