What's Up, Doc? (1972)

G  |   |  Comedy, Romance  |  10 March 1972 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 13,467 users  
Reviews: 139 user | 42 critic

The accidental mix-up of four identical plaid over-night bags leads to a series of increasingly wild and wacky situations.



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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 1 win. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mr. Smith
Philip Roth ...
Mr. Jones (as Phil Roth)
Mrs. Van Hoskins
Liam Dunn ...
Hotel Manager
George Morfogen ...
Graham Jarvis ...
Professor Hosquith


Two researchers have come to San Francisco to compete for a research grant in Music. One seems a bit distracted, and that was before he meets her. A strange woman seems to have devoted her life to confusing and embarassing him. At the same time a woman has her jewels stolen and a government whistle blower arrives with his stolen top secret papers. All, of course have the same style and color overnight bag. Written by John Vogel <jlvogel@comcast.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

hotel | jewel | mix up | love | chase | See All (50) »


A screwball comedy. Remember them?


Comedy | Romance


G | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

10 March 1972 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Glimpse of Tiger  »

Box Office


SEK 11,598,000 (Sweden)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Ryan O'Neal parodies one of his earlier performances. At the end of the movie, Judy Maxwell says, "Love means never having to say you're sorry," (a line from Love Story (1970)), to which O'Neal's character, Howard Bannister, replies, "That's the dumbest thing I ever heard." See more »


When Mr Jones jumps off the balcony in the last party scene, he has golf clubs over his shoulder. When he lands on the thug's back the golf clubs have disappeared. See more »


Judge Maxwell: You see this yellow pill?
Bailiff: Yes sir.
Judge Maxwell: You know what it's for?
Bailiff: What, Judge?
Judge Maxwell: To remind me to take this BLUE pill!
Bailiff: What's the blue one for, Judge?
Judge Maxwell: I don't know. They're afraid to tell me.
See more »


Featured in A Night of Comic Relief 2 (1989) See more »


As Time Goes By
Words and Music by Herman Hupfeld
Performed by Barbra Streisand and Ryan O'Neal
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

Peerless contemporary looney-tune, a self-appointed comic valentine to the 30s served up in expert fashion by Peter Bogdanovich.
2 October 2001 | by (Los Angeles, California) – See all my reviews

Finally, a zany, riotous slapstick comedy that lives up to what it purports to be...a zany, riotous slapstick comedy! Silly, simple and superficial, with no lowbrow, leering takes or hidden moral messages lurking, `What's Up, Doc?' is pure, unadulterated fun. Bugs Bunny should be proud.

Saluting its classic screwball predecessors, this innocent send-up has all the joy, style and panache one could ask for, hitting its broad targets about 90% of the time. Director Peter Bogdanovich, (who also wrote the story and co-produced) was at his zenith when he made this in 1972. Thirty years later, I've yet to see anything comparable top it.

Ryan O'Neal and Barbra Streisand recycle the wacky `Bringing Up Baby' characters created most famously by Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn, then Hollywood's reigning king and queen of elegant farce. The madcap plot and situations may have been altered and updated, and the approach itself may be less than chic, but the results are still the same: non-stop hilarity.

Proving before her she had a nose for comedy (she was a hoot in `The Owl and the Pussycat'), Streisand outdoes herself here. She wisely (and generously) defers to the director and, in return, churns out her most engaging performance yet as a wacky, accident-prone, highly determined gal who creates utter chaos out of confusion while striving to win the guy. She proves once and for all she is a funny, FUNNY girl, her quicksilver timing a joy to behold. And, as a bonus, she sings!

Matching Streisand schtick for schtick, O'Neal is the perfect deadpan foil as the hapless but oh-so-handsome cluck she sets her unyielding sights on. His milquetoast musicologist, who has substituted rocks for brains and is about as exciting as plankton, is wonderfully maudlin -- a textbook performance in sad-sack comedy. Bogdanovich apparently brings out the best in O'Neal (`Paper Moon') who was often vilified for his lack of cinematic presence.

Madeline Kahn, in her film debut, is side-splitting as O'Neal's prodding, adenoidal, anal-retentive fiancee. Stealing scene after scene, she offers the most consistently funny character since Jean Hagen's Lina Lamont in `Singin' in the Rain,' and that's saying something. The late Ms. Kahn a sublime farceur who could probably draw laughs from a well, would never again be put to such good use as she was under the early 70s tutelage of both Bogdanovich and Mel Brooks. And how could a slapstick comedy be complete without the comicbook villainy of snooty Kenneth Mars and Austin Pendleton's inept, rumpled genius?

Be sure also to catch a number of familiar TV faces strewn about in minor roles: Mabel (`Bewitched') Albertson, John (`Magnum P.I.') Hillerman, Sorrell (`Dukes of Hazard') Booke, Graham (`Fame') Jarvis, John (`Soap') Byner, and Randy (`Davis Rules') Quaid. Best of all, however, is diminutive Liam Dunn, hilarious in the climactic courtroom scene, as a cranky, pill-popping judge.

The film receives a tremendous boost from other key creative hands, notably the fast and furious scriptwriter and the colorful production designer. Each help to amplify what's happening onscreen.

In a time of uncertainly and skittishness, `What's Up, Doc' is a refreshing reminder that laughter is still the best medicine. Th...Th...That's all, folks!

44 of 50 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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