Archie Rice, an old-time British music hall performer sinking into final defeat, schemes to stay in show business.



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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 1 win & 4 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Archie Rice (as Lawrence Olivier)
Brenda de Banzie ...
Daniel Massey ...
Mick Rice
Tina Lapford (as Shirley Ann Field)
Ada Lapford
Miriam Karlin ...
Harold Hubbard
MacDonald Hobley ...
McDonald Hobley (as McDonald Hobley)
Anthony Oliver ...
Max Bacon ...
Charlie Klein
George Doonan ...
Eddie Trimmer


On the far side of middle age, Archie Rice lives in a British seaside resort with his father, retired successful vaudevillian Billy Rice, second wife Phoebe Rice, and doting son Frank Rice. Following in retired Billy's footsteps, Archie is a song-and-dance music hall headliner, with Frank supporting his dad as his shows' stage manager. The waning popularity of Archie's type of shows, a dying form of entertainment, is not helped by Archie's stale second rate material, which brings in small unappreciative crowds. Archie clings to his long held lifestyle, including heavy drinking and chronic infidelity, of which Phoebe is aware. What Archie has not told his offspring is that Phoebe was his mistress while he was still married to their now deceased mother. His want to be a music hall headliner is despite his financial problems, he an undischarged bankrupt who now signs Phoebe's name to everything. Phoebe wants them to escape this life to something more stable, such as the offer from her ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


As the applause grew fainter ... As the spotlight grew dimmer ... His women were younger!




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Release Date:

2 December 1960 (Denmark)  »

Also Known As:

A komédiás  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Laurence Olivier is mistakenly billed as "Lawrence Olivier" in the end credits. See more »


Archie Rice: Look at these eyes. I'm dead - behind these eyes. I'm dead.
See more »


Version of The Entertainer (1976) See more »


Crown of Joy
Music by Sando Dicker
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User Reviews

The entertainer is a great movie, but not easy to watch.
17 April 2006 | by (virginia) – See all my reviews

The underlying theme of this movie is the end of the British empire, played out in allegory with the end of a not very talented "entertainer". The poet John Mansfield a few decades before this movie was made gave Britons an inkling of what was coming. Two wars and a softness grown out of a century of milking its colonies finally had to come to end. This film is not what the average movie viewer wants, much less understands when the creators of this project reveal to the audience what lies ahead. When Archie is yanked off the stage, it is the symbolic end of Great Britan as a great power. The Suez war and Archies's son as a relic of Britan's once dominant power are a backdrop to political and military events when this film was in production. The Suez war was not backed by the US. The British learned that the day was over when it could exert influence let alone dominant military actions without US backing. Catch the line in the beginning of the film when Archie's daughter is being asked to leave" a dying country". That line establishes the events to follow, for Archie and England.

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