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Grand Hotel won the Academy Award for Best Picture. It is to date the only film in Hollywood's history that has won for Best Picture without (curiously) having been nominated in any other category.

The film was voted the best directed, best written and best acted film of the year by the Hollywood Reporter poll of national film critics.

In 2007 Grand Hotel was added to the National Film Registry for preservation.

In 2005 the American Film Institute ranked Greta Garbo's quote "I want to be alone" from Grand Hotel number 30 on its "100 Years...100 Movie Quotes" list, a compilation of film's most memorable quotes of all time.


"It is a production thoroughly worthy of all the talk it has created and the several motion picture luminaries deserve to feel very proud of their performances, particularly Greta Garbo and Lionel Barrymore." -- The New York Times

"Better than just a good transcription of the Vicki Baum stage play. A commercial picture of high box office potential, first by assembling the most impressive aggregation so far of strictly Bradstreet screen names, and then by filming the play practically unaltered in form, but played along broader and probably simpler acting lines." -- Variety

"Edmund Goulding's direction is brilliant but the picture's greatest virtue, as it should be, is its acting. Garbo is less numb than usual and gives her best performance. John Barrymore makes the Baron a scapegoat so admirable as to be a larger blot upon the escutcheon of the Hays organization than six gangsters. Lionel Barrymore makes you believe that his collar is an inch too big for him. Good shot: the lobby of the Grand Hotel, looking down from a balcony on the sixth floor." -- Time magazine

"Garbo, even Garbo, that symbol of divine discontent, must find some compensation for life's hardships in her latest triumph. Or perhaps she doesn't. Perhaps the fact that she takes ease makes it her own picture is just another affliction...Garbo dominates the picture entirely, making the other players merely competent routine performers, in my opinion; giving the tricky, clever film a lift, a spring, such as pictures without her, without that intense, nervous vitality she's got, cannot possess. By her walk alone, her gait, Garbo is exciting, and it doesn't need the folderol of grand dukes and pearls that this story gives her, the so conventionalized role of the beautiful premiere danseuse, to lend her that exasperating enchantment vaguely described as 'glamour.'" -- The New Yorker

"A must." -- Leonard Maltin, Classic Movie Guide

"There is every reason to reject Grand Hotel as an elaborate chunk of artifice; there are no redeeming qualities in Vicki Baum's excruciating concepts of character and fate, and anyone who goes to see this movie expecting an intelligent script, or even "good acting," should have his head examined. Most of the players give impossibly bad performances - they chew up the camera. But if you want to see what screen glamour used to be, and what, originally, "stars" were, this is perhaps the best example of all time. Grand Hotel is still entertaining because of the same factor that made it a huge hit in its day...the force of the personalities involved in the omnibus story."
Pauline Kael, 5001 Nights at the Movies
"The sharpness of Joan Crawford's performance as the poor but self-reliant stenographer is outstanding; Garbo's moments of exquisite desolation compensate for her lamentable miscasting."
The Oxford Companion to Film

"Adaptation of Vicky Baum's novel Menschen im Hotel is erratically acted by the male stars, but Garbo and especially Crawford, who was never more appealing, glow - as Hollywood stars once did. Crawford's scene with Lionel Barrymore is bizarre."
Danny Peary, Guide for the Film Fanatic

Compiled by Andrea Passafiume

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