Lolita (1962) Movie Review

By: Alex Phuong (A Toast) –

How did they ever make a movie of Lolita?

That was the question on everyone’s minds when the film adaptation of Vladimir Nabokov’s controversial novel was released in 1962. For those who don’t know, the novel and its film adaptation both deal with pedophilia (please look up that word on your own). It also features one of the most original (and somewhat romantic) stories ever conceived by the human imagination. This film is indeed controversial, and it remains one of the most (in)famous films of all time. Adapting this novel might have been considered impossible during the making of it, but Hollywood has a funny way of bringing literary classics to the silver screen. In fact, a lot of the biggest names in Hollywood at that time turned down the chance to appear in this film, including the Disney star Hayley Mills and the legendary Cary Grant. Nevertheless, Stanley Kubrick somehow defied all odds to direct one of the most provocative and notorious films in cinematic history.

A Toast

The fact that this film even exists is already a miracle within itself (and it even implies that there is such a thing as “movie magic”). Never underestimate the power of cinema! Sue Lyon actually does a fantastic job as the eponymous Lolita, and even earned a Golden Globe as the “Most Promising Newcomer – Female” in her film debut. The film also does its best to present the narrative within the original novel while also trying to appease Hollywood censors.

There are also some very iconic moments in this film, such as when Lolita is seen wearing a bikini and sunglasses. Vladimir Nabokov actually earned an Academy Award nomination for adapting his own novel for the screen even though To Kill a Mockingbird ultimately won in that particular category that same year. Lolita might have only received a limited amount of recognition (especially since it deals with very touchy subject matter), but many people agree that it is still a classic, just like the original novel.


Lolita will always be one of the most famous (but also notorious) films of all time. Some people also believe that the 1999 “Best Picture” winner American Beauty is essentially a modernization of this novel and film given the parallels of the relationships between the characters in each respective film. Movies are much like great works of literature because they both involve imagining the impossible, which is probably the reason why Hollywood DID find a way to “make a movie of Lolita.”

Lolita (1962) Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time there is a shot of Lolita that looks a bit suggestive

Take a Drink: every time the name “Lolita” is spoken

Drink a Shot: for every double entendre that gave the novel and film a sense of artistic merit in spite of the controversy that surrounds both

About Alex Phuong

Alex Andy Phuong earned his Bachelor of Arts in English from California State University-Los Angeles in 2015. His love affair with cinema began after discovering Turner Classic Movies in the summer of 2004. His favorite film director is Woody Allen, and his favorite movie star is Kate Winslet.

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