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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 2,326 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?


Film debut of Barbara Harris. See more »


As Murray puts on a shirt, his toothbrush appears and disappears in his mouth between shots. 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 King Kong (1933) See more »


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 bet you didn't know comedy could be so smart & thoughtful.
18 February 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

It's truly a shame that this film has escaped the attention of the last few generations of movie watchers -- not only have most people not seen this film, it's likely that only a small percentage of folks have ever even heard of it. I dare say that both the character Jason Robards portrays and this film as a whole are more relevant today than half of the comedies produced 5 or 10 years ago. The bottom line is this, if you're looking for great acting and smart dialogue, and are getting tired of the 'I've-just-wasted-the-last-couple-of-hours-of-my-life' feeling that comes over today's average TV viewer or cineplex visitor, then you simply must do yourself a favor and seek out this hidden gem.

33 of 37 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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