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Good Neighbor Sam (1964)

 -  Comedy  -  22 July 1964 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 1,275 users  
Reviews: 23 user | 6 critic

To help his divorced neighbor claim a substantial inheritance, a family man poses as her husband. The ruse spills over into his career in advertising, and his recent promotion relies on his wholesome and moral appearance.



(screenplay), (screenplay), 2 more credits »
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Title: Good Neighbor Sam (1964)

Good Neighbor Sam (1964) on IMDb 6.9/10

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Nominated for 1 BAFTA Film Award. Another 1 nomination. See more awards »


Cast overview, first billed only:
Sam Bissell
Minerva Bissell
Howard Ebbets (as Michael Connors)
Mr. Burke
Louis Nye ...
Reinhold Shiffner
Robert Q. Lewis ...
Jack Bailey
Linda Watkins ...
Peter Hobbs ...
Phil Reisner
Tristram Coffin ...
Sonny Blatchford (as Tris Coffin)
Larry Boling
Riza Royce ...
Miss Halverson


Sam Bissel is a wholesome family man with a loving wife, Min, and two loving daughters. They lead a happy suburban life. The only part of Sam's life that he is not happy about is his job as a lowly cog in the art department of the advertising firm of Burke & Hare. Sam's professional life takes a major turn when he is made executive of the Nurdlinger Dairy account. Simon Nurdlinger is a wholesome family man who wants a wholesome family man with wholesome family ideals heading his account, Sam the only one in Burke & Hare that fits the bill. Sam's home life also takes a major turn when Min's college friend, Janet Lagerlof, moves in next door. Janet stands to inherit $15 million from her grandfather's estate, but the will has a clause that she must be happily married to inherit the money. Janet is technically divorced from Howard Ebbets, and states that getting back with Howard is not worth $15 million. But when Jack Bailey and Irene Krump - two of Janet's relatives who would like to ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Slam! Bam! Here comes Sam!...Caught in the Middle of a Two-Woman Jam!




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Release Date:

22 July 1964 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Good Neighbor Sam  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


According to Robert Osborne on TCM, this was a film that Jack Lemmon didn't really want to do, but he fulfilled a contract with the studio. And like the previous year's "Under the Yum Yum Tree", this stupefied Lemmon that they were both very successful films. See more »


The Bissell's kitchen wall telephone moves from being mounted on the outside surface of the post to the kitchen side of the post. See more »


Hertz Commercial Man: [after finally being lowered into convertible] Man, that's *real* coffee!
[in tears]
Hertz Commercial Man: Oh, noooo!
See more »

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User Reviews

A Funny Movie It's Star Never Liked
17 May 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

GOOD NEIGHBOR SAM was one of three films from the middle 1960s that Jack Lemmon detested. After making THE DAYS OF WINE AND ROSES and THE APARTMENT Lemmon felt he was finally being recognized as a fine dramatic actor, and suddenly he was in this film, UNDER THE YUM YUM TREE, and HOW TO MURDER YOUR WIFE. He felt that these were minor films, and always disliked making them.

In the case of UNDER THE YUM YUM TREE, one can sympathize with Lemmon's feelings. He never played a more detestable character in any of his films than in YUM YUM TREE where he was a total letch. But he was in top comic form, supported by good casts and good scripts in SAM and WIFE. They were not great movies, but both were entertaining.

The plot of GOOD NEIGHBOR SAM is an old one: a family friend is in a tight spot and needs to borrow the spouse of his/her closest friend to get out of it. Another example of this is GUEST WIFE, where Don Ameche borrows Dick Foran's wife (Claudette Colbert). There the complication is that Ameche's boss (Charles Dingle) believes Ameche's wife is an amazing, supporting woman in her "husband's" remarkable career as a correspondent in Asia. Here Romy Schneider borrows Dorothy Provine's husband (Lemmon) to pretend that she is happily together with her husband to claim a $15,000,000.00 estate. But her husband (Mike Connors) shows up, and to save the situation pretends he is Provine's husband. This leads to complications of mutual jealousies between Connors and Lemmon, as well as problems concerning a multi-million dollar ad campaign Lemmon is handling on behalf of dairy farm millionaire (and total prude) Edward G. Robinson.

The film has many nice spots in it, especially for Robert Q. Lewis, as a friend and fellow employee of Lemmon who is nearly driven nuts by watching the odd goings on between Lemmon - Provine - Schneider - Connors. Also the ultimate private detective, Louis Nye, who has some great (and for 1964 really advanced) devices for his business. My favorite bits are now a trifle dated - the running gag about the old Hertz Rent-A-Car ads ("Let Hertz Put You In The Driver Seat"). A wonderful chase, involving painting and billboards, raps the film up very nicely. Lemmon was wrong - not in the same category as SAVE THE TIGER, GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS, or THE APARTMENT, but a worthy, entertaining film.

21 of 23 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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