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A Thousand Clowns (1965)

Unrated  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Romance  |  9 September 1966 (Finland)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 2,328 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)
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Title: A Thousand Clowns (1965)

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

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?


The original Broadway production of "A Thousand Clowns" by Herb Gardner opened at the Eugene O'Neill Theater in New York on April 5, 1962, ran for 428 performances and was nominated for the 1963 Tony Award for Best Play. Jason Robards, Gene Saks, William Daniels and Barry Gordon recreated their stage roles in the filmed production. Gordon was nominated for the 1963 Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play. Sandy Dennis who did not recreate her stage role, won the 1963 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play. 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 The Wizard of Oz (1939) See more »


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

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User Reviews

This movie has become a part of my life!

This movie, one of the best ever made, has become part of my life!

The setting is New York City in the 60s and the movie excellently portrays the feeling of the city at that time. It features incredibly witty and clever dialogue that my family and I unceasingly quote from. This movie deals with the topics of conformity vs. individuality. A movie that can be watched over and over and enjoyed all the more with each viewing! It will enrich your life to see it.

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

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