A Thousand Clowns (1965)

Unrated  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Romance  |  9 September 1966 (Finland)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.6/10 from 2,331 users  
Reviews: 60 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.



(screenplay), (based on his original play)
0Check in

Celebrate IMDb's 25th Anniversary with Photos We Love

IMDb turns 25 on October 17! To celebrate, we put together a gallery of some of our favorite movie, TV, and event photos from the last 25 years.

See the Photos We Love

User Lists

Related lists from IMDb users

a list of 27 titles
created 08 Oct 2012
a list of 49 titles
created 09 Mar 2013
a list of 47 titles
created 08 Nov 2013
a list of 25 titles
created 03 Feb 2014
a list of 40 titles
created 2 months ago

Related Items

Connect with IMDb

Share this Rating

Title: A Thousand Clowns (1965)

A Thousand Clowns (1965) on IMDb 7.6/10

Want to share IMDb's rating on your own site? Use the HTML below.

Take The Quiz!

Test your knowledge of A Thousand Clowns.
Won 1 Oscar. Another 3 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Ship of Fools (1965)
Drama | Romance | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

1933: An ocean liner belonging to a second-rate German company is making a twenty-six day voyage from Veracruz, Mexico to Bremerhaven, Germany. Along the way it will stop in Cuba to pick up... See full summary »

Director: Stanley Kramer
Stars: Vivien Leigh, Simone Signoret, José Ferrer
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A college volunteer at the crisis phone gets a call from a suicide caller.

Director: Sydney Pollack
Stars: Sidney Poitier, Anne Bancroft, Telly Savalas
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Rachel is a 35 year old school teacher who has no man in her life and lives with her mother. When a man from the big city returns and asks her out, she begins to have to make decisions ... See full summary »

Director: Paul Newman
Stars: Joanne Woodward, James Olson, Kate Harrington
Darling (1965)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A beautiful but amoral model sleeps her way to the top of the London fashion scene at the height of the Swinging Sixties.

Director: John Schlesinger
Stars: Julie Christie, Dirk Bogarde, Laurence Harvey
Isadora (1968)
Certificate: M Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A biography of the dancer Isadora Duncan, the 1920s dancer who forever changed people's ideas of ballet. Her nude, semi-nude, and pro-Soviet dance projects as well as her attitudes on free ... See full summary »

Director: Karel Reisz
Stars: Vanessa Redgrave, James Fox, Jason Robards
Wilson (1944)
Biography | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A chronicle of the political career of US President Woodrow Wilson.

Director: Henry King
Stars: Alexander Knox, Charles Coburn, Geraldine Fitzgerald
Cat Ballou (1965)
Comedy | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A woman seeking revenge for her murdered father hires a famous gunman, but he's very different from what she expects.

Director: Elliot Silverstein
Stars: Jane Fonda, Lee Marvin, Michael Callan
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Marriage broker Mae Swasey, who somewhat cynically arranges her loser clients' affairs, meets model Kitty Bennett and can't resist meddling in her life, by disentangling her from a married ... See full summary »

Director: George Cukor
Stars: Jeanne Crain, Thelma Ritter, Scott Brady
The Best Man (1964)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

The two front runners for their party's Presidential nomination, one principled and the other ruthless, vie for the ex-President's endorsement.

Director: Franklin J. Schaffner
Stars: Henry Fonda, Cliff Robertson, Edie Adams
Fanny (1961)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A love triangle between a young woman, a rich 60-something man and an aspiring sailor set in early 20th century Marseilles.

Director: Joshua Logan
Stars: Leslie Caron, Maurice Chevalier, Charles Boyer
King Rat (1965)
War | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A fast-taking wheeler-dealer corporal in a Malaysian POW camp during WWII uses bribery and larceny to take de facto control of the camp from his senior officers.

Director: Bryan Forbes
Stars: George Segal, Tom Courtenay, James Fox
Lord Jim (1965)
Adventure | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

After being discredited as a coward, a 19th century seaman (Peter O'Toole) lives for only one purpose: to redeem himself. Based on Joseph Conrad's novel written in 1900.

Director: Richard Brooks
Stars: Peter O'Toole, James Mason, Curd Jürgens


Complete credited cast:
Gene Saks ...
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


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




Comedy | Drama | Romance


Unrated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

9 September 1966 (Finland)  »

Also Known As:

Des clowns par milliers  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This movie features a scene where Jason Robards walks in front of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts during its construction. See more »


After Leo leaves the apartment, two different cardboard cutouts of him are used, with different facial appearances. See more »


[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 »


References M (1931) See more »


The Battle Cry of Freedom
(1862) (uncredited)
Written by George Frederick Root
In the score during the opening credits
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

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?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Why is it called A Thousand Clowns? AccidntlTourist
How I just saw it jcoonrod
Locations Kathryn-3
Dixieland 'Stars And Stripes Forever' In Film surf_sussman
Song that Jason Robards sang -with banjo accompaniment jacandjim
Barbara Harris mguevarra61-1
Discuss A Thousand Clowns (1965) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: