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A Thousand Clowns (1965)

7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 2,231 users  
Reviews: 59 user | 24 critic

A middle-aged iconoclast, doggedly avoiding the tedium of employment and conventional life, faces the prospect of losing custody of his young ward.

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(screenplay), (based on his original play)
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Title: A Thousand Clowns (1965)

A Thousand Clowns (1965) on IMDb 7.6/10

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Murray
...
Sandra
...
Arnold
Gene Saks ...
Leo
...
Albert
Philip Bruns ...
The Man in The Restaurant (as Phil Bruns)
...
The Man in the Office (as John Macmartin)
...
Nick Burns / Wilbur Malcome Burns / Theodore Burns / Raphael Sabatini / Dr. Morris Fishbein / Woodrow Burns / Chevrolet Burns / Big Sam Burns / Lefty Burns
Edit

Storyline

Twelve-year-old Nick lives with his Uncle Murray, a Mr.Micawber-like Dickensian character who keeps hoping something won't turn up. What turns up is a social worker, who falls in love with Murray and a bit in love with Nick. As the child welfare people try to force Murray to become a conventional man (as the price they demand for allowing him to keep Nick), the nephew, who until now has gloried in his Uncle's iconoclastic approach to life, tries to play mediator. But when he succeeds, he is alarmed by the uncle's willingness to cave in to society in order to save the relationship. Written by Warlen Bassham <wcb@zso.dec.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Sooner or later, you'll fall in love with 'A Thousand Clowns'! See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

9 September 1966 (Finland)  »

Also Known As:

Des clowns par milliers  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA)

Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Two of the names Nick adopted temporarily are those of specific real people. Dr. Morris Fishbein was the very controversial editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) from 1924 to 1950. In 1947 Time Magazine described him as "the nation's most ubiquitous, the most widely maligned, and perhaps most influential medico." Rafael Sabatini was an author, and a few of his most popular novels were adapted for film. These films include Captain Blood (1935) and Scaramouche (1952). See more »

Goofs

As Murray puts on a shirt, his toothbrush appears and disappears in his mouth between shots. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Murray Burns: [shouts at rows of houses] Neighbors, I have an announcement for you. I have never seen such a collection of dirty windows. Now I want to see all of you out there on the fire escape with your Mr. Clean bottles, and let's snap it up!
See more »

Crazy Credits

In opening credits: and introducing Barry Gordon as Nick. In the end credits, Gordon is credited to all the different names his character has tried: Nick Burns, Wilbur Malcome Burns, Theodore Burns, Raphael Sabatini, Dr. Morris Fishbein, Woodrow Burns, Chevrolet Burns, Big Sam Burns and Lefty Burns. In the film, however, he is just called Nick. See more »

Connections

References Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1938) See more »

Soundtracks

Yes, Sir, That's My Baby
(1925) (uncredited)
Music by Walter Donaldson
Lyrics by Gus Kahn
Sung an played on ukuleles by Jason Robards and Barry Gordon
Also sung and whistled by Jason Robards and Barbara Harris
See more »

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User Reviews

 
I Tried to be Murray Burns, but I Did Snap Out of it!
10 October 2002 | by (Minnesota, USA) – See all my reviews

I first saw it years ago as an idealistic college student who did not want to become one of the great gray working millions, saddled with a job I didn't like, a huge mortgage, etc.. At that time, I fell in love with the movie and the characters. That's the problem. The movie cast a spell over me and sprinkled some weird kind of fairy dust over me. I wanted to be Murray Burns: a nonconformist, a smart ass, a non-contributor, a guy who ALWAYS did ONLY what HE ALONE wanted to do. And so, for a few years, that's what I did.

Those years, I must admit, were not very happy ones for me. Self-indulgence is a dead-end. I needed to be working hard, towards a goal, with a family, for me to feel truly fulfilled. And I think that is the case with most of us.

Murray Burns and his world are totally unrealistic AND unhealthy. Do not try to emulate him. It is a trap and a prison. It's like smoking dope all the time: you lose your drive and you increase your cynicism.

But perhaps I'm being too serious. Murray does have the kid, and he seems to fall in love at the end, so maybe there is hope for him. The movie has some great lines and funny characters. The black and white scenes of NYNY in the 1960's are wonderful, Martin Balsam as Murray's brother is one of our greatest actors, Barbara Harris is great, William Daniels is great, Barry Gordon as Rafael Sabattini, etc., is great.

See it and enjoy it but don't take it to heart like I did.

Alexander Hamilton imitations???


21 of 32 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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