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O Lucky Man! (1973)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Fantasy  |  20 June 1973 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 5,901 users  
Reviews: 73 user | 31 critic

This sprawling, surrealist musical serves as an allegory for the pitfalls of capitalism, as it follows the adventures of a young coffee salesman in Europe. Many actors play multiple roles, giving the film a stagy tone.



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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mick Travis / Plantation Thief
Sir James Burgess / Monty
Gloria Rowe / Madame Paillard / Mrs. Richards
Mr. Duff / Charlie Johnson / Dr. Munda
Patricia Burgess / Casting Assistant
Stewart / Prof. Millar / Meths Drinker
Peter Jeffrey ...
Factory Chairman / Prison Governor
Dandy Nichols ...
Tea Lady / Neighbour
Mona Washbourne ...
Neighbour / Usher / Sister Hallett
Philip Stone ...
Jenkins / Interrogator / Salvation Army Major
Mary MacLeod ...
Mary Ball / Salvationist / Vicar's Wife (as Mary Macleod)
Michael Bangerter ...
William / Interrogator / Assistant / Released Prisoner
Wallas Eaton ...
John Stone (Coffee Factory) / Col. Steiger / Prison Warder / Meths Drinker / Film Executive
Master of Ceremonies (Nightspot) / Warner / Male Nurse
Bill Owen ...
Supt. Barlow / Insp. Carding


Follows the literal and associated life journey of middle class Brit, Mick Travis, representing the "everyman", as he tries to make his mark in his so far young life. He is able to make great strides in his traditional view of success by being what those in authority want him to be. As such, he achieves in a few weeks what it usually take years for others, namely having his own sales territory - the northeast and ultimately Scotland - for Imperial Coffee. He is also able to garner a plethora of fringe benefits from this job, including women throwing themselves at his feet. But he will ultimately face a struggle in class and authority warfare, which culminates with his encounter with the Burgess family - wealthy Industrialist Sir James Burgess and his daughter Patricia, who Mick wants to marry - the former who is contemplating investing in the shady dealings in Zingara. Mick will also find that the class struggle not only applies in his case in an upward direction, but also in a ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Smile while you're makin' it. Laugh while you're takin' it. Even though you're fakin' it. Nobody's gonna know...


Comedy | Drama | Fantasy | Music


R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

20 June 1973 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Un hombre de suerte  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


(opening sequence)| (Eastmancolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Lindsay Anderson had previously attempted to make a documentary about musician Alan Price and his band touring around England. However, the project had had to be abandoned due to the prohibitive cost of licensing the cover songs that the band performed. So, when Anderson and writer David Sherwin were developing the screenplay to "O Lucky Man", they decided that Price should write the score. They sent him the script, indicating where all the songs should appear. Consequently, nearly all the songs had already been written in advance of filming. See more »


A sign says 200 miles to London where Travis is picked up. He has reached there by walking for a while from the military establishment where the explosion took place. The distance even from London to the border of Scotland is 398 Miles. See more »


Michael Arnold Travis: [graffiti] Revolution is the opium of the intellectuals.
See more »


Referenced in Seinfeld: The Bris (1993) See more »


Poor People
Written by Alan Price
See more »

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User Reviews

An overlooked, strangely upbeat satirical masterpiece.
4 March 2002 | by (Bronx, New York) – See all my reviews

This remarkable, often overlooked film deserves a higher critical reputation than it has largely received. It represents a blossoming of the themes introduced in "if..." (the previous film in Anderson's trilogy) and a playful, even strangely upbeat reworking of those ideas.

"if..." was an explosion of the subconscious, repression fermenting into fantasized revolution; in "O Lucky Man!" the repression has matured into deep, abiding social, political, and economic corruption-- but the fantasies have matured as well. Mick Travis's journey through early '70s England features calamity after calamity, atrocity piled onto atrocity, but it feels lighter than air. It rises like a joke-filled balloon. That vantage point gives the viewer the two advantages unavailable to Travis: wisdom and perspective, and the film's humor comes from the distance between us and the characters scurrying below. (But the film is not, I think, cynical; the road to enlightenment may be hard one but the film makes it clear that it's not unreachable.)

Surrounding Malcolm McDowell's indefatigable Candide of a hero, the supporting cast flows in and out of their multiple roles like a comic repertory company, in which the same actors show up in scene after scene shuffled into a new assortment of scoundrels, con-artists, victims and sages, climaxing (don't worry, I'm not going to spoil it) in a beautiful, subtle joke which has to be seen to be understood.

From the silent-movie pastiches through Price's terrific songs (the music is used admirably) through wild, spontaneous moments of parody, uninhibited symbolic flourishes, and a few small scenes of genuine poignancy, "O Lucky Man!" deserves to be recognized as one of the great films of the 1970s, and perhaps of all time. It's certainly one of my personal favorites. Movies, I think, though bigger than ever, have become smaller and smaller at heart; more films should have the ambitions this film does and deliver on so many of them.

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