The Founder

Drama • PG-13 • Directed by: John Lee Hancock • 115 minutes

Directed by John Lee Hancock (SAVING MR. BANKS), THE FOUNDER features the true story of how Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton), a struggling salesman from Illinois, met Mac and Dick McDonald, who were running a burger operation in 1950s Southern California. Kroc was impressed by the brothers' speedy system of making the food and saw franchise potential. Writer Robert Siegel (THE WRESTLER) details how Kroc maneuvered himself into a position to be able to pull the company from the brothers and create a billion-dollar empire. The film also stars Laura Dern as Ray Kroc’s first wife Ethel; John Carroll Lynch as Mac McDonald and Nick Offerman as Dick McDonald.

Viewer reviews

Good story
★★★★
really good acting. Corp America is certainly cutthroat. — flitterfixx

This will leave you thinking for days.
★★★★★
Loved this movie for so many reasons. Michael Keaton does an outstanding job. Amazing story. Loved watching the evolution of an American empire grow. Loved the views from both sides of business. Well done! — CRLRsMOM

Great History - Great Story
★★★★★
Enjoyed it - — Chriskel88

That was sad.
★★★★
That was a sad story. Although I love Kevin Spacey's performance as Micheal Keaton playing Kroc playing a McDonald, I'm touch most of all by the original McDonalds' sad fate. Good movie though! — jpegCritic

Ridiculous
★★★★★
Rented the movie and then it won't play. Uuuuuuuugggghhhhhhhh! — Two76

The best movie!
★★★★★
Enjoyed from beginning to end! — beverlyhillstanguy

Macburgers have gotten worse - this makes the less palatable
★★★★
Sobering. Sad. This is how it works. I'm glad I spent the majority of my life not realizing it. — PayWhoYaOwe

Ray Croc is a Crook!
★★★★★
This was a very enlightening movie that is my best motivation to never eat McDonald's again. If Ray Croc didn't like how the McD brothers did business, then he should have went away and built his own business. Stealing their ideas and his greed are disgusting. — LovelandRealtor

So Inspirational!!!
★★★★★
I was initially hesitant about watching this movie, but I am so glad I did. The acting, especially by Keaton, is perfect. The storyline is so amazing and so historic- even though some may say Ray Kroc looks to be an opportunist who took advantage of the two brothers, that is wrong when you consider just how much of an impact he had - not just with McDonalds but in the fast food industry itself. I love the quote which Michael Keaton repeats in the end so directly to the camera (the same quote which he had earlier been listening to on the radio in a motel in the midst of great struggle) after attaining great success- about persistence and how it can help one during hard times. I especially related to that part and feel this is just a phenomenal movie. You must see it!! — Real26

Mcee Dees
★★★★★
Had no idea... excellent story telling! All actors were great! The director made the movie. Don't miss this one. — Stevepfi55

Exquisite
★★★★★
It is an excellently performed and made cinematic film, the story performed in the movie is a story that needs to be performed very well to live up to its potential, which it does. I cannot think of anything negative about this movie. It gives off excellent vibes and makes me really appreciate McDonald's. — Add dr.dre albums

One of the best...
★★★★★
...that I've seen in a while! Too bad my favorite director (Ron Howard) didn't produce this!!! I really loved Apollo 13 and The Beatles Eight Days A Week...and this movie fits right up there for entertainmnet value. There were others like the movie Steve Job, and I still think Ron Howard needs to make a movie entitled THE BEATLES, which covers the years 1958-1970. The beginning of their friendship up until their first solo albums!!! This was an enjoyable movie to watch. I also enjoyed That Thing You Do with Ron Howard Alum Tom Hanks!!! — stwebb

Theatrically underrated future classic
★★★★★
Much like The Social Network, this is an extremely important, fascinating, and entertaining film about entrepreneurship. Michael Keaton, dawg. — KyleReesespieces

great movie
★★★★★
now i know why i haven't eaten at one in 15 years — zosoroy

Good flick, what a backstory
★★★★
Good film; I never knew about the backstory of McD’s. I love Michael Keaton and everyone involved in this film so I’d definitely recommend it. I don’t want to spoil anything so don’t read on if you want to come into this movie/true story afresh— It made me never want to eat at a McDonald’s again, after seeing what happened to the brothers. One of the commenters said that the brothers were striving for what In-N-Out does now, and that’s so true. They were committed to fresh food and family, and Ray Kroc really made McDonald’s into something that just comes off as fake. As a kid who was born in the US but lived abroad, McDonald’s did feel like ‘home’ to me when we would get to eat there and I’m thankful for that. I hate hearing stories like this though, where people with new and innovative ideas got screwed. It makes me feel like I trusted in something that was false and dirty. Rant aside, this was a really interesting and well done film. — ksmith855332

Michael Keaton is on a Roll
★★★★
Michael Keaton is picking the right parts these days. It was like he went away and came back with a great eye for scripts. This picture is a gem. I am not a McDonald's fan by any means and those of us in California know that InNOut is what McDonald's wanted to become--when the brothers were running the show. That Ray Kroc pimped out McDonald's is the real story but you have to have grudging respect for a guy that won this big. Good acting, great story. — gosborne3

Totally Golden Arches ⭐️
★★★★★
Saw this with a friend and loved it. MK plays a good bad guy good guy and very believable. I think most of us yuppies lol thought we knew the story behind McDonalds. If this is factual- I'm amazed & delighted as it made for a great flick. Kudos a job well ✅🍔🍔🍔🍔🍟 — Gamer holdem

Great!
★★★★★
Its nice to see Michael Keaton working again. He is wonderfully nuanced in this movie. He portrays Ray as a strong but flawed character. — Quarterhorse2158

Pretty Good
★★★★★
There's a lot to like here. The story is engrossing, well written, and well conceived. Michael Keaton is very talented, I say underated, and he's what makes the story pop. I'm not sure if I agree with the message of this film. Wherever people are involved, entrepreneurship is no exception, the human condition will always exist. The better angels of our nature will sometimes be sidelined by greed and corruption. But that very same entrpenureal spirit is the keystone and foundation of what makes, forgive the expression, America great. A movie about people who feel ethicaly and morally bound to be honest businessmen or women wouldn't make for nearly as interesting a movie as this...so as a business owner myself I only ask for a little perpective :) — 1138_prefixTHX

This is America
★★★★★
This is what America looks like. No where else you see stories like these. — tdhaayushverma

Beware a wolf in sheeps clothing.
★★★★★
Michael Keaton's beat movie yet. Normally I hate biobics, but this one takes the cake. If you want to know what it really takes to succeed in this dog-eat-dog world, you'll watch this movie. Spoiler alert: It's not hard work, and it's not intelligence. — Walmartpimp

'The Founder' is an instant classic.
★★★★★
I was familiar with the story about the large Multi-Mixer order Ray Kroc received from a California restaurant owned by the McDonald brothers. I knew the basics, 'The Founder' fills in all the blanks and lays out the whole story. Michael Keaton is at his best. — madkins77

Highly Watchable
★★★★★
Really enjoyed the overall arc and performances and the nice details regarding the how and why of the engineering success of the fast food template, and the business relationships. An engaging watch throughout. Sometimes I noticed the too maudlin music trying to tell me how to feel about a certain scene or event and wished the movie could simply let the inherent drama and detail do the work. But I loved watching the whole thing. Another great role from Keaton, too. — D'chill

McGreat Movie!!!
★★★★★
I really enjoyed watching this one and Michael Keaton once again is classic. Rent. Own. Either is a good choice. Deep fried Big Short. :) — Bucko De Jucko

Fascinating movie!
★★★★★
Fascinating movie with superb acting by Michael Keaton as Ray Croc, Nick Offerman as Dick McDonald, and John Carroll Lynch as Mac McDonald. — FullHouseOfCards

Good Business Movie
★★★★★
This is a (business) movie I can appreciate. It tells an unromanticized historical story of a well known company and its key players who made it what it is today. — Pinkpearlz16

Good story
★★★★
I would say the story behind McDonalds is very interesting but if I seen Ray K today I would tell him McDonalds food is disgusting...sacrificed quality for profit which is why less and less people are not eating their anymore — mikie

You can't help but want to hate the main character!
★★★★★
This movie was better than I expected, and although I'm sure there were some artistic liberties taken in the script and plot, I feel like I learned something about how McDonald's came to be. Michael Keaton played the role of the main character, Ray Kroc, very well. The acting and story kinda make you want to hate Kroc for the ways he screwed over the McDonald brothers (one of which was played by Nick Offerman, who I once again didn't recognize until after reading up on the movie he was in until after watching it). But the acting and story also makes you realize the foresight, genius, and luck that Ray Kroc had in bringing McDonald's to every city in America. Meanwhile, the creativity, genius, and stubborness of the McDonald brothers highlights why there are such fine lines between success, mediocrity, and failure in business. If you've ever worked at a McDonald's or eaten a McDonald's burger, you'll enjoy this movie. If you like a great American success story, you'll enjoy it as well, even if you might come away hating the main character after the movie more than you did before watching it. Highly recommended, and very enjoyable movie. — ordizzle

Great Movie...Crappy Company
★★★★★
There's nothing more upbeat than the story of a 52 year old going from hardworking milkshake machine salesman to corporate mogul, right? Not exactly the case. While the movie is well done and the cast is exceptional, the story is sad. Ray Kroc was hardworking, motivated and a jerk. I never knew the whole story of what he did to the original founders of McDonalds. While Kroc did champion great careers for a few loyal employees, his unscrupulous business practices are still the cornerstone of strategy and poor culture at McDonalds. — Hanna 225

Michael Keaton - Best Performance Yet!
★★★★★
A great movie. Did not expect to end up loving this movie and watched it 4 times already. — themacguy1

Great story brought to the screen
★★★★★
Michael Keaton is again brilliant at playing his role. The entire story is well executed and shows the persistence and brilliant business moves. — Bv0312

Fast food History
★★★★★
Have you noticed that half the reviewers are inspired, and half are horrified? LOL — Trustworthy 55

Entrepreneurism 101
★★★★★
If you desire to make a dollar... watch it. This will become an under the radar classic. — MWC TF

Excellent & Entertaining Film
★★★★★
I really enjoyed this movie. Kudos to the entire cast, especially Michael Keaton, for bringing to life the story of McDonalds. The pacing is great. The movie never slows down. And it is an awesome "period piece" that begins in the 1950s. This movie has a special meaning to me since I lived in Southern California as a child & I remember eating burgers, fries & a Coke at the original McDonalds in San Bernardino with my family & relatives. This movie is great !! Persistence!!! 👍🍔🍟👍 — Faux Anonymity

Motivational
★★★★★
Even though the tactics behind it all were very cruel to the original founders, this movie still motivates you to get up and start your own business, or steal one for that matter. This movie has amazing performances from everyone involved. Definitely worth the watch — skaterryan

Motivational Entrepreneur Story
★★★★★
I really liked the theme of the entire movie (persistence). Very refreshing for anyone who is ambitious with big goals. Highly recommend. — PRINTJOY

Told me why I feel bad in recent years: I am in a dog eat dog world
★★★★★
I like the movie a lot. Some 20 years ago, I was thinking to leave the world a little better than I found it. To be nice to people. And I feel sad why it turned out really saddening: people prey on people, corporation prey on corporation (or people), people back stab people, form clique, all these, just for 1 thing: money. And then I watched this movie, and I saw that in the past, it was described as a dog eat dog world. People were cold to each other, and that the "handshake money" to the founders were just ignored, eaten, not paid to them, much like a crocodile will eat any possible thing up. And then I felt better: it could be like that. It is just not me feeling so sad. Many people experienced it, and many people DOING IT. The movie made me realize that maybe the animal competitive or preying behavior is the most basic survival thing, just that as human beings, I do hope that we are at a level higher than that, but probably not at the current moment in the universe. — liketofindout

Who would have thought?
★★★★★
A movie about burgers... nah! Fippling through the list I ended back and dicided to give it a try. And what a movie! The cast is gorgeous and Michael Keaton delivers probably the best performance in his life. And the legacy of Ray Kroc is out there for everybody to see. Not nice! — TheGetor

WELL EXECUTED
★★★★★
This movie is a truth bomb. It's well played that I end up thinking whether to still eat at McDonald's as I hated Ray Croc so much. — Nani090489

You Won't Be Disappointed!!!!
★★★★★
This is a fantastic story on one of the biggest companies ever. It was great how this story let the viewer know about the 2 brothers, and how it all started. I can't wait to watch it again!!! — ChaweeBoy

Excellent Movie
★★★★★
Keaton is usually a pleasure to watch and he doesn't disappoint here. Great story, excellent acting, well worth the cost to buy as far as I was concerned. — SogArm

Outstanding
★★★★★
I wanted to see the true story of McDonald's and here it is! — AGT1201

THE TRUTH OF BUSINESS!
★★★★★
GREAT MOVIE! AS STUDENT OF A BUSINESS SCHOOL I ENJOYED IT AT FULL ! GREAT RECOMMENDATION! — Alexseguih

If you think you'd enjoy it, you will.
★★★★★
Great flick for fans of this type of dramatization. Michael Keaton was amazing. Fascinating story done well. — both311

One of the biggest surprises in movies
★★★★★
I wasn't expecting this movie to be as good as it was, I thought it would be an ok movie, but it's amazing. — Ayden McGee

BEST MOVIE EVER
★★★★★
BEST MOVIE SINCE STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON LOVED IT GONA WATCH IT EVERY TIME I EAT MC DONALDS — Night out Cx12

Have yet to see the movie
★★★★★
But looks good — HB video

Instant Business Movie Classic
★★★★★
As a business professor I really enjoyed how this movie portrays the emotional toll running a business puts on the different stakeholders. The acting is marvelous and the movie never feels too fake. I absolutely loved it and cannot wait to use it as a discussion topic for future classes. — Scogre MacGreirson