Havana (1990): Sydney Pollack’s Casablanca-Mimic Film, Starring Robert Redford and Lena Olin

One of Sydney Pollack’s worst films, Havana also marks the his weakest collaboration with actor Robert Redford after more successful efforts like the 1985 Oscar-winning, Out of Africa.

Set just before Castro’s takeover of Cuba, the story revolves around an American gambler (Redford) in Havana, who gets involved with a revolutionary’s wife, played by the sexy Lena Olin.

Inspired by Casablanca, The movie shows the politicization of an unengaged American, following in the footsteps of Bogart’s iconic hero.

Though lavishly produced, the movie is rambling and over long (2 hours and 25 min), and the lack of chemistry between Redford and Lena makes things worse.

Directed by Sydney Pollack

Written By: Judith Rascoe and David Rayfiel

Oscar Nominations: 1

Original Score: Davis Grusin


Oscar Awards:  None

Oscar Context:

he winner of the Original Score Oscar was John Barry for “Dance With Wolves,” which swept most of the Oscars that year, including Best Picture, Director, and so on.