6.7/10
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10 user 5 critic

The Birthday Party (1968)

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

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Cast

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

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Certificate:

G | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

9 December 1968 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Festa de Aniversário  »

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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 ...
[...]
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Connections

Version of ITV Play of the Week: The Birthday Party (1960) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Great early Harold!
14 December 2004 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

A wonderful play (which I've directed in the 80's) that cuts a scene from the play with Lulu..but is still PINTER! What can you say about this '58 play (film '68) except to say it's INTENSE. Robert Shaw as Stanley (post-James Bond and pre-Jaws and pre-The Sting)..most Americans (no offence)..don't even know who this guy is. Anyway, it's a brilliant parody of English (and everybody in the 50's) take on the one artist. Sidney Taffler as Goldberg is comical, frightening, bossy, and just plain "too much there". Patrick MaGee as McCann (A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, BARRY LYNDON, Kubrick.etc.) is lone newspaper-ripping non-horror (or so you think) DUDE, who hung out with the The Beatles.

Decent version of a great early play of a genius..which bombed..duh? Stick with Meg and Petey and you can't go wrong or right. 20 years ahead of it's time as a play and 10 years...right.


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