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The Comedians (1967)

Approved  |   |  Drama  |  31 October 1967 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 1,327 users  
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A cynical Welsh hotel owner secretly romances a diplomat's wife in Haiti under the violent reign of the despot "Papa Doc" Duvalier.



(novel), (screenplay)
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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 3 wins. See more awards »



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Complete credited cast:
Martha Pineda
Major H. O. Jones
Ambassador Manuel Pineda
Mrs. Smith
Henri Philipot
Petit Pierre
Mrs. Philipot
Dr. Magiot
Douta Seck ...
Raymond St. Jacques ...
Captain Concasseur
Marie Therese


Set in the Haiti of "Papa Doc" Duvalier, The Comedians tells the story of a sardonic Welsh hotel owner and his encroaching fatalism as he watches Haiti sink into barbarism and poverty. Complications include his inability to sell the hotel so he can leave, a friendship with a rebel leader, some politically "charged" hotel guests, an affair with the German-born wife of a South American ambassador, and the manipulations of a British arms dealer who's in over his head. Written by Max Chandler <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


They lie, they cheat, they destroy...they even try to love.




Approved | See all certifications »





| | |

Release Date:

31 October 1967 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Los comediantes  »

Filming Locations:


Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


(TCM print)

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The seventh of eleven films that Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton starred in together. See more »


When Brown and Jones wake up in the country graveyard, it is supposed to be morning and their shadows are clear on the large gravestone right behind them where they slept, even though it is bright all around them. But as Brown moves through the graveyard, his shadow splits into multiple shadows at different angles, revealing that there are multiple lights from different angles. And in fact, before long several more realistic sun-cast shadows appear on the ground around him from taller objects, pointing in the opposite direction from the artificial lighting, showing that the sun is actually behind and above them, just past noon, and not low in front of them. See more »


Petit Pierre: [to Brown] They are waiting for Major Jones. For some reason they believe that only white men are experts in killing.
See more »


Featured in The 43rd Annual Academy Awards (1971) See more »

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User Reviews

overly long story of unrest in Haiti
11 August 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Based on the novel by Graham Greene, The Comedians is a look at Haiti that nearly 40 years later remains the same - political unrest, poverty, corruption, and brutality. Set during the time of Papa Doc, the story centers on Richard Burton as the white owner of a hotel left to him by his mother. He is in love with the wife (Elizabeth Taylor) of an ambassador (Peter Ustinov) and has managed to remain apolitical. However, events force him to enter the fray.

The Comedians holds one's interest, although it's on the long side. The cast is remarkable: Burton, Alec Guinness, Peter Ustinov, Taylor, James Earl Jones, Lillian Gish, Georg Stanford Brown, Roscoe Lee Brown, and, in a small role, Cicely Tyson. Taylor is very beautiful, although her accent is all over the place. She sounds French in the beginning, then English, then like Elizabeth Taylor, and then in the middle of the movie, we find out she's German.

Though Burton went the schlock for cash route in his career, he was a wonderful, handsome actor with a remarkable voice. Towards the end of the film, he has a scene with Guinness that is well worth the wait - two great actors in a subdued and remarkable scene.

The Haitian scenery belies what lies underneath. It's a film that is perhaps more timely today than it was in 1967.

28 of 35 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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