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Funny Lady (1975)

PG  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Musical  |  15 March 1975 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 3,497 users  
Reviews: 34 user | 27 critic

Story of singer Fanny Brice's stormy relationship with showman Billy Rose.



(story), (screenplay), 1 more credit »
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Nominated for 5 Oscars. Another 6 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Bobby Moore
Bert Robbins
Norma Butler
Larry Gates ...
Bernard Baruch
Eugene Troobnick ...
Ned (as Gene Troobnick)
Heidi O'Rourke ...
Eleanor Holm
Royce Wallace ...
Lilyan Chauvin ...
Fran (as Samantha Huffaker)
Matt Emery ...
Buck Bolton
Joshua Shelley ...
Cliff Norton ...
Set Manager


The continuing story of Fanny Brice following that depicted in Funny Girl (1968) is presented. An established star on Broadway as a headliner for the Ziegfeld Follies, Fanny and the rest of the world are hitting difficult times entering into the 1930s. Her marriage to Nicky Arnstein, who she still loves is ending in divorce, and even Florenz Ziegfeld Jr. is having trouble coming up with money to continue to produce the Follies. Along comes brash nightclub owner, song lyricist and wannabe impresario Billy Rose, who says he can raise the money and has the material to produce his own revue, which he wants to star Fanny. Fanny is both attracted to and repelled by Billy because of his chutzpah, his stubbornness and knowing that underneath his outer veneer is the soul of a true hustler... much like she was when she was first starting out and much like she still is now. Through their professional trials and tribulations, they slowly start to fall for each other. But Fanny admits that Nicky ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


How Lucky Can You Get


Comedy | Drama | Musical


PG | See all certifications »




Release Date:

15 March 1975 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Paraxeni kyria  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


SEK 625,311 (Sweden)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?


After the scene of Brice doing her radio show, there is a shot supposedly of the NBC building in Los Angeles. The building shown is actually the redressed Pan Pacific Auditorium which, while of the correct period, looks nothing like the actually NBC building. The Pan Pacific Auditorium was used in Xanadu (1980) as the nightclub opened at the end of the picture. See more »


When Fanny Brice takes off, singing, in the yellow biplane, the plane is shown taking off from a runway clearly marked with Instrument Landing System (ILS) bars, which had not yet been developed in the late 1920's when the scene is set. See more »


Billy Rose: [referring to having borrowed money from the mob to finance his show] They're gonna build me into the West Side Highway.
Fanny Brice: That's the only good news I've heard tonight.
Billy Rose: I'm not kidding.
Fanny Brice: Neither am I.
See more »


Follows Funny Girl (1968) See more »


If You Want the Rainbow (You Must Have the Rain)
Music by Oscar Levant
Lyrics by Mort Dixon and Billy Rose
Performed by chorus
See more »

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User Reviews

Not Much under the Hood of this Star Vehicle
22 July 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I first saw "Funny Lady" in 1979, when it was in heavy rotation on Showtime. At the time I loved it. Not a surprise: I was 12, in the early stages of my Barbra Streisand obsession and it was the first one of her movies I had ever seen. When it appeared on TCM recently I decided to take another look now that more than 30 years have passed, my Streisand obsession has cooled and I've since seen "Funny Girl," as well as everything else in the Streisand filmography save "Little Fockers" (you have to draw the line somewhere). I still enjoyed it, but I saw it for what it was: a contractual obligation.

Streisand didn't want to make the movie — reportedly only agreeing to it when threatened with a lawsuit — and it shows in her performance, the star often appearing annoyed and impatient with the proceedings. But then, who could blame her? The story, loosely based on Fanny Brice's marriage to Billy Rose, isn't fully developed here, lazily told and clumsily directed by Herbert Ross, with montages filling in the cracks between a few dramatic moments and musical numbers. In fact, "Funny Lady" at times plays like one of those vapid vehicles Hollywood sticks singers in just to cash in on his/her popularity, like "Burlesque," to cite a recent (and much worse) example. James Caan, as Rose, is good but he and Streisand never quite click, as if the stars were filmed in separate sound stages and spliced together in the editing room. Roddy McDowell flits at the periphery in the thankless role of Fanny's gay friend/assistant; Omar Sharif reprises his role as Nicky Arnstein in what's little more than an extended cameo, his character now a money grubbing cad; and Ben Vereen is in one musical number and quickly dismissed (the rest of his role landed on the cutting room floor).

I was also struck by how thrown-together the movie looked, with sets and costumes looking like castoffs from "The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour" (the "Great Day" musical number in particular could just as easily have been part of Cher's Vegas performances in the '70s). And how about that final scene, set more than a decade later, with Streisand in a horrible helmet of gray hair and Caan's hair and mustache sprayed white, yet neither star looking a day older than 35.

And yet Streisand can still enthrall. I loved her musical numbers, particularly her bitter rendition of "How Lucky Can You Get," the ballad "If I Love Again," and the "Don't Rain on My Parade"-wannabe, "Let's Hear it for Me." Barbra even has some good dramatic moments, particularly a somber scene where Fanny and Rose discuss their relationship after she's catches him in bed with the star of his aquatic revue, Eleanor Holm. "Funny Lady" is less a sequel to "Funny Girl" than a star vehicle. Luckily, Streisand has enough power to drive it, even though this star vehicle doesn't have much under the hood.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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