Babylon: how to watch, review, trailer and everything we know about the Brad Pitt movie

Margot Robbie and Diego Calva in Babylon
Margot Robbie and Diego Calva in Babylon (Image credit: Scott Garfield/Paramount Pictures)

Director Damien Chazelle told a Hollywood love story with La La Land, now he is going to dive into Hollywood's history in Babylon, alongside Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie and more.

Hollywood loves to make movies about itself, but Babylon pulls the curtain back on the industry nearly 100 years ago, a period that the movie describes as "an era of unbridled decadence and depravity." Singin' in the Rain this does not appear to be.

Here is everything we know about Babylon, one of the last 2022 new movies set to be released.

How to watch Babylon

Babylon is now playing exclusively in movie theaters in the US. The movie is set to release in the UK on January 20.

Here's what you need to know to watch Babyion.

Babylon plot

We teased it above, but here is the official plot description for Babylon:

"A tale of outsized ambition and outrageous excess, it traces the rise and fall of multiple characters during an era of unbridled decadence and depravity in early Hollywood."

Damien Chazelle wrote the screenplay. In an interview with Vanity Fair, Chazelle said of the time period the story is set in: "Everything is shifting underneath people’s feet and I became really fascinated by the human cost of disruption at that magnitude, at a time when there was no road map, when everything was just new and wild."

Babylon trailer

The official trailer for Babylon has arrived. In it, we get our best look yet at the main players, including Margot Robbie's emerging young actress, Diego Calva's Hollywood hopeful and Brad Pitt's leading man. Not to mention the massive scale that Chazelle has put forward with this 1920s period piece.

Watch the trailer right here:

Here are some previous trailers and TV spots for Babylon as well:

You can also get a behind-the-scenes look, including brief cast interviews and some never-before-seen footage, in this Babylon feature:

Babylon reviews — what the critics are saying

What to Watch's Babylon review raves about the movie. We call it a "big, brash ode to cinema" that may be a little long and push the gross-out humor a bit too much, but it's a deliriously fun ride.

Other critics are more mixed about the movie. As of December 22, Babylon has 58% on Rotten Tomatoes, which is just on the border of the site's "Rotten" and "Fresh" classifications, leaning toward "Rotten."

Babylon awards and nominations

We've got a roundup of the major awards and nominations that Babylon has received:

Golden Globes

  • Best Picture: Comedy/Musical (nominee)
  • Best Actress: Comedy/Musical — Margot Robbie (nominee)
  • Best Actor: Comedy/Musical — Diego Calva (nominee)
  • Best Supporting Actor — Brad Pitt (nominee)
  • Best Score (nominee)

Critics Choices Awards

  • Best Picture (nominee)
  • Best Actress — Margot Robbie (nominee)
  • Best Director — Damien Chazelle (nominee)
  • Best Cinematography (nominee)
  • Best Production Design (nominee)
  • Best Editing (nominee)
  • Best Hair and Makeup (nominee)
  • Best Score (nominee)

Hollywood Critics Association Creative Arts Awards

  • Best Costume Design (nominee)
  • Best Production Design (nominee)
  • Best Score (nominee)

Satellite Awards

  • Best Actress in a Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical — Margot Robbie (nominee)
  • Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical — Diego Calva (nominee)
  • Best Actress in a Supporting Role — Jean Smart (nominee)
  • Best Original Score (nominee)
  • Best Cinematography (nominee)
  • Best Sound (nominee)
  • Best Visual Effects (nominee)
  • Best Production Design (nominee)
  • Best Costume Design (nominee)

Babylon cast

Some of Hollywood's biggest stars of today are bringing this tale of 1920s Hollywood to life. The headlining duo of the movie are the Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood co-stars Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie.

Pitt is on board to play Jack Conrad, who the Vanity Fair piece says is inspired by leading men of the era like Clark Gable, Douglas Fairbanks and John Gilbert. Robbie, meanwhile, is playing the aspiring actress Nellie LaRoy, who's described as an amalgam of Clara Bow, Jeanne Eagels, Joan Crawford and Alma Rubens.

Receiving third billing for Babylon is Diego Calva, whose biggest credits to date include Netflix series Narcos: Mexico and Unstoppable. Calva is playing a character named Manny Torres.

Other big names include Jean Smart (Hacks) as Elinor St. John; Jovan Adepo (Fences) as Sidney Palmer; Li Jun Li (Evil) as Lady Fay Zhu; Lukas Haas (First Man) as George Munn; Tobey Maguire (Spider-Man: No Way Home) as James McKay and Max Minghella (The Handmaid’s Tale) as Irving Thalberg, the only real-life character reportedly in the movie.

Additional cast members whose roles are not confirmed at this time include Olivia Hamilton, P.J. Byrne, Rory Scovel, Katherine Waterston, Flea, Jeff Garlin, Eric Roberts, Ethan Suplee, Samara Weaving and Olivia Wilde.

Take a look at some Babylon pictures and character posters right here.

How long is Babylon?

Babylon has a runtime of three hours and eight minutes.

What is Babylon rated?

Babylon is rated R in the US and 18 in the UK for "strong and crude sexual content, graphic nudity, bloody violence, drug use and pervasive language."

Damien Chazelle movies

Damien Chazelle behind the scenes on Babylon

Damien Chazelle behind the scenes on Babylon (Image credit: Scott Garfield/Paramount Pictures)

Damien Chazelle has established himself as one of the best young directors in movies right now.

His first movie was an indie film called Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench, but he truly broke out with 2014’s Whiplash, which he adapted from his own short movie. He followed that up with La La Land, for which he became the youngest Best Director Oscar winner in history; he was just over 32 at the time. His most recent movie was the Neil Armstrong biopic First Man.

After First Man, Chazelle tried TV, creating and directing a couple of episodes of the Netflix series The Eddy.

Chazelle has also written all of the movies he has directed, but also has a few writing credits on some other movies, including The Last Exorcism Part II and 10 Cloverfield Lane.

Michael Balderston

Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Only Murders in the Building, Yellowstone, The Boys, Game of Thrones and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd.