The down-at-heel lodger in a seaside boarding house is menaced by two mysterious strangers, who eventually take him away.

Director:

Writers:

(play), (screenplay)
Reviews

On Disc

at Amazon

1 nomination. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Good Times (1967)
Comedy | Musical | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.7/10 X  

Sonny and Cher spoof many Hollywood classic movie scenes.

Director: William Friedkin
Stars: Sonny Bono, Cher, George Sanders
Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A naive Amish young woman runs away from her home in Pennsylvania to New York City where she hopes to act in religious stage plays but ends up performing in Burlesque theatre.

Director: William Friedkin
Stars: Jason Robards, Britt Ekland, Norman Wisdom
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Tempers fray and true selves are revealed when a heterosexual is accidentally invited to a homosexual party.

Director: William Friedkin
Stars: Kenneth Nelson, Peter White, Leonard Frey
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

After a long spate of bad luck, the little criminal Tony and his gang successfully rob one of Brink's security transports, taking $30,000. Surprisingly their coup doesn't make the press. ... See full summary »

Director: William Friedkin
Stars: Peter Falk, Peter Boyle, Allen Garfield
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.5/10 X  

A small time arms dealer in South America to sell weapons to the revolutionaries, winds up negotiating the sale of an experimental plane to the nation's dictator.

Director: William Friedkin
Stars: Chevy Chase, Sigourney Weaver, Gregory Hines
Rampage (1987)
Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Liberal district attorney decides to seek the death penalty for a man who slaughtered a family at Christmastime, then drank their blood. He escapes, though, and starts killing again.

Director: William Friedkin
Stars: Michael Biehn, Alex McArthur, Nicholas Campbell
Sorcerer (1977)
Adventure | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Four unfortunate men from different parts of the globe agree to risk their lives transporting gallons of nitroglycerin across dangerous South American jungle.

Director: William Friedkin
Stars: Roy Scheider, Bruno Cremer, Francisco Rabal
The Guardian (1990)
Drama | Horror | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  

Phil and Kate have a baby boy named Jake. They hire a baby-sitter, Camilla, to look after Jake and she becomes part of the family. The Sheridan's friend and neighbor, Ned, takes a liking to... See full summary »

Director: William Friedkin
Stars: Jenny Seagrove, Dwier Brown, Carey Lowell
Cruising (1980)
Crime | Mystery | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

A police detective goes undercover in the underground S&M gay subculture of New York City to catch a serial killer who is preying on gay men.

Director: William Friedkin
Stars: Al Pacino, Paul Sorvino, Karen Allen
Jade (1995)
Crime | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.1/10 X  

A bright assistant D.A. investigates a gruesome hatchet murder and hides a clue he found at the crime scene. Under professional threats and an attempt on his life, he goes on heartbroken because evidence point to the woman he still loves.

Director: William Friedkin
Stars: David Caruso, Linda Fiorentino, Chazz Palminteri
Blue Chips (1994)
Drama | Sport
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A college basketball coach is forced to break the rules in order to get the players he needs to stay competitive.

Director: William Friedkin
Stars: Nick Nolte, Mary McDonnell, J.T. Walsh
The Thin Blue Line (TV Movie 1966)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  
Director: William Friedkin
Stars: Van Heflin
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Patrick Magee ...
Dandy Nichols ...
Sydney Tafler ...
Moultrie Kelsall ...
Helen Fraser ...
Edit

Storyline

Based on Harold Pinter's enigmatic play about a border in a British seaside dwelling who is visited by two strangers. They torment him verbally, ask him idiotic unanswerable questions, force him to sit down and stand up, and give him a "party." Then, eventually, they take him away, a tongue-tied idiot. The trivial becomes the terrible, and with it a certain wonder, a certain pity. Written by alfiehitchie

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Certificate:

G | See all certifications »
Edit

Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

9 December 1968 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Festa de Aniversário  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

(some sequences)| (Technicolor)
See  »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The movie was a passion project of director William Friedkin who called it "the first film I really wanted to make, understood and felt passionate about". He had first seen the play in San Francisco in 1962, and managed to get the film version funded by Edgar J. Scherick at Palomar Pictures, in part because it could be made relatively cheaply. Pinter wrote the screenplay himself and was heavily involved in casting. "To this day I don't think our cast could have been improved," wrote Friedkin later. See more »

Quotes

Nat Goldberg: But a birthday, I always feel, is a great occasion, taken too much for granted these days. What a thing to celebrate, birth! Like getting up in the morning. Marvelous! Some people don't like the idea of getting up in the morning. I've heard them. Getting up in the morning, they say, what is it? Your skin's crabby, you need a shave, your eyes are full of muck, your mouth is like a boghouse, the palms of your hands are full of sweat, your nose is clogged up, your feet stink, what are you but a ...
[...]
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Brilliant
21 September 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Harold Pinter's brilliant early play-on-film, The Birthday Party, is one of his best efforts, and perhaps, with The Homecoming, the pinnacle of the Theater of the Absurd. The plot itself is simple. Two men come to visit Stanley, a classical pianist who has, for unknown reasons, left his home and is staying with a provincial couple. He is visited by Shamus McCann (Patrick McGee) and Nat Goldberg (Sydney Tafler). They alternately celebrate and menace Stanley, who may or may or may not know them. Nothing is clearly stated. Most of the dialogue consists of insinuations and vague threats. Performances across the board are outstanding, with Robert Shaw outdoing himself as Stanley Weber. Moultrie Keisall as Petey is excellent but understated, and his final words really put the cherry on the birthday cake. (sorry for the pun). Nothing I can say can communicate the unique strangeness and power of this film. Top marks, 5 stars, classic.


2 of 2 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
your interpretations Jrangerjb2
Another Version?? salthoen
Discuss The Birthday Party (1968) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page