Now, Voyager (1942): Critical Response and Status–Then and Now

Critical Reception in 1942

Theodore Strauss, a critic for the N.Y. Times noted: “Casey Robinson has created a deliberate and workmanlike script which more than once reaches into troubled emotions. Director Irving Rapper has screened it with frequent effectiveness. But either because of the Hays office or its own spurious logic, [the film] endlessly complicates an essentially simple theme. For all its emotional hair-splitting, it fails to resolve its problems as truthfully as it pretends. In fact, a little more truth would have made the film a good deal shorter … Although Now, Voyager starts out bravely, it ends exactly where it started – and after two lachrymose hours.”

David Lardner of the New Yorker wrote: “For most of the film Davis just plods along with the plot, which is longish and a little out of proportion to its intellectual content.”

Variety gave it a more positive review: “The kind of drama that maintains Warner’s pattern for box-office success. Hal Wallis hasn’t spared the purse-strings on this production. It has all the earmarks of money spent wisely. Irving Rapper’s direction has made the picture move along briskly, and the cast, down to the most remote performer, has contributed grade A portrayals.”

Critical Status Now

In 2007, Now, Voyager was selected for preservation in the U.S. National Film Registry by the Library of Congress for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” The film ranks #23 on AFI’s  list of the top love stories in American cinema.

Film critic Steven Jay Schneider suggests the film continues to be popular due not only to its star power but also the “emotional crescendos” engendered in the storyline.


There is reference to the melodrama in the movie Summer of ’42 during the theatre scene.

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